Here’s something that I posted a few years ago that I think needs repeating. There are a number of questions that I consistently get from emails, blog comments, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube – you name it. The same themes keep occurring so I want you to understand a few parameters so I can help you better.
Here’s the deal. I promise I will do my best to help you if you have a specific question!
That said, when you make a question too general you put me in a difficult spot in that I can’t give you a detailed answer in an email. I do an occasional Facebook Q&A Livecast though, so feel free to ask it there.
So here’s a list of what of 15 questions not to ask not only of me, but most other music professionals as well:
1. Can you take a listen to my song I just sent you? First of all, I wish I had the time to listen to all the songs that people send me but I don’t. I’m about 100+ deep in requests and I doubt that I’ll get to them. Please don’t take it personally. There’s only so much time in the day and most of it is taken up already.
That said, you must send a link to a stream and not a file for there to be any chance of me listening to it. Put it on YouTube with a private link or on Soundcloud, Byta, Dropbox, Box, Disco or any other service you like, but be sure to send a link only.
2. What do you think of my song? Go ask your fans. They’re much more important and relevant to your success than I am. You do have fans, don’t you?
3. My songs are on Spotify or We just finished mastering our album. . . . Sorry, it’s too late to ask any questions about it. Your product’s already complete. If you want advice on distribution or marketing, go to the Music 3.0 blog, but check the archives first, and once again, be specific with any questions.
4. Can you give me some feedback? On what? The mix? The songs? The arrangement? The production? The sound? A question like this makes me think that you’re only looking for a pat on the back.
5. Which song is the most commercial? Once again. Ask your fans. They’re the ones that count. And by the way, so many times the song that you think is least commercial is the one that everyone likes anyway.
6. Can you introduce me to. . . .? Nope, I probably don’t know them, and if I did, it’s unlikely that I’d introduce you unless I knew you a lot better than just from an email. When I introduce people, my rule of thumb is that both people will be so happy at the result that they’ll call me the next day to thank me. Do you fit into that category?
7. Can you introduce me to publishers, record labels, etc? Nope. You probably know more of them than I do at the moment. Here’s a tip. To meet publishers, join the AIMP for 60 bucks a year. Want record label contacts? Try the A&R Registry.
8. Can I watch you work in the studio, or Can I visit you in the studio when you’re working? Highly unlikely. If I’m working in a commercial studio, I’m with a client who I can guarantee doesn’t want any distractions from people that they don’t know. If I’m working at home, like most mixers I never work on a mix from start to finish in the same session. You probably won’t get too much out of it.
9. Will you produce, record, mix my band on spec? Nope. My time is valuable and I get paid well for it. That said, I’m booked pretty far in advance so it probably wouldn’t fit your time frame anyway.
10. Will you partner with me on a project? Only if there’s some money involved, and even then, I have to be absolutely in love with the project first. I no longer work on anything that doesn’t knock my socks off.
11. Wait, don’t listen to version 7 of the mix I just sent. Mix 9 is so much better. You’ve wasted my time. Next.
12. What should I do to get my music noticed? Sorry but there’s not enough time to write you an email that long. I already wrote several books (called Music 4.0 and Social Media Promotion For Musicians) that tell you all that, or you can read my Music 3.0 blog every day for free.
13. Can you send me a PDF of one of your books for free? Nope. Complete PDF versions are not available because we deliver in a different electronic format for Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Vitalsource, etc.
14. I’m from (pick a country) and I want to translate your books. I have 2 book publishers that control my copyrights on my older books so you’ll have to ask them. I have no say in the matter. Be aware that they’ll probably want some sort of a license fee. On my newer books, maybe, but there has to be a distribution outlet in your country that would be interested first.
15. Can you please answer these 10 questions to help me with my dissertation? I’m sure you want answers that are sufficiently helpful and thoughtful, but I’m slow at writing and it takes me a looong time, so I really can’t do this via email.
I’m really happy to talk to you via Zoom however, where I can answer every question in great detail and more. Make sure to record it because you’ll get more info than you ever expected. If you’re happy with a one sentence answer to your 10 questions via email, no problem, but neither of us will probably like that.
Let’s Get Specific
Wow, this sounds really harsh and I didn’t mean it to sound that way. Once again, I’m really happy to help if you have a specific question. Here are some good examples:
How do you do (name the technique)? Finally, a specific question. Ask away. I’m pleased to help if I can.
Do you think the bottom of this song is too big?
The song isn’t working. Can you tell me why?
How can I get the vocalist to sing in tune?
How do I get a better guitar (bass, sax, piano, etc.) tone?
What can I do to make the reverb work better with the track?
What can I do to make the drums punchier?
See what I mean? With a specific question I can get right to the core of the problem and help you. So feel free to ask away.