Best Practices: Emailing Fans Follow

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Too often, direct-to-fan debates tend to focus on making money. And while that may be the goal, the path to it is through the artist-fan connection. 

That’s why one of the services we provide at Topspin is enabling artist-fan communication via email delivery. It’s a simple communication channel that a surprising number of artists ignore. Sending email updates to share details of activities with fans is a wonderful way to nurture the fan connection. 

Social media has it's place, but there are draw backs. The Twitter stream moves fast and information can be lost in the flow.  Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t distribute updates to all followers. But if someone signs up for a newsletter, the email will be delivered. And according to WIRED, there’s a “newsletter resurgence” taking place, which reinforces this point.

But we can only provide the tools: it’s the artist who has to provide the words. And the artist voice is critical here, as it is in the entire direct-to-fan approach. Even one email a month will suffice. With a little consistency and a lot of authenticity, email open rates can improve dramatically. 

The best emails are text-based, and read like a missive from a friend. Interpol keeps info short and sweet but the emails are always from the band. David Byrne sends regular updates from his tours, travels and ruminations. Steve Martin’s hilarious email example is unmistakably his own. And when the time comes to sell something, you can hardly do better at describing your role in the process than the masterpiece below from The Decemberists. 

Enjoy the examples. 
And let your voice be heard!


Date: Mon, May 2, 2011 at 4:03 PM
Subject: Steve Martin on TV this week

Okay folks, this is an email from actual Steve, not promotional assistant Steve, and to prove it, I’ll misspell something. Their, I did it. Just letting you know that I’ll be on Ellen and Conan on Tuesday of this week, and my new record with the Steep Canyon Rangers, Rare Bird Alert, is available through my website, You can also view our live video of Jubilation Day there, too.



From: Interpol <>

Date: Wed, Feb 23, 2011 at 5:34 PM
Subject: Interpol Tour EP

We just completed our North American tour this past weekend in Boston. Thank you to everyone for coming to the shows and making the tour such a special one. We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again: we have the best fans in the world. Tis too true.

As a celebration, we’d like to offer a little free Tour EP for your enjoyment featuring tracks from our tremendous touring friends School of Seven Bells and Matthew Dear as well as “Lights" from our latest album.

We hope you enjoy the EP and if you do please be sure to visit and




From: David Byrne <>
Date: Mon, Jan 28, 2013 at 6:44 AM
Subject: TV on TV

St. Vincent and I have just returned from a short tour of sunny Australia. We wrapped up in Tasmania at the MOFO festival—very exciting. We’re back now.

On her way back to NY, Annie stopped in Dallas where she caught a high school production of Stop Making Sense. The whole thing—lamp, costumes, patter, the works. I think they should bring it to NY—or at least try and get Jonathan Demme to film it there in Dallas.

We’ll be on Letterman tonight, Monday, doing our song “I Should Watch TV". The meaning and significance of doing that song on TV is making my head go funny. We haven’t done it yet, obviously. I hope we’re good.

David B
Western Chelsea


The Decemberists | News 11.29.10

Adored Mailing List Recipients,

Hello! I hadn’t seen you come in. Excuse me while I turn down the hi-fi. What is this? Must you ask? Why, this happens to be Marshall Tucker Band’s seminal eponymous LP; shall I let it play? No mind: there are important things at hand.

First off, we Decemberists would like to inform you, the Mailing List Recipient, that our forthcoming long-player, The King is Dead, will be available on January 18th in a number of different incarnations, as is the current style, that will mollify every toiler in the tax-bracket. They are too numerous to be itemized here; there is much to tell and our time is short.

Please visit to check out all the options.

I would, however, like to take this opportunity to tell you about the top-of-the-line, no-holds-barred, chocolate-dipped-Cadillac version of the record, which will heretofore be known as the DELUXE BOX EDITION.

Should you choose the DELUXE BOX EDITION, you will receive, in a fine cloth-bound embossed clamshell BOX, the following:

- CD version of the record
- 180-gram WHITE vinyl version of the record with a unique cover
- A DVD of Pendarvia, a film by Aaron Rose about the making of the record
- A limited edition print by Decemberist illustratrix Carson Ellis
- A 72 page clothbound book featuring photographs by Autumn de Wilde and illustrations by Carson Ellis
- A one-of-a-kind Polaroid photograph by Ms. de Wilde from the Impossible Project/Decemberists series

This latter item requires some explaining:

One night on Pendarvis Farm, whilst merrily roasting tofu dogs over an open campfire, we Decemberists, along with our esteemed Management Representatives and a certain Missus Autumn de Wilde, photographer superieur, hatched a plan wherein Mizz de Wilde would document the making of The King is Dead on Polaroid film, a full 2500 photos to be exact, and we would then include one of those unique photographs individually in each of the DELUXE BOX EDITION of the record. Naturally, this is the sort of cockamamy scheme that lodges itself in the minds of perfectly sane adults while under the influence of a bucolic, Arcadian Oregon summer; the expense was deemed too great. This is where The Impossible Project came in, a group devoted to the survival of Polaroid films of all sorts and collect or manufacture this ever-rarified breed of film in order to sell or donate it to photographers worldwide. They liked our idea; they donated us the film. And so here we are, this dream fulfilled. Ms. de Wilde followed us Decemberists around all summer, snapping Polaroids. We posed obligingly. And, my dear Mailing List Recipient, one of those photos could be yours.


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