Thanks to social networks like Facebook or Twitter it’s easy for us artists to have a constant communication with our followers. However, studies proove that more than a 75% of people still preffers email to receive important news. So, are you an artist and you still don’t have your own newsletter? What are you waiting for?

Here you have some things you have to keep in mind before you start your newsletter:

–  Choose a newsletter provider that you like and you feel comfortable with:  You’ll have to take some time to get used to it, so I recommend for you to start messing around with different ones (sending emails to yourself) before you start promoting it. Most of them have a free option, so take advantage of it in the beginning, unless you’re really sure the one you have is the one you’re going to stick with and you like the perks that the paid option offers. Here you have some examples of well known newsletter providers:

– Pick up a calendar & start using your marker! It doesn’t have to be exact, but just so you start getting used to having a routine I recommend for you to plan the dates ahead. Start sending a monthly newsletter, and, ir you feel chatty and genereous, you can even do it twice a month! I wouldn’t recommend writing more than that, unless you have MAJOR NEWS! Newsletters tend to get annoying if sent too often. Also, you might think it’s weird, but studies prove people read more newsletters if sent oh weekdays, as opposed to weekends, so… get your Wednesday newsletters going!

– Write down everything you want to add to your email: I do this everytime, when anything happens that I want to add in my next newsletter, I write it down and outline what my newsletter will be. This allows me not to forget anything in the process and re-order my ideas. Do the same!


What to add on a newsletter? Well, first off, you don’t have to have big news to send an email to your followers, they like to know about you anyway! So it doesn’t matter if you’re in between albums and there is not much to talk about or promote: Talk about your songwriting, recordings, projects, etc. You can even tell them how your last workout went or where you to a trip to last.

  1. Subject, short & sweet: Not too long, around 50 characters.
  2. Salutation, personal: There are many newsletter providers that let you personalize the greetings so the person’s name is shown. If this is not possible, try to make it something personal so whoever reads it relates to it… good examples of using something “general” but personal is naming your fans, just like Lady Gaga (little monsters) or Mariah Carey (lambs), just to name a couple.
  3. First paragraph, personal: Don’t go right to the point, your projects, etc. Start with something personal, like where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, post a fun picture, etc.
  4. Second paragraph, content: Now you can start introducing a little bit of promo: your new record, gigs, etc.
  5. Third paragraph & goodbye: This is the “call-to-action” paragraph, encourage your followers to buy your record, watch your video or like your Facebook. And last, but not least, warmly say goodbye, tell them how much you’d like to see them at your next gig, you know! something nice!

Hope all these tips help!! If you got any question… you know what to do!!

Episode 15 – Conferences

Posted: 27th January 2013 by admin in Conferences
Tags: , ,

January is probably the month of music conferences, and I should probably have posted this a little before these important conferences, specially MIDEM & NAMM (both going on as I write)… oh well! You have time to get ready for the next one, right?

Lots of people say an image is worth a thousand words and in the music industry, I agree with this statement. With the internet world we’ve lost the face to face and we keep in contact with people that we don’t even know how they look (emails, phones, Facebook, etc.)

Music conferences are a great chance to break this wall and start talking face to face to some music industry royalty: radio, publishing companies, A&Rs, etc. At the same time, there is nothing better for them to see you asking questions, listen to your music and… why not? Maybe give you great advice (for good or for bad) about your music.

And, although I have to admit I’m pretty antisocial (I hate phones & I tend to loose my focus talking face to face), I do have to say I am a conference freak, you will see me there at the first panel when there is nobody else around (yep, around 9am…). I love to see music business people sharing their visions on the industry and even show their “asses” when I don’t agree with what they’re saying (believe me, after that, they ALWAYS remember who you are, lol!)

The first conference I attended to was about 4 years ago, at the Billboard Latin Music Conference, in Miami (USA) -if you’re a Spanish speaking artist I do recommend this one, since it’s 90% in Spanish. Since then, I’ve gone to several and I have even taken part in panels and I can say it is a great opportunity, both as an attendee and a panelist.

Where do I start?

Well, now you’ve decided you want to attend a music conference, now what?

– Choose the right conference:
I recommend for you to start by finding out if there is any music conference around your area, because this will always make your first experience a little better, having to spend less money, because indeed, you do need money to attend to conferences. I decided to attend to the Miami one because it was close to Orlando where I was residing and I had a friend who let me stay at her house (please, a big round of applause for the good friends that let us occupy their homes!). All of this made my trip worth.

– Budget:
Keep in mind anything you will need for your conference and make a budget for it, remember to include the conference registration, since depending on which one you’re trying to attend it can be up to $1,000!). Also have in consideration travelling expenses (gas, flights, cabs, etc.), lodging, food, promotion materials, etc.

– Get your promo merchandising ready:
Are you gonna have CDs? Business cards? Press kits? Make sure you have everything ready before you leave. Depending on what’s your goal I would recommend you to do one thing of the other. In my opinion, CDs are a little old style, because normally people attending the conference don’t want to be carrying your stuff around, it’s better for you to give them your business card and do a follow up later with your links so they can listen. Or, if you want something “physical”, spend some money on palm cards with your links on them.

– Learn who and what’s on schedule for the conference
In these events there are a lot of people, and most of them are there to talk to the same people once they’re already there. Take advantage of the fact that most conferences publish their panelists & schedules with months in advance on their website, how? Just check the schedule out and try to find the panelists on places like LinkedIn or Facebook and introduce yourself before the event. Don’t be annoying though, just tell them you’re gonna be there and you would like to meet them, that way once you go to them and shake their hand “live” they will probably recognize you and separate you from the rest of people that approaches them at conference.

– When you’re there, don’t be shy!
Even though I am pretty introverted, I had to get used to not be shy in these occassions. Introduce yourself to whoever you want to talk to, ask questions, at the end of the day… they’re there because of that!

– Practice your elevator pitch (read about it)

A music conference is a pretty chaotic place to meet music proffessionals, but sometimes it will be the only chance to be in front of people that count on your career. With this said, it is very important for you to have a practiced introduction for yourself and your project, since you might only have a few second to make it count! You can do it in front of the mirror or ask a friend to act as whoever you want to talk to. Try to introduce yourself in a way that will captivate them, but remember, you’re only going to have about a minute and a half to do it! Things to remember:

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. Ask them how they’re doing, what they think about the congerence, if they’re coming from far, etc. (show interest for their work, don’t show that you’re eager to talk about yourself).
  3. Tell them how interesting their intervention on the panel was.
  4. And then, ONLY THEN, talk briefly about yourself and your project. Don’t show that you NEED them, try to show them the benefits of them working WITH YOU, not the other way around.
  5. If you talk about your music, DO NOT compare yourself to any other artist, they are not interested on that nor is that help for yourself, try to catch their interest talking about something unique about your project (don’t overwhelm them with awards you’ve won, people you’ve performed in front of, etc. Be brief and humble).
  6. Tell them something like “listen, I know you must be busy, I just wanted to introduce myself and hand you my material to see if you could check it out when you get a moment”. Then give them whatever you’re there to give them (your card, press kit, CD…) and enforce the fact that there’s no rush for them to check it out, that you can talk about it on the phone, via email or maybe in another time over coffee or lunch.
  7. GET THEIR BUSINESS CARD, this is the most important part, since if you don’t get it… chences they contact YOU are very few… in most cases the follow up depends on YOU, not them.
  8. After you said goodbye, write something in the back of the business card that will remind you WHO THEY ARE in case you are not good with names. In these kind of events you might end up with over 50 business cards by the end of the night and it’s possible you cannot remember everybody once the night is over. And… You don’t want to contact the wrong person after all day working on them to remember you, right?

– After the conference, DO A FOLLOW UP

Don’t loose contact with the people you meet at the conference. Even though you might not need them at this very moment, you never know what the future holds… 2 or 3 days after the conference send everybody an email, call them, etc. Do something so they remember you and the brief conversation you guys had. I recommend you to send emails without being very aggressive and without pushing any issue very hard on the next 2 or 3 weeks after the conference, since it is the time they will probably be bombarded by everybody else that was in that conference. If you want to talk serious businness, wait to do it 2 or 3 weeks after the conference. Then, once you guys have had a light conversation during those weeks, you can start talking more clear and get to the point more smoothly. If they’re local, suggest having a meeting to talk about how you can possibly help each other.

Once you’ve read all this (if you did, congratulations, you made it!) there is nothing that can stop you! You can write me an email and let me know how it all went! I’d be more than happy to hear how your experience was! Did you get to talk to anybody important? Or better yet… did you get to make business with them?

Interesting conferences to attend:

MIDEM (Cannes, France, del 26 al 29 de enero del 2013)
NAMM (Anaheim, CA, January 24-27th 2013)
Florida Music Festival (April 17th-20th 2013)
SXSW (Austin, TX March 2013)
Future Music Forum (Barcelona, September 2013)

Other interesting resources:
Attending Music Conferences 101 (Dave Cool)

Episode 14 – Merchandising

Posted: 24th August 2012 by admin in Booking, Marketing & Promotion

You know, more artists don’t give enough credit to merchandising, and I think it is a great way to receive revenue and do good promotion. While indie artists don’t usually have a big budget for merchandising (both promotional & for sale), they should find a way to add some pieces to their merchandising stand. Merchandising is not only good for revenue, but for promotion. In this episode I show you a couple things that I’m taking with me to my gig on Sunday.

Things that you should always have with you:

– CDs: This is probably the biggest investment that you’ll make (at an average of 1,5 to 2 dollars each), but it is where you’ll see the fastest revenue back. Think about how many copies you think you can sell and make the investment accordingly, don’t go overboard on the copies if you’re not sure, or you might end up with a house full of unsold CDs. Although most people are going digital to listen to their song, there are still a lot of collectors that love to have a physical copy of the CD, specially if they know you & they’ve seen you live and have the opportunity to have their CD personally signed by you. Example: My record label spent about 2,300 dollars for 1,000 copies of my first album… well, in way less than a month they have recoop the money they put on them, and then some… Also, don’t go crazy on the prices, YOU ARE NOT LADY GAGA, I wouldn’t go over 15 dollars per full album.

– Palm cards: There are great, mostly for promotion. I have several different ones: one that I can sign for anybody that would like my sign, others with my information on where & how to follow me, others with a little paragraph explaining who I am. I use these to give away if somebody signs up for my mailing list or to leave on the tables of the club just as a promotion tactic.

– Calendars: Cheap & nice, who doesn’t like to have a card size calendar in their wallet? The same as palm cards I normally give these away for people that sign up for my mailing list.

– Pins: Pins are small things that you can sell for about 3 bucks. They are normally pretty cheap to make as well, if you make them on bulk. Your followers will be more up to buy a 3 dollars pin than an expensive 20 dollars t-shirt.

Other cool ideas for merchandising, if you think you can pull it off, since they take a bigger investment, but might be worth to try…

– T-Shirts
– Pens
– Notebooks/Agendas
– Keychains
– Jewelry Box

I love Vistaprint for merchandising, just for the reason that they have great prices & they always have deals where you can try things for free, testing how they look, just by paying the S&H. Check it out and… get creative!

Episode 13 – How to get ready for a gig

Posted: 16th August 2012 by admin in Booking

Okay, so… I have a gig… and yes! I thought about you! I’m sure you guys have gigs as well, and you might have your ways of getting ready for a gig, but I wanted to show you mine. What do you think about that? Anyway, here we go…

These are the steps I follow once I get a gig:

– Find out how long the gig is gonna be & calculate how many songs I need: This is important, because you don’t want to go with a loooong set & then you have to leave out songs you like or the other way around, you don’t have enough material to cover the whole set and then you have one pissed off promoter. Make sure you add between 5-10 minutes to the total running time of the gig for you to talk (are you serious? You DO talk in between songs right?).

– Make a list of the songs you want to perform: Without any specific order, just make a list of the songs you want to perform. It is a good idea for us independent artists to add a couple or three cover tunes that people that don’t know you will recognize and will be able to sing along.

– Think about the order of the songs that you want to perform: I always think about what I would like to listen to. Of course, I wouldn’t like t listen to all ballads together or all dancy tunes together, so try to vary a little. It’s a good idea for you to place you latest single as the last song of the show, since it is the one they will remember the most &… you know what that means! Sales! 😉

– Make sure you promote your event via Twitter, Facebook, etc.: Use all social media to promote your show. A great way is to use twitter & hashtags of the club you’re performing or the city you’re gonna be at (i.e. #barcelona or #oscarspub). Lots of people use hashtags to find out what’s going on in their favorite club or city that night. Also, make sure you open a Facebook event in your music page & invite all of the followers from around the area, and tell them to invite their friends as well!

– Merchandising, have it ready!: They can say whatever they want to say, but people STILL love physicality. Not only I would recommend for you to still press your CDs (in small amounts) to sell them on the shows, but people like to have merchandising like t-shirts, pins, calendars, etc. Spend a little money on creating some nice things, I love, they have some awesome stuff & every week they offer something for free, it’s a great way to see how a pen or a mug would look like & test it!


This is all I can think about today! I will try to film a little bit of my show on the 26th for you to see, but I can’t promise anything! If you’re around Vinarós on that day (hey, it can happen, right?) make sure you RSVP on my Facebook event! I would love to see you there!

Also, I’d like to give a big shout out to Social Media For Musicians for featuring this Diary on their website as well as giving great tips to indies like us!

The digital era has opened numerous doors for us, indie artists. Besides having more control about where and we sell our product, a bigger field of promotion, etc. we can reach a wide audience easier than artists used to 10 or 15 years ago.

Lots of artists start with big dreams of being played in terrestrial radio & this is where they will start trying to get their music played. Well, let me tell you this is one of the most difficult parts of promotion, almost impossible… that’s why I say… start small. Podcasts & Internet radios are the best & faster way to go… With luck & a good product terrestrial radio will come in the future.

Online radios are simply that, radios that work online & in a streaming base. Some of them (the bast majority of them) work only online & some others also broadcast terrestrially.

On the other hand we have podcasts. The podcast term was born from the contraction of  Public On Demand & Broadcast. A podcast is something similar to a radio show, but in an mp3 form. Listeners are normally subscribed to them and they receive the mp3 of the new shows in their iTunes or iPod. There are different kind of podcasts, not all musical.

Of course, we are interested in the musical ones, since they’re the ones that could potentially play your music & get your more followers or fans.

– Where can I find a list of podcasts?
There are several way to find podcasts, one of them is iTunes, however, the best thing to do is to visit specialized websites with podcast lists, a lot easier to browse. Here are some of the ones I visit:

– What’s the best way to introduce yourself to the radio hosts/podcasters?
The best thing is to contact them directly, introducing yourself and explaining your story. Online radio hosts & podcasters are normally people just like you, who like music, so they usually  love to receive personal messages. However, before you send an email out to them, here’s a few things you should have in mind:

– Make sure your music fits in the podcast/radio you’re going to contact: As I said before, there are different kinds of podcasts, not only music podcasts, so make sure it is before you contact then, also make sure that your music genre fits with theirs. Podcasters/Hosts receive hundreds of emails everyday, so they don’t need their time wasted having to listen to music that doesn’t fit their show. I recommend for you to go to their website and listen to their last podcast to make sure your music fits in their mold.

– Don’t send your mp3 directly to the host, without introducing yourself: Don’t spam & saturate the hosts’ emails. DON’T SEND MP3s TO THE PODCASTER UNLESS THEY ASKED YOU TO. I advice for you to send them an email with your introduction, inviting them to listen to your music in a website where you have it streaming, such as  Reverbnation, MySpace, Soundcloud, etc. This will give them the chance to listen to your music and decide if they want to play it on their show. Only then, if they ask you to, you can send them the mp3.

– Add your most important information in the email body: Introduce yourself in about 2 paragraphs, hosts don’t have much time to read long emails and, if they are interested in your story, they can always visit your official website or social networks. Once they’ve asked you to send your mp3, you can add more information about it: title, release date, where you can buy it, etc.

– Don’t send your mp3 without encoded information: When they was you for music, don’t send it like this: “Track 1.mp3″.  Make sure the mp3 is properly encoded, for example “IreneB-Forgive_Me_Now.mp3″ (I recommend not to include spaces in the title, because it might get truncated), that way the host will be able to find your mp3 easily. Also, make sure it includes all the encoding (you can add the metadata via iTunes or other similar programs). Your ISRC code should also be encoded in the mp3.

– How is it possible to crossover from online to terrestrial radio?
DJs or hosts in terrestrial radios don’t usually have freedom to play whatever they like, they are under the demands of music directors (who are, at the same time, playing whatever advertising or payola money “tell” them). However, a lot of these DJs have their own online radio or podcast where they have total freedom on what they play. If they like your music, they might be more prawned to try to convince the terrestrial radio music director to give your music a shot. If you’re lucky and are added in the playlist of these stations, you can always have your fans calling and petition your music to be played.