by Carly Schorman
Jason Grishkoff is living our dream. He took his passion for music and turned it into a profitable business model. Not only does Jason manage Indie Shuffle, a popular music blog that compiles playlists introducing its readers to new tracks every day, but he also started SubmitHub, a referral service that connects musicians to publications.
So, basically, Jason has established himself as an expert in not only the world of music blogging, but also as a master of the perfect submission. He was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of our questions about his internet endeavors as well as the right way to go about submitting your music to publications for review.
We do feel it is appropriate to mention, in the name of transparency, that YabYum is a blog that uses SubmitHub to find new music to feature on our site. If you’re a musician who hasn’t yet explored what SubmitHub has to offer, you should. In fact, if contacting the press feels like bashing your head against an unrelenting wall, this is an excellent means of forcing a response from reviewers across the nation and around the world (including us).
YabYum: First, would you please tell me a little about Indie Shuffle? What was the impetus behind its creation?
Jason Grishkoff: It’s hard to believe, but this month marks seven years since launching Indie Shuffle. It actually started as a weekly newsletter a few months before, but I enjoyed discovering and sharing new songs so much that I decided I needed to make the experience more permanent, and so I started building a website. For the first four years its role in my life was mostly an after-work passion that allowed me (and a growing subset of contributors) to share the excitement we experienced when we found something new. Then in 2013 I decided to quit Google and take it full-time — a decision that has had ups and downs, but was ultimately the best choice I’ve ever made.
As I understand it, SubmitHub is a project you started after IndieShuffle had been underway for sometime. Was SubmitHub a project that was always in the back of your mind or was its creation sparked by your experiences with the music blog?
Yep, I only started coding SubmitHub back in October of last year. It had been in the back of my mind for a few years, but I’d always lacked the resources and drive to pull it off. Eventually two things collided to make it possible. First, I reached a boiling point whereby unsolicited email pitches were driving me mad. And, second, I wanted to learn a new coding “stack” of languages and had to come up with a project to help me do so.
SumbitHub seems like an incredible tool for connecting artists and publications. Was that the initial goal behind the site or were you simply trying to find a way to better manage your submissions?
I don’t think I had the slightest idea of the direction it would grow when I started [SubmitHub] late last year. I simply wanted a better way to manage my submissions and hadn’t even considered inviting other blogs to use it. Things evolved pretty quickly though and I think it’s benefiting both sides of the equation pretty well right now.
Are there any steps you can recommend a band take to really make their submission stand out?
Good music. That’s all it’s about. SubmitHub puts the focus first-and-foremost on whether the blogger likes the song or not. Everything else is secondary.
That said, there are ways to help improve your chances of getting an approval: 1) ensure you pick an accurate genre; 2) research the blogs you’re submitting to beforehand to make sure they like your style; 3) pay attention to their response rates and approval percentages (a high approval percentage isn’t necessarily a good thing).
Any advice you can give all those burgeoning music bloggers out there?
I think the #1 piece of advice is this: don’t do it because you want to quit your day job. Do it because you super duper like finding new songs and you get a kick out of sharing music with your friends. In order for it to succeed, it needs to be something you never grow tired of — even after seven years.