A Question About Cold Contacting Artists Without Looking Like a Dumbass
Posted by Justin Boland on May 31, 2011 | 15 comments
Reader question I had to share:
I’m an up and coming producer out of Wellington, New Zealand. I was wondering if there have been any posts on the proper etiquette when getting in contact with artists to shop beats? ie, is one email enough, whether to give links to soundcloud/bandcamp or actually give a mediafire link to a beat tape, whether to give snippets vs full beats, or tagged/untagged beats etc? On the article I read about !llmind, he said reputation was everything - I wanna be able to come up as a respected beatsmith, and not look like a chump who’s just spamming to get his name out.
Big shout out from the bottom of the south pacific, CV
Open Forum: Any Advice For This Cat?
As a rapper, when producers step to me asking me to buy their shit, I can't take that seriously. Producers who charge dough have enough clout and gravity to get business without having to f'ing email a bunch of random rappers.
As a business, keep it short, always. Write out everything you're thinking then chop out the 80% that doesn't really matter. Hit them with exactly what you mean, simply stated.
As a producer, rappers who want free beats are begging for change in front of a Greyhound station and there is no class in that.
As a blogger, include an image of yourself, always, don't attach your tracks, link me to something streaming, and show me, right up front, what your interesting angle is.
Posted at 5:42 p.m. on May 31, 2011
It's hard. If it was easy there would be a trodden path to follow. So I would say if you want respect be respectful. Use proper English. Do your homework on your target. Try to get on their radar before you try to do business. Make them feel like you have chosen them for a reason not just for their clout. Once you make a contact don't bother them again for at least a month. Ask for feedback whatever happens, most of the time it's the nudge they need to give a reply.
Posted at 6:59 p.m. on May 31, 2011
I've only had limited experience at this point but the two comments so far seem pretty much in line with what I've seen.
Keep the email short and to the point...honesty and transparency is key. I always find it difficult to keep my emails brief since I feel like I have so much to prove but it actually seems the longer the email, the less likely it will get a response.
As far as how/when/how much to charge for beats? I don't have a great answer other than just try to make the situation as mutually beneficial as possible. I think Alkota was saying something along those lines in his recent interview on this site. I've also heard !llmind say he did beats for free for something like 2 years before he got to a position where he could charge...my bet is that he wasn't able to charge for beats until rappers came knocking on HIS door, kind of like what Mr. Boland is saying.
Question @Justin: as a blogger, are there preferred dimensions for photos? I feel like that topic was discussed somewhere on here some time ago but I can't remember the article. And what's the most useful type of photo? Probably one of me wearing a hoodie, holding my Maschine in some dangerous looking alley or next to abandoned rail cars right?
Posted at 9:02 p.m. on May 31, 2011
The most important thing is being VERY familiar with who you are writing to work with. I don't have a problem with being @ ed on Twitter, as long as the person is a human and explaining who they are, why they are contacting me and displays a base knowledge of who I am and what my label does. Even if it takes 2 messages to get across, it's good. Nothing is worse then getting that @ on Twitter that says something generic and links to bullshit. The same is true for emails. Write something personalized with information and it will get you far. The people that don't respond to emails written with that level of care aren't worth working with anyway.
Posted at 12:38 p.m. on June 1, 2011
When I submit beats to artists I send the following message on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
"Do you accept beat submissions? If so, what is the best way to send beats for your consideration?"
I never follow up after I send something. Its a one shot deal with all artists, managers, etc. If someone is feeling your material they will contact you immediately. Resubmit 3-6 months later.
Sometimes Ill have an artist contact me 4 months down the road with a song recorded to the beat I sent. That is the worse, especially if I already sold it!
Keep it simple, professional, and keep moving forward because there are 15,000 other people doing the same thing as you. Your music and talent will shine through more than your approach or marketing.
Posted at 1:43 p.m. on June 3, 2011
I would say get a page up on Reverbnation, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and and PerFECT your craft. Then when you're confident and have an ill catalog of Beats then look for Artists who have a little buzz and ask if they would be willing to collaborate i.e. you give them a beat and they give you production credit (if your beats are hot they shouldn't say no)..all this while at the same time doing something unique like actually making a video for your illest beats or doing remixes to Mainstream hits and putting them on youtube and trying to get them on other sites like WorldStar Hip Hop..this should help you build a buzz for yourself and after a while Artists will come looking for you..as far as charging for beats set a price but be prepared to negotiate ( I can't give you hard numbers cuz every situation and budget is different) . This is my personal experience and it has worked and is working for me..
Posted at 1:57 a.m. on June 5, 2011
Yeah always tag stuff. And I have had people say that and complain about tags. I think tagging structure should vary though. Like a quick tag on the beginning of the beat for trusted submissions, and then tag across the entire beat for anything on the internet, or sketch ball submissions.
Posted at 9:36 p.m. on June 5, 2011
I have strange opinions on everything in the industry - I despise PRO's, refuse sponsorships, and I say mean things about everyone's blogs.
Despite all that, I still have no problem with tagging beats. It just makes sense. You're not producing an instrumental album, you're engaged in selling a product. If someone likes a beat enough to write and record over it, take that step and secure that beat.
My guess is that a lot of these cats assume their track is gonna be so, so damn hot that you won't charge them, and in fact paypal them a couple hundred just for blessing your career. When it comes to self-delusion, nobody is touching rappers.
Posted at 11:21 a.m. on June 6, 2011
Great interview from Alkota's site with an Australian producer who gets a TON of placements with US artists:
Including it because it's relevant AND a damn good read.
Posted at 12:46 a.m. on June 16, 2011
15 SilverBallard says...
Just like any 'cold approach' if you understand them and their music you are in good stead. Read 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' too!
Posted at 5:58 a.m. on June 27, 2011