HOW TO GET YOUR MUSIC ON MUSIC BLOGS
Writing an excellent pitch letter is really an art form in itself. Popular music bloggers receive TONS of e-mail daily, and it’s impossible for most of them to read and respond to every single submission that they get from an artist. So how do you stand out in the crowd, and make sure that bloggers open up YOUR e-mail while scanning their inboxes? Let’s see the dos and don’ts of this tactical process to get your music on popular music blogs.
Over the past few years, a lot of new ways to make your tunes heard by music bloggers and freelance writers have come up, with SoundCloud clearly leading the pack today. However, both blogs and artists/labels are still using emails a lot to discover new music or make their music heard, resulting in hundreds of emails flooding music bloggers’ inboxes every day. Lots of amazing music is often hidden beneath a pile of emails that are not even close to being relevant to our blogs, which makes it very hard for us to dig up the real gems. Unfortunately, a lot of artists, labels and PR agencies make it very frustrating and even harder for us to spot the music that’s really worth writing about by making thoughtless mistakes when sending their music to us.
I am aware of the fact that there are similar posts out there, with tips and guidelines on how to make your music heard and get the message home – for a good example check out this article by Tim from The Blue Walrus. There are also lots of great articles on how to fail at promoting music written by frustrated bloggers. However, here’s a very subjective and personal list of DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to contacting music blogs about your music.
Reading this list (that mainly consist of DON’Ts, to be honest), one might get the impression that we music bloggers are an elitist group of musical snobs who think of ourselves as aristocratic tastemakers who graciously lower themselves to posting about your music. Even if that might be true to some extent, we still do notÂ have any illusions about blogs needing artists just as much as artists need blogs.
If some of these “rules” might sound harsh to you, please keep in mind that we’re confronted with people making the same mistakes over and over again on a daily basis. All these guidelines below are rather common sense than definite rules made up by music bloggers. Obviously, following them will not guarantee to get your music posted to the front pages of every blog you email – they are just a guide to help avoiding common mistakes that upset us and therefore will lower the chance of your music getting the attention it deserves.
DO : 1. WRITE A GOOD PITCH LETTER FOR A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
First and foremost, your pitch letters have to be personalized. This doesn’t mean that you have to start from scratch with every e-mail you send, but there should be at least a sentence or two (preferably a paragraph) tailored specifically to the blogger you are e-mailing. Your pitch needs to sound more like a conversation, and less like an actual pitch. If your e-mails usually sound dry and generic, then you’re e-mail will be instantly lost, forgotten about, and/or deleted from the blogger’s inbox. Here are the ESSENTIAL steps to follow in order to craft the perfect music blog pitch letter:
a. write a strong subject line which will grab their attention
The subject line of the e-mail is the one thing bloggers see before even opening your e-mail, so it absolutely needs to hook them in. I find that singing bloggers’ praises right off the bat usually gets e-mails opened up. Try a few subject lines with something like “Hey, your blog is the best!” If you don’t like the “kiss-up” approach, you could try being bold with subject lines like “Your blog needs this music.”
NOTE: Some bloggers ask that you include a specific subject line when you submit your music to them. If that’s the case, make sure you do that. It makes it easier on them, and shows that you’re paying attention.
The popular music bloggers get hundreds of emails on a daily basis. Needless to say, they only pick out the ones that they think are important. The subject line of your email is the first thing they see, and it’s also what makes them decide if they actually open your email and read it. Be creative, descriptive, brief but on point – and respect a few simple rules:
- Addressing them with their blog’s name (or even better: their own name) in the subject line drastically raises the chances of your email being read.
- Another magic word is “exclusive“. Every blogger loves exclusive content. Only use it if you really have exclusive content for them, though: If they open an email that is promising them exclusive content only to find 142 other email addresses in the CC, we’ll feel fooled.
- Using these âˆ† or these â–² in your email’s subject line will make us think you’re a 14 year old kid (or even worse, a hipster fashion victim), rather than a professional artist or label executive. Same goes for these:Â Â â™¥Â â™ª â™«Â â˜… – and whatever else was cool 10 years ago.
- Putting the genre in the subject line makes it a lot easier for them to pick out what is actually of relevance for our blogs, instead of wasting lots of time going through the endless flood of emails. No need for bizarre sub genres here – just tell them if it’s electro, metal or hip-hop.
- Pro tip: If it’s that time of the year again, don’t put the word “Christmas” or anything related in the subject line when emailing music bloggers. Trust me: just don’t.
Keeping these simple key points in mind when writing your subject line and actually having content that might be relevant to the particular blog you’re emailing is no absolute guarantee for having your email opened and read, but it will make it stand out against all the others in our inboxes, and most probably the bloggers are going to open it.
When scrolling through hundreds of emails, the subject line is extremely valuable. This is the first thing bloggers will see, and it’s your first chance to make a good impression. Instead of just writing “new artist submission,” give a little information. Think of it as a headline, and try to write something that you could imagine your target blog publishing.
A good email subject line: “17-year-old pop artist from South Africa releases first single.” Without sounding too much like a sales pitch, this gives the recipient some pieces of key information (17-year-old, pop artist, South Africa, debut single) and having that information should spark curiosity.
Here are some more examples of good and bad subject lines:
Good: “Ex-punk rocker from Queens decides to give hip-hop a shot”
Bad: “Post on Pidgeons and Planes?”
Good: “Ego Spin & La Pens made an album inspired by Kanye West and Brazilian funk”
Bad: “How much for a feature?”
Good: “It took me five years and two trips to rehab to make this album.”
Bad: “I PROMISE YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED”
Which brings us to our next point…
B. start the letter with a friendly but professional greeting
Now that you have our full attention, don’t ruin it. It is incredibly important to introduce yourself right off the bat. In one sentence, tell the blogger who you are, what you do, where you’re coming from, and why you’re contacting them. This is not the time to boost your ego with lofty descriptions of yourself. Keep it plain, simple, direct, and real. Never ever use the opening line “Hello Blogger” – you want them to take the time to listen to your music, so you should at least take the time to write the name of the blog here.
c. express your opinions and ideas about their blog
The first paragraph is always about the blogger. Talk about a particular post that you might have liked, the layout of the blog, lightning fast page load times, or any related artists that the blogger might have featured recently. This paragraph is where most of the personalization will go in your letter. Being polite and offering complements will go a long way. Be bold, honest and creative when you express your opinions. But limit your criticisms unless they’re constructive and friendly. You don’t want to get into their bad side if you want your music to be published on their blogs.
d. now it’s the turn to talk about you
Here is where you make your pitch. It’s pretty easy to get carried away, but resist the temptation to blabber. Keep the pitch to a paragraph or two (max), and mention the most important things about you and your music. If there is anything that clearly stands out about you, or anything cool you may have accomplished, mention it here. The key information you want to include is your band/stage name, your genre of music (and any sub-genres), your location, any related press/awards/accolades, and a few well-known artists that sound similar to you.
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.
e. tell them where they can download or listen to your music online
This is probably the most important part of the letter. You can hype yourself up until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t provide any links to the artist’s music, pictures, and video, the blogger simply isn’t going to care. Upload some .zip files of your albums (with artwork), pictures, and videos to a file sharing website like 4Shared, or Rapidshare, and paste the download link into the e-mail. Or, create an electronic press kit (EPK) on Sonicbids and upload your bio, music, some hi-res press photos, videos, and press quotes.
Tip: Place your download/EPK link right underneath your pitch. Call attention to it by inserting a blank line above and below the link, so it sits alone by itself in the middle of the e-mail.
You can also send them the links of the online media streams that you have created to broadcast your music online. Be sure to show them that people have listened to them previously and liked what they heard.
f. now you can politely ask them to feature you in their blog / blogs
FINALLY, mention to the blogger that it would be totally awesome if he or she featured your music on the blog. Make sure you know what kind of posts the blogger writes (album reviews, song reviews, strictly MP3s, videos, pictures, whatever), and ask for that specifically. Whatever you do, DON’T BEG.
g. at the end of your pitch, thank the bloggers for their time
In the event that a blogger actually decides to open your pitch letter and read, it is vital that you include some sincere thanks for taking the time to consider featuring your music.
h. add a professional touch with an email signature
After thanking them, make sure to include a detailed e-mail signature that highlights the best ways to get in contact with the artist. This is also a good place to encourage the blogger to visit your official website, and follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networks that you might be active on. If you use Gmail, I highly recommend generating a professional looking HTML E-mail signature in Gmail with this convenient website. It will give a unique look and an authenticity to your email.
DO: SEND A FOLLOW-UP EMAIL IF YOU DON’T GET A RESPONSE TO YOUR FIRST EMAIL
Always, always, always, ALWAYS send a follow-up e-mail if you do not get an initial response from a blogger. I have landed several job interviews from follow-up e-mails, they are SO MUCH more important than you would ever think. It is way too possible that the blogger accidentally overlooked your first e-mail, or wasn’t impressed by your initial pitch. In the follow-up, briefly re-introduce yourself, and politely mention that you recently e-mailed the blogger in regards to featuring your music. If you feel it is appropriate, include a small blurb saying how important a feature on the blog would be for you, but don’t make it sound like your desperately begging for exposure. Begging will only hurt your chances of getting featured. Next, include a slightly re-worded version of your initial artist description. Say something like “In case you missed it the first time, here is a short blurb about the music I create…”, and try to squeeze everything into a paragraph. Finally, close out your follow-up in the same way as your initial e-mail.
If you think its necessary, offer the blogger something more exclusive the second time around, like a free MP3 download of an unreleased track, or some a photo that you have not posted anywhere before. A little bit of generosity can go a long way in the eyes of a blogger, and could be the tipping point that gets your music on the blog.
On the follow-up email, hopefully somebody has reviewed the music by the time of the follow-up wave & you should quote a good review in there that you didn’t have the first time around.
DON’T : ATTACH mp3 files to your email
Please, please, please: never ever send 320kbps mp3 files (or any big files) attached to an email. With you being the reason why these bloggers have to buy more storage on Gmail, they will probably hate you before even checking out your track, and chances are high that your email will be sent straight to the trash.
Don’t : send mass emails and include hundreds of different email addresses in the cc field
If you still think sending out mass emails is a great idea, never ever (let me repeat: NEVER EVER) put all the 250 blog email addresses you got from another idiot doing the same thing before in the CC field. Even though these are our public email addresses, and even though sometimes hitting the Reply All button to send out greetings to our fellow bloggers can be fun – as a matter of fact, this is the most stupid and unprofessional thing you can do. Period.
Bloggers like to think they’re special, they have worked hard to build their followership. They like to think you’re long term readers and big fans of their site, and you’ve chosen them specifically to send your wonderful music to. But, in their heart of hearts, they know that really you’re sending your song out to tens, maybe hundreds of email addresses. Don’t—whatever you do—shove this fact in their face by forgetting to BCC if you’re sending an email to multiple people.
Not only does it give out people’s private email addresses, it looks unprofessional, and it’ll get your email deleted quicker than you can say, “fire new track bringing back real hip-hop.”
Don’t : send your emails to personal email addresses
If a site wants music submissions, they’ll usually let you know where to submit. For example, if you click on the about tab on Pigeons & Planes, you’ll see that we have various email addresses listed so musicians and potential writers can send us music and pitches.
It can be tempting to avoid the cluttered submission inbox and get a writer’s personal email address, but don’t do it. While you may be the only music submission of the day in this particular inbox, you will also stand out as the most annoying submitter of the day. Personal addresses are for creepy emails to exes, not music submissions.
DO : Research on the blogger and his blog before sending your emails
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.
Don’t make promised 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.
DO : Make sure your emails are informative
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.
Don’t be too mysterious
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. You should be really careful when using an element of mystery. Or you may end up losing the blogger’s attention in a mysterious way.
Do : add the right amount of personal touch
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. Bloggers read hundreds of similar emails every day, so think about what you can do to stand out, whether that’s by making them laugh or getting them invested in you as a person. Make it interesting for the bloggers, give us something they want to share with the world. When you’re passionate about your work, it’ll show, even in an email.
don’t be dishonest
This should go without saying, but some musicians often go too far trying to get the bloggers 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.
Sample OF Blog Contact List – Receive all of the 900 Blogs on the list from Hop Hop websites to Hard Rock blogs with contact information once you’ve UPGRADE to the full program below:
|Name of blog/website||contact information or contact page||Music Type|
|Here comes the flood||http://werksman.blogspot.com/p/contact-hctf.html||Alternative Music|
|IS YOUR CLAM IN A JAM?||ISYOURCLAMINAJAM@GMAIL.COM||Alternative Music|
|POP ON AND ONfirstname.lastname@example.org||Alternative Music|
|The Jackplugemail@example.com||Alternative Music|
|El Babuinofirstname.lastname@example.org||Alternative Music|
|Camels & Lionsemail@example.com||Alternative Music|
|Oh Fancyfirstname.lastname@example.org||Alternative Music|
|El Tinoemail@example.com||Alternative Music|
|dance ’til you’re dead||http://dancetilyouredead.com/?page_id=9682||Alternative Music|
|Slow Show||http://rosvot.fi/||Alternative Music|
|Number 1 Hits From Another Planetfirstname.lastname@example.org||Alternative Music|
|Le email@example.com||Alternative Music|
|The Mad Mackerelfirstname.lastname@example.org||Alternative Music|
|Tunes I Digemail@example.com||Alternative Music|
|Some Of It Is Truefirstname.lastname@example.org||Alternative Music|
|Jonk Musicemail@example.com||Alternative Music|
|Across The Kitchen Tablefirstname.lastname@example.org||Alternative Music|
|Phonographe Corpemail@example.com||Alternative Music|
|The Sound Of Confusionfirstname.lastname@example.org||Alternative Music|
|Indie Todayemail@example.com||Alternative Music|
|All Things Go||http://atgrecords.com/contact/||Alternative Music|
|Auditory Collective||http://auditorycollective.com/contact||Alternative Music|
|Casual Band Blogger||http://casualbandblogger.com/contact-us/||Alternative Music|