You have your album finished. You have a couple of music videos ready to support the strongest singles. And you have taken time to find a list of blogs you think might feature your music.
What is the best way to submit your music to bloggers and press?
The following are simply my recommendations based on years of experience accepting music submissions from bands.
As a blogger, there is nothing I hate more than having to spend 10 minutes digging up your bio, finding a song to stream, or locating your YouTube or Facebook link on your website.
As long as you:
- Follow each blog’s submissions guidelines,
- Have all your information and music easily accessible,
- And have music worth listening to…
Then you should be just fine.
My other tip is to make sure you are targeting relevant blogs (and press outlets) that have previously featured music in the same sphere as yours. Sending dope boy gangsta rap to an alternative hip hop blog will NOT get you featured.
Here are my top 3 music submission methods.
Soundcloud or Bandcamp
I like to click a link and then click play.
Soundcloud and Bandcamp allow me to do both…quickly and efficiently.
I also prefer these two platforms because I can easily copy and paste an embed code into a blog post.
ReverbNation works as well but I find myself liking this method (maybe even the platform) less and less.
The only down-side is not having instant access to a bio or more info about the band.
Unfortunately, most bands are horrible at maintaining good profiles. They need to read Bret’s series on creating attractive ones.
If you are using a service such as MusicSUBMIT, Sonicbids, Onesheet, or ReverbNation’s RPK to share your music, bio, photos, and links with the press and bloggers, then you are one step ahead of everybody else.
Why do I like this one? Simple.
I can click a link and all the information (I want) is right there.
If you are using a paid service (Sonicbids, ReverbNation), it also shows us that you are investing money into marketing. This makes you stand out because it shows a more serious commitment to the music and developing it into a career (it does not necessarily mean you make good music though).
I am also a fan of just downloading a good ole fashioned .zip file…as long as it contains everything a proper EPK should.
I have been using Dropbox (referral link) for file sharing and cloud storage for a couple of years at this point…and I love it.
Now that they have updated their share links feature, it is easier to share files with anyone.
There are other large file sending and sharing sites such as YouSendIt or Mediafire, but Dropbox is the one that has won my heart.
Earlier this morning a band used Dropbox to send me a .zip file of their EPK. I quickly e-mailed them back and said thank you for making it easy for me to get all the information… This does not happen every day.
If you use this method, your .zip file should include:
- album (I prefer mp3s because 1) small file sizes, 2) quick downloads, 3) bandwidth saved.)
- album cover (most bands forget this one)
- photos (5 maximum – just my opinion)
- a document or one sheet containing your links and/or any additional information (press releases, awards, tour schedule)
Derek Sivers (creator/founder of CD Baby) published an article with one of the best tips I have heard yet: a promo box on your desktop.
A lot of times less is more…but in this case I prefer receiving more than I need to avoid digging it up myself. (I thoroughly research bands before I write about them so if all their info is in one place…)
When you make a blogger or journalist’s life easier, you make them happy. This leads to features and new fans.
Do NOT blindly list the first 100 blogs you find that feature music in your genre. This is not effective and will be a waste.
You need to take your time, set reasonable goals, and do your research.
Try finding 5 to 10 blogs each day (if you have the time). Look through the articles that have already been published and develop a strategy before sending your first e-mail.
If you personalize each e-mail to each blogger, you will significantly increase your chances of being noticed.
The only way to do this is to learn by digging through their recent posts. If there are multiple bloggers, find one that features music like yours. Sending death metal to the guy that writes about power pop will get you ignored.
Find a band or artist similar to you that was previously featured and mention them in your submission e-mail. It not only alerts the blogger to your sound but also lets them know you have been paying attention to their site.
If you really want to put yourself on a blogger’s radar, visit the site regularly and comment on new posts as they are published. Getting involved in blog communities increases your chances at being noticed even more. It also puts you on the radar of everyone else in the community.
Typically blogs keep a blogroll in their sidebar. A blogroll is a list of links to other blogs. Once you find one or two you want to submit to, you should be able to use their blogrolls to continue finding more (relevant) blogs.
I suggest avoiding blog directories (except as a last resort).
The alternative to the do-it-yourself approach is to hire a PR firm.