Copy and Waste: Personalizing Artist Outreach for your Business Should Not be Optional!

I manage a band called The Balconies, if you do not know. They are really quite wonderful, but I am biased.

Earlier this week I received a typical inquiry in my inbox. We’ve all received these copy and pasted emails – where some poor soul is blasting out to artists just hoping for anyone to reply! I get them a lot and I also delete them A LOT. I usually am not compelled to say a word. But this time I thought maybe I’ll just give my 2 cents… this poor girl has not replied so either she is a robot with very little email response capabilities OR she rolled her eyes and moved on. Probably the latter!

However, let this be a blog about the importance in honest personalization in the music industry. The importance of knowing who you’re speaking to and why at all times. Simple and basic it may sound but when we are caught in the thick of it and swamped these essential communication guidelines fly out the window. Please I beg you to spend your time sending a smaller amount of personal emails even if it means you can’t hit as many people. You will quickly find that this is a much more lucrative way to invest your time and you will get more responses.

The exact email chain with my reply is below. Please note names have been changed for privacy.

Share your thoughts down below. What do you think when you receive an email like this?

Thank you for reading!

– Sari

From: Jessica Lin – ABC PR Firm

To: Sari Delmar

Hey there,

I am trying to reach Liam Jaeger. Not sure if this is a general band email for your music but I had a chance to check out your The Balconies EPK. One of our music interns turned me on to your profile and forwarded it to me to check out. Dig the tunes. Not sure if you have any PR representation currently but I wanted to touch base with you about a PR Campaign we are offering new unsigned/indy clients, that includes a press release campaign, a spot on our Indie Anthems Digital MIxTape Series and an artist profile that we will secure for you on ether MTV, VH1 or CMT.

Here’s an overview of it:

  • A professionally written, approximately 550 word customized press release about your current music related news

  • Automatic submission of your press release to over 7500 syndicated newswires and music journalists

  • 25 guaranteed online placements of your press release with links provided

  • A money back guarantee that your press release will be error free, published and with 25 verifiable guaranteed placements

  • A spot on our Indie Anthems Digital Sampler. It will be distributed at CMJ Music Marathon in New York City in October 2013. You will also receive 10 copies that you can use to distribute to your fans at shows or through your own promotions

  • In addition to the PR opportunity, this also affords you to have an artist profile created on either MTV, VH1 or CMT. This will include your own artist url on either of those sites. Through your artist profile you can sell your music, get your videos on air, submit your songs to be used in a show through the Viacom network which includes VH1, MTV and CMT. There is no charge for this at this is a professional courtesy that will help us to increase your branding and online PR presence.

Also, so you know—the CD Sampler is not for sale. It is handed out FREE to all attendees. We will be handing out over 3500 download cards at CMJ Music Marathon in New York City. With that said, there are no royalties paid out for this, it’s a promotional opportunity for your music to reach a highly targeted audience.

To give you an idea of the quality of press releases we produce and the media outlets where we often secure coverage in, you can check out these links, including our most recent press release about our Indie Anthems Series released at Lollapalooza earlier this month:

http://mi2n.com/press.php3?press_nb=166709
http://bzzn.net/17PIVvd
http://www.newmusicweekly.com/news2.php?a=8753
http://www.archannel.tv/profiles/blogs/chi-town-rockers-the-dead-hands-gives-away-hot-new-songs-tohttp://top40-charts.com/news/Metal-Hard-Rock/Detroit-Rockers-34Bliss-Set-To-Play-Charity-Event-For-U.S.-Troops/88867.html

I don’t know if you ever have worked with a PR company before but if so, you know that it can cost upwards of several thousand dollars to have active media representation. However, we are the most affordable professional PR company in the business for independent artists. You can check our website to see some of our clients and their testimonies about working with us. All of our work is results-driven and guaranteed or your money back.

Our PR promotion for our new clients, with everything that is listed above is $249.00—including the placement on the Compilation and your artist profile on either MTV, VH1 or CMT.

I would love to discuss what your specific PR needs are, and the details of this campaign along with what song we would like to include on the compilation. I can set up a time to call you to discuss it. Let me know if you have availability this week or early next week and the best number to reach you at. Wishing You Success And Nothing Less in 2013!

Best,

Jessica Lin

ABC PR Firm

——

MY REPLY:

Hey Jessica,

hope you’re well. Thank you for reaching out and taking an interest in The Balconies.

I urge you to please do your research before sending these emails. I’m sure you’re a very well meaning individual and probably very smart. I can assure you the type of emails you are sending with very little research done will only appeal to the lowest artists on the totem poll. I know the music business is hard and you are probably working really hard and for very little… but I urge you to think if you were to send 40 well written and well researched, genuine, emails to target clients rather than sending 500 copy and pasted emails – your return on interest in your services will 100% see an increase. I know this from years of experience.

I know you didn’t ask for my advice and I never ever send emails like this, but for the larger sake of good in the music industry there is too much of this crap floating around and it’s a clutter and waste of time. If you are truly interested in working with The Balconies or any band for that matter you should find the answers to these questions before sending your email… I’ll take some examples from the email you sent below: A.) who is Liam Jaeger and why would you like to speak with the guitarist in the band in particular? B.) Does The Balconies already have a MTV account? B.) Does The Balconies already have press history in the US? C.) Are they playing CMJ? D.) Do they work with other publicists already? C.) Are they unsigned? – All these things you mention in your email but quickly prove that you have  no interest in finding out the answers for yourself or doing research. All the answers to these questions are easily found online with no more than 10 minutes of research.

Like I said, I never send notes like this and even feel like an asshole continuing to write it. What I would normally do is just send a “We are not interested, thank you” reply – like most of the people you sent it to will do or they will press delete. And if you are bothered by my reply then feel free to read it as that and not reply. I am totally fine with that.

If you are however the type of person who appreciates real and honest feedback and wants to challenge themselves and strive for excellence in this big beautiful industry we call the music industry, then I urge you to take it with a grain of salt and update your outreach strategy.

That being said, I am glad you like the band and hope you can make it out to a show sometime!

All the best,

Sincerely,

Sari

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