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Connecting with music bloggers and writers is one of the best ways to get word out about your music. These people are tastemakers and influencers – their readers have grown to trust their opinions and thoughts. It’s important to remember, though, that these writers aren’t just another marketing tool. They are real people with whom you should be forming a real two-way relationship built on communication and courtesy.

Some excerpts in this post came from Hypebot‘s Clyde Smith. His original article mainly discusses business writers, but I think a lot of the points ring true for any kind of writer, blogger, or tastemaker. You can also check out a similar post here.

Know Who You’re Talking To

“Know who you’re talking to, what they usually write about and what they’ve said about what they want to see. I know everybody’s really busy but sometimes you’ve got to bite the bullet and put in the time for proper research. It will pay off in the long run even if it’s painful at the moment.”

Be sure to check the writer’s sig at the end of their post. This will give you a general idea of the kinds of topics they cover. Clyde’s says: “music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing.” A lot of times, the writer’s contact information is also in the sig, so it’s pretty difficult to miss information on their interests. Some bloggers and writers may have a short bio available. You should also read the articles or posts they have written in the past to get a better idea of their interests and writing style. The main point here is that you should do your research.

Remember That Writers Are Humans With Limits and Work With That

“Though I have a list of interests in my sig… it’s more a general guideline. But like most music industry writers and pro journalists in general, I cover way more things than I can truly understand with much depth. That means that sometimes I’ll miss something I really should cover or cover something that doesn’t really deserve it.

To be honest most outlets don’t support true expertise. That’s because media business models are based on what readers show interest in and tend to be pageview driven. Since reader response mostly has little correlation with expertise in terms of pageviews, except for very specialized publications, there is no reason for ad-supported, pageview driven media outlets to invest in true expertise.

So getting worked up when I or another writer covers one thing and not another is not a good move.”

Don’t Get Argumentative In A Writer’s Inbox

“Sometimes our choices lead to people becoming argumentative. I understand that tendency. I’m an argumentative kind of guy. But arguing with me in my inbox cause you want coverage is not a good look. At this point, for every 10 items that I bookmark or receive via email, 5 of them are plausible, 2 I really should cover, 1 gets covered. Strictly speaking, that math may be overly optimistic in terms of your odds of coverage.”

Arguing with writers or music bloggers is really like slamming a door in your own face. If you’ve done your research, asking for clarification about their decision can be okay – it will help you provide them with better content next time. But if you get aggressive or argue, there won’t be a next time.

Don’t Talk Trash In The Comments

“Another issue similar to arguing in writers’ inboxes is making catty or angry comments on blog posts. There are multiple musicians and music business owners who probably deserve some coverage but killed their brand with me. I can think of a couple offhand who I would have covered or turned to for insight by now but I’ll never write about them until they establish a positive relationship with me that counteracts the damage they’ve done in the comments.”

Remove Roadblocks to Coverage by Helping the Writer

“When you send intro or update emails include links to other media coverage, especially newsier items, and to online resources for quick reference. Make it easy to find pics and related content for use as needed by bloggers.”

Need some ideas to start emailing music bloggers? Download these 10 free email templates: 10 Attention-Getting Email Templates for Musicians

Have you ever had your music or business featured on a blog or music news site?

Artist Revenue Stream Poster

My friends at the Future of Music Coalition are conducting an online survey from Sept 6 – Oct 28th to determine the variety, depth and complexity of the ways that musicians are making money these days.  Not theoretically, but actually.  We are looking for performers, songwriters, composers, band members, session players, producers, MCs and anyone else making music to join in and take the survey.

A while ago, I posted this from my friend and Berkleemusic student David Sherbow showing a pretty comprehensive list of the different ways that musicians can make money.  This might give you food for thought on taking the survey and planning your career…

The artist music business model has been in flux for years. The record deal dream that most artists sought is no longer the viable alternative that it once was.  The leveling of the music distribution playing field by the Internet is virtually complete.  Terrestrial radio is on a path towards destruction that even the major labels can’t compete with.  People now access and download music from multiple sources, usually for free.  D.I. Y solutions are everywhere, but for many artists hard to integrate into their daily lives.

Where does this leave the average independent artist? At the beginning. Every artist wants to know how they can make music, make money and survive to write and play another day. Here, in no particular order, is a list of possible income streams.

• Publishing
• Mechanical royalties
• Performance Royalties from ASCAP and BMI
• Digital Performance Royalties from Sound Exchange
• Synch rights TV, Commercials, Movies, Video Games
• Digital sales – Individual or by combination
• Music (studio & live) Album – Physical & Digital, Single – Digital, • Ringtone, Ringback, Podcasts
• Instant Post Gig Live Recording via download, mobile streaming or flash drives
• Video – Live, concept, personal,  – Physical & Digital
• Video and Internet Games featuring or about the artist
• Photographs
• Graphics and art work, screen savers, wall paper
• Lyrics
• Sheet music
• Compilations
• Merchandise – Clothes, USB packs, Posters, other things
• Live Performances
• Live Show – Gig
• Live Show – After Party
• Meet and Greet
• Personal Appearance
• Studio Session Work
• Sponsorships, and endorsements
• Advertising
• Artist newsletter emails
• Artist marketing and promotion materials
• Blog/Website
• Videos
• Music Player
• Fan Clubs
• YouTube Subscription channel for more popular artists
• Artist programmed internet radio station or specialty playlist.
• Financial Contributions of Support – Tip Jar or direct donations, Sellaband or Kickstarter
• Patronage Model – Artist Fan Exclusives – e.g. paying to sing on a song in studio or have artist write a song for you
• Mobile Apps
• Artist Specific Revenue Stream –  unique streams customized to the specific artist, e.g Amanda Palmer
• Music Teaching – Lessons and Workshops
• Music Employment – orchestras, etc, choir directors, ministers of music, etc.
• Music Production – Studio and Live
• Any job available to survive and keep making music
• Getting Help From Other Artists and Helping Them –  Whatever goes around come around. – e.g. gig swapping, songwriting, marketing and promotion