Like all music blogs, we receive a heck of a lot of emails each day, usually round 100 or so. Sadly, like many blogs, we don’t have time to read them all, as this is not our full time job. With day job and family responsibilities, we only really have a couple of hours a night to go through in the inbox, listen to and write about music as well as trying to find new music ‘organically’ online (i.e. from sources other than the inbox).
With this in mind, we thought it would be helpful to offer some perspective and advice on how to present a submission so that it gets past the first, ‘can I read and understand this and is the music easy to listen to?’ hurdle. Because frankly, if they don’t manage that, they’ll become acquainted with the delete button pretty quickly. It may sound harsh but after receiving more than our fair share of pretty ropey email submissions recently, and with little time to spend on reading submissions, we do have to be quite ruthless in our approach.
As we say, we thought it would be useful to offer some advice on how to engage with blogs and try and get them to read your mails and listen to your tunes. However, we do not want to reinvent the wheel and there are a couple of really good posts out there already we recommend you read.
Firstly is this excellent piece by Breaking More Waves from a few years ago that still holds true.
Secondly, and more recently is this post by Jake May on his tumblr.
Jake’s post is from just a couple of weeks ago and we agree with pretty much all he says but there are a couple of areas we would like to add to. Specifically his section entitled, Know what the ‘story’ is. Here he offers great advice to help you understand what you want people to say about you and how to present it. His main example is to imagine the headline you want to see on a blog, citing examples such as ‘Band announces debut album, streams first song taken from it – listen!’, or ‘Band announces UK tour with other band, shares new song’.
Our addition to this would be, Know what the story isn’t.
By this we mean, what don’t you want a blog to say about you? For example, being a mystery band is very much en vogue these days for a multitude of reasons. We’re not really bothered anymore if a band wants to keep its identity a secret and now take a fairly laissez faire approach and just roll with it if they do. Should you choose to be all enigmatic and secretive when presenting yourself to a blog, don’t include information in your submission that you don’t want to be made public. For example, if you don’t want a blogger to include details of where you are from, don’t put them in your bio. If you are happy for people to know your name but don’t want them to find any details of your musical history, make sure all your old links are no longer active and give consideration to who may have written about you in the past. It’s not easy to make things disappear completely online so you may need to reconsider your approach.
The other point we would make when submitting to blogs is Know what you are offering.
This may sound stupid but you have to understand what you are making available to people, when, how and exactly what you need to provide. This is a particular pet peeve of ours, but you also have to understand the terminology of what you are offering.
For example, if you are offering a premiere; that means that site will have it first. Only one site can have it first so you cannot offer it to more than one. If more than one say they would like to have it, then you have to put on your diplomatic hat, decide which one you would like to go with and explain nicely to the others that it is no longer available. You cannot have more then one site posting a premiere of the same song, it makes the sites look silly, it makes you look silly and it will only annoy the writers/editors. This actually happened to us. We were offered a premiere of a track and when it came to the agreed time for us to post, three other sites had already run with it and all had labelled it as a premiere.
We hope that is useful and not too negative. As we say, the posts from Jake and Breaking More Waves are fantastic and you should totally read them, this was just meant to augment their suggestions.
To finish off with, and totally unrelated to the above, is a wonderful track we heard a few weeks back but didn’t have time to feature. It’s from Blonde Maze (who, incidentally, wrote us a lovely email when sending it in) and its called “Summer Rain”.