Wasted Energy: A Reminder About Targeted E-Mail

12:25 pm – update In Comments

I’m not a musician, but found my University webform and used it to send me an email asking me to audition for the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.This unsolicited “email” serves as a reminder about mass-mailing in an age of niche markets.

This could have been pitched to me as a real story, because of its use of internet technologies to solicit and rate contestants. But it wasn’t.

Of course, this tidbit of advice to PR folks — tailor your pitches to the journalist, don’t just send them out shotgun-style — is nothing new. What’s the first rule of communication? Know Your Audience!

When a pitch is broadcast widely like this, it is more likely to be treated like spam than like anything worthwhile.

But why does spam persist? Why is spam it so “successful”? Beyond the fact that it’s basically “free,” it’s because spammers don’t need a significant response rate due to volume. They buy mailing lists, scrape email addresses off the web, guess at addresses.

But this? This “release” was posted via a web form, not email. Heaven help us all if bots can now use web forms to send bulk “email.”

Subject: The Vienna Symphony Orchestra is searching for a soloist and a composer

Dear kegill,

I wanted to get in touch in regards to an opportunity to be soloist or a composer for the world renowned Vienna Symphony Orchestra at its yearly “Springtime in Vienna” concert, conducted by Fabio Luisi.

There are only a few musical ensembles that are as consistently and closely associated with the history and tradition of European classical music — the Vienna Symphony Orchestra being one of them. In the course of its over 100 year history, the musicians of this prominent orchestra of the capital city of music have been an integral part of a musical epoch.

Talenthouse and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra provide the opportunity for talented musicians to submit their audition solo or composition, to be considered. This is a truly exceptional opportunity for any aspiring classical music composer or musician.

The search will be conducted exclusively via Talenthouse to then be judged by the Talenthouse community as well as representatives of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and presented to Fabio Luisi for final selection.

Audition to be a soloist for the world renowned Vienna Symphony Orchestra:

Compose for the Vienna Symphony Orchestra:

Video of Fabio Luisi talking about this opportunity:

Talenthouse gives musicians and creatives a chance to showcase their abilities to a worldwide audience and participate in unique project opportunities with iconic organizations, artists and brands.

Talenthouse has launched in 2009 and already realized projects with Montblanc, adidas, Nokia, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Asos, Rihanna, Boy George, Photek, Mayday Parade, Alexandra Burke and many others.

If you or your friends are interested in playing in front of thousands with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Fabio Luisi.

Please let me know if I can provide you with any further information or material.

Talenthouse Inc.
This message originated from the UMail form:general web mail

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

6 replies on “Wasted Energy: A Reminder About Targeted E-Mail”

Yeah, that’s just my signature snark talking :)

Seriously, though, good on you guys for following up on Kathy’s post and replying—that’s class and it obviously sets you apart from what I previously referred to as conventional spam.

Funny story: I’m actually crafting a quasi-press release right now and taking my own advice about brevity.

Hi, @Malte and @netzkobold — props for monitoring (and replying!). And yeah for enthusiastic start-ups!

When I read the pitch, the first thing I thought of was the YouTube symphony – so you were right to think of me as someone who might be interested. Let’s chat later in the week about the ins-and-outs of the crowdsourcing effort, shall we?

PS – I also suggest you take Paul’s observation about brevity as constructive criticism.

Hi Kathy!

This is Malte who wrote you the message above yesterday. By no means was it my intention to send you an irrelevant message.

A while back you wrote a post called “Announcing The YouTube Symphony Orchestra (A Contest)” ( I thought both events were similar so you could have been interested in our competition. I did however forget to mention it in my email to you for what I want to apologize.

I completely agree with what you wrote above and we never spam bloggers with irrelevant messages. Unfortunately in this case I forgot to state why exactly I was reaching out to you in particular.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We are always happy to learn and improve our outreach.

Again, sorry I didn’t specify why I reached out to you. It won’t happen again.


Hi Kathy,

I totally hear you and please accept my apologies.

It was certainly meant as a personal approach seeing if you were interested in the story as a whole not pitching you as a musician to participate :-) We are a young startup from Mountain View, CA with a 10 people team trying to change the world. We get excited about the new projects we are able to provide to our growing community of creatives and artists in various categories. Talenthouse is a platform providing projects to aspiring creative people, designer, musicians, etc while allowing organizations, established artists and brands to engage with their audience.

And we usually know to keep it as personal as possible, getting to know your audience/person you are writing to first, but I guess in an effort trying to get the word out about what we have to offer this just didn’t come along right.

We learn from this, will keep it short and certainly more personal in the future.

Sorry and best regards,


Speaking of wasted energy, what’s up with eleven paragraphs? If you’re going to spam me, at least make it short. If every PR pitch came in bullet-point format with a link and a contact at the end, I’d take them all a lot more seriously.

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