Why self awareness is a great quality for an artist

There’s an interesting link between the music created by artists and their attitudes when sending their music in for consideration.

This could mean that by showing self-awareness you could be benefiting your marketing campaign.

This is only my view, as a perfectly irritating person might make themselves more memorable than a thoughtful one if backed up by good music. In this case their attitude may appear to be artistic angst.

This thought is very much open to comment as I would love different views on this.

It is my impression that artists that have become successful appear to have a reasonably good attitude. I would think that “difficult” artists limit their opportunities at the beginning of their careers or put people’s backs up and may see doors closing in their faces and not have the social skills to work out why.

The initial experience of dealing with a growing fan base must require patience, particularly as your audience starts to grow, people want photos and autographs and your attention all at once. The transition from unknown to recognised musician is going to require some good social navigation skills.

However, a very talented artist may quickly attract a team of people around them who shield them from direct contact with other humans, but this would be the result of initial contact between them and the outside world, when they first put something out to be heard.

I find certain emerging artists an absolute pleasure to work with and therefore they get a lot from me. Ones with a really stinky attitude tent to not get as much from me. I definitely operate a bias in this way, however if the music coming from the attitude problem person (even a representative of another artist) is usually has a more insular theme, which is of less interest to me than a sensitive, thoughtful or perceptive song. This doesn’t necessarily mean a slow song as I enjoy upbeat music more on average (ie receive more upbeat songs I like as slower songs need to have something special to stand out).

A confident and well-organised band contacted me recently. However, they didn’t just contact me once, they bombarded me with the same song that I had rejected through about 3 different channels and repeatedly on email. This means they were not listening to their audience and their marketing was not tailored enough. It was like a numbers game with a scatter gun approach, which doesn’t seem to work in music. Marketing may be better to be quite personal as music is generally for enjoyment in a personal setting.

In summary, here are some suggestions to appear to be self-aware and to make your marketing more tailored to your audience:

  • Check any submission guidelines before sending and ensure you have read them and follow any requests.
  • Remember you are not the only one sending to this person, so label your music clearly. Never ever just send files named in a generic fashion, ie numbers or letters, bpm speeds, with words such as master, studio edit or even just the song title. Remember what Malcolm Gladwell says in Tipping Point about “quick reference”, so busy people don’t need to waste time thinking more than they have to about something. Ideally, send file names with artist name and track name only in the filename, unless you are sending to a mixing DJ or producer who may want to know the bpm.
  • Greet people by first name. Emails that start with “hi” or (in my mind worse, although more contemporary) “hey” giveaway the fact you are doing a bulk email and haven’t even thought about each person you are sending to.
  • If you have already communicated with someone, don’t contact them again through another medium. This is annoying. If you have been speaking on email, stick to this and don’t start sending them messages through Facebook or, particularly when there is a login entry, via a website. This takes more time, has more barriers, requires more attention and is likely to be more ignored.
  • When sending out bio information or a press release, paste it into the body of the email as well as attaching it and make sure it is clearly labelled, so the receiver doesn’t have to rename it themselves. If you call it “artist bob the builder bio.dox” then they can quickly file it and you are on their system. Otherwise it will get left in cyberspace and you may get forgotten about.
  • If sending to radio, don’t send artwork or images unless asked for and keep bio information short. I use: “Where are you from/based? How long have you been making music? What is your biggest musical achievement? Who are your influences?”

And NEVER EVER argue with the person you are sending to or tell them you are right and they are wrong. Such a bad idea. I find it infuriating and time and energy consuming when someone ignores my submission guidelines and then, when I email them to ask for what I need, telling me I am wrong and they have already done it. For instance, radio stations do not play from iTunes so having the track name embedded in the file does not help. It is always good to label any files, images or music, fully to tell the person what it is as this requires least of their time and shows them the most respect.

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