Headphone Commute’s Guide to Never Getting Heard

04Sep11

So you finished your album, and are ready to spend the next five minutes engaging in that vile act of self-promotion. The word itself is enough to make a real musician gag. And since you made this music just for yourself, why spread the word about it? To make absolutely sure that your music is never heard, let alone reviewed by the so-called “blogs”, follow these simple rules:

  • First of all, you can skip all of the below advice. After all, you already know better than everyone else! How hard is it to get blacklisted? In fact, if you want to succeed in not getting your music ever heard, don’t even tell anyone about it!
  • If you decided to actively get ignored, keep on reading… The main goal of your message should be to convey just how easy it was for you to hit the “send” button! After all, you’re all about being “green”, and transferring digital bits and bytes does not hurt anyone! Remember to be very nonchalant about the entire thing, demonstrating to the reader that no effort was put into your communication at all…
  • Don’t bother researching the target publication and the types of music that it covers. They are used to thousands of emails a day! Plus, they are definitely backed by a multi-million dollar corporation that can afford an army of illegal immigrants to sort through all the mail. Why should you waste your valuable time? It’s all about sponsoring the jobs in this economy!
  • Collect a bunch of addresses from different sites (use a bot to spider them for emails, or purchase from a spamming agency), and blast an email to all in one shot! Even better, make sure you CC: everyone, so that the addresses are visible and available for others to steal.
  • Send from a fake email address (use anonymizer), this way the reader can never reply and get back to you with comments on your music. Let them Google your name and arrive at your MySpace page where they can leave you a message through their fantastic HTML5 web interface!
  • Leave the subject of the message completely blank, or write something generic like “NEW RELEASE”. Make sure the subject is in all CAPS – pretends you’re SCREAMING at the reader! For extra attention, use ASCII art in the prefix like so: “.oO~<<!!README!!>>~Oo.”
  • In the body of your message simply write “helo, listen my music”. Or even better, just write “you’re welcome.” Be sure to ignore a spell checker and skip any proof reading. Remember – the less you write, the better. This is a tweeting generation, after all!
  • Attach a high-resolution rasterized bitmap of your artist name, archives of empty iTunes directories, multiple MP3s with missing ID3 tags, and for extra effect, the actual body of the same message in a PDF. The purpose of this action is to inflate the message size to its maximum capacity. Disk space and bandwidth are free!
  • Write your message in another language, like French or German (web browsers have built-in language translator these days). Include individual links for each one of your social sites (minimum a dozen), which in turn just redirect back and forth to each other in an infinite loop.
  • If you choose to include a link to an actual downloadable album, make sure it takes the visitor to a site with many pop-ups and possibly malware. Make it very difficult to actually download the thing! If the link is to a streaming sample, make sure it uses an obscure Java plugin to play, requiring an upgrade to the latest OS, and that the actual track is constantly “water-marked” with a robot text-to-speech voice-over saying, “this is just a promo… this is just a promo… this is just a promo…” throughout the track. Again, the goal here is just to tease and never deliver!
  • If your album release is followed up by a public performance, make sure to list the venue name, but leave out the address – in this world of internet, the name of the street is not important, let the reviewer use Google maps for the location. If you’re feeling generous and decide to include an actual address, be sure to leave out the country – after all, Broadway is only in New York!
  • If using a mailing list service, make sure to first subscribe the receiver without their prior permission. How else are they going to get on your list? Then, when the message gets blasted, avoid ways to unsubscribe at all costs! Either don’t include “unsubscribe” links, or have them take the reader to a 404 page. For maximum effect, use your mailing list with other unrelated promotions, like for the sales of your latest energy bracelet, or a fundraiser for your fun trip to Goa.
  • If you have extra time on your hands, and really want to have fun with this, create a templated generic message. Avoid all personal touches. Select a colorful background (bright pink or purple does the trick), embed multiple images that take minutes to load from tracking sites (make sure these are animated flashing ones), and make it look like a big billboard poster – let everyone know how much time you took in making this gorgeous! Bottom line – make sure it speaks louder than the music itself!
  • And last but not least, remember, Time = Money. And in this world of zero-sum game, for every moment of someone else’s wasted time, you benefit financially in return (don’t ask me how it works, the formula is magic). So even if your music won’t ever be heard or let alone reviewed (isn’t that the goal?), at least you have made your mark on this planet!
You’re all done! If you followed the above advice, I can guarantee you that your music will never get heard or receive any publicity! In fact, chances are that if you used just one of the tactics above, you’re already in the red zone of improbable promotion. Two or more bullets guarantee your entry into a well deserved black-list!


4 Responses to “Headphone Commute’s Guide to Never Getting Heard”

  1. 1 Shokora

    Thanks this really helped me a lot, I know exactly what to do when I don’t want my next album to be heard 0=D

    Btw, there is actually something like a blacklist? This something personal or public?

    • The mentioned “blacklist” is more of a virtual concept. It could be as simple as someone just hitting “spam” on your email. Depending on how some spam filters work, enough people spamming your mail can result in your address being added to the application’s real “black list”… In some cases, local filtering can be done as well… for example if the body of the message contains the word “Unsubscribe”, it can be certainly considered a blast from a mailing list, so those emails can get flagged, filtered, and sorted locally, leaving the more personalized at the top of the mailbox.

      Just imagine what you would have to do, if you started receiving hundreds of emails a day, all fitting in the above mentioned criteria, and what you would have to do, to combat each and everyone of them… and then don’t do it! :)

  2. For years, I’ve been reading blogs by music publicists who focus on internet marketing, and they pretty much agree with all of these things. And its true, really. The key is always been highly aware of your presentation, and authentic/sincere in your dealings with people.

    That and honestly, there is nothing worse than having to download a zip file of MP3 files with no tagging from Mediafire or something. I get these frequently.

  3. DISCLAIMER: In case I wasn’t obvious, the above piece is a sarcastic commentary of my frustration with hundreds of emails I get, which, hopefully, should benefit you as an inverted advice. In other words, read it to learn what NOT to do, when approaching a label, journalist, or simply another human being on the other side of your letter…


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