Taking those first steps towards making connections forms an essential part of promoting yourself and your music, but it’s not always easy to know where to start.

As part of YCAT's 21cMusician Coffee Break session in April 2021, Sam Jackson shared his music industry advice on how to best present yourself online to prospective promoters, record companies and orchestras.

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Portrait image of Sam Jackson

SAM JACKSON

As Executive Vice President of the Global Classics & Jazz division of Universal Music Group, Sam’s role encompasses international marketing, content creation, brand expansion, digital innovation and strategic communication, working with many of the world's leading artists in their respective fields. Prior to joining Universal, Sam was a Senior Managing Editor at Global Radio, where he ran two of the biggest national commercial radio networks in the UK: Classic FM, which reached 5.8 million listeners every week, and Smooth Radio, which reached 5.6 million.

Here are our ten top takeaways:

  • Approach individuals where possible, not necessarily the top dog

CEO’s and Directors receive hundreds of emails every day from musicians seeking to make a connection. How about approaching a different member of the team? The fact that you’ve noticed an aspect of their work and ask for 5 - 10 minutes of their time to discuss is much more impactful.

  • Linkedin is your best friend

Utilise Linkedin to investigate who works where when the full team is not listed on their website. It is not a coincidence that most larger organisations have an email format along the lines of [email protected] - use this to your advantage! Beyond Linkedin, look at credits of recordings and see who is listed as the executive producer, editors, managers etc.

  • Make your proposal unique

“Hello, I’d like a record deal.”- wouldn’t we all?! Think about what you can offer to them and focus on how your proposal fits into the ethos of the organisation or individual.

  • Strike the right tone

Nobody enjoys receiving an overly familiar email. It is important to try to achieve a balance between acknowledging them but also not being too formal. You want your email to be taken seriously!

  • Be confident, but don't oversell

It can be awkward pushing yourself forward but don’t fret, people are expecting it! The beauty of being a musician is that you already have a great talent that speaks for itself. At the end of the day, they are just ordinary people who like music like you do, and will probably enjoy listening to what you send.

  • Structure information clearly and be specific

The average time spent reading an email is 11 seconds. Cut out the waffle and format each point in paragraphs to help with clarity.

  • Make your content easy to view

You're unlikely to receive a response to a CD in the post nowadays, but make any links you do send easy to retrieve. It is nice to be able to watch a performer via a video link but send whatever you are most proud of and comfortable with whether that be an MP3, youtube channel or social media links.

  • Don't be disheartened

You may not receive a reply immediately but don’t give up! People are incredibly busy and it is not personal.Try contacting them again a little further down the line when you have an update or approach them through a different route.

  • Utilise social media

Experiment and find what works for you and achieves the most engagement. Social media is a fantastic way to build an audience but be authentic to yourself - if you don’t want to record a video from a car park basement, then don’t!

  • Get inspired!

See what type of content artists outside of the classical genre are producing. What type of content / music do you enjoy consuming? The most compelling and powerful type of content challenges people’s expectations!