Music writers are strange people, musicians are even stranger. Me, I’m both of them, so basically I’m a fool. But my “music writer side” gets pretty pissed-off when it receives fucked-up emails asking for reviews (and other kinds of features) in completely stupid ways.
So, basically what I’m going to write today are some simple guidelines you should be following when trying to approach a music blog, a ‘zine or any other kind of music-related publications.
1. BE NICE
Sounds silly and predictable, I know, but it’s essential to act nice when approaching a blogger. Not to mention that what you’re doing is substantially “annoying” someone asking to help you and spread your music to the world, so why the hell should you be acting like an asshole in establishing a contact?
Saying “please”, “thank you” and such things won’t make you appear like a pussy, but it will just help you to get the writer in the right mood to check your stuff out.
2. DO NOT WASTE ANYONE’S TIME
Many of the writers you’ll be going to get in touch with are just hobbyists. As you are probably just a hobbyist musician as well. Time is so important for both.
So why are you keeping on bothering someone just to give your album a listen? Or maybe you’ve been told that they won’t review your album, but you (because “you’re the great artist” aren’t you?) want them to understand that what you did is a masterpiece, and they must love it!
Please DO NOT do these kind of things. Seriously. You’d just appear as pathetic as you are.
If one doesn’t like you, you won’t make him change his mind by annoying him. Give up, just pass on (and save your precious time too).
3. BE HONEST TO YOURSELF
Honesty is the first thing when you’re promoting your music.
If someone’s writing me his album’s the next big thing after Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon I’d probably just laugh out loud. Seriously, even if that was true you just can’t drop something like that.
And why is that? Because no one likes musicians (and people) who praise themselves.
It’s ok to be glorified by someone else (even better if this someone has a good reputation). But it sucks to be up on yourself. Got the point?
4. KEEP IT SHORT
Let’s be clear. I’m not saying to drop a bloody line with “Hey, check out my new album here. Cheers.”
But there’s no reason to be overly long with introducing yourself and your own band. I mean, we all do have a job (and most of the time it’s not blogging), so we don’t have much time to put into reviewing albums and chatting about music. If I receive a mammoth wall-of-text I’d be suddenly scared and quite possibly I’ll move on, without even reading a single letter of your email. Not to be impolite, but you get what I’m saying.
As a smart rule take this: if you can say something in a shorter way, then go for it. Be concise.
Also, I don’t need to be aware of all the fantastic prizes you won and that your daddy thinks you’re so good playing your old man’s guitar.
5. BE HUMAN
Last but not least. Possibly the most important advice I’d give to you.
Always remember that you’re writing to another human being. Yes, just like you, doesn’t matter if we’re separated by the internet. So don’t be an asshole and act with a genuine interest towards the person that the writer is. I mean, you’ve already one thing in common, at least. Something you can talk about. What is it?
MUSIC, because you’re passionate about music, aren’t you!?
Let’s keep it short. When you send your promo invitation to some blog guy try and pitch him/her with something interesting. Possibly something you know he/she’d interested in. For example you can start talking about an underground act he/she reviewed and tell you found the review interesting.
Or at least, a simple: “Hey man, I like what you’re doing with the blog. Keep up the good work!” is cool and will help you to gain the blogger’s attention.
Of course I’m not telling you to lie and congratulate someone for something you don’t even care. But try and get interested in the writer’s work and hopefully, establishing a honest human relationship (I know you can still do that), the writer will get interested in yours too.
After all, you need him as much as he needs you…so why can’t you be friends to each other?
At the end we live in a free (so they say) world. So you’re free to do whatever you want. Not to mention that you don’t even need this crappy 5-point-guide to get yourself in front of hundreds other musicians to be covered in the best music blogs on the net. Of course you don’t.
But if you came so far this means you probably read the whole thing. If you did, maybe next time you’ll be writing to a blogger you’ll remember this piece of shit and maybe, hopefully, you’ll get to try some of these tips out.
I hope you’ll do so, and most of all, I’d like to hear back from you and let me know how it worked.
Oh, I forgot. Obviously I take those as general rules when someone’s submitting music to us. 😉
To your success.