Over the years, we've put together a few articles on how to get posted on music blogs, but this time we're getting specific about one of the most important parts of reaching that goal: the email submission. When you're sending music to a blogger, what should you put as the subject line? What information should you include? How many songs should you send? What should you do when you get ignored?
There's no way of guaranteeing blog support, but if you've got a solid email submission you'll be one step closer to making the internet pay attention.
Do your research.
Make sure you know the site you're submitting music to. Sending a rap blog your new tech-house track is never a good move, and suggests you haven't even taken the time to read the site you're contacting to make sure it's a good fit. This research is especially important if you decide to include the much overused phrase, "I think this will be perfect for your site!"
It's simple, but if you put in a little effort and mention something specific about the blog that you're submitting to (like a recent song posted that you like, an article you enjoyed, or why you think your music would fit), it will make the pitch more personal and make you look like you're taking this seriously.
Follow-up emails will inevitably annoy some people, but if you think about it, they're only going to annoy the people who wanted to ignore you. There's a good chance that your email got lost in the flood of daily submissions, so a polite follow-up can't hurt. Just don't overdo it, please.
Don't make promises you can't keep.
It's unbelievable how common it is for artists to send in music and include something along the lines of: “If you just give this a chance I promise you won't be disappointed!”
Having confidence in your music is good. Tell us why you think it's good, how much it means to you, and what you hope other people take away from it. But don't promise us that we're going to like it. We could argue all day about what makes music "good" and whether or not "good music "even exists, but it's always going to come down to opinion.
Instead of selling yourself like some new sponge-mop vacuum cleaner on a 4 a.m. infomercial, be honest. You can't possibly promise that we won't be disappointed in your music, but you can tell us why you think we'll like it.
Start with the highlights.
If you're emailing someone who isn't familiar with your music, start with a few highlights. Include a SoundCloud link to your best song, or the song you think is a good starting point to make it easy for a blogger who's scrolling through 100 submissions.
We know, we know—ALL your songs are good and we should listen to the entire project as a whole. Stop it. Stop, stop, stop it. It's 2014, and nobody has the attention span for that. Nobody is going to blindly download your entire mixtape, and if they do decide to randomly press play on a song and it happens to be the ONE shitty song on your album, there goes that chance.
Give yourself a shot and pick one song. Or ask a friend whose taste you trust to pick the one song that you send out. Call it a "single." If it's awesome, everyone will want to hear more.
Provide the information.
When sharing your music, make sure to include hi-res artwork (a good press photo can make a huge difference), the proper streaming or download links, and information on the release. It's difficult to write about your music when we don't have the proper information. The more we have to share, the easier it is to write a good post. Tell us if you have an album coming out, where you're from, if you're a band or a one-person act, if you produce or play instruments, etc.
Mystery is cool—it's a path more and more artists are going down—and that's fine. But rather than just sending a video link and the words "new song," think about what the ideal post one your song would look like and provide enough information to make that possible. Most of the acts that successfully start off as mysteries have PR companies or record labels pushing them. If you try to do that as a no-name independent artist, you're probably going to get ignored.
Make it interesting and share your story.
In an age where things are almost always impersonal, sharing the story behind your song helps writers better understand why this song—your song—is so important. While being to the point is always appreciated, generic emails that contain no thought are easy to pass. We read hundreds of similar emails every day, so think about what you can do to stand out, whether that's by making us laugh, getting us invested in you as a person, or carefully using an element of mystery.
Make it interesting for us, give us something we want to share with the world. When you're passionate about your work, it'll show, even in an email.
A well-made comparison can be helpful.
Of course every musician wants to be unique. But let's be real, every musician also listens to other people's music and is influenced by certain sounds and styles. Bon Iver doesn't have a copyright on falsetto-filled indie with an electronic twist, and The Weeknd isn't the only person who can make a dark and moody R&B track. To that end, if your sound is similar to an artist that the site covers heavily, a well-made comparison can really help your chances of being posted.
We're not saying that you should call yourself the next 2Pac, but try to think of a few artists whose music has something in common with yours. Saying something like, "If you like Future, Young Thug, and Lil Wayne, check this out," should get any fans of Thug, Wayne, or Future to press play.
Don't be dishonest.
This should go without saying, but people often go too far trying to get us to listen to their music.
There is the blatant lying—saying you just got signed to GOOD Music and have a track coming out with Pusha T next week will eventually get found out, and will ensure future emails are immediately deleted. But almost more annoying is the subtle subject line dishonesty. We see "NEW!! Drake ft. Yung Truthful - THOTS DOWN" and we click, excited by the prospect of a new Drake track, and the fresh new artist that he's putting on.
But no. No, no, no. Of course Yung Truthful isn't on Drake's new song, instead he's remixed a Drake song, rapping over a low quality instrumental he found on YouTube. It may not seem like much, but when you have hundreds of emails to sort through, that little bit of dishonesty is especially annoying. Don't do it.
Remember: it's all about the music.
Even if you follow all these directions and spend hours a day submitting your music to blogs, there's still a chance you won't get posted. At that point, you have a couple of options. You could get on Twitter and rant about how bloggers are bitches and how nobody supports good independent music and how it's all about connections.
Or you could consider that maybe it's because your music isn't quite ready. At the end of the day, getting posted all depends on how much bloggers like your music.