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Do I Have to Spell It Out for You?

April 23, 2013

Hey everybody!

Im poping in to Read Tentacle today to let you guys no about why paying attention in your english class was like, a super importent thing you should of done. Why? Because if you send someone an email that looks anything like that sentence, they will take you a hell of a lot less seriously than if you had taken 10 seconds to proofread your shit.

 How often have you picked up a phone to contact a label recently? Or called a college paper to get them to write a feature on your new LP? Case in point. Most business is done online these days, which means that the first impression someone has of your band or company is through writing. Don’t fuck it up by making such an awful impression that they don’t even want to click that play button it took them 5 minutes to find on your website. (Side note: Make it easy for people to find your music on your website. No one is going to go through 4 pages of your Tumblr to find that track you posted 2 months ago.)

It doesn’t take that long to proofread an email, but it goes a long way.  I’m not saying you should have perfect grammar and never make any spelling mistakes, but at least put some effort into it. And please, for the love of all that is good in this world, make sure you spell the company/contact’s name right. Nothing will cause someone to write you off quite like contacting a label or blog about how much you love them and hope they take a minute to listen to your band and then spelling their name wrong. If you couldn’t take two seconds to make sure you spelled their name right, why should they waste three minutes listening to that MP3 you sent them?

Whatever you do, don’t be like the artist I saw at a festival who had his own name spelled wrong on his CD. It’s one thing to spell someone else’s name wrong; it’s a whole other thing to spell your own name wrong on your own merchandise. His name was spelled wrong on purpose (which is fine, seeing as how everyone seems to have forgotten that “U” is still a letter these days), but he managed to misspell his misspelling on the CD spine. I never bothered to listen to the CD he gave me. I assumed that if he couldn’t be bothered to care enough to make sure that his own name was spelled right, that he probably didn’t care enough to make sure that his recording didn’t sound like shit. And I doubt I was the only person to think that. You are PAYING to put out merchandise. With real money that could have been spent on food or rent! Don’t waste your money on something that makes you look like an idiot.

Don’t think all this ranting is solely directed at bands; PR folks, this is about you, too! Writing is your job. People who don’t have the time to write a carefully constructed press release or who know that they can’t, pay you money to do it for them. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve gone on a PR website only to find it full of spelling mistakes and broken URLs. If you can’t represent yourself properly, how do you expect bands to give you money to represent them?

So here’s what you do:

  • Learn to take 30 seconds to read through your email when first approaching someone you want to work with. Make sure there aren’t any glaring spelling mistakes.
  • Always double check that you spelled the company/contact’s name correctly when sending an email. You can use the right “they’re/their/there” all you want – if you spelled it “Sonic Union”, they’ll probably roll their eyes at you
  • Triple check all of your merch before you get it manufactured. You can edit a blog post, but you won’t be able to get that $1,000 back when you realize all your shirts say “Tad Nugent”.
  • Make sure that you check out anyone who you’re thinking about hiring for a Communications role. You wouldn’t get a full tattoo sleeve by someone whose work you’ve never seen, right? So why would you trust someone to represent you and send out press releases to major publications about your new album if you’ve never even looked at their website?

I understand that not everyone’s an English major, but always be mindful of the way you present yourself and at least put in a bit of effort, because if you make it seem like you don’t care, others won’t either.

-Chantal Caissie

Chantal is an East Coast music industry professional with an affinity for leopard print, 1977 original punk rock looks, and pop culture references. A graduate of the NSCC Music Business program, Chantal was a member of Audrey and the Agents until their split in 2012. She is currently working at Symphony Nova Scotia and finishing up her BA in English and French at Saint Mary’s University.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Steef permalink
    April 23, 2013 3:47 PM

    Hahaha, nice one on the Tad Nugent reference!

  2. April 26, 2013 9:06 PM

    Majorly important…and unfortunately, yes, you do have to spell it out for the majority….glad you did. (sharing

  3. April 26, 2013 9:07 PM

    Reblogged this on JDnGerz.. and commented:
    I was just talking about this…..glad someone can articulate these thoughts….wu tang to that sir, wu tang.


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