A Week In The Life Of… Director Of Boutique Publicity Agency ON THE MAP PR, Emily Cheung


Emily Cheung is the director of the boutique publicity agency, ON THE MAP PR. Based in Melbourne, and working alongside acts such as RÜFÜS, Tinpan Orange and Boy & Bear, Emily says life is non-stop but it’s a job that after almost 11 years, she still does not consider ‘work’. Read about her week and some fantastic words of wisdom in this weeks WITLO.

Job Description

I work in a publicity role in the music industry and am lucky enough to have been working in this field for my entire adult career. Over a decade later, I still love my job and the industry. After 7 years working with Sony BMG and Sony Music, I started my own boutique music PR agency, ON THE MAP PR. We turned four this year and we’re a small team of four, working alongside six music acts a month – some signed, some independent and always one wholly new emerging artist/band.

Our artists pay us a fee for our services and we then work to set up as much exposure for them within the media (print, online, TV, radio) – whether it’s a news piece about a new release or tour, a video clip spin/embed, mixtape addition, review, Q&A, phone or filmed interview, live performance or whatever else we can lock in that might be relevant to help them grow their brand and access a mass audience via the media.

Because we’ve been doing it for a while now, it feels more like we’re emailing, calling and visiting our pals to tell them about the cool new artists and tunes we’re working with. It’s a good life!

Weekly Overview

A regular week usually involves meeting up with an artist or two, chatting through their timeline of releases, gigs, interviews and where everything’s at for them on the media front. We’ll also usually be out doing promo once or twice a week, whether it’s a photo shoot for a paper or webzine, an in-studio radio performance and chat or some other form of interaction with a media outlet. There’s always a gig or two in the mix on any given week, and several coffee or lunch meetings with a journo or editor. The rest of the time is spent in the office writing press releases, filling schedules by emailing and calling local and interstate media to nail national editorial coverage.

This week we had a public holiday on Monday here in Melb, so Tuesday was a big day of catch up in the office. I spent most of the day catching up on emails and wrote and blasted a press release to announce a new release and tour.

Wednesday was spent locking in interviews and pitching for album reviews for a number of our acts (on this occasion it was for RÜFÜS, Tinpan Orange and Mayfair Kytes). I also put my accountant hat on, sorted some billing and paid my employees.

On Thursday I had an early coffee meeting with a client and then returned to the office for some filmed interviews and acoustics that my colleague was taking care of. I then had a quick coffee with the band, got through some work on my laptop and then had dinner with a webzine editor.

Today is Friday and I am working from home. I submitted all my door lists to venues for this weekend’s shows, organised some quotes for potential future clients and sent out press clippings (documents of all the press coverage we achieved this week) to each active artist. Now it’s 7pm and I’m about to head out to dinner with some girlfriends, it’s all about work life balance, wherever you can nab it!

Highlights Of The Week

I had such a fun week – managed to squeeze everything in to a short working week, caught up with some artists and media for face time and good chats, enjoyed a few little acoustic performances played just to the few of us in the office and there were no stresses to work through this week! Winning!

Lowlights Of The Week

Often the lack of sleep that you find yourself getting and at times the lack of time available to spend with family and friends, but this week’s been a goodun!

Words Of Wisdom

The world of publicity is an incredibly fun and rewarding one. It’s not brain surgery, but you cannot be afraid of hard work, you do have to love being sociable and enjoy talking and striking up conversation with complete strangers. You also have to be willing to work long hours which can sometimes involve starting at 6am for breakfast radio with an artist, working all day in the office and then heading straight out to a gig that night. If that sounds like hard work, this is not the industry for you… but if it sounds like an awesome opportunity to have fun, chat with different people all day and love what you do (ie – it doesn’t feel like work at all), then this is the industry and career for you!

Be warned, there’s no such thing as ‘overtime pay’ and it’s a much longer working week than a 9-5pm job, but after 11 years of doing it – it still doesn’t feel like ‘work’ to me. I love discovering and working with awesome new music and have had many opportunities that have seen me meeting and often befriending my musical idols. I adore what I do for ‘work’ and I find myself choosing to hang out with my media, artist and work buddies in my spare time. I know I’ll be working music publicity for my entire career moving forward and am still excited by that!

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