Putting Together a Good Music Submission

Every week I receive hundreds of submissions from underground artists for my site, and I love to support the underground artists that are trying to emerge as much as I can, however unfortunately with all of the new music dropping courtesy of more established artists, as well as writing for other sites, organizing events, teaching and whatever else I’m doing that week, it becomes very difficult to have time to listen to everything. It quite often comes down to how well put-together a submission is, and I’m sure there are some incredible artists that I’ve slept on, due to how badly they’ve submitted their music.

Recently I saw an interview with Hof of OnSmash, discussing submissions with Buckshot, and talking about how in many cases the bigger blogs look to what the smaller ones are displaying as a sort of filter for good music coming from the underground (or at least that’s how I understood it.) This got me thinking about the amount of submissions I ignore because of how bad they are, without even listening to the music; I don’t have all day so unfortunately this is the way it has to be. This highlights how important the construction of a submission is, and I decided to put together my guidelines for submitting music (in the case of cold calling, when you don’t know the blogger at all) from my personal experience and taste. This isn’t to say it’s the definitive way to submit, however maybe the points I make might help people to think a little more before they email a site saying that they are “the future of New York rap” just because they have 3,000 followers on Twitter.

First, since I’m on the subject of Twitter; Twitter is not a way to submit your music, or videos, to a blogger. I get so many messages everyday from people I’ve never heard of telling me to watch their music video, and I watch none of them. This is simply because a Tweet doesn’t give me enough information about who you are, or what you’re about, and I don’t have time to watch everything, so I only ever respond to cold calls from my email, as this allows the artist/manager to explain to me what I’m looking at before I watch.

Title Of Post

The title of the post should be kept simple; I want to know that it’s a submission, so tell me that, then I want to know the artist’s name. Maybe I’ve already heard of you and therefore would be more likely to look at what you’re sending me.

These both seem very obvious, but you’d be surprised at the amount of generically titled “Music Submission” emails or emails simply entitled with the artists’ name. After including the most vital details, it’s good to include the title of whatever your sending, then finally add in brackets what it is your sending; single, video, album, mixtape etc. It is always helpful to know what it is that an artist is sending you, and the majority of artists tend to omit this from submissions. Therefore my preferred title format would be would be something like:

“Submission: Nas – Illmatic (Album)”

If you do have features and production that might help me to get an idea of your sound, or have any achievements that I might recognize (like magazine features etc,) then by all means include them, but keep it concise Nobody wants to read…

“Submission: Nas – Illmatic (Album) New dope artist from New York hottest artist out you gotta check this out…”

…in the subject heading!

Image

Always include an image if you are posting audio, as this is what will represent you and your music on the blog that you are submitting to. It is the first impression that you give to the blogger, as well as the blog readers and is therefore a lot more important than a lot of artists think. The image needs to really represent what you are about, or what your track is about, and is definitely something worth putting a bit of time and effort into.

It might be worth asking an artist/designer/photographer friend to give you a hand if possible, and if you don’t have one, it could even be worth looking to invest in getting someone to make something. Nobody wants to see an image that’s just been filtered to death on Photoshop, or another homage to Kanye West’s “G.O.O.D Friday” artwork (however this is a good example of someone who really built up an aesthetic that was memorable and attractive within their artwork).

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