Over the past year and a half, we have been fortunate enough to reach a point where we are overwhelmed with independent music to listen to and write about.
With this abundance of tunes, we now have to pick and choose the crème de la crème. It also means we have the unfortunate task of rejecting EPKs and other submissions received from awesome people like you.
Many times an artist or band sounds great but they just don’t have their presentation together. This will cause them to be ignored.
You must realize that thousands of bands are fighting for attention in this space. Stand out.
You have to grab the attention of the blogger, radio DJ, music editor, or whoever you are targeting…and grab it hard.
Here is my #1 reason for rejecting submissions.
Your EPK (or Presentation) Sucks
Allow me to break this down.
1. Bio (or about info)
One of the first things I do when receiving a music submission is look for the bio.
This is a good indicator of what level you are at in your career and how serious you are about music as a career. You can immediately tell the difference between a hobbyist and someone surviving gig to gig.
It’s also obvious when a PR person writes it or you have done your own research and learned to write an “industry-style” bio.
If your bio says, “we smoke a lot of pot”…. yeah, I’m not featuring you. And, yes, this happened recently.
I don’t know why, but rappers have a horrible habit of typing in all caps.
I ignored an artist earlier because their BIO WAS ALL CAPS…it was a few paragraphs long, too. The cat had an inspiring story and he had a high quality video; but you should know better than to yell at people.
Your photos are typically the first thing we see when introduced to your band. This means you have to make a great first impression.
Photos can be the difference between clicking play or skipping to the next submission.
It is inevitable you will need to invest in a photographer (or find a friend/intern) that knows how to use a camera.
These days everyone and their mama has a camera capable of HD so producing a great video isn’t necessarily that hard of a task to accomplish.
Again, the key is to stand out, be unique, and tell a story (or make a statement).
Just because you filmed yourself jamming out in the garage with an HD camera doesn’t necessarily mean you have an awesome video. It’s highly likely other bands have done this time and time again so you need to do something to make yours stand above the others.
If your video is poor quality (or has great picture with horrible sound), you will be skipped.
This should be a no brainer, but bands that have their own websites stand far above the ones that only have a Facebook page.
Having www.yourband.com as a link in your submission shows people how serious you take yourself. It also proves that you are investing time and money into your music which indicates a certain level of dedication and drive.
If you include no links, you will definitely be ignored.
Personally, I like being able to visit your website and a social media profile. If I am going to feature you, I want to learn as much as I can before writing.
5. Website – www.yourband.com
Like photos, your website is responsible for making a first impression on people.
Your website is your business card. Treat it that way.
A 1) visually appealing, 2) well organized, 3) easy to navigate website will receive way more attention than a cluttered, ugly one.
Also, the more info you include about yourself and your music, the better. If I have to dig longer than 2 minutes to find your bio or any information about your band, I skip you and move on to the next submission.
When I build websites for bands, I recommend a minimum number of pages including: Bio, Music, Photos, and Contact. I also highly recommend blogging for many reasons, but that’s for a future article.
Depending on how much you have going on, you might need additional pages such as: Shows, Press, Videos, or Store.
Bonus Tip (my process)
When one is overwhelmed with submissions (like most media outlets), one will naturally develop a system for filtering out the bad ones.
I will share my (current) quick n’ dirty decision process with you.
- Bio: If it is well written, tells a great story, or proves to me you are serious about music as a career – I definitely click play and I typically end up on your website or connect with you on social networks. Mentioning awards, accolades, and recognition definitely grabs my attention.
- Photos: If you include none or unappealing ones, it is a turn off and causes me to 2nd guess whether or not to click play.
- Video: If you submit one, I almost always click play. If I like it, then I will listen to more of your music and visit your website.
- Music: I typically decide within the first 30 seconds if I am going to continue listening to a song or skip to the next. With that said, unless you have an interesting story behind your song – those first 30 seconds better make me want to keep listening.
- Links: If you link to www.yourband.com, you receive more attention than someone who only links to a Facebook page or ReverbNation profile. It shows a level of commitment to your career and proves that you are investing money and time into presenting yourself properly. (Make sure your site looks great.)
Are you struggling to get more exposure for your music?