Nikki Law: Director of Publicity at Metal Blade Records
MerchLive: You are the Director of Publicity at Metal Blade Records. How would you describe your job?
Nikki Law: I promote new albums, tours, events – really anything that needs to be publicized by Metal Blade! I’d say most of my time is spent writing press releases and exchanging emails with press contacts.
ML: What is your day to day like? Could you run us through your typical workday?
NL: I start my day by checking my inbox for “emergencies” – which I deal with first. After that, I usually start writing press releases for the days ahead. Once those are finished, I move on to the rest of the emails in my inbox (I try to reply to everyone within 24hrs).
ML: You had worked at Century Media before Metal Blade. Did you have previous PR experience and or education in the field before working at Century Media?
NL: Not really. I have a BA in Literary Journalism (which is somewhat related to PR, but not really); after graduating college in 2010, I couldn’t find a full-time job, like most people at the time. So, I worked part-time at Starbucks, plus did some administrative assistant work. I eventually interned at Century Media (while also being a barista and assistant – and a student again). After a year or so, the internship led to a job – and here I am!
ML: Did you have previous Metal experience and or education in Metal before working at a label? Lol. Sorry couldn’t help it. Have you always been a Metal fan?
NL: Yes. My dad listened to some metal (eg Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, etc), so he’d play it around me and my brother when we were younger. When we were in high school, my parents let us go to metal shows, so I’d say that’s when my passion for metal really took off. I soon met people in the scene – and even did band interviews for a few years! The relationships that I made back then really helped me to get to where I am today.
ML: When should an artist seek out public relations services?
NL: That’s a hard question to answer – it really depends on the band. Some bands are very capable of handling PR/social media on their own; if that’s the case, I think you can hold off on getting a publicist for a while. If you need help promoting your music though, you should get someone to help you (with either PR or social media) pretty quickly.
ML: Is an email list a useful tool for bands in the early stages and how often would you recommend an artist reach out through their email list?
NL: Are you referring to a fan newsletter? If so, yes – I think it’s a useful tool. I wouldn’t “spam” people with news though; if there’s a big announcement (eg new album, new music, pre-order start, tour dates, etc), then I would send a blast to your fans.
ML: How big is the email list for the label? How many people do you reach?
NL: We have different lists, depending on what the news is, but it’s in the low thousands. Our reach depends on what the news is about.
ML: We’ve seen on social media that you go to some huge festivals with the team from the label. Are those working events for you? What does a PR person do at those events?
NL: Yes, they’re working events. A PR person sets up interviews at these festivals, as well as signings (sometimes). They also help with getting everyone the right credentials. They may even help by selling merch! For me personally – I’m willing to do whatever is needed to help out the team and artists.
ML: You work in California and with the high cost of living there, is this your only job? Do you also have a side hustle like many people in the music business? Or do you have to live this job, as in it takes most of your time?
NL: Yes, this is my only job. I don’t think I’d have time for anything else! Haha
ML: On behalf of MerchLive Backstage Pass Magazine we would like to thank you for shedding some light on one of the most important behind the scenes positions in the industry. We would also like to thank you personally, Nikki for helping our magazine ever since the very beginning. You have been an outstanding example of the wonderful people we have met in the upper levels of the music industry and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with you.
NL: You’re welcome! And you’re too kind. It’s been great working with you as well! Many thanks for the support!