FATdrop: tell us a little bit about SMP3
Steve Parry: I’ve worked in the music industry for over 20 years, from DJing to working in record stores (including managing Beat Records for ten years) to promoting my own parties and running Red Zone radio show on Juice FM for ten years. I started SMP3 about three years ago.
When I left 3 Beat Records due to them downsizing, I kind of wasn’t sure what to do with myself. After speaking to some of the DJs that I used to work with, sorting out their music weekly, it became clear that they needed a hand finding music online and filtering the promos they received. So I started to work with Timo Maas and Dave Seaman, sourcing them great music–much as I did in the record shop but for the digital age.
FD: Why and how did you get into music promotion?
SP: As time went by, labels and friends would ask for recommendations of great promotion companies to help them get the music to all of the big names, and after I had recommended four or five different companies to various people, the penny dropped and I realised after many years of meeting DJs at gigs, booking DJs, selling records to them and having weekly DJs as guests on my radio show, that I knew a lot of the right people, and what they played, and so it made perfect sense for me to start my own promo mailout company.
I started small–literally one or two mailouts a month–and slowly started building SMP3 Music Promo. I got genuinely excited when a ‘big name’ would leave me feedback for a track. I guess thats just the geeky trainspotter in me (I still get excited when that happens today). Nowadays I am sending 20+ promos a month and working with some really great labels. I think it is a very nice feeling, to help people get their music to the right DJs, and then then DJs supporting the music. It makes the label realise that what they are doing is the right thing. It’s so difficult nowadays to get your music noticed, as there are so many tracks around every single week.
FD: What social media platforms do you use / recommend, and what are your main rules for using them effectively?
SP: I am a one man band (so to speak), but looking to expand soon, as the company is growing week by week. It’s time consuming running a promo company full-time. So as well as sending the promos, speaking to DJs, etc., I always like to scan the internet for DJ support, radio plays, chart placings, reviews of tracks, Youtube, set plays, and so on. It all helps with the campaign, and its great to use Facebook and Twitter to cross-promote everything; it just keeps the whole thing spinning around and staying in the limelight.
FD: The digital revolution has seen a shift in the way feedback is gathered, and success is now measured by the amount of shares and feedback a release receives. How do you feel this has impacted music promotion and how do you stimulate customers to buy new music?
SP: Times are changing, technology is changing, the way people consume music is changing, the way DJs play music is changing–and so the way that music is promoted is constantly changing. You need to embrace the future and the technology and move with the times–everybody else will.
There are more people making and releasing music than ever before, and this can be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. For the masses, it’s great: anybody can get a computer and make a tune. Soon people will be making music on their phones; it’s become much more accessible to do so, which is great. However, it can’t all be good music, but still a lot of it is getting released or sent to DJs. So the quality control aspect of music being released has certainly been lowered–and so that’s where I think labels and promotion companies who are really serious about the music, do need to invest in a good campaign, standing out from the crowd, and getting the right music to the right people.