Uncommon Approach: Hard choices

Uncommon Approach: Hard choices

Wow, I just had an eye opener. Some people may know that in addition to running my record label Uncommon Records, that I also do a podcast called Uncommon Radio. The show is usually co-hosted by my partner in rhymes Cirrus Minor and it can be found here. I always ask for people to send us demos that I can play on the show. So, I’ve ended up on a few lists and gotten some true gems sent to me.

‘Uncommon Approach’ is a column written by Paul “Nasa” Loverro, owner of independent label Uncommon Records. With this frequent column, he gives readers an all access look at the ups and downs of running an independent Hip Hop label in this day and age. An in-depth column from the perspective of an Indie label owner. 

Wow, I just had an eye opener.  Some people may know that in addition to running my record label Uncommon Records, that I also do a podcast called Uncommon Radio.  The show is usually co-hosted by my partner in rhymes Cirrus Minor and it can be found here.  I always ask for people to send us demos that I can play on the show.  So, I’ve ended up on a few lists and gotten some true gems sent to me. 

I just dug out from about 100 plus e-mails, and saw all the dos and dont’s of promoting music. I figured that I knew the deal, I’ve been running this label for six years now.  But I’ve never opened that many demo e-mails in a row.  A lot of sites probably open that many e-mails per day.  Here’s a sum up of some hard choices I can now see myself making in the future.

Attachments
Do I want to attach an MP3 to the e-mail when I send out promos?  I’ve always been from the school that some people delete e-mails when they have attachments without even opening them.  But someone recently told me about how in Gmail accounts you can play the track without downloading it if it’s an attachment.  This is HUGE!  I did that the whole time I went through these demos.  People that had attachments, got the most play and consideration for my podcast.  Most people have Gmail accounts now.  Lesson 1 learned.

Get to the point
I struggle with being wordy in e-mails.  I fall into the trap of wanting to get a lot of info across to people about a song, but in reality, nobody has time for all that.  I need to find away to shorten my e-mails and be more concise.  I’m not nearly as bad as some people that sent me demos though.  I also noticed myself reading and pressing play on the shortest and most coherant e-mails.  Lesson 2 learned.

Here’s some other mistakes I found digging through the demos, that I haven’t made myself:

– E-mails sent without audio or a link to audio.  Basically pointless
– Files sent via Mediafire.  Mediafire does NOT have a way to stream.  I won’t (and assume most won’t) download something from a stranger without hearing it first
– Long, long emails that drone on forever, nobody is reading that
– E-mails with crazy color text and different text sizes randomly tossed about

Personal Touch

I also noticed that I responded and enjoyed e-mails that I felt were written to me personally.  As a label owner this kills me, because the amount of time to write personally to each blogger, DJ, etc. is impossible.  But for special sites and people you know you can get a response for it’s worth it.  It goes a long way.

Sending full lengths
Lastly, there’s a new issue in this quick moving digital world.  It’s hard to digest an album.  I found myself wanting a track.  One track or two, that’s it.  Then I could quickly decide if I liked it and put it in the play pile, or if I didn’t and delete.  People that sent full lengths kind of came off overwhelming.  I just didn’t have the time to digest full albums.  This also kills me as a label owner because it’s my job to sell albums. 

Blogs these days don’t even write reviews anymore for the most part which is sad.  There are certain people that I feed full lengths to, but I’ve learned you can’t send out a full length anymore to your full list, because it just leads to your stuff getting bootlegged online.

I guess the chain now is:
Single > Blogs/Podcasters > Readers/Listeners > Purchase of Full Length

Bloggers and press are basically out of the album chain for better or worse.  It’s an odd way to do things.  Someone will post or write about a track promoting an album they haven’t even heard, but I guess that’s where we’re at in 2010.  Hopefully, true music journalism returns at some point.  There is more opportunity then ever to exhibit it online, but things just aren’t leaning that way right now.

Conclusion

It’s basically all about the quick hit e-mail, one track at a time.  Promote your message clearly and repetitively and develop relationships through follow up.  Target outlets that are best for what your trying to do instead of doing blanket stuff and try to personalize contact as much as possible.  Always make sure it’s easy for people to hear your stuff, either in that email or one click away.

Read all columns by Paul “Nasa” Loverro HERE

Danny

Just an ordinary guy always on the hunt for extraordinary music. Not just as the founder of The Find Magazine & Rucksack Records, but also as a freelance music journalist and—above all—out of love for all kinds of good music.