The Biggest Misconception Musicians Have About Email

A few months ago, ReverbNation surveyed artists and asked what digital tactics they use to promote their music.

Surprisingly, we found that Artists don’t think it’s important to use email marketing to communicate with fans. Why?

“I’m not a senior citizen, that’s why I don’t do email marketing.”

“Email is for old people.”

“Nobody cares about email anymore. They care more about social media.”

Ferol Vernon, SVP of Artist Services at ReverbNation (and our resident digital marketing expert) analyzed the survey results firsthand. I sat down with Ferol to learn where this perception of email came from and why he thinks it’s a dangerous view for artists to have.

SamThe Biggest Misconception Musicians Have About Email
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Jesse Kinch Wins Inaugural Season of ABC’s Rising Star

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UPDATE: 20-year-old ReverbNation Artist Jesse Kinch was crowned winner of the first season of ABC’s interactive music competition show, Rising Star. “I want to make sure that guy can do two hours a night until he’s ninety years old, because [his voice] is a great instrument, and I want to keep hearing it,” says series host and Kinch’s mentor, Josh Groban in Billboard

Jesse offers this advice to emerging artists:

“Whenever you’re on the cusp of achieving your dreams, always remember who you are and what music is all about. Music is about being true to your self and putting your heart into everything you do. Keep your integrity…that can take you further than you can imagine.”

Jesse says he is back in New York laying the groundwork for his first EP and Album post-show. Read his full story below.


“He’s a soft-spoken kid with a huge rocker singing voice, surprising stage presence, and even more surprising sex appeal.” Billboard

“This David Cassidy-haired, rock ‘n’ blues belter was the only truly memorable or unique contestant of the 10 total who sang on Sunday…Jesse had it all: sex appeal, soul, swag, and a strong set of pipes.” Rolling Stone

ReverbNation Artist Jesse Kinch was one of the premiere artists to perform on ABC’s new music competition show, Rising Star. The show boasts being the first of its kind, an interactive singing competition where fans vote via a smartphone app, with a small percentage of votes allotted for three celebrity guest judges. GRAMMY-award-winning vocalist Josh Groban hosts, and audiences watch as stars like Jesse emerge from behind a giant digital wall that lights up as fans and judges cast their votes. The grand prize? A recording contract with Capitol Records.

When we sat down to talk to Jesse, we wanted to understand what it’s really like for a musician to be a part of a reality TV show. Jesse provided some perspective on the selection process, his initial reservations and what he thinks sets this music competition apart from others.

SamJesse Kinch Wins Inaugural Season of ABC’s Rising Star
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High School Nation: Exposing you to the one demographic you can’t afford to ignore


If you’re an artist who plays frequent shows both in your hometown and on tour, chances are you’re mostly playing to a 21+ age group. And usually, this is a good thing for a performer — this demographic tends to have more disposable income and is more likely to help run up your end-of-the-night payout with bar sales.

But by default, many artists end up overlooking a demographic that, according to a recent study by Nielsen, contains some of the most dedicated music fans — teenagers.

Nielsen’s study confirmed that 54% of teen concert attendees purchase t-shirts and merchandise [source]. Similarly, 51% of teens have purchased some kind of music (download, CD, etc.) in the last year [source]. These numbers are far above the national average, as well as being higher than any other age demographic.


Founder Jimmy Cantillon

So how do you get a foothold in this often overlooked but highly invested demographic? A good place to start is with this year’s High School Nation (HSN) tour. We spoke with founder Jimmy Cantillon about the festival’s inception and its benefits for the artists who participate:

SamHigh School Nation: Exposing you to the one demographic you can’t afford to ignore
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Your Facebook Fans Aren’t Seeing Your Posts: Here’s What You Can Do About It

When musician Ryan Trauley logged into Facebook to check the performance of a recent post to his band Oulipo’s page, the results shocked him.

“I have 800 fans on my page, but this post I wrote about my show was only seen by 10 people. I don’t understand how that’s possible,” said Trauley.

Ryan isn’t the only one surprised. Every day more artists are noticing that they’re reaching fewer and fewer fans on Facebook. Why is this happening?

Facebook is reducing the number of people who see your posts in their News Feed organically. They’re accomplishing this by cutting down on a number called “Organic Reach*,” which refers to how many people you can reach for free on Facebook by posting to your Page.

ReverbNation has been a longtime advocate of artists promoting themselves using social media. In 2007, we developed Band Profile, the first Facebook app for artists. Band Profile was designed to help artists take advantage of the growing platform, and to share everything with their fans, from songs to updates to merch.

Since then, ReverbNation has continued to integrate products closely with Facebook, including tying our ad offerings into Facebook through its API. In fact, we were one of the first partners invited to use their API (Application Programming Interface).

Given our front row seat to the ever-changing landscape of Facebook, I spent some time talking to those knowledgeable about the platform. I asked two key ReverbNation team members some questions and received some interesting responses.

SamYour Facebook Fans Aren’t Seeing Your Posts: Here’s What You Can Do About It
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June Breaking! Musicians Keeping a Beat through ReverbNation Opportunities

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Every month, ReverbNation artists submit for the opportunity to headline festivals, get featured in magazines & blogs, or receive airplay on some of the best radio stations across the country. Promoters then handpick their favorite artists for each opportunity — here are some of the highlights from this month’s selections. Increase your chances of being one of them and submit to an opportunity now.

Whiskey for the Lady and Jumpship Astronaut played the 2014 Wakarusa Music Festival

The Wakarusa Music Festival is one of the south’s premier music festivals and is home to artists like Girl Talk, The Black Keys, and Snoop Lion. The festival’s 2014 lineup included The String Cheese Incident, Walk Off The Earth, and The Flaming Lips.

Among these acclaimed artists were Whiskey for the Lady and Jumpship Astronaut.

Whiskey for the Lady understands the value of having a big festival name on their show list:

“The ability to say ‘We’ve played at Wakarusa’ will definitely help us continue to book larger gigs that we may have never had access to otherwise.”

Chris Bourland of Jumpship Astronaut agreed that this opportunity would open doors for the band

“We don’t always get a chance to attend things like huge music festivals when usually our focus is on finding time to tour and record. Having artist passes allowed us to meet and talk with some industry people we wouldn’t normally have access to.”

As an artist just getting their start, this provided the band with an inside look into the festival world; Bourland added that this is “very valuable information for a band just starting to tour and play festivals.”

ShellyJune Breaking! Musicians Keeping a Beat through ReverbNation Opportunities
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Booking Shows Locally: Tips From Venues and Talent Buyers

In my last post, I discussed the value of being a part of your own local music community. As a follow-up, I talked to a few venue owners and talent buyers to get their insights into how artists can get the most out of their local scene.

Be Good

Yes, this may be an obvious piece of advice. But you’d be surprised at how often artists spend more time worrying about things other than their music. Richard Sloven, talent buyer for the Knitting Factory – Brooklyn NYC  says:

Richard Sloven, Talent Buyer for The Knitting Factory

Richard Sloven, Talent Buyer for The Knitting Factory

“You can spend endless energy trying to come up with marketing gimmicks or spending money on PR, videos, recording, etc., but it doesn’t really mean anything if you aren’t good.”

Essentially, you need to be sure that your live product is as finely tuned as it can possibly be. None of the hard work spent promoting or packaging your music is worth a thing if you can’t capture someone’s attention in a live setting.
Mark Connor, talent buyer/owner for Slim’s and The Cave (Raleigh/Chapel Hill, NC) says:


Mark Connor, Talent Buyer for Slim’s and The Cave (Photo © Ian Dunn)

“People see and hear music in many places in their lives, and if you aren’t special, then there won’t be much you can do to overcome that,”  

SamBooking Shows Locally: Tips From Venues and Talent Buyers
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No Band Is An Island: 4 Tips For Being A Part of Your Local Music Scene

In addition to working at ReverbNation both as a Customer Support rep and a copywriter for the Marketing department, I have spent the last eight years playing music in the Triangle music scene (Raleigh, Durham, & Chapel Hill). My bands Lilac Shadows, T0W3RS, and Soft Company have toured the east coast and released several full-length albums, EPs, and splits with other area bands.

Everyone acknowledges that the Internet and social media changed the game for independent musicians, providing powerful tools to engage current fans and reach new ones. But while this hyper-connectivity and one-click sharing encourages us all to think on a global scale, I’d like emphasize the value of thinking small — specifically, how important your own local music scene remains.

SamNo Band Is An Island: 4 Tips For Being A Part of Your Local Music Scene
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Opportunities On Tap: Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, College News Magazine, WXOU college radio, and Temecula Valley International Film Festival

Check out a sample of the opportunities we have going on this week:


Gulf Coast Jam


Location: Multiple Available

Genre: All

This year’s Southern Original Competition will be selecting 100 ReverbNation bands who will compete for 10 spots at the official Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam. Artists in ten different cities will have the chance to play their way to the main stage at the festival, where one finalist will open for Warner Music Nashville recording artist and judge of The Voice, Blake Shelton. The grand prize also includes recording time, a music video shoot, and three days hotel accommodations.

Submit today to play your way onto the main stage.

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SamOpportunities On Tap: Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, College News Magazine, WXOU college radio, and Temecula Valley International Film Festival
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