I wrote an article for Music Think Tank called Beyond The Basics: Go The Extra Mile To Get Featured On Music Blogs.
Read my advice for bands and artists on how to get tastemakers to write about your music — over at Music Think Tank.
Update: You now need an account to login to read the article, so you can read it below:
How do you get “tastemakers” (aka music bloggers) to write about your band?
Although I prefer to encounter bands organically (for example, opening for a band I already like), I’ve featured plenty of great music on After The Show by bands who have directly approached me. Not every tastemaker will like your songs, but music blogs need a lot of content, so you have a good shot at getting featured somewhere.
You should already know the basics. Do your research: don’t pitch to a hip-hop site if you’re an alt-country act, and read everything you can about each music site you’re submitting to (scroll through the archives and see what they tweet). Be professional: keep your email typo-free, succinct, and include a link to streams (Bandcamp, SoundCloud) instead of mp3 attachments.
2 Indie Band Case Studies: Pay Attention To the Big Picture
Jim Ivins first emailed me around a year ago to say that his band would be opening for Robert Schwartzman in New York. Jim clearly did his research – he saw I had interviewed and written about Rooney before, so he knew I’d be interested in attending – and he allowed plenty of lead-time before the show (a month) before offering a list spot to cover the set.
A blog is not going to listen to your music & then decide to post it, a person is! Jim addressed his email to “Suzanne” not “After The Show.” I was planning on going to this show anyway, so I eagerly accepted.
Start relationships (online if different locations prevent face-to-face ones) with music bloggers and anyone who can help your music get exposure. A few months later Jim let me know on Twitter about another local show the band was playing. I couldn’t make it, but I appreciated the update and later dropped by a show that I could make. A couple months down the road, he sent me a video the band recorded that was relevant to what we were currently covering on After The Show.
Once you establish a connection, stay on the blog’s radar and give updates on your band every few months. Don’t inundate any blog that gives you some attention or coverage, but maintain smart, positive relationships.
Browsing YouTube over a year ago, I came across an amazing cover of The Lemonheads’ “Paid To Smile” by a band named Jeremy Sparrow. This cover was better than the original and even Evan Dando commented on it. After leaving a quick comment, I posted the video on my site.
Lasse of Jeremy Sparrow messaged me on YouTube to thank me, introduce his band, and say he’d keep me updated on their EP that would be out in several months. Simply sending that message helped his band stand out – he was responsible and proactive. I didn’t expect to hear from him again, but I got an email several months later about the band’s completed EP. I remembered them and was happy to listen and write about the EP.
Don’t get discouraged when you send out hundreds of emails and only hear back from a few people. The hardest part is often getting some initial traction. Once your foot is in a door, use that leverage to get more press. Opportunities beget more (and even better) opportunities.
Suzanne Raga is the creator and author of the popular indie music blog After The Show and does consulting work for music licensing and publishing companies. She is a recent graduate of Princeton University.