“Um…I’m not touring. So, I don’t have anything to say.”
“You want me to send one HOW often?! What on earth would I write about?!”
“I’m not an artist. So, I don’t need a newsletter. Right?”
Whenever I start talking to my clients or students about sending a newsletter, I typically get one of two reactions:
1. a look of sheer terror
2. a totally blank stare.
Followed by a variation of one of the above comments.
For some reason, this particular task tends to stop many creatives in their tracks.
But a newsletter, and the email list that comes with it, is a critical element in your music marketing toolkit. And it’s NOT just for performing artists. Songwriters, composers, producers, musicians, music teachers, and other aspiring music moguls can ALL benefit from using a newsletter to communicate with their respective audiences.
The issue that seems to be the biggest stumbling block is WHAT TO WRITE.
So…off the top of my head…here’s a list of things you can write about and/or include in your newsletter:
- Gigs that are coming up – where they are, when they are, how your fans can get tickets, etc.
- Gigs that just happened – people you met, the great time you had, something special about the venue or that particular night, etc.
- Songs you’re currently working on – your own, your co-writes, your work-for-hires, etc.
- Projects you’re currently working on – CD projects for yourself, projects for music libraries, special performances or tours, industry or legislative advocacy projects, etc.
- Projects you’re currently playing on – for yourself, your co-writers, your clients, your friends, your band mates, or for an outside studio, producer, label, publisher, etc.
- Photos of you “working” – writing, recording, performing, practicing, etc.
- Photos of you “behind the scenes” – backstage, in the car/van, in your office, at a meeting, getting ready for a show, packing, buying gear, having lunch in your PJs, etc.
- Info on how someone can purchase your CDs and downloads – your website, Amazon, CD Baby, etc.
- Info on how someone can book you for a gig and/or house concert – who to contact, your availability, etc.
- Info on how someone can hire you to play on a session – instruments you play, email or phone contact, how you work, etc.
- Info on how someone can license your music – where they can listen, different types of licenses available, where your music fits well, who they should contact, etc.
- Info on how someone can book you and/or your studio for their recording – who to contact, what you need to know about the project, turnaround times, styles you specialize in, etc.
- Photos that your fans have taken at your gigs
- Photos that your clients have taken at your studio
- Links to your website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Notes from the road
- Notes from your studio
- Notes from your living room, garage, or wherever
- Song placements in film/TV – current, previous, upcoming, etc.
- Cuts you’ve had – major, indie, local, etc.
- Links to your music – on your website, on iTunes, on Amazon Music, on CD Baby, etc.
- Free download versions of your songs (or free download codes so they can download a song for free)
- Links to your own YouTube videos – of your own music or select cover songs
- YouTube links of anyone covering your songs
- Cool people you’re working with and/or writing with
- Your Kickstarter, Pledge Music, or other crowdfunding campaign
- Recordings you’re working on – which songs, how far along you are, what parts you’re working on, the expected release date, parts that clicked, parts that gave you trouble, etc.
- Music industry events you are attending – showcases, conferences, workshops, festivals, etc.
- Other music industry activities you participate in – teaching, volunteering, interviews, judging, etc.
- Radio or TV appearances – local, regional, web, national, etc.
- Podcast, blog, and other Internet appearances – live, recorded, streaming, etc.
- Contests you’ve entered and/or won
- Contests you’ve judged
- Press you’ve gotten – for gigs, recordings, etc.
- Honors or awards received – yes, include your Grammys, but also awards by songwriting organizations, community awards, educational honors, sponsorships & endorsements, etc.
- Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings – about the music business or life in general
- Personal news you want to share – weddings, babies, moving, birthdays, deaths, anniversaries, funny stories, etc.
- Trials and tribulations – creative, business, or personal struggles (note: Be careful with this one. You DON’T want to become complainy or whiny!)
- Politics and activism – IF this is part of your artistic persona. And IF this is something you WANT to be known for. Otherwise, leave it out.
- Stories behind the songs – where do the ideas come from?
- Your own story – your hometown, your musical background, where you went to school, your ancestry, places you’ve lived, etc.
- Songs that inspire or influence you
- Music you’re currently listening to
- Other artists that have inspired or influenced you
- Books, movies, places, people, activities, events, or other things that inspire or influence you
- Fan profiles and spotlights – shine a light on your biggest and best fans!
- Recommended products – music gear, travel-related, things you use that make life easier, etc.
- Recommended websites – quotes, organizations you support, music sites, other artists, just plain cool sites, etc.
- Recommended events – concerts, music conferences, social meetups, festivals, fairs, special sales, TED/TEDx, etc.
- Quote of the week/month – inspirational, funny, etc.
- Quotes and Testimonials from fans or clients – about your music, about seeing you at a gig, about a particular CD, about working with you, etc.
- Share requests – ask your subscribers to share your music with friends and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
- Questions for your audience/fans/clients – where they’d like to see you play, would they host a house concert for you, what’s their favorite song of yours, how do they describe your music to others, etc.
Seriously…these are just the ones that came to me as I was typing and editing. I’m sure there are a ton more.
Now that you’ve seen this list, what ideas do YOU have? Share them below in the comments.
And then…get writing that newsletter!
About the Author
is a singer/songwriter, artist development coach and co-founder of Azalea Music where she teaches and mentors musicians, singer/songwriters and indie artists how to activate their "inner music mogul" so they can change the world through music! She specializes in working with the not-quite-mainstream and those "second-timers" coming back to music after a long hiatus. She's even been known to work with actors, writers, storytellers, and other creatives because the principles of pursuing a creative life are often the same regardless of the medium. She believes that the world needs to hear you and your music...whatever it is...because we would all be less without it.