PR, Email, and the Eternal Deluge

A note about music promotion

A note about email. This is intended in particular for individuals and organizations who’ve sent me, or intend to send me, email about their music releases and not heard back from me. What follows is a snapshot of my email inbox as of 9:00am California time today, October 25, 2012. This morning feels representative, if a little on the light side — hence the time I feel like I have to take a break from the deluge and comment on it. First, some statistics:

Number of emails received: 113

Number of emails about album releases: 19

Number of emails about videos (streaming and DVD): 4

Number of emails about concert tours: 3

Number of emails about 7″ singles: 2

Number of emails about milestones in the lives of musicians and organizations: 7

These numbers (well, aside from the overall count of 113) don’t include additional press inquiries about video games, movie screenings, art gallery openings, club nights, mobile apps and other software applications, gadgets, and so on. Nor do they include artist and record-label newsletters I have myself actively subscribed to. Nor do they include personal/professional correspondence with musicians, artists, and related individuals. Nor do they in any way represent the fact that the significant majority of the music I write about is music I come upon through my own surfing, RSS-feeding, concert-attendance, social-network participation, general media consumption (magazines, TV, movies, books), and so forth.

This is, mind you, all by 9:00am. I assure you by the end of the day those 113 emails will have at least tripled, and most of these other stats along with them.

On occasion when I receive an overwhelming number of emails from one source that have nothing to do with what I am focused on, I send this quick summary statement:

For future reference, I pretty much focus my writing on “technologically mediated sound” — ambient music, sound art, experimental classical, hip-hop production, that sorta thing.

And on occasion, I send this form letter as a reply:

Hi. I don’t reply much to PR correspondence, even directly from musicians. There’s simply too much of it, often as many as 300 emails per weekday. The best way for me to state the situation is as follows: I receive an enormous number of inquiries about reviewing music, I listen to as much as I can without doing what I’m listening to the disservice of being too casual about it, and I write about what I find interesting. Feel free to send me music email (as a link, not an attachment). Just please don’t take it personally, or even read into it any reflection of my (dis)interest in the music, if and when I don’t respond. And yes, this is a form letter, as is most of the PR I receive. Best, Marc [email protected]

(Photo of character from Mary Mapes Dodge’s classic story about the boy who put his finger in the dike found via

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