All of this information is extremely helpful, and I've come across several of these many times!
Scott Ross Elliott Bay Recording Company Seattle, WA www.elliottbayrecording.com
The ignorance, the arrogance and the unprofessional nature of the solicitous emails I receive on a daily basis from artists or their management never ceases to amaze me. I'm told this goes for overall basic email etiquette in any and every profession. Still, the lack of effort is jaw dropping; professionalism, style, and basic consideration do not occur in the brunt of email.
I am a music producer and run a small music production and consulting company. On any given day, I receive an average of twenty emails that are completely out of left field. We're talking the “wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead” kind of emails. That totals about one hundred of those a week. Again, I am a solo music producer running a small organization, so just imagine for a moment how many emails must be received by the big boys, the big wig companies and the people that sift through emails for many of these people day in and day out.
If you are soliciting an individual, think about what you are sending out and to whom you are sending it. Your lack of preparation, consideration or professionalism can destroy that contact and get your email deleted. Worse yet, they'll never get to your music, which was the main point after all.
I compiled a number of emails that I usually just trash and sent out an email to friends at all levels of the industry and asked them for their top five worst email, cover letter or first contact communications. Without further adieu, let's dive into my top five favorites.
5. Yo, I have the hottest thing ever. You gotta check this out. This is gonna blow and I wil take you wit me. (a myspace address) (a name).
When you address someone as “yo” it appears that you are mass emailing or spamming everyone and anyone who will listen to you. Second, when you state you are the hottest thing ever, you've set the bar pretty high for yourself. You're also using certain keywords that will automatically turn off or turn down most people getting that communication.
The spelling and style are atrocious. The assumption that they are going to be larger than life and deign to carry me along with them is just flat out rude.
Result: Trash the email. Skip the website. Move on. That was what I did when I received a similar email and that is what everyone I spoke to did when they received that type of email.
Action: Tone it down. Spell check. Pick up an English style guide. Everyone needs one! They're not just for grammar nerds! Use confidence but keep it the foundation for your communication, not the body. An email saturated with confidence comes off as arrogant. It's a fine line away from arrogance. Also, supply a little more information.
4. My name is John Smith, I am the manager for John Doe. (Myspace link) Thanks, John Smith.
REALLY??? The first time I got an email like this, I was floored. I actually closed my email application and reloaded it thinking the message was truncated or cut off some how. When I asked my friends if they had ever received anything like this, they responded with, “All. The. Time.”
This is the um, less than bright individual who has given you very limited information and seems to have these wild expectations that you will immediately race to the website, listen to the music and make the magic happen overnight.
Result: Trash the email. Skip the page. Wonder at just how foolish people can be.
Action: Formulate a letter! Introduce an act if you are the management. Make it snappy, summarize in a strong, professional tone. Then, ask or request an action. Are you looking for guidance? Are you looking for a producer? Are you looking for a contact? What is it that you want? Then sign that email with your name, your company if you have one, an email address and a phone number. Maybe add a website or myspace link to your organization as well.
3. Hello, I am the President and CEO of blah blah blah Entertainment. (You know, that would actually be a pretty cool name for an entertainment company.) We represent x artist and are ready to sit down and discuss a plan to bring him over to your organization with us so we all can get rich. We have been waiting for the right moment and the time is now. Call us so we can begin to negotiate….
Okay, these are viewed as fun emails to many in the industry. They are very common. On the plus side, the writer does bring up the “we” element. This person is thinking a little more towards the reality that profit has to be seen by the artist and the companies or people that take that artist to another level. However, this is also a writer who all too often comes off as someone who knows nothing about business, yet tries to be the Donald Trump of the music industry. The arrogance of bringing an artist to the company or individual, instead of the confidence of submitting an artist for review or a signing inquiry is a bad idea.
Result: Email is usually trashed. Sometimes there's a quick check to see if this CEO/President is real, but most of the time no one is going to ever hear that song.
Action: Strongly present yourself, but don’t lie. Do not be overconfident because that will be read as weakness. Also remember that all anyone has to do to confirm your validity is search for your company's name in the Secretary of State online database. If you are looking to work with a producer, an agent, a label or whomever, you need to illustrate your business sense and your drive to learn instead of lying about your credentials.
Continue reading Part 2 of this article...
Learn more about the author, Loren Weisman.
Great information! Thanks!