The gate-keepers (record labels, studios, radio, etc.) are becoming more and more irrelevant. There are millions of musicians making music in their bedrooms, their basements, their living rooms. ReverbNation reports having over 5 million artists using their platform alone. So, amidst that literal sea of music, how does one go about getting enough attention to have their music reviewed in a professional, timely manner?
We’re not going to waste your time. You want to get your music reviewed. Here’s how to do it…
YOUR MUSIC MUST BE FUNDAMENTALLY SOLID:
This means, 1) All of the instruments & vocals must be in-time/rhythm; and, 2) All instruments & vocals must be on key. If either of those things is awry, it makes the music objectively difficult to listen to, and impossible to review in a positive light. If you’re not sure that your music qualifies in this way (perhaps because you’ve lost your “fresh” ears during a long & arduous recording process), get an outside opinion—particularly if you’re a bit new to the whole music-creation-recording thing. I’ve got dozens upon dozens of rough demos (from when I was just starting out with the guitar) which will never see the light of day—because they’re simply no good. Just remember, family & friends don’t count—unless you’re damn sure that they will be objective and honest with you!
CREATE A BIO:
Either write it yourself, or have someone who does that kind of work write it up for you. Be sure to include plenty of information about who you are, where you came from & where you’re currently based, and how & why you got into the music life. Please do not only have information about your new album in your bio. Feel free to include that album synopsis, but do not use it exclusively as your artist bio.
COVER ART & ARTIST PIC:
Visual aids are key. You’ve absolutely got to have the cover art for your new project, and an artist pic. The cover art should be at least 800 by 800 pixels, and your artist pic should also be at least 800 pixels on its longest side. Both should be a resolution of 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch) if at all possible.
BUILD AN ONLINE PRESENCE:
A music reviewer cannot write anything about you if you haven’t placed yourself online. Meaning: at the bare minimum, have a Facebook page. Why is Facebook the bare minimum? It’s simple. Because Facebook allows you to place your bio, cover art, and artist pics online—for free. You can also have your live show schedule connected to your Facebook page via Bandsintown. If at all possible, you should also have accounts with Twitter and Instagram, as well as your own website. You’ve got to be accessible online if you want anyone to find you and write about you—period.
In that same vein of thought, having social media accounts with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allows music reviewers to tag you when they post your review on their social media accounts! This in turn allows you to share their review instantly! This mutual sharing encourages more music fans to check out your review (giving the music reviewer’s site more precious clicks), which in turn exposes your music to more people. You see, it’s truly WIN-WIN.
PUT YOUR MUSIC ONLINE FOR FREE STREAMING:
If you want people to hear your music, you’re going to have to put it online for free—on a platform such as SoundCloud, Spotify, YouTube, ReverbNation, etc. This is particularly true if you’re releasing a single. If you’re releasing an album, you need to put a few tracks out there—at the least. Why? Answer: There is a literal endless sea of absolutely fabulously talented music of every goddamn genre on the planet online right now—and it’s free. If you lock yours up and make it available to paying-listeners only, people will pass you by, opting for the free stuff, and you’ll get left behind before you even start. And, no samples or teasers—posting those is a great way to get yourself forgotten about. Full songs only, please.
BE WILLING TO INVEST SOME COIN:
A wise man once said, “Nothing given for free has value.” If you want someone to truly & sincerely sit with your music, to listen to it, to take it in, to feel something from it, to spend several hours ingesting it, interpreting it—do you really believe you can have that for free? Especially if you’re an unheard-of, undiscovered artist? Professional, well-written reviews don’t come free. You know that killer Rolling Stone Magazine write-up of your favorite band you recently read? Do you think the author did that for free? Let’s leave that myth behind. The world is monetized. Everyone is getting paid for their craft—and rightly so. You get what you pay for. If you want a free review—expect the quality of said review to follow suit, and vice-versa.
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