i have no idea who you are.

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog, and I’m sorry. No excuses, just vacations. 🙂

I’ve used the term “micro-indie” a bunch of times over the last two years when referring to Dromedary. As I get more and more into this, and learn more and more about how the landscape of indie rock has changed in the ten years since we’ve been out of the game, I’m beginning to understand some fundamental differences in how the music is marketed.

There are indie rock PR firms now. Lots of ’em. Back in the day, there were a handful, and most focused on college radio promotion. Today, they focus on press, blogs, social media, podcasts…everything under the sun. And some are good, some are bad, and there are all sorts of shades of inbetween.

One of the things that’s been pretty cool is that I’ve been able to use a couple of ’em to help promote our records. But I also want to do some of that work myself, partially because I’m a control freak, and partially because I know I don’t have the budget to blanket the entire world of indie rock by sending out hundreds of free CDs and such.

Since things are so easily distributed digitally now, I thought it would be worthwhile to compile a list of radio stations, journalists, blogs and podcasters that accept files digitally for promotional purposes. And so I did that, combing through a variety of directories, getting input from my distributor, adding in friends and contacts with whom I’ve gotten back in touch.

The first “broadcast” email I sent was very tentative, explaining in detail that I was sending the email unsolicited, but to an address that I obtained from a source that made it clear that it was OKAY to send unsolicited email. I made it clear that since I didn’t have the budget of a Merge or a Matador, but still feel that our music is great, that I wanted to put the music into that person’s hands for free. I made it very clear how to unsubscribe from the list, thanked them for their time, and then gave them links where they could download Mommyheads music, as well as get some info on the band.

The email seemed to be pretty well-received. The open rate was pretty high, we got a lot of click-throughs, and only a few unsubscribes.

About a month later, I sent another one, this time announcing the Stuyvesant record, giving a link to download the single from the EP, also containing a little info on what was going on with the Mommyheads. Same deal. Decent open rate, a bunch of click throughs – lots of downloads of “Bi-Polar Bears,” some airplay, a nice blog mention, a couple of tweets. I started thinking that this was a pretty effective way to communicate, and distribute promotional music.

Last week I sent another email, this time with a link to download the full EP. My third email in about four months.

This time, I got an email from a guy that simply said “I have no idea who you are. Please remove me from your list.”

Now, I realize that people hate spam. And I understand that my email was unsolicited. But the email list I compiled was one filled with names and addresses of people who either voluntarily provided their address along with descriptions of what sort of music they were interested in, or they were bloggers who had joined a promotional service offered by my distributor. I wasn’t asking them to buy anything, I was offering them music to download free, to listen to, and if they liked it, to play for their listeners/readers.

No hard sell. No obnoxious attitude.

The thing is: despite all this technology, it’s still not easy to get music out there. And I really, really, REALLY want to support the blogosphere, the same way I really wanted to support the zines and carrier current radio stations back in the 90s. I think blogs and social media are the most important media out there. And so if I can give away a couple of tracks, and a handful of bloggers like them and can use them, it’s sort of a symbiotic thing. The same way the zines were in the 90s.

Anyway, it kind of bummed me out that someone who had voluntarily provided their digits to a directory would write such a terse email. Because it’s just a reminder that there are still people out there who carry the flag for “new music,” but aren’t interested in “new music” unless they’ve already read about it in Pitchfork.

So…am I wrong?

~ by Al on August 10, 2010.

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