By Jamie Parmenter of Vinyl Chapters
Being featured on music blogs and review websites is a great way to showcase your new killer track to the online world. If you’re a rising artist, these publications can be some of the first places that write about your music and help increase your fanbase.
If you’re at a stage in your career where you’re looking after your own PR duties, it can be very frustrating if you are continually rejected or ignored by music blogs. However, in all likelihood, there are a few easily rectifiable reasons as to why this is happening and once sorted, can easily increase your chances of being featured.
This article aims to give you an insight into how and why music website editors (like me) choose what music to feature and how you can give yourself the best chance of being included on websites and blogs.
You might have the greatest track in the world but if it isn’t presented to a music blog in the right way, it’s not likely to ever get listened to. All your hard work could be undone just because you didn’t format an email properly or provide the right link. Unfortunately, the music business isn’t just about writing and performing great music; you also need to be able to present your work in the right way to give you the best chance of getting discovered.
And in most cases it really boils down to three crucial things: Research, Preparation, and Pitch.
1. Do Your Research
Choosing the right blogs to submit your music to is your first port of call. There are hundreds of music websites and blogs out there and most of them won’t be the right fit for you and your music. This is a good thing; it allows you to scout out the ones that are the right fit and concentrate on these.
Finding the Right Place for Your Music
Search for blogs that fit with your genre and sound. I know this might seem self-explanatory, but the number of times we’ve been sent, and continue to get sent, genres we’ve never featured before just shows the lack of research by some artists. It wastes both our time and their own. Make sure the blogs you’re submitting to cover your sound.
Another tip is to search for blogs specific to your area or location. You’d have a much better chance of featuring in these publications.
Work to Your Size and Stature
Does the blog you want coverage on feature up and coming bands? Many blogs out there just cover established artists, so it’s probably not worth your time and effort submitting to them. I love to feature up and coming bands and have a specific feature once a week dedicated to new music, but not all blogs will be new artist-friendly. Check through sites to make sure they feature new bands or artists around a similar level to you.
What Is It You’re After?
Are you after a review of your new track? An interview to get your name out there? Maybe you’d like to be featured on a popular Spotify playlist that the publication curates? Make sure you know exactly what you’re actually after and the blogs you’re submitting to can provide it.
Look to Your Peers!
Have a look at other bands similar to you in genre and size of following and research websites they’ve been featured on. It’s likely these publications are going to be ones that are willing to give your music a listen.
Find the Right Details
It’s vital you’re able to find the right contact details and guidelines when researching which blogs to submit to. Many websites accepting submissions will have a specific set of requirements or a specific email address for submissions. Each website is different so make sure to write down somewhere exactly what the requirements are before you move onto the next stage…
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2. Why Preparation Is Key
Are you sure you’re ready to start submitting your tracks to music blogs? The following are a few things you should be thinking about before making contact and sending over your music.
With most blogs, you’ll have a much better chance of being featured if you send over your material and pitch in advance of the release date. For me, I like it when I’m sent material at around two weeks in advance of the release date. This gives me a chance to assess the track and, if we want to include it, gives me plenty of time to give it to one of our writers to review before release.
If something comes over that was released a week ago, it’s more likely we won’t give it as much attention or may even skip over it in favour of something coming out soon.
Make Sure Your Links Work!
This might seem basic, but some artists still get this wrong. The amount of times links haven’t worked or have directed me to the wrong track still surprises me. If the tracks are password protected, make sure to include anything necessary to access because if something doesn’t work, you’re not going to get featured.
Press Shots and Photography
Make sure you have decent photos of yourself or your band. There’s nothing worse than receiving bad photos to go with a music pitch. The presentation of your website is very important to music bloggers and if you send blurry or unprofessional photos, it will not only make you look bad but would make the website look bad, meaning less chance of being featured.
Is your social media game up to scratch? Obviously, if you’re a new or up and coming artist you might not have a large social media following yet, but the way you’re presenting your social media is still important. Make sure you’re posting regularly so we can see that you take pride in your music and relate to your fanbase.
If you have a community with lots of engagement through social media, this will increase your chances of being featured. Remember, music blogs also want their posts to do well and if they can see a strong social media presence, this could sway them to give you a chance.
This time it’s your contact info that’s important. Make sure your website and social media accounts have clear contact details and make it very easy to find. You might just find blogs and websites contacting you instead of the other way around!
+ Read more on Flypaper: “6 Ways to Cut Through the Noise with Your New Release”
3. How to Craft the Perfect Pitch
Here’s the big one! This can be the make or break for a blog taking the time to listen to your music. The best and most used way to pitch for blogs is over email. It’s extremely important you showcase yourself in the right way to give yourself the best chance of being featured on the website you’re contacting.
Here are a few tips:
Make It Personal
Don’t just send out a generic email to every publication or blog you’re applying to. We’re far more likely to read an email that features a name at the top instead of just a generic “Hi,” so scout out the editor or contact name for the site you’re emailing. Also, try to add something nice about the website or show that you’ve read something recently on the site.
Show Us Who You Are
Make sure you get to the point of who you are and why we should be interested in you in a clear and succinct way.
This is probably a little different for each blog or music website, but for me, I really only want two or three paragraphs in the main body of the email. Give a brief overview of yourself as a band or artist, a brief explanation and background to the music you’re submitting, and attach an Electronic Press Kit that’s more in-depth. Make sure to include photos and the album/single cover if necessary. Make sure links to music in the body of the text are easily accessible. Include website/social links so we can check out your overall presence.
Other editors may prefer a full bio and track breakdown within the email so just try a few different layouts and stick to what works best for you.
Tell Us What You Want
Make it clear exactly what you are after from us. Do you want a review? Are you looking for a playlist add? An interview? If you just send us the music without saying what you would like, you’ll likely get passed over.
A Few More Things…
Don’t Fear Rejection
Try not to get offended if you are rejected or don’t hear back. A lot of these blogs receive hundreds of submissions a week and might not be able to reply to every single one. You’ll need to have a thick skin in the music industry and it’s just something you’ll have to accept. Don’t let this get you down and keep plugging on!
If you don’t hear back within 3 to 5 days of your initial email, I would suggest writing one follow up email checking in with the publication. If you still don’t hear back, leave it. Further emails are just going to annoy the recipient and it’s most likely they’ve decided not to accept your submission. Take it on the chin and move on to the next blog, but don’t be afraid to submit more material to the same publication in the future if you feel they’re a good fit; they might not have picked up your previous track but your next one they could love.
Don’t forget about Spotify playlists. Have a check on Spotify to see if the publications you’re submitting to have any playlists you could fit nicely onto and find out how many followers they have. Sometimes you can get a huge amount of exposure through this avenue. This means you also have to make sure your own Spotify profile is up to scratch and includes an up-to-date bio and links to your socials.
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