A Journal of Musical ThingsHow to Pitch Your Music Properly - A Journal of Musical Things
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Published on August 1st, 2013 | by Alan Cross

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How to Pitch Your Music Properly

People are always asking me to listen to their music.  That’s great–but there’s a right way and a wrong way of asking me to listen to your stuff.

The Wrong Way:  A woman came up to me at a music conference and handed me a CD-R with “Some of My Shit” hand-written on it in nearly illegible Sharpie.  No sleeve, no jewel box.  She didn’t have a card or anything with her contact information.  I tossed it immediately.  I figured if she cared so little about her music then it wasn’t worth my time, either.

The Right Way:  Finished product.  Contact information.  No MP3s; they clutter up my phone’s inbox so I tend to delete them right away.  Links are always better than CDs (I’m really, really trying to cut back on the amount of physical product I take in).  Hey, Soundcloud and YouTube are free.  Use them.

I found this article at Sentric Music, a company that specializes in music rights management.  If you’re a musician with stuff to peddle, give this a good, hard read and commit these tips to memory forever.

You know when you read all these blogs and attend all these conferences and watchall these panels and listen to all these talks by all these people who you’d love to be able to get just ten minutes of their attention?

And they all sit there and go “Email me!” and you give them your CD afterwards and they promise they’ll listen to it, but you’re quietly confident they’ll probably just leave it in the footwell of the passenger seat of their car?

I was considering this the other day when I was chatting away to a singer at one of the many conferences you’ll find me knocking about at, who gave me a rather scrubby looking CDR which didn’t have any contact details on it, nor anything which would let me know what I was actually listening to once I put the CD into my computer. The perfectly lovely gentleman said to me; “I’ve given one of these to [MUSIC SUPERVISOR PERSON] over there as well, so hopefully she’ll give it a listen and use it on her show.

Looking at this train-wreck of a demo submission in my hand I knew that [MUSIC SUPERVISOR PERSON] wasn’t going to listen to this. In fact; I’d have been surprised if it even made it back into her office, or indeed, anywhere near a CD drive. I knew this, not because I regularly work with her, but because pretty much anyone given a CDR with [BAND NAME] and nothing else written on it, during a time when you’re also given fifteen to twenty other CDs which have actual useful information on them, is going to treat it with the same disregard.

But then I realised this; if I emailed her the following day simply saying “Hey, listen to this because I think it’d work really well on your show” and supplied her with a link to download or stream the song on the CD that she probably binned before even checking out of the hotel, then she would listen to it. And if she liked it she’d probably use it, because I’ve spent the last five years becoming a trustworthy source for her.

Basically I’m a filter.

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.



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