I Get So Many Clueless Letters!

I have been writing this and other columns for over 10 years now, and I have had my website, www.4frontmusic.com up since 1995. I post my email address on my website for potential clients to reach me, and I include my email at the end of my columns as well. So, I am not surprised that I get a lot of email messages every day. Most of them are very polite 'thank-you' messages letting me know how much they appreciate all the free articles and columns I have written, and how much they have learned from my advice. All those messages are quite gratifying to say the least, but I have a problem with some of the messages I get, and the problem is getting worse every day.

More and more often people don't have a clue as to how to write a polite and courteous message that doesn't include major grammar, spelling, and/or punctuation errors. Many other people have no clue how to approach a complete stranger in the music business and introduce themselves properly. Others are blind to the imposition they are making by diving into very complicated issues, without so much as a "Hi, my name is _______" followed by a simple statement like; "If it isn't too much to ask, I would like to ask you a question."

It is so rare these days to get a polite message that doesn't presume that I am sitting at my computer just waiting to write back and answer dozens of questions.

What's up with all these rude and clueless people?

In an effort to educate you about a business etiquette that exists in this world, I have decided to print out a few recent messages that really drive me crazy. As you read these messages please note that I have deleted any reference to whom these clueless people are.

Please read these messages as if you received them, and ask yourself how you feel about dealing with these creatures from some lost lagoon. Ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Are you offended by their abrupt and presumptuous messages?
  • Can you decipher their cryptic writing?
  • Do the numerous spelling errors, grammar glitches, and punctuation catastrophes bother you?
  • Would you respond to these messages, or would you just delete them and try to forget them?

Here's a clue: If you do indeed want to reach someone you don't know in the music industry, please approach carefully. Ask if you can ask a question or two before going into an epistle on your situation, and for God's sake introduce yourself and ask them if they have the time for your questions). Just because you are using email doesn't give you permission to barge into people's lives and demand their attention.

A small amount of common courtesy will take you quite far in this business.

Here now are some amazing -but true-messages I have received. I simply 'cut and pasted' these messages from my email into Microsoft Word for you to decipher at your leisure.

Was I just sitting here waiting for your message, or what?

Hey whats up im filthy clean 23 year old black male from louisville ky i never thought about rapping until about two months ago one day i was around a group of guys who where rapping so i gave it a try and the loved it and told me to give it a try and i went against guys who been doing it for about two or three years i've always been camera shy but i think i could maybe do something i believe i can becomig an artist if i give it a serious try. so if you can give me some tips on how to get started because i've tried to find major labels over the internet but they just show the artist on there label but im trying to get a labels e-mail address.

Sounds like he is gagging in the middle of his first, so called "sentence'...

ew are from philly we have 15 songs we are ready to tour we have a bio pack and we are ready to travel we are called the draft pickz.

Count the questions he asks me in this message...

Crazy questions..I am looking to produce and market a song I wrote and am looking for help...first I need a singer..I plan on using the music from the Beverly Hillbilly's theme song..do I need their permission? How do I get it? The singer I need is someone that has a very low voice...maybe a little countryish...exactly like the guy that sings the Beverly Hillbilly's theme song... where do I find someone? What would they charge to cut four or five versions of the song? Please help...Also..if I was to approach radio stations with the song how does that work? What do I charge them? Do I get a flat up front fee or do I get paid for each time it is played? Or both? Who is the person at the radio station that I would talk to? How do I market the single to the public? Do I need a Record Studio? It's a Funny song kinda like a Weird Al thing...who would help? Please help.

At least this guy gave me his name, (which I have XX'd out)...

My name is XXXXXXX, I am currently C.E.O of XXXXX. I produce music that seems to be well liked in the Midwest or North, I am from Milwaukee, WI. Just giving some background. The problem that having is that over 50 artist that want to buy my music for there albums, but the goal for me is to achieve a good distribution and at that time I will be able to produce the artist to create residuales. I have songs that are mastered and ready for radio play. I have not done anything major as of yet, wan't to make sure I do it right the first time. If you know any one who has the means majorly Please Pass it On. 4XX XXX XXXX

P.S. I gaurantee You will Like what you here! 50 Beats 10 complete songs.

Has he been having a conversation with me? Check out how the message starts...

It doesn't mean that im doing right. We have been doing tons of shows and or first effort sold 5,000 copies locally be we haven't broke out of the Chicago area yet we also haven't generated enough buzz to get the radio play we need. So I take it as we are doing something wrong.

Had enough? Me too.

Throughout his fprty year career in the music business, FourFront Media & Music's Christopher Knab has shared his experience at many industry conventions and conferences, including the New Music Seminar and the Northwest Area Music Business Conference.

Knab was owner of a San Francisco music store, co-owner of the 415 Records label, and station manager at KCMU Radio in Seattle.

He currently provides a unique consultation and education service for independent musicians and record labels. His new book is entitled "Music Is Your Business".

Christopher Knab