How To Contact & Get Replies From Music Industry Gatekeepers
In this article/video you’re going to learn about contacting industry gatekeepers and getting actual responses from them, when you don’t necessarily have a mutual connection to help connect you to them. When you’re done reading/watching this, make sure you download your free artist management start-up kit which comes with 10 free templates and guides!
You have the option to either watch the video, or read the article; which is a transcript of the video.
First Impressions + Connections
The last thing you want to do as an artist or manager is make a bad impression. Your contacts are everything you have in this business next to the talent obviously, so building relationships is extremely important. The thing is, often times before you get the chance to build the relationship, you have to pitch something, or sell something to get the persons attention in the first place. Sometimes it doesn’t happen organically through an in-person meeting or mutual connection. Ideally, you want to get connected through connections as much as possible because it adds a layer of trust right off the bat, but that’s not always possible.
Additionally, building relationships goes hand in hand with your reputation. While you are building your network it’s also super important to be building a good reputation. As long as you’re a genuine, ethical person who sticks to their word, and is enjoyable to do business with, than you’re already in a good position. And I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but it can be very easy to forget.
So here you are, being a good person, and you come across an email contact of someone you really want to get a hold of, but you have to cold email them because you don’t have any mutual connections. So, you send them a cold email, and you never hear back from them.
Well there’s a few things at play here. First of all, it’s important to understand human nature, and understand that pretty much everyone in the music business is busy as hell, and they’re getting poked and prodded by people just like you every single day. If your email isn’t important to them at that particular moment in time it could take ages for them to reply or they’ll put it off long enough that they completely forget about it.
So, what’s the solution?
Know What They’re Looking For
It’s important to understand that before you pitch anyone or sell anything or contact anyone, you must first deeply understand what it is you’re selling, and second, understand the person you’re selling to, and understand what they want.
The single best way to get someone’s attention, including when you’re pitching them your music over email, is to…
Know… what… they… are… looking… for!
You name it, everyone in the industry is looking for something different. And you might say… Well no, Jamie. They’re obviously all looking for talent and my band is talented. But no, let me remind you that everyone on the planet has different taste, and the music you’re pitching simply may not be their taste. But not only that, you need to know what THEY are in the business of selling, and they are all in the business of selling something different.
- Agents and talent buyers sell shows.
- A&R combine brands and songs to sell records.
- Publicists sell stories.
- Publishers create songs and sell songs to supervisors.
- Supervisors match songs to scenes.
- Radio and streaming promoters are in the business of selling the right song, to the right channel, the right format, the right playlist, and the right market.
- And managers sell literally everything.
“Sell” Them What They Want
Because they’re all in the business of selling something different, this means you need to “sell” to each of them differently, and craft emails to each of them differently.
- Sell your show and audience to the agent and talent buyers,
- Sell your brand and songs to the A&R, sell your unique story to the publicist,
- Sell the writing to the publishers
- Sell the writing and scenes to the supervisors
- Sell your format or playlist or vibe to the radio and streaming promoters, and
- Sell your soul to the managers (HA just kidding) but seriously, sell your talent, your dedication as an artist and as a partner to the managers
In summary, ask yourself these questions each time you email someone, and you’re already ahead of the game:
What are they looking for? and, What are they in the business of doing?
If you want to hear more details on EXACTLY what the gatekeepers want to hear from you, check out The Music Business For Artist Managers & Self-Managed Artists: How To Get Started, Get Noticed, and Get Signed.
Aside from that, let’s talk about following up. Be careful with how you follow up with people. After you email them, it is acceptable to follow up with them – no matter what your email is about. A reasonable amount of time is 7 days after the first email (if it’s even that urgent), and a second follow up maybe another 30 days after that. Now of course there are many different protocols and exceptions to this but just don’t be following up about your latest record 4 times in one month.
The thing is, if you’re cold emailing someone to pitch your music, it’s NEVER urgent to them. Patience is the single biggest virtue that you need in this business. However long you think something is going to take you, times that by 10. If it happens sooner, lucky you.
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