Josh Vittek header

We talk shop with Vittek PR principal Josh Vittek

What's a misconception builders have about getting their products in the hands of artists?

One of the biggest challenges I face is when a company comes to me and says, “Hey, we need to grow our business. What do we do? Advertise? Can you start talking to rockstars about my product because if we can get them playing our product tomorrow, we’re gonna sell a ton of gear?”

And so the first obstacle is to bring new ideas to the table. Instead of disrupting the story, I want my clients to become the story. Artists and influencers still have weight, but it's not the way it used to be.

I can go back as far as the late 80’s and early 90’s when I was first in the industry and most often, you gave an artist a product in exchange for a photo. In some cases, the artist would then sell that product the very next day and you could use that photo for the next five years, aligning yourself with such artist without any further consideration for the artist or the consumer. But social media has changed that. Social media has made all of us more transparent. Plus, being a working musician is now a business. There must be a value for both the artist and the brand in a relationship.

Josh Vittek #1
Josh with Mark and JT of Hawthorne Heights

A lot of people think that if they can just get that one big rock star to play their product, that product will fly off the shelves. But just like every other overnight success, those relationships take time to develop.

How can you develop a strong PR strategy for your brand?

I don't care what (a client’s) budget is. If they come to me and say, "Look, I got five hundred bucks. This is all I got," then I'll figure out what we can do for five hundred bucks to help them get the bang for their dollar.

The most important thing to spend your money on would be public relations: your press releases, product reviews, and social media campaigns. That's your best bang for your buck. Again, if someone comes to me with five hundred bucks, we're gonna be targeting those audiences first. That's what we're gonna grow.

If you are builder of guitars or amplifiers or cables, there's no better time than right now to be making your stuff and trying to sell it. I mean, you can reach those three hundred people in the world that will just love your product. You can reach them directly on social media wherever they are. I don't care if they're in Antarctica. I don't care if they're in Colombia. You can find those people who love your product and not only sell to them, but grow your business when they share it with their network as well.

At the end of the day, if I don't make my client happy, he or she's gonna tell other people. Everybody I work with has been referred by a previous client.

So especially in my game, it's the relationships. I mean, you gotta hustle out there. You can't miss any opportunity.

That’s why I chose to call myself a PR firm as opposed to an ad agency or marketing firm – at the end of the day, I realize that everything I've done is based on my relationships.

Josh Vittek #2
Josh with Dean Markley and Seymour Duncan

What's the key to keep moving forward in a changing industry?

Well let's first acknowledge that our industry can be very dated in a lot of things that we do, not only in advertising, but in marketing, in public relations, in manufacturing, to technology and anything and everything else... but it's also what makes this industry absolutely wonderful.

We are still by majority, a mom and pop kind of industry. Compared to the rest of the world, we are a cottage industry. We're still mom and pop shops and we're here because of a passion. For those who aspire to make a ton of money, this is not the place for you.

Just focus on your business and the people around you, that's how you're gonna move forward. Now we're all human, don't get me wrong, we're gonna worry about something. But you gotta figure out a way to derail that and just keep focusing on what you do. Odds are, if you think something is cool, there's a couple hundred people out there in the world who will think it's cool too.

Josh Vittek is the founder of Vittek PR, an independent firm providing companies with publicity, advertising, PR, marketing, sales, branding and celebrity relation services.

A full-featured looper that sports instantaneous record, playback, dub, undo and redo on two stereo loop pairs that can be played in series or parallel as well as synchronized and cue'd for automatic playback.

Pigtronix is welcoming in the summer with two new products: Infinity 3 and Universal Remote.

Read More Show less

A former Guild employee builds guitars and winds his own pickups by hand. Here's his latest creation.

Name: Jacques Blanchette
Location: Rhode Island
Guitar: Blue Hawaii

I've been building guitars on and off since the '80s. I worked at Guild Guitars in Westerly, Rhode Island, for two years under Kim Walker's tutelage. After leaving, I worked at a music store as manager, repairman, and buyer.

Read More Show less

Photo 1

This simple technique can yield complex filthy tones, but don't lean too heavily on the fuzz.

Hello and welcome back to another session at the Dojo! This time, I'd like to explain the concept of gain staging using two (or more) overdrive/distortion pedals in series (one after another) to get more complex and saturated distortion tones for your recordings. Let's get to it!

Read More Show less

The Bandmaster Reverb head was built from 1968 to 1980 and has enough grille-room to install a pair of 8" speakers—a popular mod.

An introduction to Fender's classic amp heads of the '60s and '70s.

Fender's black-panel piggyback amps are not as widely known as the combos that every guitar player on this planet has either seen, heard, or played. They have lost appeal in a time when practicality and economy are guiding amp selection for most of us. Thanks to PA and monitor solutions, we no longer need big, powerful amps to fill rooms and stages. But, as we know, tone and size are related. So, let's look back at the great Fender piggybacks, from an era before the world needed to be so efficient and compact.

Read More Show less

Learn to focus your accents and make your lines more listenable.

Read More Show less

John Bohlinger gives his best advice to aspiring musicians. Spoiler: Wear those earplugs!

If you knew the amount of chaos, heartbreak, and frustration in my white-knuckled career, you'd understand my reluctance to advise anyone on being a professional musician. That said, I've been doing this music scam for a long time and, much to my surprise, it's actually worked out pretty well. I make a decent living and have a lot of fun. If you're an aspiring musician, here are a few tips that might help you toward that modest goal.

Read More Show less
x