Posted tagged ‘pitch’

Where Do I Start? How Do I Get Album Reviews?

September 22, 2010

Tim Ruff

THE ARTIST: Tim Ruff (Pittsburgh, PA)
THE QUESTION: Would you be able to set me in the right direction for getting album reviews? Whether they be with online mags or papers?

THE ANSWER: Searching for online magazines and publications is harder than most people think. For starters there are millions out there! Where do you start and how do you know this starting point is the way to go.  How do you make sure your time and effort is spent wisely…after all, you could spend hours pitching magazine upon magazine and come up with zip. Here are some ideas on how to make the job a little bit easier.

1. Mimic: Determine what genre you best fit into and google a similarly styled artist who has been around the block a few times.  For example, Tim, your tunes are easy listening.  Your stuff could easily share a shelf with independent artist Denison Whitmer.  He’s got a pretty decent resume, but it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think you could get into some of the same magazines and blogs as he has.  Google his name and you’re sure to come across articles that have been written about him. Contact the administrators/editors of those websites and ask them to considering reviewing your music.

This has been the most helpful routine for me…and will give you a great starting point. You’re basically letting someone else lead you in the right direction…and you’ll know that the magazine is interested in your genre because they cover other artists with a similar vibe.

2. Blogs: These days blogs are very credible sources for reviews. Nothing like hearing an every day listener’s opinion on your album. There’s something more genuine about it.  So do a search for blogs and consider starting in your city.  Use key words “music blog” + “Pittsburgh” (or whatever city you’re in).  You’ll be surprised to find that there are probably a handful of avenues to pursue.

Ok so…some/most blogs don’t have the kind of readership that an “official” online magazine would have BUT its a trade off. Its’ll be easier to get reviewed, and you’ll have direct access to the writer (instead of having to go through a head editor).   Its also alot less stressful 🙂

3. Work around a specific event(s)…It’s often hard to convince media to review your album if its been out for a while. Writers are always looking for what’s new and fresh. If your CD isn’t brand new, try working around a specific event. College gigs are great for this. Playing at So-and-So University? Contact So-and-So’s student paper and ask them to consider interviewing you or doing an article in anticipation for the show. Things like this are really great b/c student papers are easier to work with and who wouldn’t want some student fans?

Do the same with local papers…but pick your poison. Make sure you’re hitting them up about a worthy cause or event. They get so many submission and you don’t want to be that artist who spams them about every single show you play. Hit them up about the big events…and pitch it well.

4. Check out these related posts…especially this first one. It’ll give you tips on how to write the perfect pitch.

How to Score Reviews of Your CD

Mimic the Artists You Respect

Persistent, Not Pushy

What’s Wrong With this Message?

Creating Content – Giving People Something to Talk About #1

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Persistent, Not Pushy

August 25, 2010

Think of pitching yourself to media, venues, and industry reps like pursing a relationship.

Don’t be annoying. So you’re trying to get your foot in the door. Are you making an obnoxious amount of attempts? Don’t do it! Don’t leave 5 message on his/her voicemail…especially if they haven’t called you back. In the same way, don’t email that radio station over and over again. Big mistake!

Make a good first impression. Look good and they will remember. First impressions will always make a lasting impact – on a date, for an interview, through your website…etc

Wait. Don’t be too eager. After making that first impression, lay low for a short while, and give the person time to decide what they think about you/your music/your image…etc

Show Genuine Interest. Do you want to know them or do you just want to know what they can do for you?

Be Committed. It’s pretty simple.  Your consistency will take you further than your talent.

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What’s Wrong With this Message?

February 3, 2010

Since its start, this blog has always been about being proactive. But being proactive still requires common sense. Today I came across a Facebook message that spurred this post.

Indies are always trying to bust down doors – sometimes at the wrong time and often in the wrong way.  I believe half the battle of conquering new territory is making sure you’re talking to the right person and taking your time to properly communicate with that person. Approach your leads with respect and wisdom. Don’t go to a radio station expecting them to play your tunes.  Instead, ask for their consideration.  Don’t expect anything in return because most times you won’t get it.

Here’s a prime example. I was visiting a coffee shop’s Facebook page and saw this musician’s post on the page’s wall:

hey im tj and im part of an acoustic band called [name kept anonymous]. its just me and one other guy. i was wondering if we could get a spot in your events as a local band playing. we are from [city kept anonymous]. send a message back if you are interested.

What’s wrong with this message?

  1. It’s on the Facebook wall. The band should have sent a direct email to the coffee shop. Don’t try to book gigs through Facebook walls. Send a private message…hopefully via traditional email.  I think this is probably common sense.
  2. No punctuation. Don’t ever send an email without capitalizing anything.
  3. No real information. The coffee shop is not going to go out of their way to find out where to listen to this group’s music. Always include a link. Always include more information about yourself. Be informative but don’t be long-winded.
  4. It’s not humble. Don’t communicate as if you expect something in return.  The person you are talking with most likely has the ability to open doors for you. They don’t owe you anything and can easily delete your email. Respect.
  5. Recipient is Unknown: Who knows who will read that message? Does the store owner run the Facebook Page? Or is it the booker. Or do they even check the page regularly? Find out who you should be talking to.
  6. If you don’t care, they wont care. The request was simply too informal for the coffee shop to think that this is a serious musician.

Communication etiquette is vital. Be sure not to burn your bridges before you even build them.  Need good tips on how to pitch your music to someone? Visit: How to Score Reviews of Your CD

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Putting Things in Context

September 23, 2009


Have you ever walked down the street and accidentally evesdropped on someone’s conversation.  You’ve caught 1 sentence in a discussion and what they’ve said makes no sense whatesoever!  But you know, if you could have kept listening or jumped in earlier on the conversation, you’d be on the same page.  This is the same idea behind music marketing.  You’re trying to sell an idea to someone that just hasn’t caught onto it yet.

Because people like patterns, routines, and categories, they want things to fit into their frame of reference. We naturally compartmentalize thoughts and put certain ideas into certain categories as a way for us to make sense of the world. Even though you might not have it all together (cause nobody does), here are some tips on how to put your music into context so you can better sell yourself.

Promoting Shows
A good businessman knows what his competitors are doing so he can be on his best game at all times.  In the same way, a good musician needs to know other events occuring during the time of his/her show and if that will affect the turnout.  It’s also great to know about other events to see how you can use them to your advantage.  During the fall, in certain cities like Pittsburgh, it’s a terrible idea to have a gig on a Sunday afternoon/evening because that’s designated to football 🙂   On the flipside, it an excellent idea to book a show in any venue on Penn Ave on the first Friday of the month…b/c that’s the monthly Unblurred gallery crawl.

And don’t forget simple things like mentioning that the venue has a full kitchen and serves food/drinks.  Food always brings more people out. 

Who You Are
Don’t tell people you’re completely different and sound like nothing they’ve ever heard before. That’s probably a lie. Everyone sounds like someone to a certain extent. There’s nothing new under the sun. And if you don’t give people something tangeable, they’re not likely to do the extra digging to learn more about you down the line. If you have a sultry voice, campare yourself to Norah Jones.  If you’ve got biting lyrics and  catchy tunes, compare yourself to Connor Oberst. You get the point. Read this post for more thoughts on the matter: The Things You’ll Hate To Do…But Should Do Anyways #2

Think of it this way: If you’re having a conversation with someone who wants to know what you do, you need to have a real answer.  This won’t fly

I’m actually a musician. I play the guitar and a few other instruments and my sound is very original. I’m currently working on my website so I don’t have any tunes up just yet, but if you check back in 2 weeks I will.  I’m also working on booking some gigs.

I’ve overheard statements like this so many times.

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