In order to “make it” forty years ago, a band needed a collection of great-sounding songs, the luck to be in the right place at the right time, and the perseverance to keep moving until that place happened to be where they were. In today’s high-tech, high-volume digital landscape, the number of bands able to get their collection of great sounding songs heard by more than the music lovers in their small town has grown exponentially, which is quite the double-edged sword: more people able to easily access your music, but also more bands with which to compete. Enter, the Planetary Group. This artist development firm specializing in publicity and radio promotion was founded in 1996 with the goal of helping musicians get their music heard, and since 2005, Dany Sloan has been a member of this superstar staff.

Dany was kind enough to talk to LA Music Blog about how he got his start in the music industry, his role within the Planetary Group, and his advice for every band on the scene today.

The Planetary Group

How did you get your start in the music industry?

I started out by DJ-ing at the radio station of a local university and doing a photocopied fanzine while still in high school. That developed into working at my college’s radio station, becoming the music director, interning, and then a job. It was all about networking and hard work.

What made you realize you wanted to work in music?

My earliest memories involve listening to music, and I love the process of helping artists build their careers. While it is often a pain in the ass and a lot of hard work, at the end of the day, I love music – not a moment goes by that I am not playing something.

You also currently have your hand in management. Can you tell us more about the band(s) you work with?

I currently co-manage UK-based musician Entrepreneurs, which is the stage name of Adam Crisp. It falls somewhere on the map between indie and dance, but it’s definitely not “indie dance.” It’s interesting, memorable, and a little bit weird. His first single is out next month in the UK. He was formerly the frontman of one of my favorite bands of all time, Elle Milano.

What is your role at the Planetary Group?

I run the Online and Print PR department. My daily tasks include, but are not limited to, identifying new bands to work with, reaching out to websites to secure coverage, building band websites, interacting with clients, advising bands, and going to gigs.

Can you tell us a little about what the Planetary Group does?

The Planetary Group has been around for over 15 years and is a full-service music marketing agency, handling Online and Print PR, Radio Promotion, Tour Support, Web Design, and more. We can also help set up your band up with Topspin and the Rock Band Network.

The services you offer to musicians all sound like things every band would want. Does the Planetary Group help young acts figure out what is best for them?

We do that each and every day. Most bands have an idea of what they might want, and we look at each of them on a case-by-case basis and figure out what’s right for them. Some bands want to jump into promotion head first, and we have to talk them back until the time is right. Some bands have absolutely brilliant music on their hands and don’t realize it yet, and others know they need something and they’re looking for someone to guide them down the path. There are plenty of bands that I started talking to four years ago that are only ready for promotion now, and there are other bands that have tried to retain someone, but they are past due for some outside help. It’s all about an honest assessment of the situation.

You are also helping set up tours in Scandinavia and China. How did this idea come about and why these areas?

These tours are done in conjunction with our friends at Sonicbids, and this is done to help expose new music to different parts of the world, and to get bands to see how others do things as well. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Who are some of the acts that the Planetary Group is currently working with?

To name a few, Apples in stereo, Slow Club, Pernice Brothers, Portugal. The Man, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Olof Arnalds, Gaslight Anthem, and many more.

Do you just work with local acts or are you working with acts nationwide?

These days, most bands are focused on nationwide campaigns, but we do our best to accentuate local markets or other geographical strengths of an act. With our online promotion, we definitely have an international focus, especially in the United Kingdom and Europe.

How can bands get in touch with Planetary Group?

E-mail us at info@planetarygroup.com or call at 800.254.2543

What advice do you have for bands that are looking to take a more serious approach to their careers?

Get prepared to work your ass off. Your first thought should not be label or management. That shouldn’t even be your second thought. Start writing great music that people will like and give people a reason to care about you. Play as many gigs as possible. Interact with your fans. Become active on Twitter by strategically connecting with like-minded fans – don’t just add anyone and everyone. Get advice from bands you play with. Make friends with everyone – no one is ever worth pissing off, even if they slight you. Give your music away, at least at first. If you’ve recorded a demo, put it on Bandcamp so fans can easily download it and collect e-mail address (done easily through Bandcamp) so you can interact with your fanbase. Make sure your fans know what you’re up to, but no more than twice a month.

And most importantly: have fun and BE CREATIVE.

For more info on Dany Sloan and the Planetary Group, check out:

http://www.planetarygroup.com/