Musicians: Delete Your Email List – no independent artist needs one

Musician email listHopefully you didn’t just delete your email service provider account after reading the headline. Because there’s an ‘if’ statement that follows…Musicians, delete your email list. No independent artist needs one if they don’t use it properly.

Unfortunately, this statement applies to many independent artists. They’re missing a HUGE opportunity with email.

If you’ve read articles like this one or this one, then you know all the great reasons you need an email list. The problem is no one told you what to do after you got people on your list. And there’s no sense having a list if you don’t follow through.

Here are two things most independent musicians get wrong:

Send out a dang email once-in-a-while!

Can you tell this one gets me fired up?

I’m on a lot of independent artist’s email lists. But one look at my inbox and you might not know it. As many lists as I’m on, I should be getting a few emails a day. But I’m not.

In fact, I only get an average of five per week from independent artists. And it’s always the same acts. They get it. They know the power of an email list is not in it’s potential. It’s in actually using the list.

Here’s how most of the lists I’m on work…

RE: Thanks for signing up on our list

Hey potential fan! Thanks for signing up for our email list! Here’s the free download of our song Really Awesome Song. We hope you love it. Make sure you follow us on Facebook.

Five or six months later…

RE: Really Awesome Album now available on iTunes.

Hey fan. (which I’m not because I never heard from you again and I don’t know a single thing about you) We’re so proud to tell you our new album, Really Awesome Album, is finished and now available on iTunes. We hope you buy it and tell all your friends.


RE: We need your help

Hey fan. (Again, not a fan. Just a guy on your list because you’ve done nothing to make me a fan) We’re so excited to let everyone know we’re launching a Kickstarter campaign for our new tour this fall. We can’t wait to come to your town, so head on over and choose from one of our great premiums. Tell all your friends.

The only time I ever receive an email is when they need something from me. In the meantime, they’ve done nothing to make me care. Do you see how crazy that is?

I’m not saying you need to send out an epic masterpiece of an email each week, but you need to keep in touch.

The public spends money on bands they know and like. You’ve got to build a relationship with your list so they’re looking forward to your next email. Not scratching their head and wondering “Who is that? I don’t remember signing up for this.”

Which leads to…

Use the power of auto-responders

email automation for bandsAuto-responders are awesome. They let you send emails and build a fan base while you’re sleeping, or performing on stage. In fact, we use auto-responders to send out The 5 Steps To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing.

For those that aren’t aware, auto-responders are timed emails sent out by your email service provider based on a time-frame you dictate.

A great way for independent artists to use auto-responders is to send out a series of emails over the course of a week or two right after a potential fan signs up for your list. Introduce yourself and start building a relationship on auto-pilot.

Use auto-responders to give them the backstory of your band.

Where did you meet? Who are your influences? How long have you been together? Where are you based? How many albums have you released?

You can also work in the values of the band.

Give the new fan something to connect with. Are you political? Do you support a homeless shelter? Are all your songs about soccer? Do you only eat vegan?

The more people know about you the more likely they are to find something to connect with. It’s that connection that makes them a real fan.

When selecting an email service be picky. Not all ESPs offer auto-responders. It’s the downfall of free email services like MailChimp. (Though their upgraded service does) That’s why we recommend a paid service like Active Campaign.

If you aren’t going to use it – lose it.

Be cool. Don’t make your potential fans jump through hoops to get free downloads or badger them to sign up on your list at live shows, if you have no intention of ever contacting them again.

It’s a giant waste of energy for you and unfair to them.


This article was originally posted at by Neil


Email Services For Musicians

Over the years I’ve used several email marketing services. In this article I show you what I think are the best options for email services for musicians.

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the links in this article are affiliate links. If you use one of these links to buy services we might get a small commission from the sale. It won’t cost you anything extra and it helps us continue to provide great free content for you. – N&J 🙂

Mail email service for musiciansMail Chimp

I know many people who use MailChimp for their email service. I personally have never had a MailChimp account, but I’ve helped people use MailChimp and set up campaigns.


  • The biggest draw to MailChimp is it’s FREE. Yes, you can use MailChimp for no cost. Making it the most affordable email service on the market. Now there is no excuse for continuing to curate your own email list in Outlook or Gmail.
  • MailChimp is fairly simple and intuitive to use. If you have any experience setting up a social media profile or website you can figure out MailChimp.
  • MailChimp allows you to manually add subscribers to your list. This is great if you’re circulating a signup sheet at your shows. You can later type in your fans’ info and they are automatically on the list.
  • Tracks open rates of emails, letting you see how many people opened your email as well as click on any links within the email.
  • Built in A/B split testing. Send two different emails to different segments of your list to see which email gets a better response. Try different subject lines or messages.
  • Great online training resources if you’re new to email marketing.
  • Great email templates for musicians built right into the platform. You won’t need to start from scratch creating a ‘look’ for your emails.


  • Free has it’s limitations. Only allowed up to 2000 subscribers for a FREE account. Also limited to 12,000 individual emails sent per month.
  • Pretty basic signup form templates. You won’t be able to do anything too fancy without some effort on your part.
  • FREE account is limited to email support only. If you have an issue it’s going to take some time and back-and-forth emails to get it resolved.
  • No auto-responders. This one is a deal breaker for me. Auto-responders are the beauty to having an email service. They allow you to be in 14 places at once and systemize your emails. They are available on paid MailChimp accounts only.

MailChimp Conclusions

MailChimp is a great service if you are new to email marketing. It has a very ‘hand-holding’ approach. Walking you through each step and showing you how to get the most out of your email campaigns. If you have experience with email marketing this can quickly get old. As all the ‘helpful tips’ slow you down and get in your way.

The one fatal flaw with MailChimp’s free service is the omission of auto-responders. If you are serious about putting email to work for you then auto-responders are something you will definitely want to use.

If you are just looking to get your feet wet with email then MailChimp is a good place to start. Hopefully you will outgrow their free account quickly. 🙂

 AWeber email service for musiciansAWeber

I’ve had several Aweber accounts over the years and have been VERY happy with their service.


  • Excellent deliverability rates. AWeber prides itself on being able to deliver over 99% of your messages to your subscribers. Very important if you want all your effort to be seen by all your fans.
  • Phone support. Have a problem or don’t understand how to create a signup form? Pick up the phone and dial AWeber customer support. Always there and short wait times. As a matter of fact, I can’t recall ever waiting for help when I’ve called AWeber.
  • A variety of modifiable sign-up form templates.
  • Facebook and Twitter integration. Link your emails to post on your Facebook and Twitter feeds. No need to duplicate your efforts.


  • AWeber will not allow you to manually add subscribers. Well, let me clarify. You can add a subscriber but your fan will then need to confirm they want to be on your list. It’s one of the ways AWeber keeps their deliverability rates so high. But it can be frustrating to collect emails only to have your fans not follow-through and confirm later.
  • Not completely intuitive. It will take you some time to learn the ins and outs of the AWeber platform. But with their awesome customer service it shouldn’t be too bad.
  • Email templates feel a little dated. AWeber has many templates to choose from, but many of them are stale in their design. They don’t have a lot of ready to go designs for musicians.

AWeber Conclusions

I’ve been an AWeber customer for years mainly due to their awesome customer service and reasonable pricing. AWeber is the choice of most professional internet marketers. With testimonials like that you know they’re doing something right!

If you are serious about using email marketing to promote your music then AWeber is a good choice. It has some extremely powerful features.

Sendpepper email service for musiciansSendPepper

If you’ve signed up for The 5 Steps To Rockin’ Your Music Marketing then you may have noticed we use ONTRAPORT to deliver our email. ONTRAPORT is the big brother of SendPepper. SendPepper (and ONTRAPORT) are WAY powerful. It’s built to handle not only email but an entire suite of services for customer data management. Including shopping carts, membership sites and affiliate programs. If you’re new to email marketing it’s probably not where you want to start. I would recommend getting started with a simpler service unless you want to add an integrated shopping cart or fan club very soon.

emailMore Choices

There are far too many options for email providers for me to review here. I’ve only included the services I have first-hand experience with. I don’t believe in recommending things I haven’t tried myself, but if you want more options here is a site that has more reviews of email marketing services.