#DearRappers: Stop tweeting demos at me [Article]
Edmonton, AB – Here’s the deal: y’all need to stop tweeting out your demos. Every time someone tweets a demo at me, my soul dies and “Marvin’s Room” becomes the soundtrack to my entire existence. I’m just saying you could do better. Tell me – have you heard that, lately? If you haven’t, now is the time. I’m telling you: you can do better. And by better; I mean that you can stop tweeting demos at me.
I feel you – don’t get me wrong – tweeting demos out is the easiest form of self-promotion. Ever. You have 140 characters to mess with, and only 140 characters. So you don’t need to worry about drafting up a press release or actually having to put some thought into promoting yourself. But please stop this madness. Tweeting demos is not kosher. At all. So I’m ‘a break it down for you here on #DearRappers. Here are some reasons why you should stop tweeting demos at me – and every single other music journalist, for that matter.
Tweeting is impersonal
One of the biggest mistakes that rappers make is treating their media contacts like side-girls. You act like you don’t really want a relationship of any kind with us. But then you start flexing when you want us to put out…and by put out, I mean “put out” an article on the Internet about you. And your supreme awesomeness. And your latest rap track or video.
But here’s a shocker for you – I actually love building with my artists. I love getting to know my dudes (and ladies) so that I can follow them as they mature in the rap game. That doesn’t mean we need to braid each other’s hair, and talk about cute boys, and sing “Kumbaya” by the fire, or anything. It just means I prefer when we can be real with one another. So what does that all mean? It means I don’t get to find out a whole lot about you when you tweet me like, “Here’s my new track. I’m the best rapper in [insert city name here].”
So take the time to write me a couple of sentences in an email. It makes things personal. I will want to write about you. Here’s an example: “Hey, I just lost custody of my cat. And now she’s getting euthanized. And I was really sad about it so I penned this track. And then my homie jumped in on a feature verse because his cat died a year ago and he was feeling where I was going with this song.” There you go. In a couple of sentences, you’ve just opened yourself up to me, and given me some context for your track. I will be pleased. I will listen to your demo.
Tweeting degrades your work
So you just spent anywhere between a few days, and a few years (for the really perfectionistic rap cats out there) working to put together a track. Or a project. Or a video.
Let me lay it out for you: you’ve put all of this time and effort into your craft. But then you poop out a five-second tweet. What does that say about your artistry? It says that you don’t respect your own craft. So if you don’t respect your work enough to take the time to write an email, or an actual press release, I’m not going to respect your work either. In fact, I’m going to assume that you pooped out a bunch of sloppy mediocre verses on said demo in the same fashion that you pooped your sloppy tweet out at me. I won’t write about you. I will check my email. And I will listen to the demos in my email inbox.
Tweeting is a bad reflection on your grammatical abilities
If you’re tweeting demos out to journalists, keep in mind that you’re tweeting your demos out to journalists. Most of us are unnecessarily (and unapologetically) pretentious about grammar and spelling and stuff.
So when you spell things incorrectly, we get salty. When you forget to capitalize your own name, we giggle. And when you WRITE IN ALL CAPITALS LIKE THIS, WE ASSUME THAT YOU’RE YELLING AT US AND THEN WE GET SCARED AND DECIDE NOT TO POST YOUR DEMO. YELLING NEVER GETS YOU WHAT YOU WANT. ‘NA MEAN? THIS ISN’T A COOL WAY TO APPROACH PEOPLE WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO LISTEN TO YOUR STUFF. UNLESS YOU ARE DMX. THEN IT IS ACCEPTABLE. JA RULE COULD PROBABLY GET AWAY WITH IT, TOO. OTHERWISE, NO.
Facebook is even worse than tweeting
One thing I hate more than Twitter demos is Facebook direct message demos. Those are so bad. Here’s how it all goes down: some random rap cat will try to add me on Facebook. I ignore them. Then they send a demo URL to my Facebook inbox. Bonus points if that URL is accompanied by something like “Listen to my new song.” Because sometimes I literally just get a link. No “Hey, how’s it going?” or “Hey, I’m so-and-so and this is my new track called such-and-such.” Nope. Just a URL.
When this happens, “Marvin’s Room” is no longer an acceptable means of measuring my supreme emotional distress. Instead, I lean towards tracks like “Comin’ For Ya” by DMX or “Don’t You Ever” by DMX. Basically, the entire …And Then There Was X becomes my entire thought process. Sorry, I ended up referencing DMX here again because he is the rap game version of supreme fiery anger. And that is the feeling I feel when I receive Facebook direct message demos.
The proper way to submit a demo
I’m not trying to throw shade at you cats. It’d be harsh of me to spew my anger all over you demo tweeters without providing some sages words of wisdom. So here’s a pretty fool-proof guide to sending out a demo.
1. First, check to see if the website or publication you’re submitting to has submission guidelines. Spoiler alert: HipHopCanada actually has submission guidelines. If you don’t know, now you know. Submission guidelines give you all of the information that a writer will need to know in order to write about you. This may include things that wouldn’t have considered telling us, such as your location or your production credits (because without your producers, you wouldn’t have a track – so show them the love they deserve). If you give us this information, it saves us bucket-loads of time. Ain’t nobody got time to troll around the Internet to find out where you’re based out of. We’ll just pass on the demo. And not write about you.
2. So now that you’ve read the submission guidelines, you want to draft up an email. We do have a general submission inbox at HipHopCanada, but it’s much better to get in touch with your regional editor. Why? Because it’s all about making that personal connection I talked about earlier.
3. Now you write an email. Introduce yourself. Tell us your name. Tell us where you’re from. Tell us about your lactose intolerance. Heck, tell us whatever you want. We just want to know who you are and what you’re about. Don’t write an autobiography, or anything. A couple of sentences will do you more than enough justice.
4. Then you can pitch your track/video/project to us. Tell us the title (this seems kind of obvious but it does frequently get forgotten), and tell us -in a few sentences- about said track/video/project. Then provide us with all applicable links to the track/video/project, as well as to your social media profiles or SoundCloud pages. Don’t link us to ReverbNation because Reverb is irrelevant and I will likely judge you for using Reverb. Ew. Reverb.
5. Wrap is all up and give us any details that you’ve missed. Then sign it off with some closing words. Solid viable options include “All the best,” “Talk to you soon,” “Thanks for your time,” and “Take Care” (which was a a Drake album and is therefore kind of superior to most closing formalities).
Tah-dah. You’ve just conquered the rap game. You win. I’m ‘a go listen to your demos now.
Special thank-you to DMX and Drake for helping me articulate my feelings
Written by Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada
Notice: The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the author and are not necessarily those of HipHopCanada or its affiliates.
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