|Good self-promotion takes a lot more than a shout-out and a link to your MySpace page. One of the biggest mistakes we see artists making time and time again is how they approach media professionals via email. The next time you send an email to a booker, record label, promoter, venue, magazine, blog, or even a fan, keep in mind that practicing smart email etiquette can be the difference between getting a killer gig and a cold shoulder.
Remember, the average Radio DJ, music editor, or publicist doesn’t have time to decipher or wade through a long or poorly written email – but neither do they enjoy the cryptic one liner: “check out my music!” So it’s important that your email says just enough and not too much. In order to help you send better emails that produce more favorable results, we pulled together some of CD Baby’s DIY experts to lay out the following guidelines to help you send emails that work.
There’s no perfect answer of course, but hopefully these tips will help you avoid the dreaded “delete” button and see some results.
Tips for writing successful emails that will bring you success
1. Know who you are e-mailing. Address them by name. Demonstrate appreciation and understanding of their role in the company they work for.
2. Keep it brief. If you answer emails all day (like us), you know that an email that spans more than a few paragraphs will immediately cause a gag reflex. Reading an email from a stranger is much different than reading a letter from a friend, so don’t bother talking about the weather or your last gig. It’s better to hit them hard and fast and leave them wanting more. Imagine you are an opening act: Play your five best numbers and get the heck off the stage, lest you make enemies instead of fans.
3. Use links that are direct and simple. Create a simple signature in your mail program, no longer than four lines and include one or two of your best links. If you have your own website, use that. People who work in the music business are not fond of wading through websites to find sound clips and neither are they fans of waiting for MySpace pages to load. So make sure the links take them to your music quickly.
4. Never use ALL Caps. It is the email equivalent of yelling.
5. Use spell check and correct grammar or you will not be taken seriously.
6. Include the thread of your correspondence in every email. Keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for someone in the music industry to get a hundred emails a day. So always give them the benefit of what has been discussed in previous emails by including that text.
7. Have a plan. If they’re interested, you better be prepared to follow through with what is needed.
8. Be real. Don’t puff yourself up. Don’t put yourself down. Be kind, honest, and humble, even if you don’t get what you want. If anything, your attitude will be remembered.
Here are a few of the classic email mistakes artists make over and over again:
1. The “what’s up!” approach
This email normally sounds more like a text message to a friend than an email to a business professional. It’s usually hard to tell the point of the email and what the artist was hoping for from the recipient.
2. The casual compliment
My Favorite Podcasts
I listen to about 14 different podcasts from time to time but these are my favorites for now.
I’m curious as to what podcasts you listen to and like?
My Favorite podcasts
1. Fame Games
2. Team 1040 “The Rick Ball Show”
3. CBC news: The World At Six
4. The Dave Ramsey Show
5. CD baby DIY podcast
6. Music Business Radio
7. The Musicians Cooler
8. The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos
9. Stuff You Should Know
10. This American Life
Filed under internet, music business, podcasts, random thoughts
Social Networks and music.
Here are some interesting statistics about Social Networks and music.
*This year, 19% of those surveyed listen to music through SN sites. It’s up 4% from last year.
*Almost half of US teens surveyed listen through SN sites and that’s up 37% from last year.
*Among college aged fans listening to music through SN sites it’s 41%. Last year was 30%.
*The decline of CD purchases was most prevalent among teens and consumers over 50 years old.
The purchase of digital music was 8 million in 2007 and a staggering 36 million in 2009.
Recently, recession has made people buy one song instead of entire albums.
What do all these mean to me? If you are a musician you better make sure you are on all the great Social Network Sites because it’s pretty obvious that that’s where a lot of music lovers are hanging around, too.
Looking for a Street Team!
Manage my e-team?
Conducting an Effective E-team
By now most of you have heard of the term “Street Team“. If you haven’t, then here’s a little 411. Street teams are a group of music fans that are willing to spread the word about your band on the street. They tend to want to hand out band swag (CDs, stickers, pins, flyers) to friends, family members, and other acquaintances or music lovers. In most cases, street teamers are rewarded by special prize packs, pre-sale tickets, exclusive contests to meet the band, ect…
Not everyone has what it takes to be a street teamer. It takes a loyal and dedicated fan to be a true street teamer. In many cases it also involves having people skills. You can be shy and run away from people. You have to be a little more upfront than that. But just because someone is shy doesn’t mean they can’t help your band.
Welcome to the concept of the e-team. The idea of an e-team is pretty much the same as a street team except e-teamers spread the word online rather than on the streets. This tends to be a little more accessible than a street teams. Fans can now do most of the work from their computers. It’s also a cost efficient alternative to a real street team.
Street teams require a budget in order to print out stickers, send out posters, give away cds, ect… E-teams don’t require you to break the bank, although if there’s any way to pump some money into your e-team efforts, I would suggest that you do.
There’s a lot of avenues for promotion online. You should not take this point for granted. Conducting an e-team doesn’t cost a lot, is relatively easy to do, and can be very effective in promoting your band.
So what should you have members of your e-team do for you? The major thing I would suggest getting your e-teamers to do is to request your song or video to as many stations as possible. If there are video and radio stations paying your song, I would find out if they have a website and special request page. If they do, provide a link for it on your e-team page.
Another suggestion would be to get your e-teamers to spread messages on various music forums. Most forums/message boards are divided by region or interest. A search for key message boards or forums online would be nice. Sometimes this can be a very long and tedious thing to do. Allows your e-teamers to explore and hit forums that they might already be familiar with. Chances are, someone in California visits different forums than someone in New York.
If your fan base consists of mostly teenagers, then there’s a good chance that they chat online with friends that are not necessarily in the same country. So get them to chat about your band.
Distribute MP3s of your best song. There’s a large debate amongst people on whether they stand to benefit from giving their song away. Sit back and think for a minute. If no one hears you, can you still get famous? Give away MP3s of your best tunes to your e-team. This way they can burn their own copies or email your songs to their friends. Yes, the very friends that they might be chatting with from across the world.
These are just some suggestions on what you can do, but sometimes it really depends on the type of band you’re in. Use your own creativity and judgment when making e-team missions. Remember, don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Always clearly suggest what to do and never assume anything of anybody.
Keep things fun and interactive. Nothing in life is free. Don’t expect people to anything for you if you don’t do something in return. Give e-teamers stickers and/or CDs. Email them about shows in advance and put them on your guest list. If you have posters, get the band members to sign them and send those out too. Remember, there are a few costs involved. There will always be costs involved but, if you don’t bother to invest in yourselves, no one else will.
If you’re interested in joining my e-team to help out, please go to www.kellypettit.com
Thanks for reading!!
Filed under business, concert, Japan, music, music business, random thoughts, Uncategorized
10 Ways to Get More Money from a Gig – by David Hooper
You are an artist, it’s true. But just because you’re an artist doesn’t mean you don’t need to get paid. Money makes a lot of things possible, including time in a recording studio, new and better instruments, and paying your rent so you don’t have to live in a cardboard box and burn your guitar for warmth. There’s nothing wrong with making money from your shows, and if you’re smart you’ll try to optimize that earning power. You don’t have to be a marketing genius or a public relations guru—just think outside the box and make the most of what you already have going for you.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth.
Just because you want the gig doesn’t mean you have to beg for it. If you’ve got experience performing, and you regularly draw a crowd, your venue stands to benefit as much—if not more—than you do from the show. So don’t let them tell you that you’re not worth paying as much as a “bigger name”. It is also a good idea to go in and tell them exactly what you’re doing to generate a buzz about the show. If they can see that you’re working to get a crowd in, they’ll be a lot more willing to pay you a good rate.
2. Don’t run up a huge bar tab.
Take a lesson from the Blues Brothers. If you’re buying your own drinks at the show, it’s going to eat in to your bottom line. You don’t want to end up owing them money for playing a show. A couple beers to keep you loose isn’t a big deal, but when you start buying round after round of top shelf drinks you’re going to rack up quite a bill. Not to mention that it’s going to affect your performance. You might not think it’s a problem…but then, neither does Amy Winehouse. Stay on top of your game while you’re on stage. There’s plenty of time to party after the show.
3. Sell T-shirts, bumper stickers and CDs at the show.
A small investment in your own marketing merchandise can help generate income. Make sure whatever you’re selling is cool in design and functionality. You can’t go wrong with T-shirts, as long as they don’t look cheesy. Don’t try to sell them for $40 each. You’re not Pink Floyd (yet). The kids that are going to your show aren’t loaded, but they’ll gladly buy and wear your shirt around if it’s affordable and looks good. That’s free advertising. Stickers and other inexpensive items can also bring in some extra money. Remember, you’re not trying to get rich off this stuff—just clear a little profit and get your name out there.
4. The Tip Jar
It never hurts to set it out there. And even if you only get a few bucks, it’s a few bucks more than you had before. Make sure that you sincerely thank the audience for their tips before you close the show.
5. Generate a buzz to ensure a big crowd.
If you’re getting part of the cover, you want to do everything in your power to get people in the door. That means going out and hitting the streets for weeks before the show, printing flyers and cards, asking friends and family to spread the word, and using your contacts to get people to the show. Even if there’s no cover, the more people at your show, the more opportunity you have to sell your CD’s and T-shirts and get tips. Don’t leave it to chance—work hard to get people to the show and it’ll pay off in more ways than one.
6. Make sure your venue will attract people who will like your music.
If you’re an acoustic singer/songwriter, don’t try to play at a club that is known for head banging. It sounds simple enough, but there’s something to be said for playing up to the regulars that are used to going to the venue where you’re playing. Go to a few shows at the same venue beforehand and hang out. See who’s there and talk to some people about your upcoming show. People that are already at the venue are more likely to come back than people who’ve never been there before—even if they know who you are.
7. Look for different types of venues—not just the same old bar scene.
There are lots of places you can play to earn a few bucks. Big corporations often throw parties a couple times a year to celebrate holidays or sales performance. Schools have festivals and events. There are endless places where you can attract a crowd and sell your CD’s. Think outside the box!
8. Make sure you have a website and blog—and a mailing list to remind people where they can see you!
This is such an important piece of getting recognition and money. Make sure people know how to find you online. Every piece of advertising or marketing you do should have your website address on it. Keep your site updated regularly and post information about upcoming shows. When your shows are over be sure to immediately post pictures and videos. Respond to inquiries from fans, prospective venues, and press. You can also sell MP3’s of your songs or the entire CD on your website to generate income. There are literally endless possibilities, and with today’s web tools, it is easier and easier for anyone to create and manage their own website. Most importantly, once you’re on the web, people from all over the world can find you and hear your music. Think big, and make yourself available to an unlimited fan base.
9. Treat your booking professionally.
Make sure you keep track of phone numbers, dates, and venue contacts. This is going to ensure repeat bookings. Until you make it big and have yourself a real business manager, you’re going to have to keep things organized. Some people are naturally good at this, and some people, well…aren’t. Bare minimum, get a big calendar and scribble phone numbers and important dates and times on it to keep track. The more you treat your band like a business, the more money you’re going to make.
10. Stick around after the show and work the room.
Don’t just pack your stuff and high tail it out of the club when you’re done playing. Unless it’s closing time, spend a while chilling out with the crowd and talking to people. When you’ve finished your show, you’ve got a little bit of ‘star quality’ that comes from having been the center of attention for the duration of the show. When you take the time to walk around and thank people for coming, introduce yourself to people and tell them your CD is for sale, or hand them your card with your website on it, you are doing yourself an invaluable service. Try this for three shows in a row, and I guarantee you’re going to see huge results.
Written by David Hooper of music marketing (DOT) com
Photo by Ross Janes of planetross.wordpress.com . Taken at Kelly Pettit’s live show in Japan on June 20 2008
Filed under business, concert, Japan, music, music business, performing
Can a musician be a jock?
Can a musician be a jock?
Or is it safer for a jock to become a musician?
Maybe it’s the same thing as acting.
It seems okay for musicians to become actors,
but a big taboo if actors try to become musicians.
I guess some of the things musicians and jocks have in common especially when they are teenagers are:
They boath can’t spell.
They ain’t good in school.
They’re in it to get the chicks.
Fashion is everything.
Alcohol is everything.
I was recently interviewed by ABC radio and syndicated to over 4,200 radio stations across the States (and syndicated on internet and Europe as well – sounds like a plug don’t it :), where one of the questions in front of so many was:
“So, I heard you also exercise, what’s with that”?
It kind of caught me off guard because I’d never really thought of it before. But I guess if stereotyping is allowed, then:
yeah, musicians are skinny cigarette smoking, beer drinking, family deprived punks. Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll baby YEAH!
While sports jocks are fitness training, dumb and cocky Papa’s boys.
I answered that radio question by saying, “exercise cleans the body, while music cleans the soul”. Perhaps ABC’s Fame Games realized they were heading into a dark zone, they edited that whole section out and the whole question fortunately never aired.
Perhaps for the better.
There is some harmony in there somewhere I believe. Well, for me anyways.
Maybe even a sports song like the Saturday night hockey Theme.
Um, er, feel like voting for me?
Feel like voting AGAIN? 😦
OK, like I haven’t asked enough from my friends and fans over the last year.
I won a HUGE contest (www.ubl.com), Track of the Month onFAME GAMES, Track of the Week on Garageband.com, been in countless magazines (thanks Shannon and Hibiki), been on radio, performed a many a venue, and been on compilation CD’s and in soundtracks. I’m not bragging, I’m saying THANK YOU!
You guys have fought hard for me and I am not one to forget it!
I hate this part but as the saying goes “You never know unless you ask” right?
I’ve got a number of songs on a radio site that need some love.
Your votes will help the songs get real radio air time (From ABC Radio networks -HUGE HUGE – we’re talking millions of listeners). Long story short, if you go to my page and under the picture of me you’ll see the list of songs.
In particular, my song “World is Turning” needs love immediately.
And thanks for all you’ve done up till now. I’m still making music because of you! I’ve been writing new songs recently and a new CD isn’t too far down the road.
Bringing the idea to life.
As I get older and pick up more responsibility, I find myself working harder to secure a good life. This involves hours of implementing and employing new marketing strategies to make money as an independent musician.
One of the new ideas I have turned into reality has been organizing my own concert and drumming up people to come and watch.
As opposed to getting hired to play a gig somewhere (which can still pay well), I wanted to set the bar higher and take control of the whole concept.
Thanks to some great advice on the internet and support from friends and fans, I have successfully done this 2 times now.
Here is a stripped down version of some of the major details required to hold a live concert.
1) Find a great place to hold it.
You need to find somewhere convenient and make sure it has the acoustics for great sound. I chose a local community theatre here in Japan that has an amazing stage already equipped with lighting, speakers, and all that jazz. It’s also relatively cheap since it belongs to the community.
2) Design the tickets.
I made sure to design some tickets that look professional. The cheaper they look, the less professional you appear also. Do these properly and people will feel like they’re going to watch the real deal when they pay for one.
3) Getting the word out.
This is probably the most important and most difficult part of the whole process. You must do everything in your power to find people to come to the event if you want a successful show. Here are some things that I did.
a) make colour flyers
b) make posters
c) make small pass-outs
d) ask for a radio interview. I went into the local radio station with two other members and performed live.
e) Make an audio commercial about 30 seconds long that you can use on the radio (if you want to pay a small fee for air time) and also you can burn it onto a CD rom with three songs from your CD and pass them out. This was quite successful. I passed out a lot of CD’s as PR and with three free songs and a quick spiel on the upcoming show.
f) Get a street team together. Ask band members and friends to help out. I promised some fans they could come for free if they help sell tickets. You’ll be surprised what a lot of fans will do because they believe in you. I also promised the band two different guarantees. I told them I’d pay them “X” amount of money more, if we sold over 80% of the tickets we made. I was really surprised at the effort they put into helping out.
g) Make sure you start the campaigning a good 2 months in advance. People need time to plan and spread the vibe of the event.
h) Talk about it all the time. Don’t push it in peoples faces but there are ways of talking about the event that don’t come across as sales. “I went to bed late last night because I was rehearsing with the band”. You never asked anyone to come but you refreshed their memory that you’re working hard towards the gig.
i) Offer prizes like t-shirts (if you have them), or free CD’s.
j) Ask local shops if you can put a poster on their window.
k) Play at local CD stores for free.
4) How can you make the show unique?
In other words, how can you justify charging people to come to your show? For me, since this was my second time doing this, I wanted to step up the game and make it better than the first time. The first concert I held on my own consisted of 4 band members. This time, I invited two friends (who are pro musicians) to come spend some time with me in Japan and do the gig making it a 6 piece band. They wanted the holiday/experience and the Japanese were thrilled to have two professional foreign musicians adding heaps of colour to the show. I should point out that I held this concert in a relatively rural area. This was to my advantage because more of the local people don’t normally get an opportunity to see a rock concert so close by. It was easier to convince people that they’re about to see something normally held in Tokyo.
Let’s face it, if you want to impress your fans and make them leave the concert feeling they spent their money wisely, practice hard and make the band tight!
6) Please those around you first!
If you want to do this again in the future then your name is important. Don’t get too greedy and try to keep every single penny you made from the gig. You might want to do this because you worked 99% harder than anyone else did to make this happen. However, paying the right people and doing it fairly is good business. They will be willing to do more for you next time and you’ll even find more doors opening for you.
7) Make a to do list.
Organization is key to everything running smoothly. I had several lists and still found it hard to keep everything running well.
8) Day of the gig.
Check your lists. Be prepared for things to go wrong. Try to stay calm and don’t snap at anyone. If you’re going to have a moment, find a place to chill for a minute.
Get out on that stage and play like there’s no tomorrow. Do your thing and do it as best you can. Don’t leave anything behind because this is your moment to prove that you’re worthy to be there!
10) Sell CD’s.
Sell them at a low price and come out into the lobby with the band and sign them. Chat and take pictures and be personable! Leave a sheet they can sign with their email address and contact info. This is really important for future contact.
11) Next day.
You’re still not done. Now, you have lots of thank you’s, and last minute payouts and things to do. Don’t just leave your fans forgotten. They are your bread and butter so personally thank as many as you can!
I’m sure there are other things that I’ve forgotten to mention but in general these are the basics. For me, the key to success is not leaving it all to the last minute and more importantly, making sure that everyone is happy.
Go get ‘em!
Filed under biography, business, concert, Japan, life, music, music business, performing, random thoughts, Uncategorized
7 Steps to writing a good song
There are 7 factors that I require when writing a good song and they are:
1) Emotions: The best place to find these are through a woman or a bottle of whiskey (note* whiskey was created after emotions were lost on a woman)
2) Catchy melody: Usually my songs start with some sort of chord progression on the guitar but not always. Then a vocal melody wrapped around the chords in an
interesting and satisfying way. If you interviewed most famous songwriters, they’d tell you most of their best songs seemed to channel through them
in an almost effortless fashion. If I look back on the songs I’ve written, I’d agree that my stronger songs were the ones that seemed to write themselves.
3) Strong lyrics: If you put strong lyrics with a very catchy melody then you’ve got something to be proud of for sure. For me, lyrics don’t come easy. I seem to lack something important to say for the most part.
Note to self: must find a woman or buy more whiskey.
4) Re-writing: This is where a lot of people fail miserably. They’re always too damn proud of their first take and are afraid to throw away something to make the song better because they really like one line.
Changing Chords and melody can lift a song too. Sometimes for example, you can replace the root chord with a minor 6 and give it some mood.
Or again, pour a stiff drink.
5) Play it live: Play your song to your friends and ask for honest opinions. Don’t let the negative vibes get you down either. A lot of the time, you’re friends won’t know what they’re talking about-
(Those drunken wankers). But a good song is pretty much universally liked and you’ll be able to weed out the good from the bad and generally get a sense of what is strong.
6) Write lots: You’ll get different opinions on this but for me, writing a lot of songs just makes me a better songwriter. It’s like learning to play the guitar. If you practice every day, you’re going to be much better than if you play it once a month.
7) Sleep on it: It’s weird but often I’ll wake up in the morning and play the new song again and it doesn’t have the same impact on me. That’s a sign that perhaps it just wasn’t a good song.
Or your just hung over to the nines!
Filed under music, random thoughts, Songwriting
Inducted into the Numata music Hall of Fame
I just wanted to share the news that I’ve been inducted into the Numata Music Hall of Fame!
The category is for best white foreign musician!
For those of you who don’t know about it let me explain:
Numata is a city in Japan of about 50,000 people.
There are approximately 10 white foreigners here.
There are two musicians.
I started the Numata Music Hall of Fame.
I won last night!
The other musician doesn’t know about the Hall of Fame.
I woke up this morning, told myself about the winning, and was completely surprised and thrilled.
Life is good!
Filed under humor, Japan, life, music, random thoughts, Uncategorized