A review on your favourite music blog or being playlisted by a reviewer can act as a springboard for your music. But how do you go about scoring those precious placements?
If you’re one of the lucky few, you might be approached by a music reviewer asking to feature your music without you lifting a finger. However, especially in the early stages of your career, you’ll have to put some effort into getting these opportunities.
What are you pitching?
First and foremost you need something to pitch. Maybe it’s a new single release, an upcoming album or a long-awaited music video; if it’s just been released or is going live soon, you can pitch it.
Whilst some blogs prefer to review content that’s already been released, some sites offer exclusive previews, allowing readers of the site a sneak a peak ahead of release day. These are a great addition to a marketing campaign for an upcoming release as you can tap into the site’s existing fan base as well as your own.
Research is the largest part of the pitching process, and drastically influences your chances of success. If you don’t spend time doing your research and contacting the right blogs and reviewers, your music is very unlikely to even be listed to, let alone reviewed.
Here are some key questions you’ll need to answer as part of your research:
What blogs/sites/reviewers do I want to contact?
First, make sure that you’re contacting blogs relevant to the style of music you make; if you’re an electronic artist there’s no point contacting blogs that purely write about rock music.
Secondly, keep in mind the size of the blogs; if they’re constantly reviewing artists with huge followings and you’re just starting out, it’s likely you won’t receive a look in.
Thirdly, if you’re stuck for blogs to contact, start small and local. Ask about and see if there’s any small music reviewers within your friendship or musical circles. Despite not offering solid reviewers or playlisting opportunities, local radio can be a great place to start and can offer some small press releases for you to use in future pitching opportunities.
Will they be interested in my music?
As we mentioned in the previous point, it’s a fatal error to contact people that don’t involve themselves with the genre your music sits in. The best practice is to spend an hour going through each blog and listening to music they are reviewing. This will give you a solid handle on what the blog is looking for and what they end up loving.
Some larger blogs can be quite niche, and root themselves within specific sub-genres. So, when contacting these types of blogs you’ve got to be confident that they’re going to love your music.
Do they require large followings for submissions?
Some blogs require links to your socials and streaming platforms upon submission. This is a way to gauge the size of your fanbase and whether it’s beneficial for them to review you.
Whilst this can sometimes feel disheartening as a fledgling artist with a small following, they can provide great opportunities later on in your career when you’re got a larger fan base.
To help with your pitching, spend a couple of hours collating together:
- Key points – think of keywords that you use to describe you as an artist (e.g. your ethos/story/ beginnings) and the music that you’re pitching (e.g. instruments/vibe/feelings).
- Past reviews – Collate together any previous press releases or reviews that speak highly of you as an artist.
- Statistics – If you’ve got some good statistics behind you, make sure to include them! We’re talking Spotify followers/monthly listeners/streaming numbers etc. They are a great way of showing reviewers just how many people are loving your music.
- Similar artists – To give your music more of a chance of catching a bloggers eye, reference names of similar sounding artists within your pitch. This will instantly give them an idea of your sound without listening to your track.
Now we write! Now you can collate everything you’ve done into a well written, descriptive but short and snappy message. Remember to keep the email:
Polite – politeness gets you far when sending submissions. Remember to use your Ps & Qs!
Informative – try and get as much information about your music and you into your email as you can – especially the points we wrote about in the prep section.
Short – some bloggers and reviewers will receive hundreds of emails a day. The shorter and snappier your email, the more likely it will be read and your music will be heard.
Tailored – always tailor your emails! Make sure you include the reasoning of why you’re emailing the blog and what you like about them and why your music will suit them.
All done? Time to click send and wait to see if you get a response. If you don’t receive a reply, then don’t be disheartened! Bloggers receive hundreds, maybe even thousands of submissions a day so it’s very competitive when getting reviews and features.
Also, the more you pitch your music, the more practice you’ll get and the more you’ll learn from your unsuccessful pitches. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for some feedback as to why they didn’t review you/what you could do to improve next time.
Have you had success pitching your music? Let us know in the comments