Sending emails can seem like half your job when you’re a musician. But when you take a step back to think about what it must be like to be on the receiving end of such emails, you soon realize emails can take up a ton of valuable head space, time, and storage on one's email server.
So it shouldn't come as any surprise that it’s really important to get good at sending emails – especially to industry professionals.
Over the years, you will hone your email game. It happens to everyone. But to save you some time, here’s a breakdown of what makes up a great email.
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As Much Information As Possible, In As Few Words
The best way to illustrate this is when you’re contacting a venue to play there. Venues get a ton of booking requests, so the best way to break through the noise is to provide exactly what they need and say what you want with as few words as possible.
Subject: Band Name – Date Request – Sep 20, 2016
Hey there NAME!
My name is Liam, I play in a band called Good Band. We’re coming through You Cool Town, looking to play Your Cool Bar on Sep 20, 2016.
I’ve attached a link to our EPK which has live video, singles, and more.
Thanks for your time!
In under 100 words, I have told the venue exactly what I want: to play on a certain day. And I’ve given them what they need to decide whether or not it's a good idea: an EPK (electronic press kit) hosted on our website.
Your EPK should have everything. It should have downloadable live video, recorded music, downloadable promo pictures, downloadable short and long bios, tech rider, different selections of press clippings and quotes you’ve received, links to social media, and so on.
Having everything in one place lets people know that you’re organized and professional. Having it hosted on your website makes sure the the industry person stays on your website and gets to know your band a little better.
After they’ve check you out by clicking on your link (make sure there's only one link), they can decide if you would be a good fit for their venue.
If you include too much in your email, they’ll pass it over. Too little? They’re not going to ask for more. Finding that sweet spot is essential.
Always include your phone number in these emails. If people want to get a hold of you, they should be able to quickly and easily.
Tell People What You Want
One of the biggest mistakes artists make is not telling people what they want. If you’re asking an agent w to help you book a show in Seattle, don’t say “Hey, could you help us book a show in Seattle sometime?”
Say “Hey, we’re looking for a show on Oct. 21 in Seattle. We’re looking at these venues. Could you help us book it?”
The same goes when you’re pitching your new demos, EP, or album to labels. You need to tell them exactly what’s going on with your album and your band. You need to tell them what you are looking for and why.
Never Be Afraid To Tell People What’s Going On
This is a big lesson and something that takes practice. When people in the industry ask you “what’s going on with your band?” they legitimately want to know.
Don’t be afraid to tell them which labels you’re talking to, which manager is helping you out, who your publicist is, whether or not you’ve been talking to agents, etc.
You’re totally right to not want to seem pushy or arrogant, but you never want to undersell yourself.
It’s also important to know how to phrase things. If you’ve been playing a lot of shows, don’t say “Yeah, we’ve just been playing lot0s!” Say, “We’ve been touring heavily in the following places, we’ve gained a lot of experience, and it’s pumped up our social media following quite a bit.”
You can be confident and even somewhat forward without sounding like a jerk – you just need to be honest. If you’re lying, people will know and then you’ll look arrogant. State the truth in a positive light, but don’t lie.
Don’t Do Annoying Things
Here are some annoying things bands do in their emails:
- Send .mp3, .mp4, .wav, or other attachments. Don’t do this. Make your streaming link downloadable, in case they do want to download it, but don’t send attachments. They take up room in people’s mailbox, and no ones wants them.
- Send their whole bio in their email. No one really cares that much, and if they do, they can find it on your website.
- Leaving links like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARSOq2-rim4. Instead, write some descriptive words like New Live Video, highlight them, and add the link to them. Much better.
- Fail to proofread and spellcheck their emails. When you're trying to make a good first impression, don’t make mistakes. Be professional and make your emails airtight. As your conversation continues, you can be a little more relaxed about this.
Don’t do these things and you’ll be way ahead of most.
Don’t Be Afraid To Follow Up
People are busy, but I don’t think it’s rude or annoying to follow up with them once per week. Most email require five minutes to answer, and if the other party simply cannot find the time, the least they could do is send you a “not interested”.
It’s very frustrating to never hear anything back from venues, managers, industry people, etc. Follow up professionally and respectfully once every one to two weeks. There’s nothing wrong with that.
It’s weird to me that artists could ever be rude to people who could potentially help their career.
There are many times when people will do or say something rude to you, but it’s always better to take the high road. Being professional and courteous at all times will foster great relationships and leave you with an excellent reputation.
Don't be a jerk – it won't get you anywhere.