Written by Richard Rogers (Music2Deal UK representative)
Whilst I was over in MIDEM this year I received as an A&R man a number of different packages from artists as always. However, it is 2019 not 1999 and things have changed drastically in the last few years let alone 20 years. I remember once going to MIDEM and received so many CD’s that I had to buy extra luggage just to get them back to the UK! Those were the days and from an A&R perspective i’m personally glad they are gone. But what about the artist, should they be making special packages just for A&R or is that outdated?
My personal thoughts are that if you want to stand out from the crowd and get your music heard then you need to think out of the box and do things a little differently.
At this MIDEM I received a lot of flyers and cards saying login to this or sign in to that to hear our music and call me old fashioned but they went straight to the bottom of the pile of artists music to undertake to listen too. Why? I hear you ask. Well in truth I find it a bit lazy from the artists point of view. If they value their product (horrible word for music – apologies) then they need to show it off from a lofty height and show off their hard worked music. Take care of your packaging so in other words take care of the format you send to A&R. After all, if the artist has taken the bold and financially high risk of getting themselves over to Cannes with flights, accommodation and MIDEM entry then it shows they are serious about their music so why not come up with something better than a flyer.
Some people did use their initiative. Gary Whyte at Music Sync Tank who is one of our Music2deal members came along with memory sticks with a whole shebang of different tracks and was the perfect selling mechanism and it fits perfectly into your back pocket too. One gripe, there was no contact information on the stick at all apart from a semi faded logo saying ‘music sync tank’. All it needed was a mobile number, email address or website address and people could get in contact with Gary. Make it easy for people to find you. It might sound silly but it is so important to get the small details sorted out otherwise how can you get hold of Gary’s excellent music?
Meanwhile American singer Kim Cameron also bought along an MP3 stick but in the shape of a credit card which was quite ingenious and made me want to play the whole album.
Spanish act A Permanent Shadow turned up with CDs for their new album Songs of Loss which is a cracking little album in places but again another major problem, no information on the CD in regards website address, email or mobile numbers! Instead there is contact info for their legal team which I found frankly a bit weird and off putting.
Same with the Canadian artist, the lovely Monte Madder who presented me with a Skydive CD but it had no contact information on it whatsoever. Was it a promo CD or a fully fledged 6 track EP as the styles of the music were so different? It confuses people! It certainly makes you think, do these artists actually want to be signed up? Even more annoying is when I saw her live she was very good too.
Over the four days of MIDEM, I received about 15 CDs, 2 memory sticks, 2 MP3 cards (same thing really), 3 vinyls and about 60 to 70 flyers or cards sending me links to the artists tracks on their website, on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon etc.
By the way, the vinyls were from two French and one Portuguese artist and one of the French 7 inch singles was on beautiful coloured vinyl. Mind you the song was nothing to write home about but that’s not the point. The point is, of these 90 to 100 artists who got played first? Yup the most visually pleasing followed by those that thought out of the box a little.
What do you think? Should it matter what format the A&R gets to hear the music? Do you have any unusual or novel ways to send or sell your music? What is the best format you have ever seen another artist sell themselves through?
I’m looking forward to your views and thoughts so please reply on the A&R Topics group on Music2Deal.