What to do when someone writes about your music

Music Journalism, Marketing, Promotion, Music Business, Music News

Gaining the attention of blogs and their readers is no easy feat, especially for unsigned talent with little-to-no history. You can write the best songs and have the most beautiful videos, but if you do not know how to network and pitch yourselves no one will ever learn about your talent. Once they do, however, there will only be a small window of time for you to capitalize on having won a moment of their attention, and this afternoon we’re going to learn what you should do in the hours after first receiving media attention.

1. Take time to celebrate, but realize there is still a lot left to accomplish.

I was never in a band that became popular enough to appear on sites like Absolutepunk or the like, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t spend many nights wishing one of the influential tastemakers of the scene mentioned my efforts in their publication. If your music/video/album gets covered, celebrate! You’ve taken yet another step towards your goal of a career in music, and while it’s certainly not enough to pay the bills, it does serve as a potent reminder other people in the world care about your art. Don’t take that for granted.

2. Tell everyone in the world about the news (and ask them to share it).

This one probably goes without saying, but the unwritten rule of exposure on music outlets is that the band featured will publicly share and/or promote the publication’s content once it’s live. Don’t just share the link to stories with fans, but ask them to share it as well, and don’t be afraid to request they comment on the post if time allows. Sites that see a bump in traffic or discussions from coverage of your band are more likely to cover your music again in the future because they believe there is a value to your content that other unsigned acts cannot provide. To show them that value you will need the help of your fans, and it’s up to you to sell them on sharing your work.

3. Engage the comments section, but don’t antagonize them.

If the reason you’re reading this post is that the first article that was ever written about your music just published you need to understand the response in the comments section may be very slow at first. As much as sites love to help expose young talent, people are not always quick to comment (especially in a positive sense) about something they are unfamiliar with. A great way to combat this is to actively participate in discussions taking place in the comments section of articles about your band. Answer questions for people, offer insight into your creative process and generally speaking do whatever you can to be a decent human being that is open to criticism. It’s not that difficult, but it can make a world of difference in how quickly people become engaged with your art.

4. Say “thank you” and/or support the publication that wrote about you.

You would not believe the power the phrases “please” and “thank you” have in the music industry. From labels to bands, publicists, and everyone in between you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks they hear either of those phrases too often. People tend to do as they please and take what they want without giving much thought to the process behind it all, but you can stand out from the countless unsigned artists of the world by voicing your appreciation to the sites that give you space on their front page. It does not have to be anything formal, but it should be sincere. People remember those who are kind to them, and they’re far more likely to want to work with you again in the future as a result.

5. Don’t be afraid to begin teasing your next announcement.

Once people learn about your art it’s very likely they will want to know everything they can about your current efforts. Using social media and the comments sections on posts about your work, take a moment to tell people about everything else you have going on while your name is still fresh on their minds. They might not buy the album or see the tour you’re trying to promote, but at least they’ll know of it and will have the ability to share that information with others if such opportunities present themselves.

6. Offer to send the site/writer more music. 

Has the site that covered you written about your latest album? Have they been to a show? Did they see the last video? Make the most of the attention you’ve earned and offer to deliver more material as soon as possible. Any positive response your initial article receives will increase the likelihood of the site picking up more coverage in the future.

Want more industry advice? Follow Haulix and writer James Shotwell on Twitter!

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.