Getting press from taste-making gatekeepers is an essential part of releasing music for any artist, and those who don't have a boatload of cash must instead rely on crafting the perfect pitch. Here we look at what not to do when pitching your music.
Guest post by Patrick McGuire of the ReverbNation Blog
Pitching a new single, EP, or album to press outlets, blogs, and music tastemakers is an almost mandatory part of trying to make your mark in music today. Yes, you can fork over a bunch of money have an expert PR firm do it for you, but most artists don’t have the kind of expendable cash to make that happen every time they put out new music. A great pitch can help give your music real traction and momentum, but it’s not easy. Bands waste an incredible amount of time and energy spinning their wheels by sending bad pitches that are never likely to get read in the first place. Here’s what you shouldn’t be doing if you’re an artist trying to generate buzz around your new music:
Put no thought whatsoever into your pitch
To write a compelling pitch, you need to first put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re trying to have feature your music. If you got an email from a random stranger that said something like, “Hi, we’re a metal band from Georgia. Listen to our new album, thanks,” would you take it seriously? No, you wouldn’t. People who curate playlists and artist features in publications get inundated with literally thousands of emails like this every year. The least, and I mean absolute bare minimum you could do as an artist is to include pertinent information in your pitch about your project and your upcoming release in a coherent manner. Ever wonder why so many music bloggers seem so mean? It’s probably because they have to read so many awful emails every day.
Send pitches to as many blogs and playlist curators you can, even if they don’t feature your style of music
Pitching to an indie rap blog doesn’t make much sense if you’re a folk artist. It sounds ridiculous, but so many bands waste everyone’s time by doing this. More isn’t always better, especially when it comes to pitching new music. Rather than wasting energy and bandwidth pitching music to every music outlet you can find, you’ll be better off looking into contacting the ones who are actually likely to dig your music.
Take lots of time pitching to massive blogs and newspapers who won’t give you the time of day while ignoring the smaller ones who might
Even if you’ve been making music for a long time and have had some success in your career, the chances of you landing a feature in a heavily followed publication or playlist are slim to none. It’s not something you should take personally. What you should be doing is taking the time to seek out small blogs and playlists who feature music like yours. Sending thoughtful pitches to them is a great way to form long-term relationships that could bring attention to your music. You can let the big guys find your music themselves and focus on the curators and tastemakers who might actually care about what you’re doing in the meantime.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.