VNTG PR is an entertainment public relations firm based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Founded by Dominick Sotis in January of 2020, the firm is poised to be one of the most successful startups out of Nashville this year. In an industry struggling to hold its head above water due to the pandemic, VNTG PR is an exception, executing successful press campaigns for a wide variety of musicians ranging from Grammy award-winning groups to independent artists.
In this interview, Sotis talks about his experience in public relations, the founding of VNTG PR, and the challenges the music industry faces in the current pandemic environment.
1. What is your experience in the public relations industry?
I’ve been involved in some form of public relations since I was a junior in high school. A friend of mine started a company hosting luxury benefit car shows around the Houston area, The Car Culture, LLC. My job was to attract press for the shows, getting them featured on morning television shows and helping market the events. It wasn’t until I moved to Nashville to study music business in college that I realized I wanted to focus more on entertainment public relations.
2. Why did you start VNTG PR?
VNTG PR was born out of wanting to hone my knowledge of the industry while being able to have full control of the output. I had interned at an indie radio station as a digital marketer and worked at a primarily country music public relations firm as a publicist over the course of my college career. While those jobs established a great foundation, I knew I wanted to have more control over which artists I worked with. When I decided I wanted to try things out on my own, I approached a friend’s band that I had been a fan of for years, The Thing With Feathers, and asked about handling press for them. With that, VNTG PR was born.
3. Who are some clients you’ve worked with under VNTG PR?
Besides The Thing With Feathers, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some truly incredible solo artists and bands. Right now, I have the pleasure of working with the Grammy award-winning Baha Men, performers of the triple-Platinum iconic hit, ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’. They continue to stay active and are in the middle of promoting their latest single, ‘Take A Chance’. The 20th anniversary of ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’ is also coming up on July 26th, so I’ve been focused on celebrating accordingly with a massive press campaign. Outside of the music industry, I’ve gotten to work with some great businesses. BarBees Bartending, a mobile bartending service out of Nashville, has adapted really well to the current pandemic environment and continues to make huge strides in the growth and development of their business.
4. What is VNTG PR doing to facilitate growth in the era of the pandemic?
This business is dependent on word-of-mouth and referrals. Paying attention to my clients’ needs and offering the highest quality work at competitive pricing organically drives business for me. Additionally, I also started ‘The VNTG PR Summer Sessions’ on the firms Facebook page. A different up-and-coming artist takes over the page every Friday at 6pm CT and performs their best and latest music. These sessions not only drive up engagement and bring new eyes to the firms’ social media accounts, but they also serve as a great networking opportunity. I’ve gotten to interact and do business with several new artists that might not have otherwise found VNTG PR. Viewers can find past streams on the firms Facebook page or Instagram Television (IGTV).
5. What are some of the challenges the music industry faces today?
Before the pandemic took hold, artists were so heavily dependent on touring because that’s where the money was being made. Not only do streaming services pay out so little in royalties (Spotify pays $0.0018 per stream) but being involved with a management team or with a label also meant artists had to split already low payouts among many different people. Naturally, musicians started going the independent route. Now that the concert industry is set to lose up to $9 billion this year due to the pandemic and the prospect of major touring doesn’t seem likely until at least spring of 2021, artists are having to scramble to find other avenues to make money and stay active. The Thing With Feathers, for example, have recently started doing ‘quarantine videos’. Once a month we’ll put out a video of them performing either a cover song or an original of theirs from their home studio. Those videos, paired with new releases throughout the rest of ’20, are meant to continuously drive engagement and keep the guys active and playing.
6. Where do you see the music industry heading in the next year?
I think now, more than ever before, we’re going to see a massive shift towards the independent artist. As musicians demand more say over every facet of their career and desire a bigger slice of the pie, the notion of signing a massive record deal will slowly fade. Because of this pandemic, there’ll also be a movement to increase royalty payouts from streaming services. Artists are beginning to face the fact that they won’t be able to rely on traditional touring to bring in revenue, so the focus will now turn towards record sales and making sure they’re getting the most from what they’re releasing. This next year will be crucial in molding the path the future of the music industry will take.
7. Where can we find VNTG PR online?
We’re currently very active on Facebook and Instagram and love connecting with new artists and businesses! To see our full client roster or explore services VNTG PR has to offer, you can also visit our website.
Visit VNTG PRs website: https://www.vntgpr.com
Follow VNTG PR on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vntgpr
Like VNTG PR on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vntgpr