Getting your face featured in your favourite music mag is a two-fold process. You need to craft the perfect press release and write a punchy pitch. Then, you need to find out where to pitch it. The latter takes a level of persistence and commitment that only a DIY musician on a mission to make it could muster. It takes trawling the internet for the right contacts and submission forms with potentially not much return. But, when it does pay off, boy, does it feel great.
Luckily, there are plenty of online music publications, journalists, and music blogs that want to hear your music. And, if it's up to scratch, will feature it on their platform. So, how do you get heard by the right ears?
Make Sure Your Pitch Is Up To Scratch
We have a guide to penning the perfect press release to get you prepared for this moment. Make sure all your information, including links to profiles, streaming statistics, and show dates, are completely fresh and up to date. Remember to keep it concise, especially if you're submitting through a form on the blog's site. Another great link to include is your EPK. Find out how and why these are so crucial in our guide to building one here. Once you've got that sorted, let's get into how to pitch that press release to the right people...
Identify Your Hit List
The first thing to think about is: where you want your music to be featured? Now, I know the first thing that came to mind was NME, Rolling Stone, and Billboard. Hell yeah, in the end, the goal is to get you there. But, whilst you're DIYing your music marketing, you've got to be a bit more realistic. Doing some research into smaller blogs or freelance writers that specialize in your genre is a great place to start. In the long run, getting the ball running with coverage in smaller music publications will eventually lead to the bigger ones. We've included some with genre niches down below to get the ball rolling for you...
Get personal! If you can find the music editor's name, use it. The recipient is way more likely to keep reading if you're directly addressing them. It's not too hard to find out who the music editor is. Usually, on the site itself, there should be a list of contacts. If not, LinkedIn will be your best friend. Searching the employees of the magazine will quickly reveal who will be opening your press release. One sure thing to avoid? The mass email. There is no CCing or BCCing in this game. It might save you time, but it won't help persuade the publication or journalist that you're a good fit for them. In fact, it will most likely do the opposite. So, get digging, get personal, and get yourself of cup of tea... you'll be there a while.
Know Who You're Emailing
Now you have got the the right email, it's important to do your background research. An endless tide of press releases flow into a journalist's inbox each week. Even higher numbers wash through the submission forms of online publications. So, butter them up! Commenting on a journalist's recent piece that caught your attention will up your chances of the writer reading on. Following their socials and finding out more about their interests and audiences will give you more of insight on how to pitch. At the end of the day, we're all human. In the digital world in which DIY marketing operates, genuine connection can be lost. So, be human. Be genuine. Have more to mention than what they can do for you.
Top Tip: Get ahead of the game! Even before you have a new track to pitch, find the freelancers who are writing in your genres and follow them! Starting a dialogue before you hit them up asking for a feature will hugely work in your favour. Even if that dialogue is liking and commenting on posts or sharing pieces on your socials. Being a recognisable name, rather than just another press release clogging up the inbox, will help you massively in getting the publicity your music deserves.
Follow ALL The Guidelines
If you're not emailing a select person or email, you'll be submitting through a website submission portal. They're very common and a bit easier than scouring the internet for the correct editor or journalist to contact. However, every single submission portal on a music magazine or blog will have different guidelines. It's vital to thoroughly read through and understand what the different blogs are asking for and stick to it. If you don't, the likelihood of them even listening to your music is pretty slim. Don't rush your submission, better to get it right the first time than to confuse them with re-dos!
^Screenshot of Music Bloggers Network - Click Image For Link To Submission Page^
So, now you should have a sense of how to get your press release over to the right people. Here is a starting off list for great publications to submit your music too. It's a mix of emails and submission portals, so you can get used to both:
Pigeons & Planes
Pigeons & Planes is part of COMPLEX media and is a "music discovery" site for all genres of music. It features underground and independent music as well as the chart toppers.
How To Submit: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Line Of Best Fit
Having been around for over a decade, The Line Of Best Fit is a renowned publication. Their playlist Spotify New Music Discovery is a huge selling point of landing a feature here too.
How To Submit: https://www.thelineofbestfit.com/contact
As the name suggest, this publication talks everything indie! So, if that's your style then you should be submitting to these guys. They also boast an internet radio station that streams curated playlists of indie tunes.
How To Submit: https://indie88.com/submit-your-music/
This Australian based music blog covers electronica, disco, house, funk, DnB, electro-RnB. Everything produced, basically.
How To Submit: https://acidstag.com/about/
Genres: Electronic, Experimental
This publication doesn't do anything too "commercial sounding". To quote them, "We aim to share some great tunes, from both established and underground artists, to help connect music to ears." So, whatever that means, I guess?
How To Submit: https://electronica.org.uk/submissions/
Genres: All Genres
The Alternative does exactly what it says on the tin. Anything alternative! They "only publish music they find that truly sounds great". Quite a broad range, so worth a submission.
How To Submit: TheAltSubmissions@gmail.com.
Folk Radio's music coverage is non-mainstream and eclectic… It's main genres are rooted in the indie and folk landscapes, but they touch on anything that is off the wall mainstream, experimental and underground sounds.
How To Submit: email@example.com