The Newsletter: a Must for Serious Musicians

Newsletters are an extremely powerful tool for musicians. Communicate with and engage the fans you already have – they deserve your attention and are hungry for information. Grow your fan base by making it easy and appealing to join your community.

If you have a large mailing list you should be using a paid service. You might be familiar with email marketing newsletter services like Constant Contact, Vertical Response, or newcomer Contactology. While some people have great results with these services, people in the music industry should consider using a music oriented service. Some great options to explore include: Fan Mail Marketing, Band Letter, Champion Sound, and Reverb Nation’s FanReach.

Once you’ve chosen which service to use and are staring at a blank template, you might be wondering what to include in your newsletter? How do you make yours stand out? Think carefully about your messaging and your tone. Make your newsletter a reflection of your (or your band’s) identity.

What to include in your newsletter:

– Any relevant news, i.e. tour schedule, album release dates, new music video, link to article mentioning your band etc.

– Something free – and exclusive – like an unreleased song or recording from a live show.

– Invite your fans to interact with you via things like remix competitions, voting on the title for your upcoming album, or submitting art for a band t-shirt.

– Remind fans to add you on MySpace, follow you on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook (and provide the links).

– Multimedia. Use photos and video to make your newsletter more colorful and interesting.

– Unsubscribe link (any good email marketing service will include this).

Ok, so you’ve got a great design, great content and no one to send it to. Now what? How do you find more fans? How do you make them sign up for your mailing list?

How to grow and manage your mailing list:

– At every live show, have a clipboard with a newsletter sign-up list available. Sweeten the deal with a raffle at the end of the night, e.g. winner gets a copy of your CD.

– Make it easy and appealing to sign up for the newsletter online. The first thing a visitor to your website should notice is a place to sign up for the newsletter. Incentivize them by offering a free download, exclusive track etc.

– Include an automatic thank you page that welcomes each new subscriber.

– Include a link to sign up for your mailing list in your email signature.

– Make it easy to share. Include links or buttons to forward to a friend, share on facebook, share on twitter etc.

Other guidelines:

– Don’t send out a newsletter more than once a month. It’s annoying.

– Get personal. You are a band (or musician) not just a brand. Your fans want to know about the intimate details of your day-to-day.

– Keep the design and content clean and basic. You don’t want your newsletter looking like a pimped out MySpace profile from 2005.

– Be consistent and be patient. Send out a concise yet engaging newsletter once a month and watch your community slowly take on a life of its own.

– Analyze your metrics. Learn from them. Make improvements and adjustments as necessary.

Of course, if your mailing list/fan base is not large enough yet to justify spending the money on a paid service, you can send out newsletters as bulk emails instead. Just BE SURE to put email addresses in the bcc field and give readers the option to unsubscribe (this is usually done by asking them to respond with an email with the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line).

Remember that building a mailing list takes time and patience, but it’s worth every minute. Think of every email address as a real live member of your music community. You want to treat them with the respect they deserve (no spamming), keep them entertained and engaged, and turn them into loyal fans.

5 Responses to “The Newsletter: a Must for Serious Musicians”

  1. 1 Contactology June 29, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Thanks for mentioning Contactology. We count a number of musicians, as well as a major music magazine, among our clients. They enjoy our personalized service – no call queues – and powerful features. Readers are welcome to try a free 30 day trial over at

  2. 2 SocialSoundSystem June 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    If you use Artist Data to enter all of your show information, they provide all the coding you need for show newsletters and such… So many tools in there it’s near amazing.

    I’ve been arguing with my drummer recently about pricing for our new album and emails. I have us setup with BandCamp for listeners to “name their own price.” If they set it to $0, then they must offer an email for the download (This can be set to for individual songs too). I argue the emails are much more valuable than the $9 he’s asking for. Not only because even established artists can’t get $9 (and people can find so much music online free anyways), but also because of the outreach you will build from those emails collected. If someone wants to go through the trouble of making a bunch of bogus emails or what have you, so be it. But emails are a great way to also search across the various social networks and connect with people who wanted to give you an email.

    My two cents.



  3. 3 Debra Russell July 2, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    Don’t forget ifanz – as a resource for newsletters.

    Also – if all your newsletter says is “come see my gig” or “buy my new CD”, you will find people unsubscribing as fast as you add them. You need to use the newsletter to actually create a relationship with your fans. Add value, tell stories. Let people know who you really are.

    It’s true a newsletter well done is a vital tool to growing your committed fan base. But a newsletter that is nothing more than an advertisement will do more harm than good in the long run.

    Art is about creating an experience in the fan – decide what experience you want them to have and create it with your newsletter

  4. 4 Champion Sound August 6, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Thanks for bringing up Champion Sound.

    It’s very good and useful guidelines that you bring up, especially about the design and analysing your metrics.

    We have just launched new features like Mp3 storage, Public profiles and SMS
    to compliment the Email blasts and Social Media shoutouts.

  5. 5 Janet Hansen August 26, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    This is a great post to remind musicians that thier audience is their most valuable commodity in this evolving point in music history. When in the 20th century, would an emerging or established artist take the time to write to fans? Fan clubs were set up to handle such matters and all the artist needed to do was autograph 8 x 10 glossies that someone else put in the mail for them.

    Yes, I agree be personal. Be relevant. Show the human side of yourself as people want to know what is behind the mask of the person they go to see on stage.

    As a new “partner” with there are amazing things in that system that allow artists to remain connected on a personal level. uses the application to propagate tour schedules from our site to many other music sites where fans will see mentions of artists’ performances multiple times. The is the preview model notifying people of performance dates. is the review model that archives what the ticket buying public has to say about what they paid to see. Audience reviews are a new addition to what can be added to newsletters.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Copyright © 2007-2009 MixMatchMusic, Ltd. All Rights Reserved

%d bloggers like this: