As you'll know if you've read my book, Six-Figure Musician, I am constantly analyzing product packaging, stage banter, email copy, and other marketing material for great examples of what works.
Today, I got an email from a guy on my mailing list that's not only a good example of what works when it comes to getting attention, but also shows the #1 way I know to make sure you have a successful career in the music business.
Riley Soward here. I'm really interested in going into the music
business, and I watched your videos back in the day and I'm currently
half way through your book about making six figures as a musician!
While I have no musical talent, I'm hoping to make my best friend,
Zach Gospe, into a successful professional musician by being his
So my buddy, Zach Gospe, who is sixteen years old, just recorded an EP
with five songs. The quality is quite high, and we used pro-tools, so
when I saw this email I figured I'd send you the music.
This guy is still under the radar, but he's been blowing up on
Facebook at our high school and he's gaining popularity. In the first
two days–even though his music was online for free–we sold 40 copies
of his CD to kids at our school. He's quite talented, and it would
mean so much to me and to Zach if you checked out a couple of his
songs on his soundcloud. You could be the guy who "discovers" Zach
Anyways, I really appreciate your time and everything you have done
for the music business. The link to his soundcloud is below, you can
download all the songs for free if you want. All five songs on his EP
are original songs by Zach Gospe.
I've ranked the songs for you so if you only have time for a few
songs, you know which ones to listen to:
1) On The Wall
2) Miles From Midnight
3) I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
4) State I'm In
5) Follow Me Awake
Thank you so much, and I really hope to hear from you soon!!
P.S. We made some pretty cool looking CD's and CD cases, so if you
want a hard copy, I'll send you one for free. Just let me know!
Why it works:
- Riley is familiar with my work. This message was sent as a response to something I emailed him (via my mailing list) and he mentions also having seen videos of me.
You wouldn't believe how many emails I get which basically say, "Tell me what you can do for me." Unless you're going to somebody who is selling you a service, chances are a request like that will get ignored. Do your research ahead of time.
- He has a musician friend who is only 16 years old. Not quite the novelty of a 9-year-old who plays drums, but still something that stands out enough to grab my attention. Beyond that, it reminds of when I was 16 and trying to make it in the music business, which for me, makes me more likely to write back and try to help him.
Obviously, not everybody is going to be 16, but there is something about you (or your artist) that will let you connect equally well. Again, do research ahead of time, as this might help give you a clue that will help you to establish a better connection.
- He makes it about me.
Sure, Riley is wanting my attention for his artist, but he gives me a good reason to make that happen, which is that I can be the one who "discovers" and gets credit bringing Zach to the world.
- He shows appreciation.
Riley, instead of making the email all about him or his artist, brings it back to me by thanking me for "everything."
- He makes it easy.
I like Soundcloud. I think it's a great way to listen to music, since all I need to do is click on a link and play it through my web browser. But in the event that doesn't work for me, Riley offers to send a CD. That may seem like a small thing, but most musicians don't want the extra work and never offer the option.
Beyond that, because there are several songs on the page, he ranks the songs he wants me to hear. This is good idea, but also something that I feel I can improve on...
The rank is fine and you'll be successful with an email like this, but if you have a similar situation yourself, I'd suggest replacing the "ranking" with something like this...
"Listen to 'On The Wall' for his best song."
One song. That's it.
Why? Because the fewer options you give people, the more likely they are to go in the direction you want. Too many choices confuse people.
When it comes to songs, there are several on the same Soundcloud page, so I can obviously check them out, but only giving me one suggestion to start with really emphasizes where he wants me to go. It also greatly increases the odds that I'll get the page in the first place, since it's less of a time commitment after I click on the link.
When I started in the music business, before CD burners were common and we sent music samples on tape, I'd put one song on a cassette. If somebody liked it, they'd call for me and ask for more. Rather than send another package, I'd tell them, "I have two more songs are on Side B."
Although we no longer use cassettes to send out music, you'll benefit from "one song per cassette" thinking. For example, giving somebody a link to a single Soundcloud song (like this "On the Wall" link), rather than the "library" link listed above, and trusting that if they want more, they'll know how to click on the username and see what other songs are available.
One more thing, which is about the way Riley is breaking into the music business in general. He's getting in with a guy on the ground level, jumping in, and learning as he goes. As his artist grows, he is also growing. And the artist, Zach Gospe, is smart too, because while his manager might not be the most experienced, he has something you can't buy -- passion.