So you want to contact a music industry pro? Here are a few tips not to appear clueless!
- Do your research! Make sure that you're contacting the right person/organization for the right reason. Looking for funding with FACTOR? Contact the Project Coordinator, not their Accountant. Want to promote your album? Find the cultural bloggers/radio hosts who typically cover your genre. Being thoughtful and showing that you did your homework will go a long way.
- Send personalized messages! Music industry pros get a LOT of emails every day. Anything that looks like a mass mail-out will likely get deleted (if it even gets past the spam filter). You're better off sending out 20 targeted emails than 200 BCC ones.
- Think about timing! Interested in playing at a festival? Don't contact the organizers in the month prior to the event! Know that programming usually happens months in advance. So after the line-up is announced, demonstrate you're industry-savvy by showing your interest in playing at next year's event, not the current one.
- Make it easy (for them)! Want them to listen to your song? Provide the url. Talking about your tour? Send the dates/venues/Facebook events. Don't make your contact do your work for you, and provide the link to your website, your Instagram, your MySpace, or wherever you are online.
- Think about timing again! Journalists/bloggers have deadlines and are interested in things that are new. Asking for promotion two days before your concert or a month after your album release is not going to get you the results you want.
- Be professional! It doesn't matter how much you curse on stage and use words your mom would be shocked to hear (SHOCKED, I say!), put the "pro" in industry professional. Start with a greeting, introduce yourself, compose complete sentences, and so on. Once you have a relationship with the person, you can k-thx-bye all you want, but make those initial impressions count. And create an email signature with all your contact info.
- Use the official channel! No personal email, no texting, no personal Facebook. Unless the person says that they prefer being contacted via a specific medium, always use their business email, phone number or social media. We know it's easy to shoot a quick Facebook message to someone (we're guilty of it too!), but resist the temptation.
- Think before you send! If you need to ask a question, make sure that the answer is not already on their website. Try and consider all the questions you might have for the person, and send it in one clear email. A few flurries of notes on your end might appear like a email storm on the other end.