As a music blogger, I literally get billions of emails every day. Uh, well I get a lot of emails every day from people who want their music to be posted, and I’ve talked to enough bloggers to know what works and what doesn’t. I still believe the most important thing is the music, but even when you’ve got great music it’s hard to get heard in such a crowded blogosphere. I wrote a Part 1 to this post, but I think it’s time to update with some new tips. Do’s and Don’ts to getting your music posted on blogs. Ready? Go.
1. Promote the link. When you send out an email, include a line that says something like “If you choose to post, send back a link so we can promote it”. This means that you’ll share the link on your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blog, or whatever you’re working with. By nature, bloggers are, for the most part, greedy swines just like anyone else. If they think they have something to gain out of it, they’ll be much more likely to post.
2. Address the blogger by their name. I mentioned it in the last post, but it makes a huge difference. Mass emails are necessary, but if you’ve got a few key targets, get their name. I’m Confusion. If you dug a little deeper you’d know my name is Jacob. If I see an email like, “What’s up Confusion!” or “Hey Jacob!”, that immediately gets my attention, because most start off “To Whom It May Concern”, and you’d be surprised at how many “Dear Frank Ramz” emails I get. I don’t really take offense – I know it can be overwhelming to keep all your contacts straight, but I don’t even read those – I just forward them to Ramz. If you can’t personalize it, try something a little more friendly, like “Hey, hope you’re having a good week!” Trust me, nobody wants to be the person to whom this shitty mass email may concern.
3. Follow up. This one might get me in trouble with other bloggers, but fuck it. If you send someone an email and it gets ignored, what harm can be done by sending another one? They get annoyed? Yes, they will get annoyed, and they might even block you forever, but they were probably gonna ignore you in the first place, so who cares? From the perspective of a blogger, it can be really fucking obnoxious, but it can also be a matter of missing the email. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ended up posting something that I love after a second email simply because I just missed it the first time around. (Already regret putting this out there. Please limit your follow ups to 2 to 3 spread out over time.)
4. Think Guerrilla. This is the most valuable piece of advice I can possibly give you. Traditional companies are approaching the internet like a troop armed with muskets, lining their soldiers up at a safe distance and anticipating a certain number of misfires. Things have changed. This is like a jungle war with high powered, automatic weapons and large, indecent blades. Do whatever the fuck you need to do. To us bloggers, the only thing that separates a garage band trying to get heard from a major PR firm supporting a popular rock band is the official looking title at the bottom of the email. See where I’m going with this? Get your sister to send an email as your official manager. If that fails, be yourself and beg for a post. If that fails, get a fan to send an email with no intention other than to spread good music. Right? I’m not trying to encourage lying and misleading, but do what you need to do. Bloggers are just people, and different things work for different bloggers. Be creative, and think outside the box.
5. Support the blogger in weeks leading up to your release. Follow him/her on Twitter and Facebook. Start random conversations, spread their posts, retweet them. This way, when you approach them for the first time for your self-serving purposes it won’t be one of those awkward conversations that go:
You: Hey, what’s up? I’m D-Bag from the group D-Bags
Blogger: Not much, what’s going on?
You: Chilling. You hear that new Kanye?
Blogger: Yeah, good stuff.
:::5 minute pause:::
You: So, you got a minute to listen to my new song?
You wouldn’t believe how many of these conversations I’ve had. It has gotten to the point where I prefer the honest person who gets right into things. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking to artists, love talking music, and love supporting good music whenever I can, but nobody appreciates being manipulated into a conversation with one purpose. Just keep in mind that as an artist, there’s a lot you can do to support bloggers too. Showing them a little love before you start asking for favors can go a long way. I notice when people are consistently leaving comments, sharing links, talking to me on Twitter and shit. I don’t promise posts to anyone, but when that name pops up in my inbox, I’m much more likely to check it out.
6. If all else fails, be real. Like, really real. This is always refreshing.
1. Unless the blogger is familiar with your work, don’t send a .zip file. Nobody wants to download a .zip file of a mixtape, album, or whatever without hearing a couple songs first. If you’ve got a link to a page where your music can be streamed first, including a link to an album is fine, but blindly downloading a folder full of mystery music is about as appealing as funneling a liquid without having any idea what is is. (Maybe a bad example – that prob appeals to you twisted kids).
2. Don’t talk about how many downloads or views you got. To any internet savvy user (which includes almost all bloggers), this is an immediate red flag. I’ve seen YouTube videos with thousands of views. I’ve watched these videos. I know for a fact that no more than 2 people could have possibly sat through more than 30 seconds of these videos. It is easy to manipulate numbers when it comes to views and downloads, and any credible artist will get views organically. Let the numbers speak for themselves. This may be different when you’re dealing with labels, who want to see numbers and quantified success, but to bloggers, buzz and word of mouth is much more powerful.
3. Don’t forget to include references. This could have easily been “DO: Include References”, but for the sake of my DO to DON’T ratio, it’s going here. Like I was saying in number 2, it’s easy to fake numbers on the internet. It’s not easy to fake sources. If you get posted on a credible blog, mention that in your email. Maybe add a little quote at the bottom of someone notable saying something good about you (Eg: Confusion from Pigeons and Planes says: Best album of the year!) It’s reassuring to know that at least one person out there enjoyed your music. If I see that some blog I like said something positive, I’m definitely going to check it out.
4. Don’t require a username and password and address and social security number and the fucking name of my first pet (RIP Lucky) in order to access some secret page where bloggers can download your music. Just give us a stream. I recommend Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Both beautiful sites that, to bloggers, make the internet a better place.
5. Don’t give too much information. A little background is okay, but really we just want to hear the music. We can always contact you later for more information. Sometimes I’ll get emails with 20 different links, three different chunks of never ending text, and links leading me to all corners of the internet. If, after looking at it for 5 minutes, I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to be listening to or what is going on, I will move on.
That’s it for round 2. If you missed it, check Part 1, and if you think I’m still missing anything, hit me on Facebook, Twitter, or Email with suggestions for a potential Part 3. Also feel free to reach out if you have questions, comments, or whatever else. The internet is constantly evolving so I’m sure some new ideas will pop up over time. Good luck! Thanks to the bloggers who helped me come up with ideas for this, especially Listen Before You Buy, Please Don’t Stare, Ride The Tempo, and Sunset in the Rearview.