Lots, and lots, and LOTS of people send me songs, EPs, full-length CDs, videos of performance with a brief message that says without fail, “check out my new music.”
Some people in the music biz get a bit miffed over this behavior. I’m not saying it’s bad. I’m not saying it’s rude. But I am saying it’s ineffective.
There are two simple rules to follow when asking for opinions.
If you want people to pay attention to live performance, your fans are the people to ask. What did they honestly think? If they can spend a few minutes to write it down, it has staying power and acts as a PR tool for the performer. Send your fans to http://Scout66.com and ask them to tell you what they thought of your show. Then take that information to whomever you want bookings with, and show it to them. When fans speak people listen. Talent buyers will pay attention.
Here’s my logo. Go on and take it. Put it on your site to remind fans. Put it in your email blasts alerting fans to upcoming shows. Start collecting reviews from fans who pay to see you play. It’s a very effective and free marketing tool.
Got a new single, EP or full-length CD? Get yourself over to Dark Horse Nashville @DarkHrseNash on Twitter and look at their criteria for reviews of recorded music. This is where and how you should engage with pros who’ll give you an honest assessment of your work. These folks are breaking the rules of engagement to help artists who don’t have the resources to do full-blown PR campaigns. They won’t hype the stuff, but they will give you honest feedback you can use in a variety of ways. They don’t have a website (because they are rule breakers with an attitude, and proud of it) so you need to be in touch with them on Twitter for now to get the skinny on what they’re doing.
There’s a longstanding joke that describes the music biz: “Ready, fire, aim.” Don’t fall into that trap. Be strategic in your efforts and quietly go about gathering information that will help you. Scattered hours spent asking every Joe on the street what they think isn’t effective for anyone…least of all you.