New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Advice When Sharing Your Music Via Email

Or: Don't be a cockroach

Music PR is broken. The awesome ease of email has combined with the awesome ease of self-publishing audio to produce a far-from-awesome spampocalypse of valueless promotional information. These emails flood the inboxes of recipients and occlude the occasional actually useful and valuable email. Below is some advice when sharing your music for promotional purposes via email, some specifics about sending music to this website (, and a somewhat vile but not valueless metaphor:

Part 1: What Not to Do

  1. Don’t expect to hear back.

  2. Don’t send 1,000 words of backstory.

  3. If you put a giant picture of the album cover or the musician(s) at the top of the email, it likely pushes everything “below the fold,” and thus risks the recipient not scrolling down to read what the music is actually like, or clicking on a link to hear it. Don’t do this.

  4. Don’t send a “follow-up” email. Trust that a non-reply is evidence of a lack of interest or lack of time (these aren’t the same thing).

  5. If you don’t describe what the music is like, you risk someone not clicking on a link to hear it.

  6. If you make the music download-only, you risk someone on a phone will never get around to downloading it when they’re back at their laptop. Have a streaming option.

  7. Definitely don’t send a second follow-up email (that is, don’t send a third email).

  8. Feel free to “watermark” your audio files, but don’t be surprised if it decimates the percentage of recipients who elect to pay attention to them.

  9. If you start your email with the recipient’s name, and it’s an automated email to a list, you’re feigning familiarity. That’s unnecessary, and frankly contrary to the intimacy of listening that you’re trying to encourage.

  10. Don’t begin the email with “I love your [blog, magazine, writing]” if you don’t mean it.

  11. Don’t attach audio files. They’re big and slow. Link to them (via Dropbox, etc.).

Part 2: What to Do

  1. Keep the communication brief.

  2. Describe the music.

  3. Provide (briefly) some context for the audio: why, how, when, and/or where you made it.

  4. Provide as many different ways to listen as possible. And put as few obstacles between your email and those links as possible.

Part 3: When Submitting Music to

When I’ve received way too many emails from a human-seeming email account (not from what’s clearly an automated service aiming for maximizing recipients), I sometimes send back a reply. I have a few variations in a file titled “cut-and-paste.txt” and they get tweaked as time passes. Here’s the one I most frequently send out:

Hi. This isn’t up my alley. Too pop for me.

For context: I focus on ambient music, experimental electronic music, contemporary classical, instrumental hip-hop, sound art, and other vaguely related things, related to the extent that the use of technology feels exploratory, intentional — and I must admit I write about virtually nothing with an intelligible vocal.

I should also mention: I get hundreds of inbound emails about music every weekday, and so I rarely respond. I do listen constantly, and when I find something I want to write about, I write about it. I’m a horrible correspondent.

Part 4: A Somewhat Kafka-esque Conundrum

I’ll put this bit at the end, because it’s gross, and yet informative. When I lived in Brooklyn, before moving to California, home was a nice building that, despite being nice, was popular with the cockroach crowd. There was one bathroom in the apartment I shared with some friends, and it was through the kitchen. If you needed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you had to walk through the kitchen. When you turned the light on, the floor of the kitchen would seem to shudder, and then what was in fact a lot of cockroaches would flee. Which is to say, getting to the email I want to read means, on a daily basis, getting through the cockroach equivalent of email. Don’t be a cockroach.

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comment: 1 ]

One Comment

  1. Suss Müsik
    [ Posted May 23, 2020, at 11:24 am ]

    “Don’t be a cockroach” is great advice in any context.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


Subscribe without commenting

  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

  • Field Notes

    News, essays, surveillance

  • Interviews

    Conversations with musicians/artists/coders

  • Studio Journal

    Video, audio, patch notes

  • Projects

    Select collaborations and commissions

  • Subscribe

  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of
    December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
    There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at

  • Ongoing
    The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm:

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • 0511 / Freeze Tag / The Assignment: Consider freezing (and thawing) as a metaphor for music production.
    0510 / Cold Turkey / The Assignment: Record one last track with a piece of music equipment before passing it on.
    0509 / The Long Detail / The Assignment: Create a piece of music with moments from a preexisting track.
    0508 / Germane Shepard / The Assignment: Use the Shepard tone to create a piece of music.
    0507 / In DD's Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.

    Full Index
    And there is a complete list of past projects, 511 consecutive weeks to date.

  • Archives

    By month and by topic

  • [email protected]

    [email protected]

  • Downstream

    Recommended listening each weekday

  • Recent Posts