5 Tips For Crafting The Perfect Pitch Letter

It’s no great secret that the competition for the attention of bloggers and label reps is tougher than ever these days. The digital age has made connecting with these individuals easier for everyone, and in doing so made it more difficult than ever to get noticed. We asked a panel of journalists from a variety of musical backgrounds what tips they would offer artists/bands hoping to email them pitch letters, and below you will find the top 5 responses we received. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for additional tips on getting noticed and be sure to follow us on Twitter to ensure you never miss an update.

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1. Grammar. Grammar. Grammar.  This may seem like an obvious response, but it’s probably the most important tip we can offer. Every single journalist we approached for this article admitted to deleting and, in some cases, never reading pitch letters with grammatical errors. The pitch is an introduction of yourself and your art, but it’s also the first example of your business acumen and attention to detail that others will encounter. You only get one chance, so be sure it’s delivered void of any avoidable errors.

2. Keep it simple. Journalists know you’re excited about your music and want to share every detail about your efforts up front, but they’re also aware of the thousands of similarly anxious and excited musicians hoping for their break that have or will contact them as well. Avoid being lumped in with those that over-embellish by refining your letter to be simple and to the point. Phrases like “here’s a much needed breath of fresh air” and “I’m sure you get this all the time…” should be cut immediately, along with any band history stretching more than 3 sentences. This letter is a handshake and a hello, not an in-depth discussion about your history as an artist. You want to intrigue writers, not bore them.

3. CDs are dead. Long live high quality digital servicing. Though some may argue their place in retail, most music journalists prefer music be submitted for consideration through digital means rather than physical. Packaging is nice, but digital is faster, easier, and requires less postage. That said, journalists are also not fans of music sharing services that come coupled with walls of advertisements. You don’t want journalists thinking about whatever pop up ads appear while trying to hear your music, you want them thinking about you and the brand you are trying to market. Haulix allows artists to create personalized pages for their music that offer high quality streaming and watermarked downloads, as well as in depth analytics to help track overall engagement. 

4. Avoid impossible/unknown comparisons. One trick many artists you to quicken the introduction process with journalists is to compare their work to musicians that may be more recognizable. While many of the writers we spoke with agreed that this is a helpful tactic, it can lead to disinterest if the artists name are too famous, vague, or (on the opposite end) unknown to the journalist. If you’re going to use comparisons, we suggest researching the artists each writer covers and reworking your name drops to coincide more closely with their tastes. 

5. Be specific. When writing a pitch letter, make sure you have  something to promote and that your letter only promotes that thing. Journalists want new music that is actually new, not just unknown to the masses. If more than a few months have passed since your last EP or album, don’t send a pitch letter unless you have a tour, video, or additional major media item to promote. Bloggers are not interested in six month old albums unless it’s attached to whatever new thing it is you’re trying to promote. Sell them on what is new first. If response is strong, then you can approach about cover more/older material.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.