Give Me One Reason...

When you’re reaching out to publishers, music libraries, music supervisors, or anyone else who can help you get your music out into the world, it’s natural to want an immediate response. After all, you’re excited about your music, so they should be too… right?  

In Sell the Product, Not the Packaging, we discussed how your job as an independent artist is to market your music in such a way as to deliver extraordinary value to your customers so they WANT to work with you, and thus, license your music.

But what happens when you don’t get that immediate response that you're expecting? How long should you wait before following-up with them?

Consider This...

First, let me ask you, how often have you found yourself backed up with e-mails/calls/texts that you just haven’t had a chance to get to? We all have our own priorities, and aside from family, priority number one is dealing with matters that will deposit money into our bank accounts. Most people don’t stare at their computer screen eagerly waiting for the next e-mail to appear. Then, when it’s time to go home, they don’t spend the evening constantly checking their work e-mail. 

This is even more true when you’re reaching out to a company via their ‘[email protected] address.' Often, e-mails to this address are of secondary importance because they aren't immediately focused on what we just agreed was the top priority - dealing with business matters that will deposit money into the business' bank account. 

However, the good news is, any reputable company or individual WILL give you a response, even if they decide to pass on your music, provided your initial connection was focused on delivering value to them.

Give Them A Reason

I can't stress this enough: In order to get a response, you have to give them a reason to respond. That ultimately starts with getting them to WANT to open your e-mail. To do this, focus on a great subject line. At all costs, avoid the generic (yet very common) “Hi John.”  Nothing screams amateur more than the subject “Hi John.” 

Now, your subject line doesn’t have to be something overly crazy or complicated either. Just the opposite - make it simple. This is business, there is no reason to play games, so keep it straight and to the point. Music for ‘TV Show/Library’ is enough to get your e-mail opened. 

However, that’s just the beginning. From there you need to get them engaged in your e-mail’s content, and you do that by delivering VALUE. Make it clear how you can serve them. 

Personal Connection

This is why I strongly advocate for making personal connections, and that entails research… a lot of it. Google the person you're reaching out to. Find articles about them, interviews they did, or awards they won. Then open a dialog about it with them. Everyone wants to be appreciated, known, seen, and heard. We all want our work to mean something more than just a way to bring home a paycheck. So let them know you read their interview, you appreciate what they do, how it’s affected you, and if they won an award, congratulate them on it.

Focus on the personal connection instead of just asking them to do something for you and your music. Serve them first. This only happens through research. Every interview will contain a plethora of clues as to their work process, their needs, and how their business is run. Then, figure out how you can serve them, and how working with you will make their job, or life, easier.

Zero Questions

I suggest zero question marks in your initial contact e-mail. None of these:

  • What style of music are you looking for?
  • What shows are you currently working on?
  • Are you currently in need of music? 

If you have to ask these questions, then you haven't done your research. You must KNOW (or at least have a strong idea of) what they are in need of.

The 2-2-2 Rule

Give it 2 weeks minimum before following up. If you still don’t hear back within 2 weeks after your 2nd approach, move on. 

If you never get a response from multiple people, that should be a clue that you’re not presenting enough value in your approach. You haven’t been engaging enough to warrant a response. At this point, bring in another pair of eyes and ears, to give you honest feedback on what you're doing wrong.

Reverse The Position

Ultimately, one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to put yourself in their position. Before sending your introduction e-mail, take a day or two away, and then read it again with a clear mind. Ask yourself:

  • If I received this from someone I didn’t know, what would I think?
  • Is this person offering value, or just wanting something from me?  
  • Would I take action, or would I push it off to the side, and possibly even delete it?  

If you do this right, most reputable people/companies will respond, even if they decide to pass. If they pass, then move on. There are plenty of other opportunities that are the right fit for you.

What have you found to be the best way to approach influential people throughout your career?  Share with us in the comments section below.

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