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Exactly how NOT to use an email list

(This was originally posted on Think Like a Label on February 22, 2012)

I was thinking recently about what to write about next, and lo and behold, this beauty arrives in my inbox. I don’t know why I was on this email list, as I never signed up for anything of the sort. This alone annoyed me. Yet, in any case, the subject immediately caught my attention.

SUBJECT: “Fox Melody, Please Help (artist) Go Platinum! Buy My CD’s, MP3′s, & Ringtones (I am on Your Verizon V-Cast and Apple iPhones too)”

Right off the bat he 1) gets my company name wrong (FoxyMelody), and 2) he immediately asks me to buy his albums, even though I don’t know who this is.

And then he gets into it:

(I removed the artist name and links to his music to protect his identity)



Dear Music Fan:

Please help me (Artist Name) go platinum by buying my CD’s from the following two websites:……


Nielsen Soundscan tracks my music at CD Baby such that every time someone buys my CD from this website, my UPC bar code gets scanned and my record sales increase.  Also, I am trying to get a record deal from one of the record labels under the Universal Music Group (UMG).  Please buy my music on Apple iTunes by clicking on the following websites associated with the Universal Music Group (UMG) and its subsidiaries Island Def Jam Group (IDJ) and Interscope-Geffen:……


Both Interscope-Geffen and Island Def Jam (under Universal) track the record sales of artists (through Nielsen Soundscan) and they will offer artists (like me) a record deal if we can sell a certain amount of units in a particular market.  The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) represents the four major record labels, i.e. Universal Music Group (UMG), Sony BMG, EMI, and Warner Music Group (Warner/Elektra/Atlantic).  The RIAA will certify an artist as going platinum if he or she can sell 1,000,000 units (I am still working on it!).  If that is not enough, you can buy my mp3’s at the following websites:…………………


You can buy my ringtones at the following website:…


You can catch me (artist) on internet radio at the following website:…


Thank you in advance for your continued support!


Cordially Yours,





So, what went wrong here?

  • I never signed up for this email in the first place. This is SPAM. No person who receives this email who didn’t register for it will buy anything. EVER.
  • He points out every reason why it’s good for HIM that I buy the album, but never points out what’s in it for me.
  • He goes way overkill on the sales messaging. BUY BUY BUY. I feel like I am at a used car dealership.

Now, I don’t want to sour this with hate because I can and do appreciate the hustle. I should point out that he actually did a few things right.

  • Included every outlet where his music is available, so that I can find it on my outlet of choice.
  • Explained how the sales process works – this is a good idea to help educate your fans so that they may in fact rally behind you when they understand how the game works.
All in all, when you send an email to fans, it’s important to consider your audience. Don’t spam people! It’s ok to ask for help, but do it in a way that doesn’t impose on your fans or is full of overaggressive sales talk. Remember, peoples’ email boxes are already packed. Be respectful of that. Send the email that you would want to receive.


I’ll be at SXSWi from 3/7-3/14! Drop me a line if you’ll be there.

Jeremy Belcher is the Editor of Think Like a Label, a magazine for musicians & their people. Prior to that, he co-founded FoxyMelody Digital Distribution in 2005, one of the first companies that distributed independent music to the online music services (which we shut down this year). You can follow him on Twitter @thinklikealabel or visit Think Like a Label

References (1)

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  • Response
    Awesome Web site, Carry on the wonderful work. Thank you!

Reader Comments (2)

Yeah, you do have a point. Easy to guess all of people hate SPAM.

March 8 | Unregistered CommenterPP Shivaknen

Yeah, one of the downsides of social networking sites, get ready for loads of spam mail. RSS readers are better, stay informed with zero emails.

March 8 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

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