Definitive Guide to Getting a Job in the Music Industry in 2019 | What Nobody is Telling you

Most of the career advice for the Music Industry is dated or is generic advice which doesn’t apply to the Music Industry. This guide well give you the best chance of landing a job in the Music Industry.

Recently Burstimo began advertising for new roles, where I had to assess every single CV which was submitted, and this allowed me to spot recurring mistakes which people were making, even from those with Music Business University degrees were not offering what the music industry is looking for.

Do you really want a job in the music industry?

The most frequent line I see in cover letters and interviews is applicants stating their desire to work in the “Music Industry” and this may come as a shock to you, but the Music Industry as you know it doesn’t exist. When you say the words “Music Industry” what comes in to your head?

Is it the life of hanging around famous people, attending parties, music industry events, backstage passes at festivals, prestigious award ceremonies?

In fact, working in the Music Industry involves mostly sitting at your computer sending emails to people just like you 12 hours per day and it doesn’t stop on weekends.

How the Music Industry fits together

The Music Industry is very much spread out, it’s not one big symbiotic industry, it is very compartmentalised with areas such as:

Major Labels (which mainly involves licensing catalogue music)

Copyright and Music Licensing

Syncronisation companies

Music Marketing and Promotion

Law firms

Music Management

Music PR companies

Live gigs / Festivals

And the list goes on…

And all of these aspects never cross one another. You’ll very rarely find yourself conversing with a music industry lawyer if your expertise lies in Music PR for example.

I wanted to make this clear because we see so many applications from people who have “Music Industry” experience, however the skills don’t translate, you won’t land your dream job working in Music Sync if your experience is in promoting festivals. It is the required skillset you must focus on rather than your experience being from the same industry. If you want a job in Music Sync for example, you are more likely to land a job by having a strong sales background. The ability to sell music and license it out is far more valuable than understanding the industry and a knowledge of music from 1950s – present.

Why Working in Music is so Awesome

Now I’ve began to paint a picture of how the music industry really fits together (or doesn’t) lets cover the benefits of working in the music industry. Working with music is exciting, there is no other product like it, music has the power to change people’s mood, opinions or even help them through a difficult time in their life. Working with tracks which you just can’t stop listening to, and your day is dedicated to making the artist as successful as possible whichever your role is one of the most rewarding aspects you could ever hope for in a job.

The day to dayactivity of a job in the music industry is usually so varied and thrilling compared to any other industry. The industry has had to adapt to some major overhauls which means things are moving faster than ever and changed so dramatically that it has left a gaping hole filled with opportunities for people with new skills and ideas to jump in to.

Do I need Music Industry experience?

Not necessarily, needing music industry experience to land a job is one of the biggest misconceptions. Usually this is sold to you by Universities with the intentions to sell you their course or companies who insist you need to intern in order to progress your career, when in reality they are just looking for someone to do the tasks no one else wants to do.

In fact, you are more likely to land a job in the marketing department at Universal music by having a background with various digital marketing agencies or large companies than you would by specialising in music marketing.

My first realisation of this was when I met the Head of Marketing at BMG, who actually previously worked as a Marketing Executive as Unilever before taking the job at BMG. Once again, this person had transferrable skills which could be applied to the music industry, bringing new expertise in to the company.

Music Industry Logos

How much does the music industry pay?

It’s widely known that the music industry isn’t generating a huge amount of revenue like it used to, which has taken a hit on the smaller companies, so if you’re looking to earn huge amounts of money then the music industry really isn’t one for you. And entry-level job in the music industry is likely to pay £16k – £18k, and there’s a high likelihood you will have to live in an expensive city such as London, New York or Los Angeles.

Looking up Sony Music London on Glassdoor we can see the following salaries:

Entry Level:

Intern – £18,000 per year

Intermediate:

Marketing Assistant- £24,000 per year

Expert:

Marketing Manager – £40,000 per year

The highest paid recorded salary at Sony Music London was Legal Counsel at £64,000 which required a huge amount of expertise and education. To give you perspective, a Legal Counsel at Barclays bank will earn up to £132,000 per year.

This gives you an idea of the salaries available within the industry, and how similar skillsets will receive a higher salary in other industries, so you’re really doing this for the love of music!

Should you go to University for a career in the Music Industry?

It’s not just the music industry which is instigating this question, with University tuition fees dramatically increasing, potential undergraduates are now considering their options and wondering if gaining experience through work is the best option and this is especially the case in the Music Industry as we’ve seen the potential low salaries may never see you pay off your entire student loan.

There are several music business and music industry courses around, but we really wouldn’t recommend them because in your 3 years of studying you are merely going to get an introduction to every aspect of the industry, however very few job roles require you to have knowledge of the entire industry.

To succeed in the music industry you need to have a specialism, something that you are an expert at, have a willingness to learn and are able to instantly add-value to the company you are applying to join.

Trying to sell an employer on your Social Media skills because it was a module covered during the first half of your 2nd year at university just isn’t going to cut it, especially over applicants who have proven they know how to build a social media following, whether it is in music, travel or food, the skills will always be transferrable.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, such as going to University to study Law and Accountancy would still be beneficial as these topics require a full 3 years to learn.

First steps to getting in to the Music Industry

Instead of spending 3 years at University and leaving with eye-watering amounts of debt, the best way in to the music industry is to simply start working in the music industry. The barriers to entry are perceivably high, but that’s only because there’s so much competition for so few jobs at major labels, and smaller companies don’t employ many people, but the barriers to working in the music industry are incredibly low.

If you really want to follow your passion for music, find an artist or band who needs help with their music, whether it’s management, marketing, licensing or royalties, there will be so many things that an artist will need help with.

You can usually find a band’s email address on the ‘about’ section of their Facebook or Youtube channel.

Find an unknown artist who you really like and reach out to them saying how much of a fan of their music you are and if they’d need any help in certain areas. There aren’t many artists who’d turn down free assistance.

Here you can really begin to learn and execute as you go, slowly building your experience and reputation in the industry. After you’ve proven to get results, you now have a case-study to take with you in to job interviews proving that you have a skillset and track record. At this stage you may even decide not to apply for jobs and elect to go freelance which is a perfectly reasonable route too.

Vinyl Shop

How to apply for Music Industry jobs

Mistakes you probably don’t know you’re making

Expressing your desire to work in the music industry

There’s nothing more of a turn off for employers than stating in your cover letter your desire to work in the music industry. Your knowledge of music, the industry and love for the industry only makes up 5% of your job, the rest of your job is based on tasks which are not exclusive to the music industry, you could be working for any company, so employers are looking for people to have a passion for the work that needs to be done because the novelty of working in music will wear off in a matter of weeks.

Listing irrelevant jobs on your CV

This is probably the most frequent mistake we see in applications. On your CV employers are only interested in previous roles which are relevant to the job. If you are applying for a Digital Marketing role, then your previous customer service and retail roles only muddy your applications and take the emphasis away from the key points on your CV. If you don’t feel you have the relevant experience to fit the role, then list your hobbies and voluntary work which could be relevant.

Phoning them up to show you’re keen

I don’t know where this tip came from, but it appears to be something we get told to do by our parents and career advisors who say “call them up to have a talk about the position, and then it shows them that you’re a decent person and will be on your radar”. However, in 2019 we have so much more information available to help profile someone. Perhaps you have a blog or Linkedin profile, if one person is constantly sharing articles about the industry or even write their own content, that’s going to give you a far bigger advantage. There is nothing worse than receiving a call from someone who’d like more details about the job, but you haven’t seen their CV yet and judging by the other applications there’s only a 5% chance you’ll interview this person anyway.

What Should be on your CV

The key to writing the perfect CV is to keep it clear and easy to understand. In smaller companies the person whose job it is to review applications probably doesn’t want to be doing that task and has been asked to do it as a one-off. Not only this, because of the nature of job sites people can apply for jobs at a click of a button, which means there are floods of garbage CV’s filling up their inbox. This means the attention given to each CV is literally no longer than 5 seconds, so you don’t have time to tell your full story.

Your CV should only contain 2-3 key points which would be attractive to an employer. If you are applying for a creative role, then the employer will be more interested in your portfolio than your CV.

Be sure that the points are easy to read and are the first thing the employer will see. You can do this using bullet points in your cover letter, or have them as a summary at the top of your CV.

If you feel you don’t necessarily have the key points on your CV, you should take a step back, and spend a month learning the key requirements for the job. There are so many online resources where you can learn skills such as Youtube, Udemy and Cousera.

In my personal opinion, I would rather hire someone who has shown the initiative to go out and learn something new on their own, with no guidance from a university. This shows that if I need them to go and learn another new skill they have the ability to do it. It also demonstrates a desire to work in that industry rather than feeling obliged to complete a course because they’ve already paid for it.

Best Places to find a job

There many music-specific job sites available, here are our top 5 places to find jobs in the music industry.

Music Match

Now named Media Match, Music Match is the leading job site for the music industry. They also pull a lot of jobs from Indeed which are specific to the music industry to save you some time.

Indeed

Music Match doesn’t get every job, so be sure to check Indeed too and subscribe to their notifications to get notified of new jobs with the keyword “music”.

Music Week

Music Week don’t usually post many jobs, but the jobs that do go live tend to be from the best companies in the industry, where you’re likely to see a job posting from Sony, Universal, Warner and more.

Handle Recruitment

Are the recruitment company who appear to represent most of the major labels for their marketing roles and often some other. They do create a further barrier to getting your CV considered as you have to pass their filtering process too in order to be shortlisted.

Linkedin

Linkedin is becoming an incredible tool for job searching, posting exclusive jobs as a direct feed from the companies themselves. Applying via your Linkedin profile can give you a head start, especially if you have maintained your profile and consistently demonstrated your passion for the jobs you are applying for.

Glassdoor

Glassdoor are the newcomers to the online jobs board scene, which can give you a new level of detail to the jobs available, including estimated salaries and reviews from past employees on what it’s like to work at the company.

How to reach out cold to a company

Companies often get calls from speculative applicants hoping that they happen to have a position available. The chances of you calling up and there happens to be a position is very rare, especially in smaller companies.

Most people make the mistake of taking the approach of speculatively contacting companies with the approach of “do you have something for me?” ie you’re asking for them to give you a job. You should really be taking the approach of “Can I do something for you?”. If you’ve defined your skillset and know you can add-value to a company, make them an offer to apply your skillset and help them for a couple of weeks, not only are they more likely to take your application seriously, you will now be on their radar to secure a full-time job. You could be given 2 weeks to prove that you are somebody worth taking on and land your first job in the music industry.

Choose your Specialism

In order to really succeed in the music industry, you need to have a specialism, having music industry experience just isn’t enough. Choose one specific area of the industry you’d like to focus on and create a route-map to get there, and it doesn’t necessarily have to include the music industry from the very beginning, you could learn your skills at a digital marketing agency and have the music industry as your final destination.

Choosing the Music Industry first and your role second is a recipe for disaster.

5 Must-Have Target Areas for your Indie Rock PR Campaign

With indie rock being one of the most competitive fields in the music industry for promoting your music, we know just how hard it can be to get your music out there. With industry tastemakers getting increasingly harder to get hold of, radio stations playing more and more signed artists and the new Spotify submission form giving you no luck, this blog post is going to outline the perfect areas to target in your indie rock PR campaign, which will lead to you securing your target press, radio and playlist coverage.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR YOUR PR CAMPAIGN

You need to have all the necessary assets to run a successful music PR campaign. These assets include high resolution images, a private streaming link, social media links, an artist biography and artwork for the release.

Some of these assets are a lot more important for alternative rock bands than other genres such as high-resolution images. With so many indie rock bands releasing music every day, your image can be what gets your band noticed over the hundreds of thousands of others. You need high resolution images that suit the genre, your band’s style and the image you want to get across. This is the same with your artwork, make sure it represents the music you’re releasing as it’s what’ll be used on all digital platforms, as well as any online coverage that runs.

Kings of Leon Press Shot

Next up you need to pick a release date. Make sure to stick with this date and do not change it last minute as it’ll confuse fans and any press that has run prior, will be incorrect. Release dates usually fall on a Friday, so choose a Friday which isn’t too far away but isn’t a rush for release also, so have you time in the run up to focus on the promotion of the release. Book the release date in with your distributor first thing and then you can tick it off your to do list.

WRITING THE PRESS RELEASE

Writing the press release is going to be one of the hardest parts of your indie PR campaign as this is where you really have to sell yourself and the music. We know how difficult it can be, just like writing a CV, but the easiest starting point is to bullet point some key factors such as who you are, what you’re releasing, your musical history, career highlights and what you’ll be doing next.

The first paragraph of your press release needs to be the most enticing, engaging the reader so they read on and actually listen to the music you’re trying to promote. The first line should be something catchy such as “After Supporting The Sherlocks, indie rock band… return with new single….”. Obviously not every band has the credentials to have that as their hook, but you can still make it interesting, using past press, support slots or statistics to engage the reader.

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the actual body of the email, showing the headline is the make or break. We suggest writing the full press release first and then finding the headline from there. Make it powerful and unique so that anyone that reads it will know that you’re not just another indie rock band. For example, ‘After securing over 3 million Spotify streams on debut single, [insert band name] return with [insert song title]’ carries more weight than simply ‘[insert band name] return with new single [insert song title’].

As an indie rock band, it’s essential that you focus on standing out amongst the others, so we suggest replacing your name with another band’s name throughout the press release and if it’s still relevant, you haven’t made it specific enough to your band enough.

ONLINE BLOGS

Now that you’ve got your press release, you’re ready to start your indie rock PR campaign. The easiest place to start is with online blogs. You’re going to focus on places that cover indie rock, so an easy starting point is using the platform SubmitHub.

Upload your single and all the information necessary, then tick the ‘Indie Rock’ genre and you will be given a list of blogs that cover indie rock artists. This is the easiest starting point as it will guarantee feedback from blogs and you don’t need to have any relationships built with the journalists already, so can be done by anyone. Unfortunately, this service isn’t free, but each blog only costs a couple of dollars so is worth it for the publicity.

SubmitHub indie rock submission

Regional coverage is also something that can be approached. If you’re an indie rock band from Cambridge, then look approaching the Cambridge Independent for an interview. Building fans in your local area and then growing from there is an important pattern to follow. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool so if you’re the biggest band in your town, you’ll soon become the biggest in your city and then hopefully your country! You can also cover regional press if you’re going on tour, even if it’s a small tour. Try to set a goal of securing one piece of press per tour date, this will not only get your name out there within each location but will increase ticket sales, which is always essential for an indie rock band.

Another tip for finding the right blogs is searching similar indie rock bands on Google to see which coverage they’ve secured. For example, if you think you have a similar sound and image to No Hot Ashes, you simply type in No Hot Ashes into Google, select ‘Tools’, ‘Any Time’ and ‘Past Year’ so you have up to date coverage, and approach the places that have covered that band. This way, you’ll know the publication likes indie rock and will potentially cover you.

No Hot Ashes Google search

5 Must-Have Blogs

Listed below are a few of our favourite blogs that are supportive of indie rock bands.

RADIO PLUGGING

Next up you can pitch your track to radio. If you’re promoting an indie rock EP or album, then choose the strongest track. Make sure the track is not over 4mins and doesn’t have any swear words, otherwise a radio station won’t be able to play it.

Radio plugging can be a lot harder than online promotion, as producers and presenters are bombarded with tracks, hence radio pluggers can be so expensive as they have taken years to build relationships with these people. However, there are many stations that play indie rock and we’re going to explain how you can get played on those below.

Start with pitching to radio stations where you have regional links, similarly to online promotion. So again, if you’re from Cambridge, send your track to Cam 105 and if you’re from Manchester, send it to XS Manchester. As well as regional radio, you can look into student and online stations to build up your portfolio of plays, as there are many that cover indie rock.

Now you’ve secured a portfolio of plays, you need to upload to Amazing Tunes and BBC Introducing. These uploaders are the perfect gateway to national radio play, with Amazing Radio supporting emerging artists and BBC Introducing working as a springboard to BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and even 1. If your track is picked up by either Amazing Radio or BBC Introducing, you’ll be notified by email, so you can listen to it being played on air. Both platforms support indie rock bands, so this is the best possible way in to the nation radio stations.

BBC Introducing Uploader

5 Must-Have Radio Stations

Listed below are a few of our favourite radio stations that are supportive of indie rock bands.

SPOTIFY OFFICIAL PLAYLISTS

With Spotify recently introducing their new submission process via Spotify for Artists, everyone has a chance of appearing on an Official Spotify playlist. In the past, getting your music in front of the correct Spotify editor was extremely difficult, especially if you’re an indie rock band with no contacts. With this new feature, you simply log into your Spotify for Artists account, select your unreleased song for playlist consideration and write a short pitch that will get submitted to Spotify’s team.

For it to appear on your Spotify for Artists, your distributor needs to have uploaded it before release date, so you may have to push them with this one slightly. Make sure you’re pitching around 4 weeks prior to release date, as this gives you the highest chances of success.

Spotify have noted that it’s also very important to submit as much information as you can, whilst keeping within the word limited. Use parts of your press release to explain your genre, influences and previous coverage you’ve received.

Not only will your track get listened to by Spotify’s editors for a potential playlist placement, but the song will automatically be added to all of your followers’ Release Radar playlists.

IN CONCLUSION…

Doing your own indie rock music PR campaign isn’t impossible and can result in you dream press, radio plays and Spotify playlists but only if you invest the time and follow these steps. All of these tips are completely free and every suggested media outlet is 100% supportive of emerging artists, so make sure you’re pitching to those to secure coverage immediately.

7 Proven Steps to Reach 1m Views on your Music Video for 2021

Now that your track is mastered and released, you’ll surely be looking to get your music heard by as many people as possible, and that will mean promoting your music video too, if you have one. The level of reach you gain will depend on your previous online presence, plus your current fan base. If you already have a fan base on your social media or followers on Spotify, then this is the perfect platform for you to grow exponentially. If you are just starting out, then this is still the best guide for you.

We’ve written this article to ensure you are in the right place before you think about spending your hard-earned money on Music PR companies. This is every step we would take to get a band from 0 views or streams to their first 100,000.

In recent years, the way people consume music has changed drastically, with a staggering 626 million people listening to music via streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music worldwide in 2021. So, using your mailing list and spamming to Facebook groups are outdated techniques that simply won’t be effective anymore.

Before you begin these steps, you need to identify your target audience to ensure the people who you are getting your music heard by have the potential to become lifelong fans of your music, rather than simply tricking someone to click your music video in order to increase your stream numbers.

These are our first steps to get eyes on your music video so it can reach its full potential:

1. Reddit

Reddit is where most of the virals and stories you see on social media originate from, so this is the best platform to give your music the best chance of doing just that.

Reddit Logo

Reddit is described as your “Front page of the internet” where people can submit links. Users then vote on these links as to how relevant and useful they are. This lends itself to be the best possible platform to launch your music to a new audience.

Reddit is a huge platform now and is broken down into subreddits, which are essentially topics and groups.

These are the best subreddits to post your music:

/r/ifyoulikeblank/

/r/indieheads

/r/music

/r/listentothis

/r/WeAreTheMusicMakers

/r/ListenToUs

Each subreddit will have their own rules on posting, so be sure to follow them. Modesty also goes down well on Reddit – anything that reads along the lines of “Best music video this year” will be downvoted in to oblivion. If you post your music and it doesn’t get any upvotes, try deleting the post and posting it again with a tweaked title 24 hours later, maybe you’ll catch people in a better mood, but it’s worth experimenting.

2. Find people who share similar music videos

The best people to target are those who are fans of other artists. Your fans aren’t going to come from nowhere, they are currently fans of other artists, so you need to identify which bands have a similar fan base to yourself and target their fans.

If you are an indie rock band and are looking to get more views on your music video, you can use lots of different search functions on social media to see people who have shared artists similar to you.

Catfish and The Bottlemen Sting tweet

For example, you could search Twitter for “Foster the People” or take their latest single and search the URL directly in to Twitter. Create a shortlist of all of the people who have shared that track, then DM them all saying something along the lines of…

“Hey, I noticed you shared the new Foster the People track, I absolutely LOVE that one.

Check out this track too, I hope you like it, and if you really love it feel free to share it! :)”

If you can get 10 people with 1,000 followers each to share your track, that’s a 10,000 person reach which has cost you absolutely nothing.

Bonus tip: If you have the budget, there is a fantastic online tool called Buzzsumo which allows you to search any link and it will show you who shared this link online and how many followers they have. This makes finding people to share your music much easier.

3. Get your track added to another YouTube channel

Artists aren’t utilising this one enough. Sometimes artists can be too precious about getting the views to their own YouTube channel, but our objective here is to get your music promoted to as many people as possible. If your music is good enough, they will find you and listen to your other songs.

Sam Fish Music YouTube channel

Almost every YouTube channel has a contact email address which allows you to submit your music, simply go to the channel and then the about section and click “view email address”.

4. Social Media

We know you’ve already done this, it’s the first thing most artists do when they release a new music video and want to promote it to the world – your own following is where it starts. But have you nurtured your followers enough for them to even see your posts?

Since Facebook changed their algorithm, you need to have a strategy in place which is going to let Facebook know that you have the potential to produce engaging content so it pushes your music video to a higher percentage of people who have liked your page. This is the same for all social media platforms.

You need to create a social media strategy which allows you to create posts which receive constant engagement, whether you are creating polls, challenges, blog posts or funny videos, it needs to be something which people can relate to and share.

We understand that as musicians this isn’t always what you’d like to be doing, and may not come naturally to you, but unfortunately, the social media algorithms have forced us to go down this route in order to reach a larger audience.

5. Facebook ads

Facebook logo and icons

Following on from Social Media, I wanted to include this tip because Facebook advertising can work incredibly well. However, we see so many artists making mistakes with Facebook ads for their music video which may be doing nothing more than wasting hard-earned cash.

You need to think about your audience’s current frame of mind, and the attention you give to sponsored posts when you scroll through your Facebook feed – how often do you stop and watch a sponsored video?

Because that is exactly how others are going to react to your music video. So, although Facebook can give you data which looks like incredibly high numbers, getting 100,000 views for as little as $300, what these views actually represent may be soul-crushing to you.

Facebook considers a view to being someone who watched the first 3 seconds of your video. That’s enough for people to simply scroll past and not even listen to a single note of your track.

If you are going to upload your music video directly to Facebook, you need to give people a reason to stop scrolling, turn their volume up and listen. You could do this by putting reviews on the video which validates why the video is worth watching, or you could put up a title such as “For fans of: Catfish and the Bottlemen”, then promote only to Catfish and the Bottlemen fans.

If you really wanted to be clever, you could run Facebook ads for 3 different videos, with different bands mentioned. For example:

Video ad 1
“For fans of The Hunna” as the title promoted to The Hunna fans

Video ad 2

“For fans of Blossoms” as the title and promote to Blossoms fans

Video ad 3

“For fans of The 1975” as the title and promote to The 1975 fans and so on…

You could direct each ad to your YouTube video (this is a lot more expensive than a direct upload to Facebook as you are taking people away from the platform), and you can be absolutely sure each view will be from a potential fan of your music.

6. YouTube ads

YouTube ads are an under-priced resource in marketing right now, not just for the music industry. What is fantastic about YouTube ads is how well you can target your audience. You can run your ad before other music videos or any other channels which may relate to your genre of music.

The reason that we love them so much is because you don’t have to pay unless someone either clicks through to your music video or they watch the full 30 seconds of your ad, so you really only have to pay if you get results.

You can set up your YouTube ad campaign by setting up a Google AdWords account and choosing a video campaign.

To set up a Youtube ad, simply go to your channel and enter the “Youtube Studio”. Find the video you’d like to promote and there will be a promote option. By clicking this you’ll be taken to Google Adwords where you’ll need to make an account in order to promote your music video.

7. Collaborations

Our final tip is to collaborate with others. If you are struggling to get views on your videos, you can plan ahead and offer to collaborate on a track with an artist or band who may have a bigger fan base than you right now, this will help raise awareness for your band and you can attract new fans from each other and potentially gain more exposure than you would alone.

Remember if you are getting 10,000 views on your videos, don’t reach out to someone who is getting 1m views, look for an artist at around the same level as you or slightly bigger, but you have to be able to offer them something, whether it is access to your fan base too, or perhaps money, but they won’t do it as a favour.

If you’ve found this article useful, you can read more music promotion tips here, or alternatively check out our YouTube channel for tons of advice and marketing videos.

Ultimate Guide To Get Your Music on Official Spotify Playlists | Spotify Promotion

For artists releasing their music in 2019, Spotify promotion is one of the key elements to success in your music career.

In this guide, we tell you exactly how to get your music on to popular Spotify playlists, begin generating streams and being added to Discover Weekly’s.

Think about your last favourite song you discovered, did you discover it from a Spotify playlist?

The likelihood is that you found the song because you were listening to a Spotify playlist or it came up on your Discover Weekly’s. With 45% of people listening to music on streaming services such as Spotify, it is important that your music has a strong presence on Spotify and is given the best chance to be discovered.

Spotify has come under a lot of criticism over the years for not paying artists enough in royalties, with Taylor Swift boycotting the company by not uploading her latest album to the platform, stating that she thought artists were not being fairly compensated for their music. Taylor Swift has now been persuaded to re-join Spotify and uploading her latest album 3 weeks after the release. When speaking to UKTN, Burstimo insisted that Spotify is a monumental platform for the music industry and its survival against competitors such as Apple Music, Pandora, Deezer and Google Play Music is vital for the industry.

Unlike other platforms, Spotify allows user-curated playlists as well as hundreds of bespoke playlists which your music can be added to. This means that users can listen to niche playlists surrounding their mood, activity or genre of music. You can even search for a specific band and listen to similar artists on a playlist which has been specifically designed for fans of this music. With over 2 billion playlists on Spotify, this allows for more opportunity for smaller artists to be discovered.

Other platforms work a little differently, with no user-curated playlists and just branded-only playlists, there are only a handful you can subscribe to, all with gatekeepers who may have a specific taste in music and would not consider niche or emerging artists. This is the same for algorithm generated listening such as Google Play Music and Pandora.

So, although Spotify may not pay out a lot for the streams you gain, it does provide a democratic platform which gives artists an equal opportunity for success, using an algorithm which allows the users to vote with their ears to tell Spotify what tracks deserved to be heard by more people.

What’s Happening Behind the Scenes at Spotify

Spotify does have playlist curators whose job it is to sit and listen to music which could be a fit for their playlist (and we’ll tell you how to contact these guys later), however Spotify has taken this a step further and used the power of technology to help users discover new music. The algorithm uses the playlists you are added to in order to determine what genre of music your band are and also similar artists to your band. With over 35 million songs on Spotify, curators can’t possibly listen to every single track and list similar artists as well as allocate playlists, this task is in the hands of Spotify’s machine-learning in order to correctly place your track.

Spotify Home Page

Once you are added to playlists and getting streams, the algorithm then monitors how your track is performing to decide whether it is worth sharing it to other listeners. Spotify look closely at how often people are skipping your track before the end of the song and look at the engagement rate, which includes whether they go back and listen again, visit your artist profile or add the track to their own playlist. This allows Spotify to create a rating for your track as well as categorising it to know which listeners should be hearing your track on their Discover Weekly or Daily Mix.

If you were to search for people who work at Spotify, you will notice a lot of people who fulfil the role of ‘Data Curator’. These are people who are constantly looking at the data that comes back from your songs and adding it to official playlists. If people are constantly listening to your track, adding it to their own playlists, favouriting the track and repeatedly listening, your track has a very good chance of being added to Discover Weekly’s, it is here where your music will be judged whether it is popular enough to be added to Spotify Official playlists. If a track appears to be performing particularly well in one area, it will be brought to the attention of the Official playlist curator for that genre of playlist.

Full Step-by-Step Guide to getting on Spotify Official playlists

By the end of this guide, we want to get your music in a position to be able to pitch to Spotify Official playlists with confidence. If your track has that dreaded ‘< 1000’ next to it, there is absolutely no way you will be added to a Spotify Official playlist. So, we need to go through several phases to get you ready for Spotify Officials.

Before you start…

Get Verified

This is an important step which shouldn’t be missed. It helps give your profile credibility as well as gets your music picked up by the Spotify algorithm as this will mean your account is prioritised.

If you haven’t been verified already, we suggest you do so now. Lucky for you it’s a much simpler process now that Spotify have launched Spotify for Artists. Simply log in and confirm your details, after a few weeks you will see a little blue check mark on your Spotify profile.

Share your Artist Profile on Social Media

This is for the purpose of getting as many followers as possible. The more followers you have, the greater the credibility you will have as an artist. This helps validate that you have a fan base to any curators looking at your profile, especially for independent playlists as they know there is a chance you will share the playlist on your social media if you were to be added to it, which helps boost the exposure of the playlist and gain more followers. We would always recommend sharing every playlist on your socials, to show any curator that you are willing to reciprocate their belief in you by promoting their playlist to your fans.

Make sure you have a complete Artist biography

Spotify are proud of their platform and will favour those who take the time to make their profile as detailed as possible with great imagery. So, ensure to write the best Artist biography you can with great artwork as well as links to your socials. We understand that this isn’t an area people often visit, but the playlist curators do and that’s who are important to us right now.

Create your own Spotify playlist

This is a great way to get your initial streams, by creating a playlist of similar artists which includes your music, you can promote this playlist which can generate listens and fans. Make sure to give your playlist a name which will entice people to click and listen and your playlist must have more than 30 songs.

The 1975 Spotify Profile

How to find playlists to pitch

In order to pitch to Spotify playlists, you need to know how to find them. There are 3 types of playlists to search for genre, mood/activity and similar artists.

Genre

This will be most people’s go-to search, if you are an indie-rock band it is natural to search for indie-rock or rock to find suitable playlists.

Mood/Activity

These are the playlists which we listen to based on how we want to feel, whether it is working out, a road trip or simply waking up in the morning.

Similar Artists

These are playlists which are based on similar artists to yourself. Often when a band releases a new album, users will create playlists containing that album and similar tracks.

Pitching to Spotify playlists

Blogs and Brands playlists

This is the best place to start, because these guys tend to take a while to get back to you, so it won’t come through as your first playlist placement.

These branded playlists and blogs have a large following and are considered as early tastemakers for Spotify. Playlists such as Indiemono and Songpickr have submission platforms as well as Facebook pages and email addresses where you can email the curators to consider your track.

You can find these by searching Spotify and finding any playlist which isn’t curated by Spotify or a person’s name.

Once you have found your playlist you can then click the playlist and hover over the description of the playlist, very often the playlist will tell you where you can submit your music. Most of the time there will be an email address, however there are larger playlists such as Indiemono who have an entire platform dedicated to submitting tracks to their collection of playlists.

Indie Rock Spotify playlist

Some playlists also exclusively use Submithub and this can be a great way to ensure that popular playlist curators such as BIRP.FM listen to your track.

To get you started, here is a list of 42 playlist curators you can submit to right now.

Approaching Independent Curated playlist

This is where things get really interesting. There are thousands of playlists which have been created by regular Spotify users which you can target.

Contacting them is easy, firstly you search the type of playlist you’d like to be on and look at the results.

Find a playlist which is curated by someone with a real name and click on their profile.

Indie Rock Spotify playlist search

Make a mental note of their profile picture and search for them on Facebook.

Darshan Upadhyaya Spotify User Profile

Search for their name on Facebook, and match up the profile picture

Darshan Upadhyaya Facebook search

Bonus Tip: If their name does not come up, or if there are too many results, go through their followers on Spotify, and find someone with a unique name and match up their profile. Once you’ve found that person you can search within their friends list for the target playlister.

These types of playlists require a precise approach because it is not their job or hobby to consider new tracks from bands. Not only this, they will be constantly inundated with requests from bands hoping to get a place on their playlist, so simply sending them the track and hoping just isn’t going to cut it.

You should message them on Facebook, firstly complimenting their playlist and congratulating them on picking up such a popular following. You can even pick out a couple of tracks from the playlist which you like and commend them for discovering such an awesome track. Then ask if they would consider your own track, potentially comparing yourself to an artist which is already on their playlist to help validate why your track is suitable for their playlist.

You need to be able to make yourself stand out, and this is much different to standing out if you were going for a PR campaign, you need to give them something in return for considering your track of giving you feedback. One thing you can do is let them know that you will help promote their playlist by announcing that you have been added to their playlist on your socials, which will be of benefit to them as they receive more followers.

You could even run a competition which is exclusive to Spotify curators, by adding their name to a list hosted on your Facebook page, and by giving you feedback on your track could get them entered in to a competition to win an iPad or some gift vouchers. This would help you stand out and show your appreciation that you value their time and are willing to give back.

Alternatively, you can save yourself a bit more time by using an external service like PlaylistHunter to find curators for you. This tool allows you to search for playlists relevant to your genre of music and find the curator’s contact address. Then, it’s up to you to do as we’ve just explained and pitch yourself to the curator.

Again, the best way to do this is by simply sending a polite email to the curator letting them know that you admire their playlist and asking them if they would consider adding your track to it. Try not to be too pushy in your sell, but instead, show that you have done your research and even listened to the playlist by mentioning one of the artists on there that you like, or compare your own music to.

How to get on Spotify Official Playlists

Now that you have been added to a few playlists, this is your best chance of securing your spot on a Spotify Official playlist. There is potential for your track to be picked up by one of the ‘Data curators’ at Spotify who will notice your track is getting popular and start recommending it to various playlist curators.

Spotify Editorial rock playlists

Spotify for Artists

Spotify launched this feature back in August 2018 and it is currently still in beta. This is currently your best chance of getting added to a Spotify Official playlist.

Spotify recommends that you submit your song at least 4 weeks before your release to give you the best chance of being placed on an Official playlist.

You can log in to your Spotify for Artists app here:

https://artists.spotify.com/

Once your distributor has uploaded your track to Spotify, in the top right corner of the dashboard you will have the option to ‘Submit your song’.

Here you’ll be faced with multiple categories so Spotify can find the playlists most suited to your music.

Spotify for Artists submission form

On the next page, you will be asked to describe your song. Here is your opportunity to really validate your track and give the curator the reasons why they should take your track seriously. Previously, this field used to ask you to describe what your track is about and the meaning behind it but Spotify has now changed this which gives a strong indication of exactly what they are looking for.

Spotify for Artists submission pitch

Your pitch should include any press you have received, major venues you have played at and and relevant previous successes, along with a short pitch describing the track itself. You will have a total of 500 characters to squeeze your pitch in to.

UPDATE:Spotify have now changed the layout of their dashboard, if you can’t see a button to submit your track, go to the music tab, then to ‘upcoming’ and your new release will be there.

Pitching directly to curators

We may need to push things along a little more, with your 5 or 6 independent playlists, your track will begin to pick up streams and get picked up by the Spotify algorithm. This is the perfect time to now approach curators who will be able to identify that you have been added to popular playlists, generating streams and potentially showing up on Discover Weekly playlists.

To do this, you need to know exactly who you are targeting and which playlists they curate. The best way of doing this is to search on Linkedin to find Spotify playlist curators. They are usually called ‘Editors’, so your search term should be ‘Spotify Editor’. Usually in their bio they will tell you which playlists they curate and if they don’t, you need to final their personal Spotify profile and look to see which playlists they follow, this will give you a good indication of the genre they like and therefore will curate.

Once you add them on LinkedIn, you will have the function to message them and pitch them your music. Not only this, you can follow up with an email by using RocketReach, which can scrape the internet for their email address or guess their email address with a high degree of accuracy.

Approaching these guys is completely different to any other, they are the most wanted men and women on the planet, and constantly have a mailbox full of tracks to consider every single day, so you need to stand out.

Your email should be kept short and concise, giving them an accurate indication of the genre and similar artists. Don’t be afraid to follow up, their job is an incredibly difficult one and sometimes they may miss your email.

Spotify Official curators still use online blogs to find new music, so your general online presence is incredibly important. You could get discovered by a large playlist curator via an online blogs, which means that using music pr companies to get additional exposure will prove to be a great investment and help with that final push on to Spotify playlists.

Marketing Companies Are Petrified By Facebook’s New 2018 Algorithm – What Does It mean For Your Music Promotion?

If you don’t work in the marketing industry, you may not have heard that Facebook has made dramatic changes to their News Feed algorithm, and it may significantly affect your music promotion results.

Whether you are constantly creating content for your audience, or simply pushing your music video, this is everything you need to know to continue to promote your music on Facebook.

On January 12th, the marketing sector received news that caused panic across the industry. Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to the Facebook Algorithm, which will now be prioritising posts that create a meaningful conversation and displaying it to those who interact with you most. Zuckerberg is hoping the change will result in more organic reach, for real people to have real conversations.

For personal accounts, this means that those who you speak to frequently on messenger and regularly like your posts will be more likely to see your next posts.

Facebook pages will see a significant decrease in their organic reach, with Zuckerberg actually aiming for people to spend less time on Facebook, but the time they do spend on the platform will be better quality time and an overall better experience.

Facebook believes that interactions between friends and family is worth more than interaction with a fan page, therefore it will be more likely to show posts from your Facebook friends and family than a music fan page, which is going to make your band’s Facebook page work even harder to gain fans and get engagement.

In Facebook’s press release, Facebook stated:

“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook–in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos”

How to get your posts to rank higher?

Your post should aim to be receiving comments, shares and reactions, anything such as clicking the video, watching it or hovering over the video will have no impact on how far your post ranks in your fan’s news feeds.

Something you may not be aware of is that not only does Facebook consider someone sharing your post to their own news feed a ‘share’ but if someone was to take the link and share it to a friend on Messenger, this counts as a share too, and boosts you up the rankings in your fan’s news feeds.

Not only this, Facebook takes in to account the engagement that those who share the post go on to receive, so if one person shares a post and a lot of their friends then comment on that post, the ranking is increased. This is why we advise that you do not run ‘share competitions’ on Facebook as you will be punished for not getting engagement from the posts which were shared.

Facebook call this Engagement Bait, where you make posts to instigate a reaction or share, which Facebook is now cracking down on. A lot of pages, especially in music, have relied on this technique to get engagement and grow their audience, but this was severely reducing the quality of the Facebook experience and causing people to spend less time on the platform.

As a Musician, what is the best strategy to get more engagement on your Facebook page?

Your content strategy must be relatable to your target audience, which inspires them to engage with your post. To do this, you need to know what your fans and potential fans want to see, and why they’d want to follow the posts you are putting out. Have they followed you to see backstage photos, are they inspired by the lifestyle that you as an artist are undertaking or do you have strong characters in the band who entertain the followers? Once you understand this driver, you will be able to create content on a regular basis, which receives a huge amount of engagement.

A fantastic tool we use is Google Trends which allows us to see which hot topics people are talking about across the world, so we can create social media posts that people are desperate to discuss, this means that our posts are more likely to gain interaction from our audience and therefore rank higher on news feeds. You can post your opinions to see how yours differ with others or you can post open questions and watch the discussion take place in the comments section.

This explains why you have seen so many ‘Tag a friend’ posts so often in the past 12 months, because they instigate so much interaction that they rank incredibly high on the Facebook news feed.

In the Facebook Press Release, Adam Mosseri went on to state:

“Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook–in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities”

Artists and bands are in the perfect position to create live content as they are used to performing live in front of a crowd. You could even use your Facebook audience to put on live sessions while interacting to each of the comments that are coming through between songs, and maybe even take requests if you’re feeling ballsy.

You can get creative with your live audience, check The Academic who used the Facebook live delay as a loop pedal, which turned out to be an incredible publicity stunt and got them a feature in NME.

This example shows that you truly can achieve anything if you invest enough time in creating content for your audience. This video originally went out live to their Facebook audience, which of course went straight to the top of every news feed of those who had liked the page, and now has 4x as many YouTube views as the original track itself!

What does this algorithm change mean for pushing a music video over Facebook?

On Neil Patel’s marketing podcast, he bluntly summed up that content creators are going to have to up their game and spend more money. And that was a key point, Facebook exists to make money out of advertising revenue, therefore every decision they make is designed to make companies spend more on their platform to advertise their products. Unfortunately, this means musicians are going to have to spend more to get people to watch their latest music video.

But you can still create content which can grow your fan base with some simple steps.

One particular tip that we do encourage is to ask your audience to choose the ‘See First’ option on your page. This is similar to a YouTuber asking for a viewer to “turn on notifications”so they immediately get a notification when the new video goes live. In Facebook’s case, this feature ensures that you see every single post that the Facebook page makes, which will dramatically increase your engagement.

Arctic Monkeys Facebook Page

Because you are going to be punished so greatly for lack of interaction, one thing musicians will suffer with when promoting their music is promoting gigs themselves, so if a band are promoting a gig in Germany, and they keep advertising it on their page, this means nothing to anyone outside of Germany because someone from the UK is unlikely to travel to Germany, therefore your engagement levels are going to be incredibly low so you need to avoid this or you will be punished. Instead, you should be creating event pages for all of your gigs, that way you can promote to a specific audience, and only post on the News Feeds of those who are local to the area and actually may interact with the posts and attend the gigs.

With all of these changes in mind, you need to get your audience to follow you anywhere you go, because we all know what happened to Myspace, bands managed to build huge followings which were then useless after all of the users left, so be sure to encourage users to sign up to your mailing list to receive your content before anyone else.

Our final tip is using Facebook groups, although these were the very first method of reaching a new audience on Facebook, and actually became a bit useless, but now they are back stronger than ever before as they already operate on the basis of audience engagement, so you can either create your own fan group with exclusive content that no one else can see, which will generate very high levels of engagements, or you can post your content in specific groups online which allow you to build new fans, but be sure not to spam those groups, you need to build up your credibility first and add value to the members before you can hit them with your latest music video.

This algorithm change has been a wakeup call for a lot of marketers, not just in the music industry but across all industries, and reminded us we cannot invest the entire of our resources in to one platform, we have to diversify and show growth on multiple platforms, telling a different story. Creating unique content on each platform will help us build a large fan base, and it doesn’t matter what changes each platform decides to make, you can direct your loyal audience to anywhere you like.

Advanced Music PR Techniques To Run A DIY PR Campaign For Your Next Release

Want to promote your music but don’t have the budget to hire a music publicist? No problem, there are still promotional methods you can use without having to hire a music publicist and having those relationships they have with the industry tastemakers in order to get your music on blogs, radio, playlists and publications.

This article is going to be a step by step guide to running your own music PR campaign without the need for using a music PR company, breaking down the different media outlets you can push out to, how to hit out to them and what you need to do to really start creating a buzz around your release, all without spending anything at all. Running your own music PR campaign can be a lengthy process, forcing you to do tedious jobs but it definitely comes with its rewards, so be sure to set aside enough time to commit to promoting your record by following this guide and you will see the results.

PREPARATION FOR THE RELEASE

Before anything else, make sure the release is a strong enough standard. Take your time to write, record and get the track mastered so it’s at the best quality it can be as there’s no point promoting music that doesn’t truly represent you and your style. Once you’ve got a release you’re proud of, you need to start collecting all the assets you’ll need to push it out.

1. HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGES OF THE BAND

You will need 5-10 high resolution images which suit your music genre, style and image. These are essential for getting online coverage as it can be what catches a journalist’s eye and is also what will be used in any online features, so you want it to be representative of you as an artist.

Arctic Monkeys

2. SINGLE/ALBUM ARTWORK

You need artwork for your release, clearly stating the track title and your artist name. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but you definitely need it again for online coverage. The artwork needs to represent your style of music and who you are as an artist. It will also be used on all digital platforms such as Spotify and can be what persuades someone to stream your track from the millions of others, so take your time with designing this.

3. A RELEASE DATE

Choose a release date for your track and make sure you stick to it. This is what all media outlets will run with so if you change it last minute, you will not only have confused fans but a load of press that’s incorrect. Get the release date booked in with your distributor as soon as you’ve sorted it so you can tick it off your to do list early on and not have to worry last minute about getting it onto the different platforms. Release dates usually fall on a Friday so choose a Friday that is a month or so away, this way you’ll have time to work on your music promotion in the run up to the release.

4. PRIVATE SOUNDCLOUD LINK

Once the track is ready, upload it as a private SoundCloud link. This is the easiest way for tastemakers to stream the release before it’s live. Some artists make the mistake of sending a download link or attaching the MP3, but nobody has the time and effort to download a track and then listen, so make sure it’s SoundCloud you focus on and send in your pitch.

HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE WHICH WILL SECURE YOUR DREAM PRESS

Writing your press release is pretty similar to writing your band biography but this time around you need to make it more focused around this specific release. The most important thing to remember when writing your press release is that you’re trying to persuade the person to listen to your track against thousands of others so it’s essential you keep it precise yet creative. The press release is the make or break as to whether your release is successful or not, so spend time on this and get others to read it over.

We know how difficult it is to write a press release, especially when writing your own, it’s similar to writing a CV and sometimes you don’t know where to start. The easiest starting point is to bullet point some key factors such as who you are, what you’re releasing, your musical history, career highlights and what you’ll be doing next e.g. touring.

The first paragraph of your press release is the most important as if it’s not engaging, no one will read on and you’ve completely wasted your time sending it and their time reading it. The first line should be something catchy such as “With over 3 million Spotify streams, indie rock band … return with ….”. Obviously not every band has the credentials to have something like that as their hook, but you can still make it interesting, using past press or support slots to engage the reader.

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the actual body of the email, showing the headline is the make or break. I’ve found writing the full press release before the headline helps as you have worked out what the most important points are already, so you can use these to work out the headline and use that for the subject bar. Make it powerful, using an active voice rather than passive.

For example, ‘After securing over 3 million Spotify streams on debut single, [insert band name] return with [insert song title]’ carries more weight than simply‘[insert band name] return with new single [insert song title’].

ALWAYS:

  • Have the release date (sounds stupid but many forget)
  • Include images of the band but also the artwork
  • Add your social media links
  • Have the private SoundCloud link
  • Proofread
  • Include contact details

NEVER:

  • Make it super long, no one will read it
  • Make it too cliché (a good exercise for this one is to swap another artists name in and see if it’d still be fitting)
  • Waffle on. Many artists start giving their musical background in depth but if it’s not interesting or impactful to where you are right now, cut it out
  • Be cocky. No one wants to read why a band with <1000 Spotify streams are the next Fleetwood Mac
  • Use stupid fonts and colours

ONLINE PROMOTION

Now that you’ve got all the assets ready, you need to start your campaign around your release with some online promotion. The internet has opened up endless possibilities to promote your music, making it easier than ever for artists to secure online coverage. This needs to start prior to the actual release date as you need to give the journalists time to write and upload the feature, plus no one wants to run an article about an old track so give yourself at least 3 weeks before release date to be working on this.

WHICH SITES TO REACH OUT TO?

You need to choose the sites you pitch to carefully as if you start bombarding blogs that don’t even cover your genre, they’re going to get pissed and the music industry is a small world, so you don’t want that! Firstly, start looking into other bands that are a similar level to you, see what online coverage they’ve secured and if those sites are relevant for you.

Then you can start looking for genre specific blog, you can find these via a simple Google or social media search. Look into each site, what sort of bands they cover and think carefully about whether you’d suit their site. Also look into your geographical links, if you’re from Scotland then target Scottish music blogs. You can do this with tour dates too, so you confirm regional press around your gigs.

The final area you can focus on is angle led sites. These can be anything that has a niche, examples of this include female guitarist blogs, mental health sites and gay publications. If you feel your angle fits into any niche, approach these areas saying why you’re relevant and what you’re approaching them for. Often, these sites have large readership so can be very beneficial for building online presences and overall fanbase.

HOW TO PITCH TO ONLINE BLOGS

You have all the correct assets you need to pitch to online blogs, plus you’ve found the sites you want to hit out to, but how do you approach them?

Submit Hub: One of the easiest methods for getting your music in front of journalists is SubmitHub, plus many bloggers use it as their form of income so you’re also helping out a fellow music industry buddy.

SubmitHub is a simple submission page where you can submit your single to different blogs and they give you feedback. Sounds fantastic right? The catch is you have to pay, not much but still a fee. We highly recommend SubmitHub for emerging artists and artists that don’t use music publicists as it’s a simple way to connect with journalists without having a relationship with them already. Also, some sites only take submission via SubmitHub so sometimes it’s a necessity if you’ve got your heart set on a certain blog.

SubmitHub works with many different streaming links but most blogs prefer SoundCloud so copy and paste it into the form and fill in the correct details and you could be featured on multiple blogs with a click of a button.

SoundCloud 'Upload a new Song'

Now to the real pitching, this is where your press release comes in handy. You’ve got a list of sites you want to pitch to, and you’ve collected all the right email address (more about that below). Now you need to make sure you’re sending them something that a) they’re going to open and b) they’re going to actually read. Each email has to be personalised and cannot be some mass mail out. Get your press release and copy and paste it into the email. Never attach anything like the MP3, high resolutions images or the press release as a word document as journalists don’t have the patience to download attachments and won’t be happy if you’re taking up all of their storage with your 8MB MP3s.

Once you’ve copy and pasted the press release in, you need to actually write the body of the email. Below is a simple format you can use, which will be above your press release:

Hi [insert name],

Hope you’re well? I’m [insert name] from [insert band name] and we were hoping to get your thoughts on our upcoming single [insert song title] for your blog, which you can stream here [insert SoundCloud link]

From here you need to start getting the most important and interesting parts of your press release e.g. who you’ve supported, who your influencers are and any previous press. You can also make this part more personal to the publication e.g. “we saw you covered [insert band name] who we supported last month…”

To finish your email, make sure the journalist knows what you want from them.

“I would love to hear your thoughts on the single for a feature or review and we also have tour dates at the bottom of the press release, which I’m happy to organise press passes for.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you

[insert name]”

If you really want to capture the journalist’s attention, show that you’ve read their previous work or that you’re a fan of their blog e.g. “after reading your review of The Hunna, I thought I’d reach out as we have a pretty similar style.” This not only shows that you’ve read their previous work, but it also gives them an indication of what your sound is like, so they’ll know whether it’s worth them taking the time to listen. Although time consuming, it will likely convert to success, so it’s worth taking the time. If the journalist doesn’t come back to you after a few weeks, send a polite follow up email, asking if they’ve had a chance to check it out yet. Chances are that if they don’t respond to a follow up email, they’re not interested so don’t be the needy artist that bugs them on email, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, just try again next time.

HOW TO GET THE RIGHT JOURNALIST AND THEIR EMAIL ADDRESSES?

Now you know which blogs to target and how to pitch to them, you need to work out how to get their email address and if it’s a larger publication, which journalist to approach.

Many lower level blogs have a generic Gmail style email address listed on their site, which is always easy for you to find and then send them your press release. However, there are many sites that won’t have a contact address or form listed on their site, this is where you need to start digging.

1. FREE EMAIL SEARCH TOOLS

There are two ways of being able to locate the best music blogger’s email addresses. Most companies use a set formula for their email address, so once you can find one employee’s email address you can guess the formula. For example, is may be the first letter of their first name following by their surname.

You may also find their email address which has already been posted somewhere online. There are fantastic tools which do this all for you such as Hunter.io. This is a powerful tool used by many music PR companies which will scout the internet for the person’s email address. If it is unable to find the address, it will give you a prediction based upon other people’s email address who work at the company.

Hunter Email Address Generator

2. PREVIOUS WORK

Use your influencers and bands similar to yourselves to find journalists that you think will like your music. If you have an indie rock style, look at who may have covered up and coming indie rock bands like No Hot Ashes recently and email them with one of our suggested templates above.

Bonus Tip: If you want to find recent features on a similar artist, Google the artist, select tools and then past week as shown below:

No Hot Ashes Google reviews

3. LINKEDIN

If you can’t find a journalist through a simple Google search or anywhere on socials, give LinkedIn a go. Quite often you’ll find a journalist through LinkedIn and if you keep yours up to date with your music, music industry news and other things you find interesting, the journalist may connect with you. From here, find their email address and drop them a line.

4. USING A HOOK

A hook is something that makes you stand out from others, something that other bands haven’t got and what can potentially get you in the major online publications. You’ll find that this is where most music PR agencies succeed but you can have just as much success if you’re creative and push to the right areas.

Major online sites receive thousands of emails per day with the same “This is my band’s new release, it’s really good, listen to it” junk so you need to have a hook that makes you stand out and be news worthy. Think about how your band is different – this could be how you came together, how you play your instruments or what your latest release is based around.

Examples of hooks that we’ve used to gain national coverage in areas such as Metro, London Evening Standard and We Plug Good Music are:

  • What it was like to support The Who
  • Making UK indie rock great again
  • Tackling inequality in the music industry by working with blind musicians for a musical project
  • Being endorsed by Christian Fuchs
Kid Kapichi London Evening Standard Feature

Each angle is entirely different, and you can’t always tell which will get picked up by the media so be creative and test a few out. If you worked with a major name, try that, if you’re working with a clothing line, give that a go. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed as any hook can be a potential way in.

If you use all these tips, you will begin to create a list of journalists who you know give feedback on your music and if they gave a positive review, like your music. Make sure to create a database of these contacts so you can use them again for your next release and keep building relationships.

RADIO PLUGGING

Radio plugging is a whole other story compared to online promotion, with it being highly competitive and national radio stations having limited shows that play out emerging artists. This is why radio pluggers charge so much as you’re paying for the relationships they’ve formed with producers over the years, which you yourself can’t always gain.

Although it’s difficult, it’s possible so don’t be disheartened, you just have to start low. Use the email format you’ve already created for online promotion with the pitch and the press release copy and pasted below but this time have a link to download the track. In your online promotion pitch, you may be pitching a full EP or Album but with radio, you only need to pitch one track so don’t send a link to a full album as producers don’t have the time to listen to the full thing to work out which track is their favourite. The single which you choose to run with needs to be a radio edit, so no swearing and around 3:30mins, definitely not longer than 4mins.

The radio station will need the MP3 if they want to air the single but whatever you do, don’t attach the MP3! Use either Dropbox or WeTransfer to give them the option to download the track and have the MP3 titled correctly ‘[insert band name] – [insert song title].mp3’.

Start with pitching to regional radio stations before anything else. If you’re from Cambridge, look into Cam 105 and see if you can find an email to send your music to them (refer to ‘How to get the right journalist and their email addresses’ as this works similarly for producers/presenters). As well as regional radio, look into hospital, student and online stations to build up your portfolio of plays.

As soon as you have your finished track and release date sorted, add the MP3 to Amazing Tunes and BBC Introducing. These uploaders are the perfect gateway to national radio play, with Amazing Radio supporting emerging artists and BBC Introducing working as a springboard to BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and even 1. If your track is picked up by either Amazing Radio or BBC Introducing, you’ll be notified by email, so you can listen in to it being played on air.

Amazing Tunes uploader

The major advantage of BBC Introducing is the leads it gives you to the national BBCs. If the track is picked up well on your local BBC, you may find that it’s aired on Tom Robinson’s BBC Radio 6 Music show – The BBC Introducing Mixtape. If it isn’t picked up naturally, you can always send it via Fresh On The Net but read through the submission process carefully –http://freshonthenet.co.uk/send/

SPOTIFY PLAYLISTS

In 2019, Spotify is the leading music streaming platform, with over 207 million active monthly users, so it’s key that your music is available for people to stream on here. Besides being uploaded to Spotify and letting the algorithm work in your favour by pushing it out to the masses, you can also pitch to Spotify Official playlists via the Spotify for Artists submission form. You need to be doing this at least 4 weeks prior to release, so you may need to push your distributor to get it uploaded for you. Once it’s available on Spotify for Artists, fill in the form in as much detail as possible, giving the editors something that will make them want to listen and potentially add it to their playlists.

Alongside the official Spotify playlists, you can also pitch to user curated and branded playlists, some of which have just as many and even more followers than some of the Spotify official ones. You can read our guide on how to pitch to these here  – http://www.burstimo.com/single-post/Official-Spotify-Playlists-guide

IN CONCLUSION…

Music PR isn’t impossible for musicians to do completely independently and still secure fantastic results, as long as you follow this step by step guide and invest the time into each area. A DIY Music PR campaign has an amazing ROI as you invest your time and in return you secure an online presence, revenue from streams and overall growth in number of fans.