5 Tips to Consider When Submitting Music to Websites
One of a music writer’s biggest pet peeves in running a music website is the way we receive music submissions. In my case, it’s receiving music in my email from artists that don’t know what my site is about and how I share music on the site. This is because I don’t share new music on Transcending Sound unless I’m featuring the artist in an article or if I’m sharing one of my season playlists (read more here). So, dropping a music link in my inbox without a specific objective in mind and not explicitly saying that isn't a good way to go about it.
For other music sites that focus on music submissions more than I do, I’m sure it can really be a pain. I understand how convenient it is for an artist to send a link on Twitter, but there are reasons why that isn’t the wave. This is really bad when an artist drops their music in everyone’s mentions who respond to a specific tweet — or in a comment thread, message, or DM via YouTube, Facebook, or any other social media platform. My good friend and blogger sister Candice had to tell someone who dropped a link to his music via her Twitter mentions that his approach was wrong. I hate that he had to be the one who was corrected on the timeline for all to see, but he had to learn and I’m sure that others had to as well.
These five tips I’m going to mention will touch on how an artist should submit music to a music website or to any platform that accepts music submissions. Continue reading and share to help an artist who needs it most.
RESEARCH THE BEST SITES TO SUBMIT MUSIC TO.
For any creative, exposure is important. However, a strategy is even more important. That strategy, amongst many other important things for the artist, includes what platforms an artist will submit their music to. Every music website, including major music sites, isn’t good for an artist’s brand, and the only way they will know that is if they do the research. For example, DJBooth isn’t the wave for a contemporary R&B artist. Neither is Complex, unless the artist already has some buzz. However, sites like SoulBounce and YouKnowIGotSoul could be best. If the focus is local and the artist is a hip-hop artist in Chicago, then Fake Shore Drive or another local site like it is the best bet.
There are a few ways to know if a blog is going to be a good place for an artist. Knowing their target music audience and where that audience would find new music is one of those things. Reading the website’s about page or FAQs and their content to notice storylines and patterns with types of artists to know if that’s a place that would share the music. One of the most important things an artist can do is ask questions, such as “is this blog going to help push my music to the right people?” Once those questions are answered and the artist continues to edit their site choices, it could help out tremendously in their pitch. This step is something that an artist should revisit regularly as their fan base and reach grows.
Most importantly, please be wary if a music platform gives options for payment for music placement. I urge any artist, as 3 Stacks said in "International Players Anthem," to “Don’t do it! Reconsider!” Yes, I'm sure on the subject. Very sure.
FIND OUT THE BEST METHODS TO SUBMIT TO EACH SITE.
From reading a lot of different sites, I speak from experience that most, if not all, of these sites prefer email submissions. Some may be lenient with music in the comments or in the DMs if the writer is familiar with the artist’s work or if we happen to click it and it’s fire. But, even then, I wouldn’t count on that. Email is going to be the best bet because the people who check music submissions can keep track of everything in one place. Having music submissions in multiple places is overwhelming, and, truth be told, can be very annoying.
Also, the artist and/or their team should know who could possibly be reading the email and listening to the music. Look at each site and find out who their editors and writers are, then check which ones do what. I’d even suggest striking up organically friendly conversations (or a friendly debate every once in a while if necessary) online to gauge them. Engage wholeheartedly. Then send the email, but before that, peep the next point.
KNOW YOUR STORY AND SAY IT QUICKLY.
A long drawn out email is thee worst for music writers and editors, especially for major sites. Many lose interest quickly. Make the email brief, but with enough information that gives an idea of who the artist is and what their music is like. Essentially, the email should be similar to an elevator pitch. If writing isn’t the artist’s strong suit, then they can have someone who has the ability to write them write your full-length biography and the pitch for them.
Personalizing each email (because we can tell if it was copied and pasted) and including social media links is a must. Proofreading is even more necessary.
SPAMMING IS NOT YOUR FRIEND.
It may feel like the longest time to hear back from many of these sites. However, grasshoppers, patience is a virtue. If an artist is pitching a major site, many of those sites receive hundreds of submissions in a day. Give them time to weed through all of the music and all of the other things they are doing in the daily operation of their site. This also goes for smaller sites. We may not receive that many submissions, but many of us run sites by ourselves and have jobs outside of the site. Give it time. If it’s been over a week, the team should send another email as a follow-up or drop a friendly message in their DMs telling the writer who they are and asking them if they’ve received the email. Sometimes, the writer or editor will be cool. Other times, they won’t respond. Either way, it’s okay. Just don’t spam them. It isn’t professional.
We’ve read social media comments from artists about how angry they were about not being featured on a blog. It can hurt, especially if the artist and team know their worth and feels like platforms should understand and recognize it. But, everyone isn’t going to vibe with what an artist does at that exact moment. It may take time, and that’s okay. And, even if they do like the artist, they have to keep moving forward and continue working. It’s important for the artist and/or their team to find the sites, the spots, and the fans that will support them and let that continue to fuel the fire. Also, know that only being present online can limit the artist’s reach to online. Making an effort to make connections in person is essential; those are the most important connections you can make because they can help make an artist’s success even bigger online. But, even with that, you don't really need blog placement to be successful. I touch on this topic a little bit here.