In a world full of spammers and unapologetic super-promoters, cutting through the clutter with sincere, genuine, and thoughtful music feedback will greatly increase your odds of building valuable relationships with other artists. Ask yourself: Would you rather have someone give you thoughtful insight with actual proof that they listened to your work, or just a two-word comment and an emoji?
If you want to really learn how to provide strong feedback online that can develop into authentic relationships, try putting the following tips into action.
This sounds obvious – don’t give feedback before you actually listen to the song, right? But time and time again, vague comments and messages pop up that say something along the lines of, “Cool track! [insert emoji].” Did they actually listen to your music? Well, there’s no way of telling for sure. But if you think the track is fire, provide a little bit of proof. Tell them something you liked about it. For example, “Fire track! The vocal effects are beautiful. Keep up the good work!” Just that extra little bit of effort goes a lot further than an empty compliment.
Learn how Brian Hazard of Color Theory solicits feedback on Twitter
Don’t automatically ask for something in return
One of the easiest ways to prove you’re not sincere in providing feedback is an immediate request to have the favor returned. I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve gotten on my various channels that drop a small, vague compliment followed by, “Check out my music and follow me!” If your objective is clearly just to steer the attention back to you, it looks bad and can even result in you getting blocked for spam.
However, if you’ve provided some thoughtful feedback and really want to create a connection with the artist, there are ways to do it sincerely. For example, if your music sounds similar, that’s a great point to make in your comment. You might say something like, “Great sound. The songwriting reminds me of Frank Ocean – I love the lush R&B production. Our sound is really similar. If you get a chance to check us out, we’d love to know what you think and potentially collaborate in the future.” A comment like this proves that you actually listened and that you have mutual interests.
Focus on the positive
If you’re leaving a comment for an artist you don’t know, be careful not to give an unsolicited critique. When in doubt, keep it positive.
Say there’s a band that’s big in your hometown and you want to comment on their new track, but you feel like the guitar solo goes on too long. It’s not a good idea to say, “Hey! Love this track, but the guitar solo drags. Otherwise it’s killer.” That will probably make them say, “Who the $%*& is this person?”
On the other hand, if you’re giving feedback online to an artist you already know and trust, use the sandwich formula: start with positive feedback, then provide constructive criticism, and then end with more positive feedback.
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Put yourself in their shoes
Before hitting send on that comment, ask yourself: How would I react if this was left on my page? Would it make me feel proud of my work, or would it make me feel insecure? Would I suspect that it’s spam?
Part of providing solid feedback is being sympathetic. Making music is a vulnerable experience, so don’t exploit that. A bot might be able to comment on 1,000 songs in the time it takes you to comment on one, but if all of those comments are “SICK MUSIC I HAVE GREAT BEATS FOLLOW ME NOW,” do you really think that’s doing anything to help you? Taking the time to give thoughtful feedback that invites a back-and-forth conversation is one of the most powerful tools in networking.
Provide the appropriate amount of feedback
It’s important to determine when it’s best to stick with a brief comment and when you can get more wordy. For example, if you’re commenting on a video clip on Instagram, just a few words will do. But if an artist you know emails you directly asking for feedback on a demo, you might want to offer a couple of paragraphs, or you could risk coming off as cold.
Throughout your music career, you’re going to encounter countless situations where you’re asked for your opinion on a song. Take the time to think about how your feedback will help them, and how it will be perceived. Be constructive, sympathetic, and most importantly, don’t come off like a spambot.
Sam Friedman is an electronic producer and singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, creating music as Nerve Leak. Praised by major publications such as The FADER, his unique blend of experimental and pop music has earned him hundreds of thousands of streams across the web.
Mark Samson - May 28, 2017
Excellent thoughtful and informative column. Thank you.
By the way have you checked out my… oh right, not supposed to do that. See, I did read it after all!
Reall, I did like your column thank you.
Miraz Hossain - July 25, 2019
I have read your article it is very good & helpful for us . From your article we can know about your music knowledge & I appreciate a lot..
I have been publishing the blog since 2013. These are the musicians I have worked with!!! This is the third version and those on it are the best.
If you want some really great non corporate, Independent Music Rock, Metal, R&B, Hip Hop, Rap, Trap and Pop then this is the place to find it.
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Strongtower - January 18, 2020
I cant find where to leave a comment, I’m trying to contact a musician I used to play with
Russell Mortensen - May 5, 2020
My son is trying to get into the music industry and he wants to start making new connections. I think it’s really smart to start giving feedback to other creators so that he can help everyone out. I’ll love that you talked about not asking for anything in return because that quickly puts people off.
Frank Armendariz - August 26, 2020
Just wanted to let Rick Braun know how much I appreciate his music & hope someday when things get back to normal, I get to hear him live here in Phoenix Arizona. Nice to know that he is one good family guy. God & family are what matters the most. Especially with his music talent. This is one great fellow ☺️
Gustavo Woltmann - October 20, 2020
The article is very nice, thank you for sharing it! I’m fully through it, it seems well researched and detailed.
Thank you very much . I really appreciate it
Muhammad Abu Nayeem - February 20, 2021
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I Creation - March 12, 2021
It’s great article, by reading this article everyone get to know how to give the artists the genuine feedback. I also music, arts and culture.
Frances Manasco - July 29, 2021
I like your blog. Its one of the great blogs online
Good Soundcloud Rappers - December 6, 2021
Building an audience is really important for artists. Good music, new, creative music is also good. Thanks for the article!
Jasmine - December 6, 2021
Good soundcloud rappers are rare these days. You need talent, passion, and something new to bring to the table. Hopefully they can use these tips for good.