November 07, 2011

How To Annoy Music Industry Executives

So you want a record deal, internship, publishing deal, job, press feature, manager, or generally just the attention of anyone in the music industry? Perhaps you've been putting your energy into reaching out to people online in hopes of getting lucky? After all, statistics say that if you send out enough emails you're bound to get a positive response eventually, right? Well, probably not. That's because most people who do just that make a handful of mistakes that really only serve to annoy your target and that won't get you anywhere.

So, if you're trying to get the attention of someone in the music industry who can help you find a job, gig, deal, or whatever else is it that you want, there are certain things you need to keep in mind to avoid annoying them. To help you out, here's a basic checklist of some of the top things people do that are nearly guaranteed to annoy the music industry person you're trying to reach. Check it out and make sure you aren't guilty of any of the following:

Unsolicited Mail/Email
You'll find this listed on most music businesses websites as something that is unwelcome. Though, I admit there can be a time and a place and if you do it right there is a small chance it will accomplish something.  However, when someone specifically states that unsolicited mail should not be sent then you're just wasting everyone's time. If it doesn't say that that doesn't mean the recipient will rejoice at the sight of an email from someone they don't know telling them to check out their new track or hire them. It will likely still annoy them. The only way this can work is if you are also avoiding any of the following errors.

Attaching Unwanted Files
Nothing screams virus so much as a random file attached to an email from someone you don't know. So, I promise you that mp3, press release, or whatever else you send most likely won't get opened (unless perhaps you're sending a press release specifically to someone who is used to receiving them in this format) because that's exactly what that person will be thinking. Some companies even block attachment emails from unknown addresses so there's a decent chance your email won't get through at all if you include an attachment in your unsolicited email.

Acting Entitled

This is sadly far too common. Someone thinks that by adopting the attitude of Kanye West or P. Diddy suddenly doors will open. This really can't be further from the truth and people will absolutely see through this. I could provide you with countless real life examples but I think one of my favorites is when I was an intern at a label and someone called demanding to speak with the president. He wouldn't provide me with his name (don't you know who I am?), the president's name, or any information about what the call was about or who he was. He just kept yelling and became increasingly angry. He didn't actually know the president though (never would have guessed based on his inability to provide his name, huh?) and must have been hoping by acting important and screaming at me I would assume he was and let him through. Not the case.

Not Responding
If the person you want attention from actually replies to you then make sure you do the same. Preferably within 24 or at least 48 hours. There's nothing worse than taking a some time to make it a point to respond to a potential intern or band to have them fall off the planet and be completely MIA for the next   few weeks. The music industry moves quickly and taking forever to respond may mean missing your opportunity. Not responding at all when you've already invested all of that effort just seems pointless.

Lack of Manners/Professionalism
In some cases this goes pretty well with acting entitled but it can also be a sin in it's own right. Be polite, use manners, type complete sentences, don't use slang or text lingo, etc. Hopefully this is all common sense, but there isn't much of a chance of hiring an intern who doesn't even appear to have a sense of basic grammar, etiquette, or general human decency.
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