Meta note: The following was publish Dec 9th, 2011 on my old blog. I was working in artist management at the time and was responding to a friend about how to get attention from record labels. Reading back on it, I thought it was pretty sound advice, so wanted to republish it for your reading pleasure.
Subject: Record label submissions
Hope you’re doing well. Quick question… we just want to send our new album, press kit, etc to labels that take unsolicited submissions. Any advice for email format / contents? As I was looking for mixers I ran across a guy (warrior records) who’s interested in working with us, and I want to try to get the attention of more people like that in hopes that one will actually work out.
Subject: re: Record label submissions
I think the success rate of getting a label to take notice from a random e-mail or mailing is incredibly low…Not saying that it doesn’t happen, but I think the key is to figure out WHO you’re trying to reach and how you are connected to that person (i.e. a friend of a coworker knows someone in the office, etc), then work on that angle. Otherwise you would spend an incredible amount of time and effort that’s going to just frustrate you guys.
For format — I’d keep it super simple. I get ~10 e-mails/day that I’m just too busy to read, so I imagine these guys get over 100 unsolicited e-mails a day that they skip over (if they are committed to reading them, they probably have an intern sift through them.) The idea is to get them to pause at your e-mail for a split second — that way when you call & follow up later, they will remember your name from somewhere and be more likely to chat.
If you get them to open the e-mail, you’re in really good shape..I’d put just enough information to get them wanting to find out more — accomplishments, big shows, impressive info, videos, etc. If you balance it right, you will have enough info to get their attention, but not enough for them to learn everything about the band in the e-mail. Give them a reason to click through to your info — easy, direct links to videos of ya’ll playing to big crowds, press clippings, audio, etc.
Once you get them to click through to your website, the rest is easy — just don’t suck. Since ya’ll are talented, I think the music speaks for itself, so the real uphill battle is just getting them to read the e-mail.
Some tools to help you out:
- Whoreadme.com – It alerts you when someone opened your e-mail. It doesn’t work for everyone, but for most, when they open your e-mail, it’ll send you a message (“firstname.lastname@example.org opened your E-mail on xx/xx/xx”), so you know who to follow up with
- Bit.ly – I’d send most your links through Bit.ly, which records whenever someone clicks the link.
- Google.com/Analytics – Shows you when someone is on your website, for how long, where they are from, what pages they are on, and all sorts of goodies.
- A telephone – Call people. Seriously…e-mails are easy to overlook…I can’t tell you how many times a 5 minute phone call got me further along than 10 e-mail
I know that’s a lot of info & I think I probably rambled there for a little bit, but hope that helps! I think the real trick here is to think of all of these e-mails/phones calls/etc that you are sending out not as a short-term thing, but building a long-term relationship. No quality industry person will help you based on 1 e-mail alone, but it might be the start to a conversation & that might lead to some leads many months down the road (if you keep that relationship going.)
Sorry for the essay, but I’ve been meaning to write something like this anyway. Maybe I’ll throw it up on my blog. Best,