The Definitive Guide to Getting Your Music Posted OnlinePosted by Nathan S. on 03/05/10 | Filed under Top Stories, Features, How to Blow...
Before we delve into logistics, let me take a moment to make one thing clear: in the end, it's always about the music. Or, at least it is for non-shitty sites. You can do everything right from a promotional and networking standpoint, but if your music's just not very good, it's not going to get posted. It really is that simple. Speaking of which, make sure your music is professionally mixed and mastered. You could have the best rhyme skills since Nas, but if it sounds like you recorded in your mom's bathroom while a stereo plays in the background, it's just not going to happen. The good news is that in the digital age mixing and mastering is easier than ever.
On the flipside, it's not necessarily true that if you have great music and crappy promotion your music will get posted. Think about it this way. You're trying to sell a house, and the inside of the house is absolutely dope. Wood floors, brand new kitchen, immaculately designed, but the exterior of the house hasn't been painted in years, the porch is falling apart and the grass is knee high. Who's going to bother coming in and discovering how incredible the inside is when the outside's seems so crappy? Hope that analogy made sense.
Listen. I do this for a living, and while I have an incredible amount of fun, I take it very seriously. So when I read your email, I want to know you take your career in music as seriously as I do. That means there's a quick list of don'ts: no ALL CAPS EMAILS (my eyesight's fine, I swear), no different color text (it's an email, not a Crayola box), and please, please take the time to spellcheck. I don't need you to craft some Hemingwayian prose, but when you want me to check out your new "supr hot trak" I'm already not super excited to listen.
Oh, and another quick note. I'm not trying to be a go on a power trip here, but when you write something like "Here's my new mixtape, let me know when you've written a review," I instinctively don't want to write a review of your mixtape. You wouldn't walk into a job interview, throw your resume on the desk, say "give me a call when I'm hired" and walk out. Don't do it here.
So what should you write? It's not complicated. Introduce yourself in a couple lines (who you are, where your from), let me know what you want me to listen to (here's a new song I did) and (succinctly) give me as much background as possible (the song's off a new mixtape I have coming up called something, it will be released on this date, etc.). Don't over think it. I get a lot of emails, so the more quickly I can understand who you are and what you want, the happier I am - and the higher the chance your music will be posted.
This one's quickly becoming a major, major issue. First, if you just want me to listen to a song or a handful of songs, just attach the mp3 directly! That way I can listen to and download the track right there in the email without having to wait a minute for some shitty share site to load while being bombarded with pet food and adult friend finder pop-ups. If you're submitting a large scale project I understand there's really no alternative but to include a download link. The usuals are fine (usershare, mediafire, etc.) though I'm seriously considering a Limelinx boycott (if you don't know about their shady practices click here or here).
On that note, if you're submitting an entire mixtape/EP/album etc., go ahead and directly attach a couple of the project's best cuts to the email. Sorry, but if I've never heard your music, the chances of me waiting 15 minutes for your project to download and then randomly clicking around are a lot lower than if I hear a couple songs, like what I hear, and know downloading is worth my time.
In short, you want to put as few barriers as possible in between me and your music.
You should always be sure to include a few additional elements in your email. First, visuals. I know you're probably not swimming in cash, but I promise, it's worth the investment to have some professional photos taken. And if you don't have professional pics, at the very least don't attach your Facebook profile pic. You know, the one where your shirtless in the mirror holding a camera. Also, a bio with some more information about yourself is always a plus. That way if I end up writing about you, I've got all the facts (where your from, what past projects you've worked on) handy right there.
Also, include links to more info (your site/MySpace/Facebook/Twitter/) at the bottom of the email.
This should go without saying, but apparently a lot of folks just don't get it. This is a symbiotic relationship. If I spend time posting your music (and it does take time) and in response you don't promote it on your end, besides the obvious fact that I would assume you want as many people to hear your work as possible, there's not a lot of incentive for me to post more of your work. I'm sorry if I'm revealing too much behind the scenes info here, but all things being equal (the music from two different artists are equally as good), am I going to post music from the artist who's going to blast out the link to everyone they know, or the artist who's asleep at the wheel? Sorry, that was a rhetorical question.
A note to new artists: no reputable media outlet will ever, ever charge you to post their music. There are some very, very rare exceptions to that rule, but I've seen too many artists get scammed not to let you know upfront. Just a friendly heads-up.
So there. Hopefully that helps. And if I hurt anyone's feelings or disillusioned anyone I'm truly sorry, but if you want to be taken seriously as an artist - and I assume you do - you have to take your promotion game seriously. I don't want to sound like a used car dealer, so I won't promise that following these rules will get your music posted, but I can guarantee it will greatly increase your odds.
If I left anything out let me know (email@example.com) or comment below and I'll update the piece accordingly.