We received an email at our festival office the other day. First, with the totally wrong name of the festival. Sure, that can happen in a ‘cut and paste’. Then the letter continues by asking questions that are obviously on our homepage, things like what are the festival dates, what kind of genre do we prefer, how much do we pay for each band. Why should I go through the process of answering questions like this for a band that we probably are not interested in booking based on them not doing their research? So, I just write back providing a link to where all the info around our application process is. And also informed them what our real name is this.
To be honest, I think we are pretty good at answering these emails. We actually get thousands of just emails from bands/bookers/pr people just sending out from different mailing lists not knowing where and to whom they are sending. It’s all part of the game, and that is why I guess 99% are just deleting the emails and don’t answer them. We try at least to give you the right info even though we know it’s just another mass mail out and time-consuming on our part.
Then two days later the artist goes on to our Facebook page writing nasty things just because we answered back with some info. This is the reason why so many have stopped responding. Now we must deal with an artist that does not even have the closest chance to be booked, being annoying in our official channels. Yes, it’s much easier to just delete the emails.
This is also, the reason why you never give feedback to anyone sending in a song. Most people probably would be thankful and nice but the small group of idiots start to mess up things or continue to answer back that you are wrong. You have really no time to give feedback in the first place. Now you are in a position that you should defend your opinions.
So, when you are annoyed that you never get any answers, here are some tip-offs. Try to be personal. We all hate those mass emails, yes, they are easy and convenient to send out. But you rarely get answers on them. Okay, it will be quite massive to be personal, but it’s the only way to get a response. I have an e-mail list of over 300 supervisors around the world. Yes, it would be darn easy to just make a send out with a generic email. But I spend two days sending the info as the generic email but add two personal sentences at the top.
But how will I be personal with all these 300 have I met them all? Many I have met but even if I meet them it’s very few I know that well. Instead, I also spend time going to their homepages or social media and check for updates. You pick up that they just moved or a recent success placement, almost anything and you do a nice comment on that. Like: “I saw that you just moved your office, how is the new place?”
You will directly stand out. It’s hard to ignore when a thing like that comes in. Then you also have to get that when they answer back: “Thanks, the new place is really great.” That it’s not an opening to have a long chat around the music that you sent in. You know they have seen it. So after the answer just put it away until they contact you. Though in many cases I get back other things like, “the new office is great, listened to your music do you have more songs with this artist?” Then, of course, you are in to send some more.
Yes, this is painstaking to do. At the same time, you also get info. Maybe your contact has left the company and has a new position. Voila, you get in the new person in the first company and hunt after your old contact with the new company that now has a better position. You can also find out other things like if a festival has changed style, it has a new theme. Information is valuable to know.
I wish it could be less time consuming, but some a-holes have made it into what is now easier to just delete emails.
Editor’s Note: Peter Åstedt has been working in the music industry for over 30 years. He has started record labels, distribution systems, and publishing companies. Peter also runs several major showcase festivals and is an advisor for INES and co-founder of MusicHelp/Discover Sensation. He has worked with the Top Ten most streamed songs and had music on both the Olympics and SuperBowl. Peter has currently taken up the seat of Station Manager of Cashbox Radio, working with MD, PD and station owner, Sandy Graham.