Did you read our last post about how to write a Hip Hop press release? If not, you might want to check it and then come back here so you get the full picture of where we’re going. Having a professional, well written press release is incredibly important. However, first impressions count and with most music sites, blogs and industry professionals receiving hundreds of submissions a day, you need to make sure that you STEAL the attention of the recipient and do enough to encourage a click through to open your press release. This is where your music distribution email comes into play. It’s equally as vital to produce a well considered opening email as it is to have a professional press release. They go hand in hand, so make sure you are considering the whole process before pressing SEND on anything.
Music Distribution – The Format
Music distribution can mean anything from sending one, personable email to a high profile industry professional, to a more generic email distribution to say, a few hundred industry bloggers. The content and principals of a high quality music distribution email does not change, but the tone of the email may vary dependant on who you are contacting. Email blasts are something entirely different, we’ll get to those shortly.
The generic format of a music distribution email should look something like the following:
You don’t have to try and be clever. You don’t have to be Hip Hop’s best salesman. All you need to do is to be CLEAR. Answer yourself a couple of questions. What is inside the email? What do you want as a result of the email? Summise these two questions in the subject field and not only will it set the tone for the email, it will instantly give the recipient an understanding of EXACTLY you want.
So with this in mind, your subject field might look something like the following:
[Artist name] releases [Name of Project] – [Statement of intent e.g ‘For Features and Interviews’].
Avoid excessive capitalisation or ridiculous statements such as ‘LISTEN TO THE BEST RAPPER IN THE WORLD’. It’s something that will get your email instantly trashed.
This should essentially be an extension of your subject field. Use around two sentences to describe why your emailing, what’s in the email and what you want out of the email. Make sure you include key details such as the artist name, name of the project and release date of the project. Put a link in straight away to where your project can be found.
Avoid information overload, keep it short and sweet. Think about just how many emails some music sites or label owners get each day. It’s about making things as simple as possible for the person receiving the email. Give them the KEY DETAILS at this stage.
This is where you really hit home with whatever is UNIQUE or FRESH about your project. Use 6 to 12 sentences and in this space describe a little more about the artist. Here you should feel comfortable in emphasising anything significant about your project. You might want put details about previous projects, where the artist is from, a little about how they reached this point, information about other artists or producers they’ve worked with. Use bold and italics and possibly experiment with colours to really highlight anything you want to put across. If the artist has won any competitions, has recently featured on a major TV or radio show or is affiliated with any other well known labels or professionals, this is all worthy of being noted in this section. Name-dropping in this instance is a good thing, providing it’s honest, as it gives a quick indication of the level you’re working at and the potential style of your music. They’ll WANT to hear more.
This part is simple. BE HUMBLE. Just use a sentence to thank someone for their time and let them you value their feedback or opinions.
[Contact Details / File Attachments / Links]
Include links to where your project can be downloaded or streamed.
Here you should list full contact details for yourself (if self promoting) or for your PR/management or record label. Make it clear exactly who should be contacted and for which purpose (e.g bookings, interviews).
Include links to social media profiles which are in use. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube should all feature at this point.
Music Distribution – Other Considerations
Ok, so back to email blasts. You would have seen loads of music ‘promotion’ companies offering the opportunity to email your music to ‘hundreds of thousands of music sites worldwide’. Quite simply, 99% of these are bullshit and a complete waste of your money. Not only are those figures always massively inflated (think more a few thousand), but should an email with your music actually reach someone of any influence (which is unlikely as the majority of emails hit dead emails or unrelated sites), it’s likely to hit their junk filter, or be deleted immediately by them because it LOOKS like spam. Mass email marketing and email blasting are completely different. Come speak to us if you want the more professional of the two.
A lot of bloggers or smaller music sites still have their email set to Hotmail accounts. A lot of these will also have Microsoft Silverlight installed. To take advantage of this, always include FULL Youtube links in your emails. This is then picked up by Silverlight and the receipient can open up your latest Youtube video without leaving the page. This is a GREAT opportunity and very simple to get right.
Going back to TONE, it’s important to tweak emails based on who you’re sending them too. You might be able to treat a local blogger a little differently than you’d treat HipHop DX. Consider the calibre and influence of the person you’re reaching out to. With those bigger influencers, you might only ever get one opportunity, so make you don’t go in all guns blazing without careful consideration.
Lastly, don’t CC everyone in on a mass email! This is a rookie mistake and having it out in the open is almost disrespectful to everyone in on the email. People like their business, to be their business. Make sure if you’re distributing to a small selection of people (say 50 – 100) that you set the ‘To’ box to YOUR email address and then BCC everyone else in.
Right, that’s about IT. There’s a lot to cover but when you break it down like we have above, you’ll soon find a winning forumla that suits you and that suits bloggers, site owners and industry professionals. Give yourself the BEST chance and you’ll have no regrets.
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