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January 16, 2009 / alunatunes

Publicity and Promotion: What is underwriting?


to bind oneself to contribute a sum of money to (an undertaking): Wealthy music lovers underwrote the experimental concerts. -Dictionary.com

In my work as a music publicist, I seek in studio interviews and live performance opportunities for my bands and musicians. Lately I’ve been asked to purchase “underwriting” in conjunction with live studio performances if the venue the band is playing does not advertise with the station.

Underwriting varies wildly and widely. The current downturn in the economy has made programmers more aware of the financial bottom line of operating costs.  Some terrestrial stations set aside blocks of time (usually on Sundays or during the midnight to six am time slot) to promote unsigned bands or artists appearing at local clubs.

Radio drive time shows are very effective publicity.  But unless the venue is advertising with the station, expect to be asked about underwriting a live in studio performance.

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