If there is one thing that musicians and artists should know, it’s that “getting there” takes a long while. It’s not just because of your talent or your skills that will make you a success- it’s also because of the hard work of a thousand people. Some lent you their instruments, some offered their homes, some gave you some cash, some referred you to big companies, some gave you a pat on the back when you needed it.
Now that your project is done, it’s time to say thank you to these generous people who made your album or film possible. It’s not that people expect you to broadcast your gratitude for everyone to hear. What they would like is to be treated courteously and respectfully for the time and effort they expended helping you achieve your dreams.
If you want to have good relations with these people and if you want them to support your next album or film, thank them.
There should be a Thank You list. I don’t care if you have the sharpest memory. I still insist you keep a thank you list where you write down the names and of every person who helped you. Write down their names, their contributions, and their contact info. If it’s a very busy day for you and pulling out the list is a hassle, then assign it to someone else. For example, if you’re shooting your film, then give the list to your production manager or production assistant. You might want to categorize them according to how big or small their contributions are (major contributions, small help, etc) to make those major sponsors feel extra special. As much as you want to, you cannot send all of them “Thank You” flowers and chocolates so note the few people who deserve to receive big thank-yous.
Show appreciation thru simple, occasional updates. E-mail everyone who helped you with short but sweet updates of your project. “Hey, we’re now going to Unified Manufacturing to have our CDs duplicated. Cannot wait to show you our album. Again, many thanks! See you in the CD release party! I’ll send you invites later this week;-)”. You may also send this as a text message to the very important people. It’s more personal. They’ll feel the warmth.
Personally hand them your tokens. Do not just e-mail them a long letter of appreciation. Make a hand-written letter and snail mail it to their doorstep. For those very important sponsors, thank them with flowers, chocolates, or a bottle of champagne. It’s old-fashioned and too formal but it’s a tried and tested way to make people feel special. Of course you could come up with your own tokens if flowers and chocolates is not your style. What’s important is that you hand them something that clearly says “thank you. We owe you a lot!”
Acknowledge them onstage. Thank them onstage whenever you have the chance. Use your list. You should also thank them online (e-mails, facebook, your website).
Put their names on your CD/DVD booklet. Make sure you thank everyone. Then give each of them a CD/DVD.
Yeah I know it’s tough to remember each of them but just do your best. Do your best in thanking people because people love helping when their efforts are recognized. And they will have second thoughts helping you on your next project if their efforts are not acknowledged.
Image from: Natalie Dee
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.