As a music blogger (on Do You Like That Song?), I’m receiving tons of emails every day, mainly music submissions and promos from PR agencies, labels, and artists themselves. While PR agencies and established labels don’t need advice for doing their job (well, sometimes they do), it might seem more tricky for artists who need to do it themselves. This post will hopefully help all the upcoming talented artists, who are struggling to approach music blogs and get exposure.
Don’t believe the hype
1. Don’t focus on figures
It’s no mystery that social media figures play a major role in the music industry. Facebook likes, Soundcloud plays, etc… are unfortunately key figures for bookers and media. But not for all bloggers. I personally post music I like, no matter if you have 100 or 100k likes; if your music sounds good to me, I will share it. NEVER pay for likes and plays: you will not only waste money (which could be spent on better marketing) but also discredit yourself… It’s usually quite easy to tell when an artist bought likes or plays.
However, it’s a good idea to include your social media links in your music submissions, this will give a good overview of your work and background. Make sure there’s some basic info on these pages: at least where you come from, a short description, who is in the band…
2. Produce the music you like
The hype effect is not only about numbers, it’s also about the music you produce. Too many artists think about what the public will like. A good example to illustrate that are producers trying to follow the “tropical house” trend. This genre became very popular thanks to artists like Kygo, but just trying to reproduce his sound won’t make anyone famous.
If you read interviews of successful artists, you will realize most of them were just producing the music they like, and eventually got more exposure. Consistency and patience are key!
3. Think about “micro influencers”
Finally, don’t believe the hype when choosing blogs to contact. It’s very cool to be featured on the biggest ones, and you should try to, but also consider the ones with fewer followers.
Micro influencers have between 1k to 100k followers. They may seem less attractive than the ones with 1M followers, but targeting them have several benefits:
- They have higher engagement rates. According to a study by Markerly, Instagram users with 1K to 10K followers generated likes 4% of the time, vs 1,7% for users with 1M to 10M followers. By combining a couple of micro-influencers, you can quickly reach a good number of engaged users.
- They have a more targeted audience. For music blogs, that means having an audience really interested in the music genres covered. From my experience, music blogs are also followed by music professionals (artists, labels…), so being featured on one of them can bring you unexpected opportunities.
- They are more authentic. Micro influencers are real people, posting about the music they like. They are easier to reach and will spend more time writing about your release. Plus, it will be easier to build a long-term relationship with them.
All of these benefits can happen if you take the time to target the right blogs, covering the genre of music you produce.
Know who you’re talking to
When you’re sending your music to blogs, you want them to spend a few minutes reading about you and listening to your music. So just do the same before reaching out. Visit the blog and their social accounts to get an overview of the type of music they post. You’ll usually find the contact info on their “About” or “Contact” page.
Also, music blogs usually use several channels but that doesn’t mean all of them are relevant for music submissions. Soundcloud messages are full of spam. Instagram messages can be hidden as “Message requests”. Same for Twitter. So check out the blog to find out the best way to submit music, which is email most of the time.
There’s nothing worse than receiving an email pretending to be personalized… For example:
I really love the music you post, I’m a regular reader of your blog. I’d like to send you my latest song, a dubstep banger which had 10 000 plays in just 3 days.
Well, thanks, but I hate dubstep, you should know that as a regular reader. This type of email is usually sent to hundreds of blogs, in the worst case with all the recipients disclosed. If you want to send your song to many blogs at once, don’t pretend to talk personally to them. An email looking like a newsletter with the basic info, artwork, and social links will be enough. Oh, and make sure to include everyone in the Cci field.
Don’t forget blogging is a hobby
Apart from the biggest music blogs, most of them are run by people doing it in their spare time. Keep that in mind when you approach them! Don’t stress out if you don’t get a quick answer. Following up is a good idea, but I’d say you should wait at least 4 or 5 days to do it.
Check out the blog’s social accounts: if they are not active, the team may be too busy these days. Avoid following up on all channels: personally, having a message from the same artist via email, Twitter, Soundcloud and Facebook freaks me out!
Stay cool and avoid putting pressure. Music bloggers are passionate, they have their own taste and want to remain free in their choices. If we decide not to feature your song, we have our reasons and sending us criticisms or aggressive messages won’t help you (fortunately, it doesn’t happen that often).
Maybe this time you won’t be featured, but you will next time, or the team will hear about you via another blog. Yes, all bloggers keep an eye on other blogs to discover new music!
Keep it human
Finally, just keep it human and simple. There is no need to include your full bio, just say hi, give a few background info, and add the links. Music will speak for itself. The usual politeness words such as “thanks” or “best” are welcome, and unfortunately too rare in this type of emails. If you get featured, don’t forget to say thank you and make sure to keep the blog updated about your future releases. It’s always appreciated if you can reshare the post on social media, especially if it’s an interview or a long post — it feels good to see our work shared.
Special tip: offer exclusive content to blogs. It can be a private link a few days before the release, a premiere of one of your songs, an upload to their Youtube channel… We love it.
Don’t forget that it’s a partnership: if a blog is premiering one of your tracks, share the page on social.
This way, you will quickly establish a relationship with bloggers who like your work and will support you in the long term. Don’t forget to check out who is sharing your music: check out who is following you on social, make Google and Twitter searches… Maybe you’ll be surprised how many blogs shared your songs, even if you did not contact them. Send them a message to say thanks and introduce yourself!
Hopefully, this post will help artists to approach music blogs successfully. Given the saturation of the music market, this topic is a real challenge. For music blogs, it’s hard to cut through the noise to discover music they like and want to promote. For artists, it’s hard to stand out and get noticed by media. A platform like Groover is a great innovation for both parties, as it connects artists and influencers more relevantly and in a convenient way.
Music blogs are a good start but don’t forget the other mediums to get your music shared: web radios, artists releasing mixtapes, and eventually music labels when you feel like you’re ready to approach them.
Adrien Lemaire is the founder of Do You Like That Song? – aka DYLTS – a blog which started in 2012, originally on Tumblr. It focuses on Nu-Disco, Indie Dance, Chill, House/Deep House, Electro & Pop music.