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5 Tips For Identifying & Connecting With Music Bloggers For Music Coverage

Music-blog-directoryGetting coverage of one's music on music blogs and websites is an important part of reaching new fans and keeping older fans excited. Unfortunately there's not a master list of who to contact to get your music featured because every musician needs to focus on writers who will appreciate what they do. Here are a few tips for identifying the right music bloggers for outreach and making initial contact with a long term perspective.

I was included in a recent Musician's Blogging Summit, a roundup of advice for musicians in response to the question, "What are the secrets of entertaining blogging that gets attention?"

Though that's a question worth considering, I've actually been getting more questions about identifying blogs that accept music submissions for possible review. But music blogs are so genre and niche specific that you can't just make up a top list like Music Biz Blogs though The Hype Machine's Index of Music Blogs is a good starting point. Below are some quick tips for finding and contacting music bloggers.

5 Tips for Identifying & Connecting With Music Bloggers

1) Identify writers not blogs. Writers at blogs with multiple authors tend to have specialties. Target your outreach accordingly. Ask permission to send key news such as releases or tours.

2) Search Google for coverage of bands similar to yours, not famous bands but bands at or a few levels above your visibility. Target blogs and writers that cover those bands favorably.

3) Check the sidebars of relevant blogs for lists of related blogs. Sometimes a blogger that seems uninterested will open up when you appear on a blog or other site they follow.

4) When you send intro or update emails include links to other media coverage, especially newsier items, and to online resources for quick reference. Make it easy to find pics and related content for use as needed by bloggers.

5) Please don't send giant attachment files. Provide a link that does not expire to a downloadable file that doesn't require one to wait for a free download.

Developing relationships with writers is an ongoing process. Focus on building for the long term rather than basing success or failure on the amount of coverage for an isolated event.

More:

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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11 Comments

  1. Interesting points and as part time music blogger, I’d have to agree. If people who submit follow these tips, they have a better chance of being heard and possibly posted.

  2. Good list, Clyde. To add to #2, I search for similar bands on blog aggregators like The Hype Machine and Elbo.ws. Blogs that are listed in those directories produce coverage that is more likely to spread to other sources.

  3. I’m a music critic so I can add a few things to this topic based on my +10 yrs of experience but my post was not written for any discussion that much, just expressing my views.
    I review heavy guitar driven songs, EPs or albums, from digital files and streams while CDs are not important to me because I don’t want people pay any additionally shipping fees. It’s the digital age & bands should sell these CDs to fans instead.
    First of all, any high quality review has 2 purposes – an individual judgment and recommendation/promotion values which usually lead readers to buy a song/EP/album, or not. A good review means a story to tell.
    1. A band looking for reviews should read some examples of reviews to be sure about their value & a reviewer’s skills either. Some people ‘feel’ any kind of music, some can write smoothly about black metal and some get disgusted hearing the first scream. Testimonials are important.
    2. If a reviewer gives a rating which is constantly low (unless music received is constantly that bad, the reviewer is not selective, or is not a specialist in a genre a band represents!), it’s not any good deal for a musician to waste his/her time, money or hopes to get any reliable judgment.
    3. Many bloggers/reviewers prefer to receive as many CDs as possible because they are ‘music collectors’ while they do not have enough of time to review them all or they offer low quality reviews = 60% talking about themselves and 40% about the band & their music!
    4. A reviewer needs to be in a ‘mood’ to provide a good writing. When one works over a song or album for 1-3 hrs, his/her brain will be activated to remember the sound, hooks or whatever and it needs some time to ‘clean’ one’s brain. Switching between albums, producing mass-reviews in a hurry is never good.
    5. What personally pisses me off the most:
    a) a lot of bands (and labels!) do not read requirements given on a magazine/blog/via email but they blindly give an instant access to files or send CDs without doing any research. This causes a lot of misunderstanding!,
    b) a band/manager must ask a reviewer or magazine owner if he/she is interested in receiving a newsletter. Most of ‘PR specialists’ and bands steal emails and attach these to some Reverbnation or Fanbridge systems to spam people (because they were paid to do the job or they want to help a band only). These emails always land up in my spam box since I didn’t request them or agreed to receive either,
    c) do not attach music files to an email without being asked for. Not everybody uses a high-speed internet or owns a 4TB hard drive to store your attachments. Instead, a press kit (pdf) with links to the most representative pages/profiles (SoundCloud or Reverbnation) are welcome instead.
    It takes me usually 15-20 min. per band to make a final decision if I’m interested in a coverage or not, yet I’ve a schedule, a good ear for music and personal taste 😉
    6. Bands should choose these magazines which have a strong no-piracy policy. Reviewers should never share any music they got for a review while most of them do that without permission, same about podcasters. If they have any Terms of Use or Privacy Policy, it should be mentioned there.
    7. If you sent a request for a review and got no answer during 2-5 weeks, send a reminder. If you still didn’t get any reply, you’ve found the wrong magazine = not interested in reviewing your music. Gmail or Yahoo filters can automatically mark a message as spam so if it happened to your email, a reviewer may have not seen your message yet.
    8. On the final, unpleasant for some note, reviewing music, books etc. takes a lot of time, needs skills, planning and understanding a genre and goals of a songwriter/author. If a professional asks you for money for such a writing, don’t come up with an attitude such as ‘we want you to write about us for free so we can sell our music because we have a lot of other expenses/because you love music etc.’ since you’ll make a fool of yourself. A reviewer has the same/similar bills to pay like you, expenses to cover yet they do their work as much involved as you make your music. Keep in mind, there’s also a copyright (authorship) & a license for a promo or commercial purposes involved if musicians want to make money on such a review (and they surely do if it’s a positive one = album recommendation).
    When you’re hired, you are paid for your work, that’s the law.
    Try to go to your boss to tell him/her you’re going to work 8hrs a day for free during the next month. Certainly it’s a great deal for your boss having a slave to abuse but a disaster for your own future and a making yourself a huge disrespect for your skills as well (considering you provide high quality reviews to help the bands, not a blabla thing to show off with your own ego!)
    I hope that helps.

  4. #3 is very true. I recently sent a CD for review to a music critic I had not previously contacted and was expecting to get ignored. But, in the comments about my CD, he mentioned that “so and so at such and such” site was a friend and had written about my previous albums, so he’d give it a listen. I’d like to think he would have listened to it anyway, but it helps to have connections or previous cred.

  5. A good tip would be to get fans to help find the blogs and submit the music, I love it when some of the fans tell me about the artists, by the way if any bands/artists reading this would like to send me their music to check out at makewayforbands@hotmail.com I will have a look at their music and may even do a post on them if I enjoy them, my blog is makewayforbands.blogspot.co.uk

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