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How to Email your Friends and Fans Without Pissing Someone Off.
(An Email Primer and Tutorial)

There are two major blunders (and a bunch of minor ones) that many people make when sending out emails. The first one is - sending large files in an attachment such as a movie or song file that takes too long to download and in many instances is in a format that the receiver can't open anyway.

The second of the two major faux pas is - putting all the email addresses on your mailing list in the CC field of your outgoing message. This often results in the person on the other end receiving an email containing a list of email address two miles long with a short message at the bottom after scrolling down for ten minutes. Click here for a sample.

So how does one get around these two problems? Obviously, you want people to know where you're performing, hear your music or see your video online, and you want to share this stuff with as many people as you can; however, every time you send out a mass email, you get back a few nasty letters or a complaint to the abuse department of your ISP.... not good. Hey, but it's okayt. I'm here to teach you how to do it right.

In order to get people to listen to your music files, you must either stream them from a website or allow them to download your file online. Whether it's Windows Media, Realaudio, Quicktime or MP3, whatever you do, don't attach it to your email unless it's been pre-arranged and your recipient is expecting it. If you have the file already uploaded to your website, or it's on MP3.com or some other music site, simply send the URL of the page it's on. Give your friends and fans the choice to decide whether or not they want to download it. You should also think about encoding your material in more than one format. Not everyone has the latest RealPlayer or Quicktime (though most do). Another important thing to consider - is this an original song that you wish to give away or is it part of a CD you're selling? If it's a cut off your latest CD, think about offering just a verse and a chorus, or about 45 seconds of the best part of song - not the whole song. Of course, that's up to you, but again - get a web page and make the URL available through your email.... not the actual file.

Now here's an email I received recently from my old friend Jon, an exemplary songwriter and musician but a bit behind on email netiquette. Notice that it is exactly as I described above. I actually deleted many names so it would fit in the picture. Below all of the addresses which I intentionally blurred for privacy, is a short maessage from Jon. Now this is the result of Jon putting all of the other recipients in the the CC field of his outgoing email. CC stands for "Carbon Copy" and basically, what it means is everyone on the mailing list gets a copy of the email Jon sent out. Unfortunately, it also means that everyone on the list gets a copy of everyone else's email adddress, too. Now hopefully, they're all good, honest folks who don't bother anyone else; but, suppose someone on that list has an online shoe store or travel agency and collects names anyway they can so the next thing you know, you're getting emails from some company you never heard of with the Subject Line "Cruise For Two To Transylvania - Only $4300". What to do, what to do....

Here's what to do. There is another field for adding addresses called BCC which stands for Blind Carbon Copy. This does not mean that you're email is converted to Braille for those recipients. It means that each individual gets a copy of your message and only their own address is showing at the top. Whenever you wish to send out a message to all the people on your list, simply address it to yourself and put all the other addresses in the BCC field. End of problem. Now, the BCC fiel is not immediately obvious in some email programs. In AOL for instance, you have to look in the little drop-down box when you click in the address field to make it appear. Here is what it should look like in the most popular email programs - just click for a screen shot::
Outlook Express
AOL
Eudora

That's basically all there is to it! Now earlier, I mentioned that there are other things people do with email. Roger Ebert wrote a great article about it in Yahoo! Internet Magazine, but I can't reprint that here. However, there is a list I got from one ot the mailing lists that I subscribe to which covers the top ten email facts of life. You can see it by clicking this link to
EMAIL FACTS OF LIFE.

I hope you found this educational and enlightening. For an excellent resource about getting your music career going on the internet, I would heartily recommend Tim Sweeney's book, The Complete Guide to Internet Promotion for Musicians, Artists and Songwriters. The amazing thing about this book is it's got a lot of incredible information that still applies even if you're not a musician, artist or songwriter.


 

 

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