Regardless of whether your submissions get Accepted or Rejected, each contact you make with a curator or blogger moves you one step toward, or away, from their inner circle.
Submission Dos and Don’ts
- DO know your genre, and wear it on your sleeve. If your music is Country, don’t call it Americana just to sound cool. If your music is Hiphop, don’t call it Funk just to sound classic. Mislabeling wastes submission fees, and it also annoys curators, because they might have difficulty providing useful feedback outside of their expertise.
- DON’T consider a track ready to submit before it will need no explanation (because once it’s on a playlist there’s no explanation attached).
- DO thoroughly research your targets’ profiles before submitting. This can include examining their websites, reading their stated preferences, and listening to tracks they have recently accepted. Research like this can be time-consuming, so if you possess more money than time, it’s fine to just blindly submit, but only if you stay within your genre, and promise you won’t give a bad review to anyone who politely declines your submission.
- DON’T try using a chat group or social media DM to “get around” paying a professional promoter’s submission fee. Even if the promoter has already accepted one of your tracks, don’t assume that such acceptance invites you to start sending unsolicited links “on the side.” Remember why the curator charged you a fee in the first place. Think about how your side-submissions will look to them.
- DO offer something in return for the recipient’s consideration. Not because you will owe them anything if accepted, but just in order to change the tone of your submission from “Give me what I want,” to “I am offering you a reciprocal opportunity.” Do not offer a monetary bribe! Either offer something useful, like a social media share, something symbolic, like a pledge of gratitude, or just the gift of good cheer, such as a fun anecdote about your song’s origins, an honest confession of your newbie excitement, or even a homemade smile emoji! Okay, maybe not all curators like sugar, but when you’re listening to song after song, a few encouraging words can inspire receptivity. (But if you’re fresh out of sugar, avoid brown-nosing and just keep it short.)
- DON’T submit a generic message implying that you listened to the curator’s playlist, or read a blogger’s article, which you’ve actually never sampled. Recipients can smell of false flattery like the odor of rotten eggs, and they will not be impressed.
- DO keep in mind that most blogs and playlists have a specific thematic focus, so if you are peddling something quirky like a coronavirus ballad, you’ll need to read each profile carefully before submitting, or else take it in stride if you get a lot of rejections.
- DON’T keep piling submissions onto someone who has just given you a placement. The curator may love all of your music, but unless their playlist is like eggplant to oil, probably they are striving for a proportional representation between various artists, so you will force them to choose between either rejecting your new submissions, placing them on indefinite hold (which hurts the curator’s sharing stats), or swapping out your previous submission prematurely. It’s better to drip-feed your subsequent submissions, and if you’re trying to decide when, a good indicator is to do it whenever you see less plays coming in, because that means your ranking in the Shuffle Play has grown stale.
- DO provide every possible link (Spotify, YouTube, etc.) with your original submission, if they are available, so that nobody will need to message you asking for a missing link. If you are submitting a pre-release and don’t have the link yet, please try to stay on top of adding your link on the day of release.
- DON’T give up easily.
- DO carefully consider all listener feedback. If you discover something wrong with your track that can be fixed, just creatively repackage it as a “remix,” “dance mix,” or “extended play,” and republish it wearing fresh new clothes!