Having a background as an artist, it has been important for me to actively create the kinds of communities that I would want to be a part of as an artist. And as a company, to utilize tools and resources that added value to artists. Our publication, Alchemical Records, joined Submithub in 2019, mostly in efforts to expand our coverage of artists outside of our hometown region of Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. It became apparent that using Submithub as a primary source of income for the publication would be outrageously farfetched, but we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of submissions and became aware of many artists through the platform that we would not have been introduced to otherwise.
Under the most perfect of circumstances, an artist submitting their music anywhere, to anyone, is a crapshoot. Pick an outlet: radio, TV, press, or playlists. All you can hope is that your music was received by the right individual and purposefully reviewed. Submithub is part of a unique niche of platforms that provide the opportunity for feedback from its curators. As someone who has represented artists’ music on the platform, and received submissions on behalf of the publication, I have experienced many of the frustrations that some of you have expressed. Whether on this platform or similarly styled submission-based platforms, I’d like to share a few tips for how to make the most of your campaign.
First, I’d like you to consider examining your ethos.
There are two ways to play the outreach game. Your campaign can be based on mass numbers, or it can be based on building and maintaining personal relationships. If you were a blog owner or had a desirable playlist, is it more appealing to receive a submission that is the same as every curator has received, or to receive a submission from an artist or PR agent that had made some direct personal or professional connection to your opportunity?
Once you begin to personalize your outreach, you realize how immensely time-consuming it is. So when someone sends this kind of outreach, it should give you an immeasurable appreciation for when you are the recipient. Wouldn’t you imagine that a curator might give a song slightly more consideration for this kind of submission?
On Submithub, personalizing your outreach can be engaged easily via the individual messages you may send to curators. It’s about the length of a tweet, so it doesn’t give you a lot of room, but it gives you all the room you need to point out why your music is a good fit for the publication or playlist you are submitting to. Can you identify exactly how or where your music might traditionally be featured on that website? Can you mention a specific playlist for which your song would be a good fit? A similar artist on that playlist?
Personalizing your outreach will require that you focus on the outlets that make the most sense for your sound and your brand, and will resonate the most with your audience or the audience you hope to endear yourself to. This means you will reduce the amount of time you waste sending to outlets that are not compatible, and most likely uninterested. Obviously, this also reduces the total cost of your campaign. It starts to make sense why Submithub founder Jason Grishkoff suggests the average campaign should be around $30.
Second, don’t leave it entirely up to a curator to tell your story.
Assuming you have a quality recording and a passionate performance, the next thing I’m looking for is enough information in the artist bio that I feel I have some sense about who is writing the song. Following that, I need enough information to feel I can represent what your song is trying to say to my readers. This can be done efficiently in just two paragraphs, but it doesn’t hurt to say more in your submissions or to link a press kit. I also love seeing lyrics because, quite honestly, many vocalists out there are really difficult to understand (and yes, I listen on great equipment).
If a curator decides they will copy and paste your submission details verbatim, give them the best material to work with. Publications that take the time to write their own unique angle will appreciate the information you provide and still have more to say.
Quotes are magical. Giving a sentence or two from the principal creators involved is pure gold in an article once a writer has had the chance to share their perspective.
Third, don’t take rejection, or feedback, personally.
Any curator worth their salt knows that artists are emotionally attached to their works, and rightfully so. Feedback of all types should be received as the curator’s opinion, even if you disagree with their opinion. The gravity of how many submissions a curator might review on any given day (possibly somewhere between dozens and hundreds) should at least prepare you for the fact that even if you have a quality track and if all the supporting materials are in order, your submission might not be the one that stands out that day. Never mind that curators are human and sometimes listen to submissions before finishing their morning coffee (sorry about that).
In spite of all of this, the response is 1) to the submission in front of the curator, (2) in context with all the other submissions received during that timeframe, and (3) in context with the voice of the publication.
I hope readers will appreciate that there is at least one curator out there (and I know there are many more) who greatly admires and respects all artists. We are humbled that an artist or their representative feels strongly enough about our publication to send their music our way. Even with the utmost respect and care, we still have to reject probably 90% of the submissions we receive. Alchemical Records, like many (especially indie) publications, simply don’t have the bandwidth to share all of the songs or stories we receive. We hope to improve the quality of the content we produce and the experience for musicians and industry professionals who engage with our team.
The differences might come down to whether your submission stands out to the curator in some way. In a world where everyone may submit a quality recording of an authentically delivered performance alongside their unique vision and story, anything you can do to highlight how you stand out will help.
These are some of the things our publication looks out for when we receive new music and we know will improve the quality of your campaigns on Submithub and similar services.
- Know your audience and who you are submitting your music and story to
- Empathize with the humans on the receiving end
- Create a personal connection
- Have a direct ask
- Provide all the relevant information
- Be patient, professional, and persevere
Daniel and his team provide consulting and services that augment your personal story and the stories behind your songs and lift up your public narrative for fans and industry professionals alike.
Increase Your Chances To Be Seen & Heard – https://www.alchemicalrecords.com/services