Mistakes Musicians Make When Sending Emails

Follow These Tips to Introduce Yourself in the Music Industry

When you are trying to get your music career off the ground, there is a lot of cold calling—or rather, cold emailing—involved. As you reach a more comfortable place in your music career, you'll discover that this part of the job never really goes away. Cross these five bad habits off your list to make a good impression on the person on the other side of the internet connection so you can get the help, advice, and opportunities you're after.

The Subject Line Email

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Email subject line: Check out my music!!!!!!!

Email body: Blank, or a link to a website

Reader reaction: Delete

If you want someone to take the time to listen to your music, take the time to write them a brief email introducing yourself. Don't ever write your complete message in the subject line of an email. Write a relevant email subject, then jot a few sentences in the body of the email that tells who you are and where your music can be heard. Keep it simple and to the point. 

The (Large) Attachment Email

Unless you have someone's permission, never, ever email them a song, video, photo, or other large file as an attachment. Not only will it not get listened to even if it makes it past the spam filter, but the time spent receiving the email will be so annoying to the recipient that they will probably remember your name for all the wrong reasons.

Sending attachments without permission is never a good idea. If you want to send someone a press release, one sheet, or biography, paste it in the body of the email.

The Vague Email

When you email someone, be clear about what you're asking for. If you want them to listen to your music, mention why? Do you want a review? A record deal? A show? A manager? If you are looking for advice, what do you need advice about? Getting a PR job? Booking a show? Getting a music business degree?

Be very specific about why you're emailing someone. It will make it easier for them to give you the help you are seeking (if they're so inclined).

The Unprofessional Email

Treat your music aspirations as a job, especially when you are sending someone an email. Read over your email before you send it to catch any glaring spelling or grammar errors. 

Don't be cutesy, and don't try to be overly clever. Nuance and tone get lost in email, so bear that in mind when choosing your words. This is the business side of music; you're not performing in front of an audience of fans (yet). 

If a business relationship develops, you can become more casual with your communication as appropriate, but don't introduce yourself in an email riddled with foul language. You never know who's reading these emails, and it doesn't make you look cool or smart to drop an F-bomb in an email to a potential employer. 

The Misdirected Email

Probably the most important thing to avoid is emailing en masse in hopes of getting a bite. Know who you are contacting before you send an email. Instead of just emailing labels willy-nilly from some mass industry mailing list, research which labels may like your music, then find out their demo policy, then contact the right person at the label with your email.

Likewise, instead of just emailing agents, research agents with artists similar to you, so you don't email the classical agent about your hip-hop crew, and so on. Know who you're contacting before you reach out. This shows you have respect for the person on the receiving end of the email, and respect for their time.