Where do you go when you've finished that track you've been chipping away at for months? A good starting point would be the whole host of that love hearing from new, emerging talent. If you're a member of The Unsigned Guide, our Spotlight blog is one such place, so we thought that it would be good to put together some 'best practice' type tips for submitting your music to us and others in the music industry.
If you've not heard about our Spotlight blog, where have you been? Each month we choose the 5 best tracks submitted by our members, feature them in our blog, give them a spin on our and send them to some important industry people. .
In case you were wondering about becoming a member of The Unsigned Guide, let me quickly explain more about what we do. The Unsigned Guide is a huge online directory of the UK music industry, aimed specifically at unsigned and emerging musicians trying to further their careers. Signing up to use our directory makes you a member, giving you the chance to submit 1 track per month to us for Spotlight consideration. And while we're on the subject, our directory of 8,500 music industry contacts has sections dedicated to , , , , plus loads more, so if you're wanting to get that release out there, this is a great starting point to get your tracks to the right people.
Of course, the advice below can also be applied to sending your release to other media and press, not to mention artist managers, record labels and other industry folks. Just bear in mind that everyone likes their music served to them slightly differently, so make sure that you always check the submission guidelines.
1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF
It's nice to know a bit about you before we click play. We don't need to know the name of your first kiss or what your favourite colour is, but you would be surprised by the number of submissions we receive who forget to even tell us what their act is called. If you're submitting material via email or a contact form, it's also a good idea to include your act's name in the subject line. This is mostly for boring admin reasons (it makes it easier for us to seek out your details if your message is misplaced).
2. TRY NOT TO SEND GENERIC, CUT & PASTE PRESS RELEASES
By all means include a press release in the body of your info, but try to at least personalise the first few lines of the email. We like to
3. TELL US ABOUT GOOD STUFF THAT YOU'VE BEEN DOING LATELY
Be proud of your achievements! Tell us about the recent airplay you had on local radio, who has said nice things about you, where you have been playing, that festival that you're set to play this summer. It lets us know that you mean business and we will nod approvingly if you do this. It also saves us having to scroll through the past 6 months of your Facebook feed to see what you're up to (although we will probably do this anyway, see point 5).
4. SEND YOUR BEST TRACK
This might seem like an obvious one, but make sure that you put a lot of thought into which song you send out. That 8 minute ambient drone track might introduce your record beautifully, but maybe there's a stand out all-rounder that is a better option. If you're linking to a full EP or album - plug the killer track that should definitely be listened to. We generally won't have time to listen to more than 1 or 2 tracks, so you'll want to make sure that we're getting the best possible introduction to your music.
5. INCLUDE AS MANY UP TO DATE WEB/SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS AS POSSIBLE
We judge entries solely on the quality of the music, so we don't particularly care if you only have 2 likes on Facebook (your dog and your mum). We're just nosey, we like to have a snoop around. Or, even better, have a nice email signature set up with all your contact details and web links.
There's is a big caveat on this one though - ensure that the links you include are up to date and in regular use. It's good practice when sending tracks out to the industry to make sure that all of your web presence is kept up to date. If keeping all of your accounts in check seems like too much of a slog, then you're probably better to focus on one or two and delete those that aren't going to get the TLC that they need.
Another pet peeve of ours at The Unsigned Guide is when acts don't link their social accounts back to each other. Try to enter all of your web links on a platform where possible.
6. MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE RELEASE READY
When you've polished off a track, you might be tempted to run to the nearest rooftop shouting, "IT'S FINISHED", and then immediately proceed to send it to the whole of Google. Before you get too carried away, try to take a deep breath and ask yourself, "Is everything in place to give the release the best possible chance of success?" Is the artwork ready? Do you need a video to go alongside it? Do you have some up to date press photos? Do you have some gigs or an EP launch lined up? Is your web presence looking uniformed and shiny?
Although we are primarily looking for an amazing track, it also helps us when we're writing the features if an artist has some strong imagery and something for us to talk about. We can work around this, of course, but if we're faced with 3 fantastic tracks of a similar sound and there is only room for 1 more in the blog - the act with plenty going on and a good press picture may just pip the others to the post.