Haulix Advice: 10 Things Musicians Do That Drive Journalists Insane

Greetings! Thank you for taking a little bit of time from your busy day to spend with us while we continue our efforts to better the future of the music industry. We have been running a lot of interviews as of late, but only because we needed a little extra time to fine tune the numerous advice columns and series we have planned for the months ahead. Today we’re bringing back our informative efforts, and to kick things off we brought together some of the best minds from every corner of the music blogging realm for a discussion that every artist should read. If you have any questions about the content of the blog, or if you would like more information regarding the distributional services offered by Haulix, please email james@haulix.com and share your thoughts. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

We do our absolute best to educate artists and groups alike on the proper way to communicate and interact with journalists, but as much as we like to think a few posts could change the world there are still many artists out there who are driving bloggers and print journalists alike crazy with their irritating, silly, or otherwise nonsensical promotional efforts. If that applies to you, and it very well could without you even realizing it, then this post just might save your career.

We thought long and hard about how to properly compile a list of complaints writers have about the up and coming musicians who contact them, and ultimately settled on asking writers to speak for themselves. We reached out to friends, professional acquaintances, and social networking groups to gain insight from every corner of the net, then took the best responses and compiled them below.

“10+ emails a day asking if we’d posted their news, song, video, reviewed their EP, etc. when we only received the original email an hour or go.” – Zach Redrup, Dead Press! Webzine

“5 word Bios are the worst! I understand the need and want to get people to hear you, and know that the music speaks for itself, but if you want to build a good following, your fans and people that are going to be talking about you need to know more about you. Sure, there may be 4 guys, and from NJ, or wherever, But.. what inspires them? How did they become the band? Why do they have a garden gnome at each show?? People want to know interesting things about the band!” – Daniel Gallegos, DreadMusicReview

"At least 24hrs before your performance, confirm that *blogger/reviewer/photographer* is on your guest list at the venue. There have been times when my name wasn’t on the band’s list because they forgot to confirm or give one to the venue.” – Tanya Vega, Rock In Chicago

"Artists — be clear in what you want from the blogger or editor. Here’s a situation: you just finished a record, congratulations, that is a huge step in your career. You want as many people as possible to hear your new record (as you should), so you send a link of your record to you favorite music writers, but you don’t tell that writer what you want him or her to do with your record. Do you want a stream, a review, an interview? Yes, you probably want all of the above, which is fine; just make a proposition. The more direct you are in what you want from a writer, the more willing a writer is to listen to your music.” – Matthew Leimkuehler, Under The Gun Review

"When I’m looking at unsigned bands, I more often than not, am attracted to an email with personality. Not so much of the member reaching out, but the band itself. We are people, not something that should receive the same (insert name at the top of the template) email as the last 50 places you emailed. Here are some points or questions they should ask themselves or should be answered within their request that have caught my attention in the past: What benefit do we have for covering you? Do you have 144 Facebook fans and plan on letting that be it? Will you share our coverage making it worth our time to help us both grow? Is your CD new or was it released two years ago and you need some cash? Do you tour? Do you play outside of your town? Do you have anything worth my time to promote? Why do you feel you fit our format? How did you find us? Other than blind hope, what made you feel we would listen? Is your band photo a "pro"mo or an "am"mo? Does your CD art look like a pre-schooler drew it? Tell me, briefly your accomplishments and ask to send a link to music. Also, use the contact form. It’s called a "CONTACT FORM” for a reason.” – Jonathan Newsome, Unsung Melody

“I get quite irked when bands/artists send me itunes links to their album they want reviewed. There is absolutely no way I’m going to pay $10 to write a review that I will make no money on.” – Sarah Mankoff, Soundcrave Magazine

"Too often do bands hit a euphoric epiphany, often in the middle of a record cycle, realizing that they can send their music to blogs to be reviewed. Never, ever, ever send your old music to a writer. The biggest flaw with unsigned bands is not knowing how music media works. It’s April, do not send writers your debut LP that dropped last September, there is nothing to cover there. Understand that you need to trust the media to promote your releases at the beginning of your record cycle, and not the middle or end.” – Matthew Leimkuehler, Under The Gun Review

"Misspelling your pitches. Emailing me relentlessly and then getting pissed, as though I owe you a post. Not relating it to other things I’ve posted (seriously, tell me things like, "Hey, I saw you posted about this and that makes me think you’d be interested in us because there are similarities.” That can go a long way). If I DO make a post, not sharing it on your socials (quid pro quo). That drives me up a wall.” – Jonathan Barken, Bloody-Disgusting

“I’m always willing to help a band who I believe in. If the music is there and the passion is there, I want to slingshot a band forward. However, when a band comes at me with the "help us, help you” approach, regardless of their talent, I can’t commit. If you approach me like I’m beneath you or you don’t NEED anything from me, or worse, like I’m a waste of your time, I’m not going to put my time into helping advance your career. I don’t need you to flatter me, but I do want you to respect and appreciate me. It is important to scratch each others back. Modesty will take you a long way in this industry.” – Josh Hammond, Freelance Writer

“Bands that are completely outside of our genre (which couldn’t be clearer based on our site’s name) sending repeated press requests, even after getting the polite no. I’m sorry, Dirty Sanchez, but I don’t cover hip hop from the Dominican Republic that I can’t even understand. That’s not going to change, even if you ask again in 2 days.” – Zach Stepek, Rock Insider Magazine

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.