DO’s & DON’T’s of Contacting Record Labels, Press, Blogs, Agents & Promoters
Reaching out to others in the community is an important part of creating a successful life as an artist. I work for a record label, a booking agency, a few production and promotional crews as well as several music publications, and am approached by artists many times a day with requests for help. 95% of these requests are ignored; I simply don’t have time to respond to or even read everyone’s pleas for help, because I have a life and shit like that.
To get into that 5% with me or with anyone else you are trying to contact, you need to present yourself in a way that piques the interest of the person that you are trying to engage. Posting “CHECK OUT MY MUSIC – IT’S THE BEST EVARRRRRR” as a comment on someone’s Myspace status update from three days ago isn’t going to get you very far – yet I see crap like this all the time.
A good general rule is to make it as easy as possible for someone to help you. Don’t make them have to spend time searching online for your information, music or album artwork, because they probably won’t. Follow these guidelines when contacting people to become more efficient with your time and energy – and to see a higher return rate on your inquiries.
- DO realize that the subject line of your email is extremely important. Make it clever and creative.
- DO say hello, please, and thank you in every email.
- DO personalize your message with the correct person’s name unless you absolutely positively cannot find it. Make sure to spell the name correctly.
- DO reach out and say hello and introduce your music before you start asking for free press, etc. if at all possible. Creating a relationship first is always the best strategy.
- DO consider your timing. If you send your emails out Sunday night, they will get lumped with all the weekend’s messages into a mass of Monday morning emails, which is not the best way to get noticed. Tuesdays through Thursdays are the best days for online contact.
- DO include in your message links to your discography, social networking sites and any posted music or press (or just gather this together in a document with a bio and some photos and POOF! You have a press kit!).
- DO always spell your name the exact same way, and insist that promoters and press get it right every time.
- DO follow directions. If someone asks you to send them some music, don’t say, “Oh go look on my Myspace profile.” Send them direct links, making it as painless as possible for them to check out your music.
- DO get creative with your message! Many of these people receive dozens and dozens of emails from artists with awesome music every day. You have to do something to stand out. Pick a few colorful words to describe your music, staying away from superlatives and promo-speak.
- DO NOT contact people about important matters via Facebook, Myspace or Twitter unless you absolutely cannot find an email address. Only use social sites as a last resource for important messages, because Myspace never gets checked, messages on Facebook get lost in the crowd and Twitter might be run by an intern, who is not the person you need to be talking to.
- DO NOT assume that anyone knows who you are or has heard your music.
- DO NOT send music to anyone that is not digitally labeled with your name. EVER.
- DO NOT assume that since we are in the music industry, you can be unprofessional. Spell check your messages and have a friend read them over if you are unsure of the way you are coming off through your words.
- DO NOT contact irrelevant organizations. If you play only happy hardcore, contacting ambient rock labels is a waste of your time and theirs. Do your research.
- DO NOT assume that the person you are contacting is male.
- DO NOT send 30 tracks for them to sort through. Send three.
- DO NOT say “I know you’re going to love this” when you don’t even know the name of the person you are contacting.
- DO NOT talk shit about the blog/label/publication if they did not pick you up; perhaps the timing wasn’t right and they might do so in the future. Be gracious and polite even when you don’t get your way.
Do you have any more tips? Please post them in the comments section below!
Photo from French Spin