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Why Grammar Matters

December 8, 2010

First impressions matter; period, no questions, ifs, ands or buts about this fact. Which means that when approaching any professional in the music industry be they from a record label, booking agency, publicist, sound technician or even roadie you must do so correctly. The worst mistake you can make is to send anyone a facebook message or worse yet a post on their page without having met them and put something similar to this:

“hey man my name is guy and I am in this awesome band called Band X. we play realy great music and think that you should give us a listen and see if you want to be our manager(or publicist, producer, booking agent etc.). tell us what you think of the music and if you want to work for us, also sweetpicture of you at that show, rock on J.”(This example is not that far from many messages that I have personally received and have seen lots of other industry profesionals receive similar.)

Almost all industry professionals will either have a website or some other website such as a wordpress, facebook fan page, or even twitter where you can get contact information such as e-mail address or a phone number where they may not answer but you can at leave a message. If you can’t find any contact information, which is highly unlikely and rare unless they work in a part of the industry that does not deal directly with artists such as song placement in T.V. and Movies, then send them a private message along the following lines:

“Hello my name is Guy and I play drums in Band X, we are from Nova Scotia and have been together for three years now playing hard rock and have an upcoming release. We were wondering if you could assist with our tour to promote the album by (doing whatever it is they may do), I could not find your e-mail address so I hope this does not come across as rude or unprofessional. I can be contacted at fake@fakemail.com or 555-978-5431, thanks for your time and consideration, Sincerely, Guy. Myspace.com/bandxfake http://www.BandX.ca”

The important things here are

  • A. You explained who you are so they immediately know who they are dealing with.
  • B. No grammar mistakes, this can make a huge difference as to how seriously anyone will take you and how hard they feel you will work towards making your band successful.
  • C. You gave your contact information so that now they can get back to you in the manner they prefer, there are plenty of professionals who have no problems communicating through Facebook but there are also lots who only want to communicate through e-mail or phone.
  • D. You included your band website or myspace, never make someone search for your band, the more work a person has to do to find your band be they a fan or someone you want to work with the less they will like you.

When contacting anyone make sure to give as much information in as little space as possible this means a very short bio such as above, your band website, contact information, and you expectations or needs this helps speed things up and makes for good impressions.

Other important things to do before contacting someone are to research who they are, make sure that they are not only the right professional and have worked in your field and genre of music but that they also have a good reputation. Contacting someone who works exclusively with blues musicians when you perform indie pop is not a good idea, it makes you look like a new and unprofessional band who does not know much about the industry and they may even take advantage of you for it. Realize that your band is a business and that every action should take thought and is ultimately an investment of some kind. The people you work with need to be people you want to work with and who will ultimately help make your band potentially your main means or income and a full time job. However if you contact these people and immediately get on their wrong side they will not want to assist with that goal and it could seriously hurt your band.

Make sure you contact the right person, don’t go to a record label or management company and immediately try to get the owner or boss if they have other people who deal directly with artists. Many labels will have some sort of A&R person or screening and the same goes for most companies where they will use a specific e-mail address or phone number for people who are not clients yet. Trying to immediately talk to the biggest person in a company comes across as being rude and self centered, everyone in that company will then think of you as someone who considers themselves too big and good for an employee at their level. If uncertain who to contact simply state that and chances are they will gladly forward along to where you need to be.

In the end as long as you act professional and courteous with a clear and level head people will react friendlier to you as well as being more likely or enthusiastic to work with you. Your band can act like a bunch or reckless superstars that they want to be but only once you reach the level where you can make people enough cash they will tolerate this. Before then suck it up and act appropriately.

-Hassan

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