An estimated 205 billion emails are sent per day globally by around 2.5 billion users (in 2015). If you are one of those 2.5 and also happen to work in or hope to enter the music industry, here are a few quick tips on what blogs, labels, and industry professionals are looking for in email exchanges.
In this guide, we will review proper email etiquette, formatting, and rhetoric. We provide a checklist of what to include in your initial correspondence, including how to properly title an email, what pieces of content recipients do and do not need, and some insight on how to make your first impression a lasting one.
Alright, let’s tackle emails from Artists to Blogs & Writers:
1. Be specific: Find the email address of the writer who you believe is best suited to write about (or critique) your music. This may require a bit of research, but sending a powerful email to the right person the first time will make your life (and theirs) a whole lot easier.
2. Personalize: Many writers prefer personalized emails over BCC monstrosities. Personalizing and directing your email to a single person shows that you respect them and their work. Respect goes a long way.
3. Subject line: A very easy “Artist Name – Track Name” will do just fine. The whole point of this section is to indicate what’s inside the email. Leave the adjectives and hyperbole for the body.
4. Keep it short: The last thing a writer wants is a lengthy, unsolicited life story. This may sound harsh, but keep your first interaction centered around the music you’re sending. A simple one or two sentences describing the song are enough to convey the message. If they want more information, they’ll ask for it.
5. Formatting: If you’re including more than two sentences of information in your email, format it like a clean sentence-by-sentence paragraph, not like a misshapen Shakespearean screenplay with jagged indentation, spacing, and varying font sizes and colors. Clarity and legibility are key.
6. Streaming links: If you’re submitting a song, the only thing you need to include is a SoundCloud/Spotify/Dropbox link (in order of preference). Writers don’t want to have to download the song to listen to it. Besides, providing a private SoundCloud link doubles as a quick shortcut to your profile. You want to make it easy for them to learn about you organically. You can include a press release if you’d like, as well, but don’t let that be the only thing you send.
7. Signature with socials: The end of your email should include your artist name, real name, and the links to all of your social media accounts.
8. Select the best: If you’re sending an EP with 10+ tracks, the best thing to do is indicate one or two track(s) you think the writer would be most keen on premiering/featuring/releasing. Furthermore, it should go without saying that sending unmastered, unfinished, or otherwise subpar work is NEVER a good idea.
Here is an example of an email that follows these guidelines:
Yes, it’s really that simple. Now, here is what you’ll want to avoid:
1. Never tell a writer about all the other blogs that are “interested in taking the premiere” of your track in hopes that it will entice them to scoop you before somebody else does. Nobody cares and it will only serve to detract from your perceived professionalism.
2. Don’t let your first interaction be an empty email with the subject line, “Hey, is it cool if I send you music?” Yes, obviously it’s cool. That’s why writers are writers. Besides, that gives them room to say, “No,” and then you’re shit outta luck.
3. Avoid using empty hyperbole when describing your music. Phrases like, “It’s a banger!” and “Check this future hybrid trap that’s ready to take over the underground,” are best reserved for describing British food and sharing details about an alien invasion, respectively.
4. The phrase, “Nice to e-meet you,” needs to die in a fiery oblivion. Just say “Nice to meet you.” Both of you know it’s an email exchange. You don’t say, “Just started reading a new e-book,” or, “Did you see what was in the e-news today?”
5. If you already have an established relationship with the recipient (friends on Facebook, text regularly, etc), you may have the urge to contact them on other messaging platforms to let them know you sent them an email. If you feel so inclined, something short like, “Hey, sent you something new. Hope you’re well :)” will suffice. Don’t outline what’s already in the email, don’t call to discuss it before they’ve read the email, and try not to hit them up on multiple platforms within the same day — an email and quick text/FB message will do just fine. Exception: if you’re super close with them, a simple text message with the SoundCloud link is more than enough to get ears on it.
Here is an example of an email that does almost everything wrong:
The takeaway from this is to effectively let the music speak for itself. Your story and history as a musician are great and invariably important, but the music will always come first before anything else. Furthermore, if you carry yourself with professionalism and tact, you will be taken more seriously by not only professionals but by your peers and fans, as well. What you’re doing is important for both yourself and the world — make it show.
If you have any questions or concerns, hit us up on Twitter or in the comments below.