I receive a high volume of emails with improperly tagged music. I also, via twitter, get bombarded with links that do a disservice to the musicians sharing them. The goal of this is to help you present your music in the best possible way so that the receiver will be most inclined to listen.
Provide the Artist Name AND Song Name
The most important pieces of information that should be included in a song is the name of the artist(s) and the name of the song. Sadly, this is not as common knowledge as it should be. I often receive songs named “track 01.mp3″. The problem with not tagging a track correctly is simply this: even if the song is great, if we, on the receiving end, forget to rename the song as we receive it, we will also forget what it was called and all future searches for that song in our download folder will prove futile. Your song has become a distant memory, all because you took for granted the importance of naming it correctly.
Good: “Joe Blow – Holla If Ya Feel Me.mp3″
Bad: “01 Holla If Ya Feel Me.mp3″ (Who’s the artist again? We are more likely to remember an artist than a song name, even if it’s the first bar in the hook or something)
Bad: “01 Holla If Ya Feel Me (feat. David Copperfield).mp3″ (Why would you give more prominence to the featured artist than you would yourself?)
This brings me to another point. Some artists will say, “well, if you open the song in iTunes you’ll see my name, so I left it out of the file name”. While this may be true, doing either or is not enough. Doing BOTH is a must.
Fill out ID3 Info
ID3 is basically the information that pops up in any mp3 player including the artist name, song name, featured artists, genre(s), year, producer, and other additional info. There are a host of fields but, at the very minimum, ensure you fill in: Name, Artist, and Year fields. You can access a song’s ID3 info by selecting the song in iTunes and pressing ctrl+i (cmd+i on a mac).
Sharing Your Music
So you’ve successfully tagged a song. The next hurdle is, ofcourse, sharing it in a way that makes people want to listen at first glance.
One of the primary reasons a song gets overlooked is because of the inconvenience of listening. The goal should be to make it as easy as possible for the person you are sending your song to first preview, then download the song if they so desire. Depending on the medium you use to share the song, there are some best practices to follow to increase your chances of being heard.
Always attach your song in an email. IF you decide to provide a link, ensure that it is one that requires no more than a single click for a user to be able to stream the song before downloading (more on this below). Provide as much info as is needed. No more, no less. A short email is more likely to be read than a long one.
- Include the full song title in the subject of the email. This may seem excessive, but it adds integrity and makes your email stand out and, besides, repetition is good. It will be easier for the recipient to search their inbox and find your email if they need to reference it later.
- Provide additional info in the subject that will easily remind the recipient of the intended purpose of the email. (eg. if it was a submission for a mixtape, requested by the recipient, or for review/feedback, include this info in the subject)
- Keep the body of the email as concise as possible. If this is your first time emailing the recipient, ensure you provide some additional background info on yourself so you can grow the relationship. An EPK (Electronic Press Kit), link to your website and/or social media account(s), and direct contact information are great bits of information to include.
- State clearly the action you expect from the recipient. Whether it is feedback, placement, promotion; whatever action it is that you expect from the recipient, let it be known. The worst thing you can do is send an email with no call to action. You’re likely to be overlooked for not being a serious person with a plan.
- Follow Up. You’ve sent out this email, waited a few days or a week, and are yet to get a response. What should you do? Follow up. People get busy, forget deadlines they set themselves to check emails and such. It’s your duty to follow up.
Providing A Link To The Song
The most important thing to consider when sharing a link to a song is, “how will people digest this link?” You need to assume that some people will be checking the link from a computer, but a lot more may want to do so from a mobile phone. As such, it is a MUST that you make your link #MobileFriendly. When you share the song with an individual, ensure that you state that a link is #MobileFriendly clearly so there’s no apprehension on their part that would deter them from wanting to click the link. You want to avoid file-sharing websites with flash-based players, countdown timers and such, as these reduce the change of you ever getting heard.
Remember, the two most important things are that people can:
- Preview your song without downloading.
- Download if they so desire.
There are a couple file-sharing services that I highly recommend for sharing songs. Both are ad free, spam free, countdown free, mobile friendly, facilitate song streaming and, most importantly, FREE.
A free box.net account gets you:
- 5GB of total storage
- Max file size of 25mb (Don’t quote me on this. Either way, the average song is ~5-10MB for a high quality MP3, so this should suffice)
- Ability to organize songs in folders – this is great if you’ve got multiple versions of a song (Clean, Dirty, Acapella, Instrumental) and would like to share a single link with the recipient. By receiving a link to the folder, the user will see all songs in that folder)
- Analytics. You can determine how many people are downloading your song and gauge the effectiveness of ur promotion campaign.
Dropbox is another service that is web and mobile friendly. The difference is, Dropbox can be considered to be an online harddrive (cloud storage). The benefits of a dropbox account include:
- 2GB storage
- No bandwidth limits
- No individual file size limits
- No player, so whatever device the recipient chooses to use to listen to a song will determine how it will be played.
So, there u have it. Now go forth, using better strategies to capture the ears of fans, old and new.
Feel free to hit me up on twitter if you would like to see me address other topics in the “How To” series.
Previously: “How To: Network With DJs On Twitter”