Get a paper and pen. Just do it, it’ll totally be worth it. I’m about to blow your mind.
Quick – tell me 3 people you want to listen to your music that you think will be able to put it in a commercial, film, or TV promo! Even if you’ve already contacted them, write down a name with a little space beneath to complete this exercise.
Done? Great! Now write down 3 things you said to persuade each person to listen to your music (they can all be similar or the same if you do a lot of copy/paste).
Alright, now for each person list 3 things about them that have nothing to do with their job, or music.
Hmmm…alright, take some more time and think about it…times up!
Now, as fast as you can, write down 3 things you can do for that person based on their needs or wants!
If you can come up with 1 thing for that last one, I’ll give you props. But only if it isn’t ridiculous (like “give them a million dollars” or “cut them in on license fees they secure for me” – because that’s payola, and payola is illegal…unless you’re Clear Channel).
The above exercise should prove to you that your emails suck. “Me, me, me.” That’s what you write about. “Listen to this! Check that out! I’d LOVE for you to put my song in a commercial!”
Great. I’m sure there aren’t 100,000 other people out there sending the same thing. Don’t even get me started on grammar and proof-reading.
However, if you’re far enough along to know who to contact and actually have gotten some contact info, you’re STILL ahead of the game, as sad as it is. But you need to know something and you need to PRACTICE and GET BETTER at it as soon as you can:
The music business, and life in general, doesn’t work the way you think it does.
You cannot just sell yourself cold. It’s a waste of time. If you don’t have a good relationship with someone, it’s really tough to break through and make a connection. Especially one strong enough where they have confidence and enough trust in you and your music that they’ll give it a real shot.
How many emails have you received from someone or some entity that you didn’t know or agree to take part in? How did it make you feel? Did you read it carefully and take action doing what they ask? No?!
What a surprise!
Here’s a gigantic tip:
Find a genuine connection to EVERY person you want to listen to your music before you ask them to listen to it.
That is HUGE takeaway. Huge. You should read it again, think about it, write any immediate ideas that come to mind, and then read it again.
Stop focusing on what you want people to do for you, and start focusing on what you can do for them. Quit trying to outreach to people before you even know anything about them or have anything to talk about.
The bottom line is you have a lot more to offer than you think you do. You also know a lot more people who will really help you develop your career. Start putting thought into what you say and how you say it.
The sooner you can begin creating real relationships with the right people, the sooner you will start the snow-ball effect of success.
Andy Lykens is a music branding and marketing specialist for Imagem Music, the world’s largest independent music publisher. You can learn more at http://www.andylykens.com