How-to: Digital submissions to music blogsMarch 19, 2009
Music bloggers are in the game for love, not for money. We love listening to new music and helping out emerging musicians, and most of us welcome submissions from artists. But the whole ‘doing it for love’ thing also means we trying to listen and write about new music in the interstices of our day job and the rest of our life. Here are some tips to help make it easy on us, which means that we’re more likely to listen and write about what you send.
The farther away your e-mail is from a form letter, the more likely I am to listen to your music. In particular, I can practically guarantee I’ll give it a listen if you say nice things about my blog and can relate your band’s music to my love of Britpop/geeks/overeducated musicians/(insert topic here).
Tell me why I should listen to it. Writing about music may be like dancing about architecture, but it’s the tool you have at your disposal to convince me to spend more time on it. No matter what, you should say something about your music, even if it’s the dreaded ‘we sound like x, y, and z.’
Send me links to individual MP3s – don’t just send me the whole album in one chunk. I’m not going to dedicate the hard drive space or listening time to a whole album from an artist that’s new to me without checking out a bite-sized piece first.
Use logical filenames. It’s your baby, so you don’t need this information. But I do. If I want to find it again, it helps if your fantastic new opus has a more mellifluous title than ‘Track 03.’ At the very least, put the song title into the filename. Note that I also have a new appreciation for band names that don’t start with ‘the.’
On a related note…
Give me good metadata. If I download your song to my computer, I’d like to be able to keep track of it. Make sure all the metadata is in place. Artist, song title, and album, please.
If I’ve gotten this far, there’s a good chance I’ll want to say something about your music. Make it easy for me.
Point me to an electronic press kit. It can be a website, a PDF, a SonicBids page. Anything with a bio and photos I can download (SonicBids disallows right-clicking and saving, which is annoying).
Hosting the MP3s yourself is a nicety (but not a necessity). While I host MP3s for my blog, not everyone is happy using their own storage and bandwidth. If you provide an MP3 link to share, it’s a bit nicer for the blog and it also makes it easier for you to track downloads.
Help me decide what song to post. Tell me if you’d like me to post a particular song, or if I can choose a song I like. If you don’t want me posting any songs, I won’t—but it’ll also make me disinclined to write about you, especially if you aren’t well-known.
Finally, please don’t send me DJ mixes. I don’t care what you do in your bedroom; I only want to hear you live, in front of a crowd. Figure out how to get shows in your area.
This list of tips is a work in progress – I’d love to get feedback, especially if you’re an artist who’s been on the other side of the process.
Edited to add:
Do not add me to your mailing list without first asking for and receiving permission. There’s a name for unsolicited commercial e-mail: spam. Cluttering up my inbox will not predispose me kindly to you, to put it mildly.