Music Career Interviews - Ariel Hyatt
May 19, 2011
Chris Rockett in Ariel Hyatt, Music Career Interviews, interviews, marketing

This interview was originally posted on Chris Rockett’s Music Marketing Website

If you sniff around in music marketing for a while you will soon start to hear little whispers about the awesomeness of Ariel Hyatt. First it will be a YouTube video, then a blog post, and pretty soon you’ll be a fully fledged “Ariel Addict” shouting I don’t want to go to rehab.

An ode to Ariel: “Buy her books, read her blogs…go see her at a conference.”

Ummm…I can’t really think of anything to rhyme with conference, and to be honest I think the whole poem thing was a bad idea ;-)

But I’m just kind of excited…why?

Well so far I have read the interview below twice and my notebook is already full with new ideas, book recommendations, websites to visit and new musical strategies to implement. I can’t wait for you to start using this information so I’m going to shut up now and hand over the stage to the real first lady of music marketing.


- Chris

Quick Fire Questions:

Favorite music career book or course

I can’t choose just one, so here are three! The first is my favorite Music Business Book, the second is a book every entrepreneur (that’s every musician) should read, and the third is all about money – if you are interested in making money in the music business (or anywhere in your life), I’ll suggest my favorite money book too.

1. Music 3.0 by Bobby Owsinski – This book is wonderful as it explains the CONTEXT of what in the heck happened in the music business and why. But Bobby doesn’t stop there. He next lays out a clear concise plan about what you need to know about to set yourself up for success. His philosophies are very much in alignment with Music Success in Nine Weeks and our books mention a lot of the same theories (1,000 True Fans) and suggestions (use the Internet or die in obscurity).

2. The E-Myth by Michael Gerber - It really opened my eyes to what it means to be an entrepreneur and the difference between working in my business versus working on my business. I wish every musician would read it because every musician is now an entrepreneur.

3. The Secrets of The Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker - I read this book 6 years ago and it completely shifted my perspective on money. I meet so many artists who believe that they can’t make money while making music and this book will help you get rid of limiting stories you may have unconsciously created.

The best music-marketing tool

Artists: if you are trying to build your career in any way and you don’t have an email newsletter and an email management program you should get one now.

Use: ReverbnationNimbitFanbridge, or Mailchimp! They are all great.

Biggest Inspiration

Musicians who are positive and never give up, in whatever form that takes…They inspire me every day to keep doing what I do for a living, and to keep going after my own dreams and goals.

Favorite website

There are two….

1. Hypebot: It’s where I look every day to stay on top of music industry happenings and stories (Full disclosure: I blog on a site that they also edit called MusicThinkTank).

2. Mashable: Everything you could ever want to know about Social Media, news, tools & tricks.

Main Interview

How I started and what I’m doing at the moment.

How I started…

I started my business, Ariel Publicity, in 1996 as a traditional PR firm (and for a few years we were also a booking agency). I got very good at the usual public relations grind: Blasting out press releases, mailing CDs to journalists and placing articles in magazines, newspapers, TV, and on radio by pitching my head off. As the years went on and more music was coming out, I realized that traditional PR was no longer as attainable or effective for independent artists, and I began to feel really disheartened with the results my firm was producing (while working harder than I ever had before).

Seven years ago, I began to transition my company from traditional PR to digital PR. It was during the transition when I realized that my artists were really confused and confronted about all of the online tools and techniques that they needed to understand and use. In order to stay ahead of the curve, so I started writing a newsletter and posting articles on my website for artists and music business professionals looking for useful tips. Those articles turned into multiple blog posts and two books.

What I’m doing at the moment…

I do four separate things…They break down like this:

1. Author – I have written two books: Music Success in Nine Weeks & Musician’s Roadmap to Facebook and Twitter, which is co-authored with musician Carla Lynne Hall. I also blog for and My newsletter & video series called Sound Advice goes to over 10,000 music industry professionals each fortnight.

2. Speaker & Educator – I love to travel and meet people, and I do this by speaking at music conferences and teaching master classes around the world. I teach artists, music business students & music industry professionals how to understand and improve their own online marketing and PR. I also discuss trends in social media and how artists can set themselves up to succeed.

I started my company when I was 23 years old and a dream for me is to help music industry students understand that they too can create success in this business if they want it.

I am honored to say that MTSU will be debuting a Cyber PR® course this fall, based on my agency’s practices and my philosophies. Ariel Publicity will be matching students in this course with our artists, giving them an opportunity to experience what it’s like to work with active musicians. I’m thrilled to be mentoring some next generation music business professionals.

3. Founder & Owner of Boutique PR Firm - My digital PR firm Ariel Publicity is currently running Cyber PR® Campaigns for approx. 50 musicians. Cyber PR® Campaigns help artists get reviewed on blogs, played on podcasts, and added to Internet radio stations. At the same time we coach them on how to improve their social media strategy (Twitter, Facebook etc.) and online marketing (Newsletters, blogs, website etc.).

4. Cyber PR® Software Developer - I’ve spent the last few years developing the online platform that delivers our Cyber PR® Campaigns. This boutique PR agency management system automatically disperses press materials, videos, & MP3s, and facilitates relationships between new media makers, PR agents and clients. Cyber PR® creates a fully transparent experience between my PR agency, new media makers and publicity firms.

My biggest achievement in music and how it happened

In the past few years I’ve been invited to spread the Cyber PR® gospel throughout Europe, Canada and Australia. Here’s how it happened:

Step 1: I felt inspired and compelled to pivot my business into one that could change with the times and with emerging technologies.

Step 2: I learned as much as I could about social media and the changing PR world, so that I could stay relevant as an owner of a PR firm.

Step 3: I followed three passions (writing, self development, helping artists) and I started blogging, created my Sound Advice newsletter and YouTube series to express what I was experiencing. I turned those articles and ideas into two books, and the books led to invitations to music conferences and festivals around the world.

What’s The Most effective Way to Increase a Fanbase

The most effective way I have found to increase your fanbase is: create one authentic relationship at a time. This will make you connected to people and, as a result, remarkable to others.

I think artists become completely tripped up with the feeling that they need to have thousands (or millions) of fans, or plays, or impressions to succeed.

What I know is: They don’t. Just think about creating one fan, then two fans, then five fans. I’ve seen miracles happen from very small groups of engaged and committed fans.

Do something that you feel passionate about using a social media tool or a real life tool. Start with just Facebook or Twitter and use it thoughtfully as if you were talking to just one person who represents your ideal fan (or the type of fan you would like to have). When you play out live, stand by the merch table and meet fans and potential fans one at a time.

You will become successful sooner

If you do something every single day to move yourself towards creating more fans. So write a newsletter, write a blog post, book a show. Do something every day to move yourself towards more exposure.

You should not be focusing on

How to do it fast. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in today’s music business.

So, if you come across something that feels like a gimmick or get rich scheme, or anything that looks like a “fast track,” be aware.

Some artists come to me and say, “I want to buy email lists.” That is spam, and not a great way to capture and engage potential fans.

Here’s a great place to focus: Find something important to you in your heart and express it (it doesn’t have to be life changing, it can be a small thing that is meaningful to you).

Final thought…

Nobody knows a magic formula. A lot of people in this business would like to take your money and there are multiple ways to spend a lot of money really quickly, so be very careful when adding new people to your team. Do your research by asking for references or using Google. Trust your gut and your instinct and remember that it’s not about them, it’s about you. So as you’re looking to put anyone on your marketing, PR, radio plugging, booking, management or branding team, or expand your horizons in any way, trust your instincts.

How You Can Find Ariel…

The best way to get me is on Twitter, I’m @CyberPR, or on my blog at

Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (
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