Many artists are confused as to what to include when contacting music bloggers. Opinions vary, and everyone has their own style. One thing is for certain, though. You should make things as easy as possible for the bloggers. The way I like to do this is by providing complete information with everything at their fingertips so absolutely no Googling is required should they wish to cover the artist. On the other side of the coin, the email should also be very concise. I don’t personally send any attachments or fancy one-sheets. (“Thank God!”, a blogger wrote to me once about this choice.)
Below is a template that you can adjust and use when contacting music blogs. Please keep in mind that the key to this, as I’m aware some readers will find this article through Google, skim it, and assume that I recommend sending mass template emails, is the personalization in the introduction. Build a rapport. Say hello. Be honest about who you are.
The following is an excerpt from “Your Band Is A Virus – Expanded Edition”.
Include All Information In A Concise Format
This is a general tip that applies to all music submissions. Many artists and PR companies either make their media pitches way too long or way too short. I have opened up emails that go on for pages or contain endless unwanted attachments. I also have received emails that only contain a zip file or one or two sentences and no artist link. These swiftly go to the junk folder.
Here is a template that I use when submitting music for review consideration.
(Personal message at the top w/optional press release below)
Secure Music Download Link:
Secure Press Photos Link:
Music video links:
Notes on this template:
For your Streaming link, Soundcloud, Bandcamp or your own private link are perfect for this purpose. Soundcloud includes a feature that allows you to set up your whole album for streaming, and even create private links that allow easy downloads of your release.
Your album download link, or zip file, can be hosted on a service such as Mediafire.com, Yousend.com or Dropbox.com. Make sure there are no pop-up advertisements or other annoyances. Put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other end of your email. To make it easiest on the media, I usually create a zip file containing the high quality version of the album (320 kbps), the album cover art (a large, high quality version), 4 or 5 high quality band photos, and a professional one-sheet or document with bio and contact information in case they lose the original email. This ensures that you’re not burying anyone with too many zip files, although it’s generally fine to have two.
When it comes to listing similar artists, a common mistake is to aim too high. Want a helpful tip? Don’t choose Radiohead. If you say you sound similar to Radiohead, your email may get skipped. Only Radiohead sounds like Radiohead, and it’s usually not a good move to pinpoint an act that so many people connect with on such a deep level. Acts like Metallica and U2 are also too big to list as similar artists. I know that when I receive music submissions with comparisons like this, it just doesn’t register on my psyche for some reason. However, if names like The Melvins, A Place to Bury Strangers, Django Django or Charles Bradley get mentioned, it peaks my interest.
Try choosing a mid-level “hip” band who are currently frequenting the music blogs, SXSW festival, CMJ, etc. Make sure you are sonically similar, of course. You will get more results comparing yourself to Cloud Nothings than Nirvana, for example.
For the websites section, don’t list every social media site or musician’s community you have a page on. Just include your official website, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Last.fm and Youtube pages.
The style section should be thought of the same way as the similar artists section. It’s meant to generate interest in your music, so instead of just ‘alternative rock’, you may have better luck with ‘alternative rock, garage rock, indie rock’. It creates more of a sense of depth. Of course, make sure everything you list is relevant to your particular sound and influences.
For highlights and accolades, the whole purpose of this is once again to be helpful and appease the short attention span of the reader. This is not meant as any kind of insult. I happen to have short attention span myself. It’s a fact of the internet age. People who take long periods of time away from their computers often report having unbelievable amounts of creativity and clarity return. In the time that I’ve been promoting music online, my attention span has diminished considerably. Therefore, a highlights and accolades section can be very helpful as a point form guide to why your band should be covered.
What should you include here? Have you opened for any notable bands? Have you won any awards? Have you been covered in any respectable publications or popular blogs? Is there anything strange or unique about you? If you are just starting out, you may not need this. You can always add to it later.