Eight years ago this month, I created a blog for my final college project. It was literally the entire course, create and manage a blog for the semester to show you were capable of transitioning into online media. At the time I was wondering how I would continue to support the indie hip-hop artists I had been playing as Program Director of my college radio station at Indiana State University. After graduation it hit me: I’ll post their music on the blog!
In the early days of social media, I was guilty of sending people unsolicited links (spam, if you will) on Twitter. I had maybe 100 followers and, with every new post, I would send it to them to check out or share. Lucky for me, nobody called me out on it and I eventually figured out that spamming people was a horrible way of marketing your music. As a writer, I created an email address specific for my site and allowed artists to submit music to me.
Over the past 8 years, I can say that submissions have become sloppy and many of them look like a copy and paste from spamming the link on Twitter. The problem with building a music platform and dealing with artists is the DIY aspect of it. When you first start something you’re not concerned with the proper techniques of doing it. Think of the first time you picked up a pen to write or a basketball on the court. You had no clue how to use it but you eventually figured it out. Then you got better at it to the point where your penmanship was amazing or you could hit shots from anywhere on the court. The same can be said about music as it’s a “see and then do” approach for many artists. They don’t understand the mechanics but want people to hear them.
I wrote an article about this last year titled “How To Send A Great Email To Bloggers And Writers”. It’s actually the original post that made me transition from a music platform to an artist education platform. Think of your email as a resumé for a job. You wouldn’t leave blanks when submitting for a job so why do the same thing with your music submission to a blog or playlist curator? There are four key components when it comes to sending your music to a platform and I’m going to highlight them for you one by one below.
This plays into the “email as your resumé” theme from above. Grammar shows you’re professional and care about what you’re submitting. We have technology accessible for every thing imaginable and apps like Grammarly can help if you feel you don’t have the best English or writing skills. Approaching a platform by saying, “aye yo, sup homie, can you play my song?” isn’t going to do anything for your chances of them listening to your music. If you approach the writer in a different way, things might be different. “Hello Speed, Thanks for what you do for the indie hip-hop scene. My name is (blank) and I wanted to submit this new song I released to your blog.” Sometimes, all it takes is a little adjustment and you can go from getting your submission deleted to becoming that writers new favorite artist.
I like to believe that all of these points are important but if you’re able to get your foot in the submission door, you need to have all of your information ready. This is your time to shine. If you don’t have links to your music, information about your song, artwork, or any other requirements for a platforms submission you’re going to shoot an airball from the free throw line.
SOTB requires you to be courteous, be original, be awesome, and be courteous once again. However, he also needs to know who you are, where you’re from, what is your song/video about, if it’s from an upcoming project or solo single, and if you have artwork for it. Plus, you should include your social media information in ANY submissions. It’s 2018 and most of your content is found via social media so this will help people find you on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram when your submission gets approved.
Personal Email vs BCC
A trend I began to notice is artists would send an email submission to multiple platforms on the same email. This would be ok if the email was used as a BCC. Most of the time they were not, leaving your email exposed with 75 others on the same chain. If you’re wanting to send multiple emails to save time, be sure you’re using the BCC function so if someone hits reply all it doesn’t become a long winded email chain. I advise to send personal emails to each platform you want to be featured on. If you have 75 platforms targeted for your music this will take some time but it’s worth it. Your goal is to build relationships with these writers. One post isn’t going to make you known but if you build a relationship with someone that will expand your network and allow you to reach more people over time.
Appreciation goes a long way. If you do find yourself in the lucky group of artists posted to the platform you’ve sent your music, it’s time to show your appreciation. One thing I always see is an artist will retweet the post once, like it, and never mention it again. To me that shows you didn’t care about the write up and just wanted to use me for my platform. You’re in some sort of “catch ‘em all” Pokémon type of world where quantity of posts outweighs the quality. After finding yourself posted to a playlist or blog, thank the writer and be sure to share it across all of your social media platforms. You can take it up a notch and schedule the post a few times throughout the week if you use social media apps such as Hootsuite or Buffer.
If you follow these few steps you’ll begin to see results for the submissions you send to music platforms. While this won’t make you successful overnight, this is the blueprint for success and building your network. Rome wasn’t built in a day and your favorite artist wasn’t successful overnight. It takes months and years to build yourself to be known in any industry. What you’ve seen as an “overnight success” has been years in the making. This is why it’s important to never give up and grind hard but also be smart about your hustle
Joe Coad II is the creator of The Artist Guides, an artist and brand education platform. During the day he’s the Manager of Social Media Marketing for a small company in Orlando, FL. You can find him on social media: @JoeCoadTwo and @TheArtistGuides.