Pitching is a key skill – one that people work for years and years to perfect. Being able to pitch yourself as an artist is one of the most valuable skills you can have (next to your talent). Your pitch is supposed to explain who you are, your style and sound of music and where you see it placed. There are many different reasons you may need to pitch your music (playlisting, publishing companies, record labels, for management) . Whatever you are pitching for, the most crucial thing to remember is that a good pitch really concisely explains the brand or project.
Formatted and Unformatted Pitching
Pitching is done in a variety of ways, there are some types of pitching that may be offered directly from a company via a form – we refer to this as “formatted pitching”. Unformatted pitching is how we describe pitching without prompts or restrictions as to what you can say and how you can say it.
An example of formatted pitching would be the Spotify editorial pitching process. When pitching to Spotify editorial playlists there is a word limit, there are categories and specific questions that relate to the mood and style of your music.
An example of unformatted Pitching would be a publishing pitch whereby you have open and free rein to say what you want in the way you would like to say it. Later in this module we will explain how to make sure you are able to create a formatted and unformatted and what is required in each.
Many artists hate talking about themselves, in pitches or otherwise. We have seen that this fear usually stems from not being able to articulate their sound, style or mission in a concise way. We find after building a pitch and a directory, a ton of artists feel a lot more confident and comfortable with pitching and generally talking about themselves and their music. This is also a great exercise that helps artists to explore their craft and what it is they want to do.
Building a Directory
You can have the best pitch in the world but if you have no one to send it to, it is absolutely pointless. Deciding who to pitch to and why you are pitching to them is almost as important as the pitch itself. Identifying the correct opportunities and people for your brand to work with takes some of the hard-work out of pitching. You don’t just want a list of random contacts that have no relevance to you, your personal brand or your music. So we’re going to give you what we have identified as the best way to pick who you are pitching to.
Look for Alignment
What values or ambitions do you have that aligns with the brand you are pitching to? For example, your last project was all about sustainability and so you have just found an eco-friendly music publisher and a playlist that likes to showcase new upcoming artists from your hometown. Finding the common ground is a great way to break the ice when approaching for a meeting, but also pitching to someone who is already interested and receptive will make it easier to pitch and also enhance the likelihood of your pitch being successful.
Get To The Right Person
So you know the magazine, playlist or publisher you want to pitch to, now you have to find someone who works for them to talk to about your idea. Make sure they are the right person or someone connected to the right team to make a decision. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the most senior person or direct to a presenter of a show or an editor of a magazine, you can speak to a show researcher or writer at a publication. Sometimes this can be more impactful than trying to get a meeting with a more senior member. Oftentimes less senior staff are also more accessible and contact information is easier to find.
Be Specific and Intentional
When you are making your contact list be specific and intentional. Pick brands that you really want to work with, playlists you really want to get on. The more you genuinely like it the greater the alignment. It’s the difference between being passionate and excited about who you are working with and not. The natural enthusiasm you get for something you like or enjoy means you can interact with it in a much more energetic and positive way.
We advise you to keep a spreadsheet as part of your business admin process that categorises the different people you will distribute your music to. Like this template ^^
What Will I Be Pitching?
As an artist, you are constantly pitching yourself to your audience and to people that you want to work with. You are the brand and so a lot of times what you are actually pitching is just yourself.
When you drop something new you will always pitch it for various things prior to the official release.
Got a great idea for content and want to ask a brand to do it with you? Then you will need to pitch. For something specific like this, alongside your standard “about you” script, you need to craft the details of the collaboration and add them in.
New Team Members
You might be trying to recruit for your team. For example, a manager, you may need to pitch to show them why you are a good fit and gauge if they are a good fit for you too.
Songs need to be pitched to radio in order to be added to rotation.
Whether it’s a Spotify editorial playlist or an independent one, you will need to pitch. The ways in which you pitch for playlists varies depending on what kind of playlist you are going for.
You will need to pitch to publications for features, articles and interviews.
How To Pitch
Figure Out What You Want
You can save yourself a lot of time by preparing generic pitch templates for the kinds of things you want to pitch for. Be clear with what you want and find your own way to say it. Be clear, is it a placement, feature or interview? Tailor the rest of your pitch around your desired outcome. For example if you want an interview your pitch might contain a lot of personal information to show that you would be interesting to interview.
Research and Reference
Put in a lot of detail to show you already interact with the person you are pitching to, for example if you’re reaching out to a radio DJ, listen to shows and mixes beforehand, pick a favourite and think of a reason you like it. Then reference it in your pitch to show you are knowledgeable. This again feeds back into the idea that if you are picking brands, shows and playlists you love you will naturally have a lot less research to do as you will have some understanding through your own experience.
Choose Your Language Carefully
So here’s the thing, the amazing pitch that you are going to spend your time carefully crafting and putting together will be one of hundreds – if not thousands – the person you are sending it too will receive. Someone always wants something and there are so many artists who are equally as ambitious and eager as you are. So you have to stand out and if your first stop is the email, then you want it all to be interesting – again, a reason to pick brands you already love.
Again, if an email inbox if your first stop you need to create a title that screams “open me!”. You really don’t want to be just another drop in the sea of submissions. Standout, be bold and make people want to engage with you and see your passion.
Getting in Touch
On your contact lists, you should have as many contact details as possible for your desired targets. Now you want to get in touch, we recommend making initial contact first before just sending, so that whoever you are sending it to knows it’s coming. Introduce yourself and tell them why they absolutely need to get back in touch and hear what you have to say.
Sometimes sending a pitch email is like dating someone new, you never know when to follow up or chase. How quickly should you respond? What if they don’t get back? Should you remind them you exist? It’s stressful honey, but truth be told unless you are a mega spammer no one will ever think badly of you for being proactive and enthusiastic. Always remain polite and never assume why someone hasn’t gotten in touch with you. All sorts of things pop up in people’s day to day life and they may have simply lost track of where they are with work things.
Dont Give up
It can be soul destroying constantly facing rejection or even worse, radio silence. But if it’s what you want then you must be thick skinned and persistent. It is key to continually bounce back! Keep shouting about your project and keep sending new pitches, even to someone who has refused or ignored before.
It’s A Numbers Game
Without strong existing relationships with the people and places you are pitching to it can be extremely difficult to begin with – it’s a game of roulette and can be very hit or miss. However, if you use the law of averages approach – the more pitches you send the more responses you will get back. Once you start landing collaborations, playlists etc it becomes a much easier task.