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Tuesday
Jun052012

Where most artists mess up when submitting to music blogs

This post actually started as a comment in response to a Music Think Tank post that questioned the value of seeking reviews from music blogs. Their rationale was mainly based on their low results after contacting relevant blogs on Hype Machine. As an independent music promoter and blogger, I’d like to make a few points, and hopefully you find them useful.

 

I still discover almost all the new music I get into through music blogs and I believe they are a huge help in generating buzz. Artists definitely should contact relevant blogs, but there are a few major mistakes they typically make that I’d like to point out. First off, DON’T use a blanket service like Musicsubmit.com or Beatwire.com. Most artists already know this, but they are basically sending your emails straight to the junk folders of the press they reach. My own site was recently added to Musicsubmit’s list, and I was not contacted about this. That should tell you something. If they’re not even willing to say hello to new potential allies, it generally means they have none. You pay your money and it goes down the chute. I’m not usually harsh with companies but it’s these types of particular places who target artists that I feel should be exposed. That way, artists can use their money elsewhere.

This same advice goes for sending emails yourself - you MUST personalize. As a promoter, one thing that works for me is to have a separate email where I introduce myself to the blog in question, let them know what to expect from me and what styles I’m passionate about/work with. Sometimes there will be something about the blog I loved and I’ll point that out. If their blog is good but I have nothing else personable/original to say, I keep it simple and polite. If you’re an artist, it’s just as important to personalize. 
Having something to offer in return helps too. Offering to heavily cross-promote posts is a good thing. How about offering premieres for unheard tracks? Video premieres, merchandise giveaways, exclusive album streams. Blogs love these things. They’re music fans just like you and don’t get paid a dime typically, so try to think of something you can do to help their blog possibly.
Take the time, do it one by one, be personable with everyone, have very high quality music, and include ALL info in a concise way (Stream link, DL link, video links, band info, production info, release date, press shots zip, accolades, bio, etc). No one should have to google you under any circumstance.
Another mistake artists make is saying “I’m going to get on music blogs!” and then they look up the “Top 50 music blogs” list and fire away. Independent artists seem to want to jump from Earth to the Moon. You’re sitting in your basement and you want to get reviewed by Pitchfork. Many artists don’t want to go near more independent blogs, personal blogs, or blogs with small followings. The issue with this is: YOU have a small following. Ideally, you should be open to all kinds of small level blogs. You should make good contacts, be nice to these independent writers and get them on your side. Build from where you ARE, not from where you project yourself to be. You’re not going to find too many allies at the New York Times, but you may find hundreds in the blogosphere.
Beyond this, many artists are simply sending their music out far before they are ready. It’s at a demo level and it’s just not good enough, and they are unaware of this fact or don’t want to admit this to themselves.
Of course, there are many other places to contact besides music blogs, and these places are not innundated with so many requests per day. Try lifestyle and fashion magazines with music sections, as well as the hundreds of independent magazines, some of which have huge followings, but are open to artists.

Those are some of the issues I’ve come across as far as submitting music to music blogs. I’m sure there are lots of ideas to add, too. I just wanted to get this out quick while the inspiration was there!

 

James Moore

http://www.independentmusicpromotions.com

Reader Comments (4)

So, true point, James. Thank you for your honesty.
Could you please take a look at our roadster and come back to us to discuss promo campaign possibilities?

August 7 | Unregistered CommenterPD

I have to disagree. musicSUBMIT.com only sends EPKs to people that sign up to receive them; they aren't unsolicited, and they don't send more than three at a time to subscribers. I've been able to get music on the air successfully with their service. I can't speak on beatwire, yet, but, I have to say, that when you are going DIY, time is money, and sometimes it's better to spend the latter than the former, especially when you are a solo artist.

nice article I agree submitting to music blogs does not help a lot

June 8 | Unregistered Commenterrobin

Great article! I'm spending a good amount time promoting my son and I don't want to waste time on dead end streets. Starting small sounds perfect while we're still building his his loyal fan base. I'll definitely be looking in the magazines and putting together a plan to work up to the blogs. Thanks

November 27 | Unregistered CommenterMary Webb

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