By music branding and marketing specialist Andy Lykens.
Get a paper and pen. Just do it, itâll totally be worth it. Iâm about to blow your mind. Quick â tell me 3 people you want to listen to your music that you think will be able to put it in a commercial, film, or TV promo! Even if youâve already contacted them, write down a name with a little space beneath to complete this exercise.
Done? Great! Now write down 3 things you said to persuade each person to listen to your music (they can all be similar or the same if you do a lot of copy/paste).
Alright, now for each person list 3 things about them that have nothing to do with their job, or music.
Hmmmâ¦alright, take some more time and think about itâ¦times up!
Now, as fast as you can, write down 3 things you can do for that person based on their needs or wants!
If you can come up with 1 thing for that last one, Iâll give you props. But only if it isnât ridiculous (like âgive them a million dollarsâ or âcut them in on license fees they secure for meâ â because thatâs payola, and payola is illegalâ¦unless youâre Clear Channel).
The above exercise should prove to you that your emails suck. âMe, me, me.â Thatâs what you write about. âListen to this! Check that out! Iâd LOVE for you to put my song in a commercial!â
Great. Iâm sure there arenât 100,000 other people out there sending the same thing.
However, if youâre far enough along to know who to contact and actually have gotten some contact info, youâre STILL ahead of the game, as sad as it is. But you need to know something and you need to PRACTICE and GET BETTER at it as soon as you can:
The music business, and life in general, doesnât work the way you think it does.
You cannot just sell yourself cold. Itâs a waste of time. If you donât have a good relationship with someone, itâs really tough to break through and make a connection. Especially one strong enough where they have confidence and enough trust in you and your music that theyâll give it a real shot.
How many emails have you received from someone or some entity that you didnât know or agree to take part in? How did it make you feel? Did you read it carefully and take action doing what they ask? No?! What a surprise!
Hereâs a gigantic tip:
Find a genuine connection to EVERY person you want to listen to your music before you ask them to listen to it.
That is HUGE takeaway. Huge. You should read it again, think about it, write any immediate ideas that come to mind, and then read it again.
Is it coming full circle yet? Do you get it?
Music supervisors are inundated with requests from people they donât know and therefore donât care about every day. They are flooded with emails like the ones youâll find here. What makes you different?
Do you think changing your wording or coming up with a better email subject line makes you better? Wrong.
What most music supervisors will tell you is that they want a âfilter,â someone or some entity that they know well who they can reach out to for their music needs. What you need is to either discover one of those filters and partner up with them, or look for pre-existing relationships that act as that filter for you.
Whatever you do, donât write another crappy email. No one cares about the 8-word catch-phrase that sums up your music perfectly. Your album art is NOT good enough to get someoneâs attention. Your 15MB attachment consisting of your amateur band photo, 1 sheet, and latest âsingleâ from 2 years ago? You guessed it. It couldnât penetrate chocolate pudding.
Donât get mad or frustrated â get smart. CHANGE your approach. Make yourself relevant to the person youâre contacting. Emphasize key elements that will filter you out from the crowds of morons or partner up with someone who can. The intelligent independent musician can find ways to make themselves valuable IMMEDIATELY. Sure, it takes work. Yes, you have to do more than copy and paste the same form email to 200 people. Youâre better of sending 10 effective emails in an hour than 200 bogus ones.
Shape up. Get relevant, get genuine, and start focusing on the right things. Youâll find it goes a lot further than the lame attempts made by most everyone trying to get their music licensed.