Lessons Learned: Band Promotion

band promotion 01by Brandon Kellum
Staff Writer

If an album is “dropped” in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

The answer is only by the ears of the other band members. Band promotion feels weird. Mixing your art, what you love, with business. Let’s be honest though, sharing that creation with your immediate friends and family is cool, but connecting with others outside of those circles can be something really special. So don’t be afraid to be as equally creative in promoting your music as you were in making it.

The post that went antiviral. 

Far too often bands rely on a single post on social media to get the word out there. The truth is that social media platforms are creating ever more complicated algorithms that will stamp out any chance of going viral with self promotional content. So don’t settle for 2 likes (one of which was likely your own) and do a little digging on how to maximize your visibility; what to post, where, and when to do it.

Pay to slay.

First off, I’m not happy with the pun in that title. Let’s move past it. So you’re punk rock and you’re not going to give the mythological “Man” (or woman) a dime of your hard earned money just to boost a post. I get it but what if it wasn’t your money? Or what if you could get a quick return on that investment? Well it’s all possible and in more ways then I can cram into a single paragraph.

A few things to consider; you can find free or at least discounted $$$ for first time advertisers all over the internet. Just do a bit of googling and make sure you’re on a trusted site. You can also build these promotional bucks into your band’s guarantees at shows. Normally ask for $100? Negotiate $120 by letting the promoter know that the extra $20 is going directly towards getting the show info and ticketing link in front of your fans.

Finally, consider it a small investment. The thought behind any promotion should be finding a balance between what you put in to it and what you get out of it. If you’re not seeing an increase in show attendance or record sales to offset the investment, you’re either targeting the wrong audience or have a lackluster product. Let’s hope it’s the former.

Street meme.

We all know that a picture with text on it is worth a thousand words (or likes) but is it really worth sacrificing your brand? That’s for you to decide. If you’re the band that only posts memes to great response, don’t be surprised when the text only update about next Friday’s show only gets interaction from your favorite nana. On the opposite side of that, if you’re only pushing shameless self promotion from your pages, you’ll quickly find that the only person there to see it will be your shameless self.

Try to find a balance between band related content and fun ways to drive more natural interactions. Who are you, what you do and why people should care are great questions but even better questions are who are the people that follow your page, what do they do and why do they care about you? You wouldn’t go to a social event and only talk about yourself so refer back to the first word in “social media” and act accordingly.

Everywhere you want to be.

Where do you find out about new music? Is it a particular website or blog? A playlist on Spotify? Fliers at your local music shop? Or maybe just word of mouth at shows. Be present on all of those places. The independent band that’s making waves isn’t doing so in the largest pool. They’re the ones finding smaller communities, being an active member and contributor and then slowly finding the right time and way to introduce their own music.

Work Harder AND Smarter.

You can pay a team of people to do it or you can learn how to do it yourself. Once you’ve determined your pitch, leverage the results of other artists in your genre for where to send it. Find a band that recently released an album and google “[BAND NAME] Album Review” or “[BAND NAME] Interview”. This will give you a huge pool of outlets to contact.

Another variation of this is following a PR Agencies page and seeing where they’re getting their bands placement in. Have a well defined “ask”, include what’s in it for them (exclusive content, sharing their site…) and do the work for them by catering your press release to the content their site posts. Above all, be sure to make it concise- no one wants to get hit with an unsolicited wall of text.

Super fans are super, man.

Finally, truly value and reward those that are spreading word of mouth. There’s absolutely nothing more valuable to the success of your band then the buzz from those who already enjoy it. So give them discounted tickets, throw some free merch their way and above everything, build that relationship. It’s shocking to me when I see a band with a couple hundred followers not responding back to their small handful of comments or tweets. Or a band that’s blatantly using bots to post comments like “Nice post 🔥”. You’re no one special. The second you put yourself above anyone else just because you wrote a couple songs is the moment people will stop caring.

~

brandon kellum 0002

Brandon Kellum is the vocalist for the obnoxiously loud metalcore band American Standards. They play their home state of Arizona July 18th at Pub Rock in Scottsdale with Arsonists Get All The Girls, I Set My Friends On Fire, Kingdom Of Giants and West Cliffs

5 Music Blogs You Should Check Out (and Submit to)!!

1. Pigeons and Planes

This music discovery site seeks to bring you the best in new music from the big names to the best of locals everywhere. Pigeons and Planes brings you new music (and music news) every day to playlists and curated album collections.

pigeonsandplanes.com

2. SoulBounce

Just like the tagline says, SoulBounce revels in past, present, and future soul. This “premiere global soul music website” has been recognized by such heavy-hitters like Soul Train and Ebony Magazine (amongst others) for their support of Soul music everywhere.

www.soulbounce.com

3. When the Gramophone Rings

If you’re looking to check out some fresh jams, the London-based When the Gramophone Rings offers up a deeper look into new singles and emerging artists worth taking notice of. And, for all you musicians out there, When the Gramophone Rings has a regular feature to spotlight unsigned artists so make sure all you upstarts add this blog to your press list!

whenthegramophonerings.com

4. Turntable Kitchen

More a lifestyle blog than your run-of-the-mill music publication, Turntable Kitchen combines a love of music, food, and city life for all you hipster cats out there. And, if you’re really into it, you can even opt into a monthly curated food and music discovery delivery right to your home with their Pairings Box.

www.turntablekitchen.com

5. Culture Villain

The UK bloggers over at Culture Villain offer up “canned culture for your consumption” from music news to curated playlists. They keep an inside line on European artists for those of you looking at crossing the Big Pond on tour. And, for all you music lovers, I also suggest delving into their interview series: Culture Talks.

culturevillain.co.uk

Lessons Learned: Recording

recording 000

by Brandon Kellum
Staff Writer

So, you’ve written your first song and you’re finally ready to go in to record? Or maybe you had an impatient vocalist that just booked the studio time in advance and now you’re scrambling to pull everything together. Either way, you want to know what to plan for and that’s what I’m here for.

If you haven’t already, check out my previous LESSONS LEARNED articles where I give you the run down on STARTING A BAND and TOURING.

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Lessons Learned: Recording

Anyone Can Do It But That Doesn’t Mean That Everyone Should

Chances are you have a friend with a home studio. Maybe it’s a friend of a friend or perhaps you’ve been approached online by someone trying to knock out their final project for their recording class. Let’s face it, recording equipment is getting cheaper and easier to use every year. What once would cost you thousands of dollars can now be ripped off any torrent site and sloppily learned. Don’t discount the value of experience though. Just because anyone can record from home, it doesn’t mean that everyone should. Sometimes you’ll luck out and find the next Rick Rubin but you also risk the chance of thinking you suck more than you actually do just because you didn’t want to spring a few extra bucks for quality.

I’ve Got To Admit, It Isn’t Getting Better

When you book studio time, you’re normally paying per hour or for a full day. This means that you’ve got a finite amount of time to nail out drums, bass, guitars, vocals and whatever other “artsy” stuff comes to mind in the 11th hour. I know, the song is only 4 minutes long but it’s a whole new beast when you tear it apart piece by piece. It’s important to find the beauty in perfections. Sure you can spend the next 4 hours perfecting a single riff but more often then not, you’ll just frustrate yourself to no ends and decide that you’re first few takes were your best. Don’t stress, that minor crack in your voice makes you sound human.

Play The Drum For Me, Ba Rum Bum Bum Bum

Nothing eats into studio time more than drums and I don’t mean drumming to the actual songs. If you have an 8 hour day planned for drums, expect the first few hours to be spent setting up, mic’ing and then tediously sound checking each piece. Don’t worry though, this is arguably the most important part of your record. If you get drums right, everything else is a Nirvana solo.

The More, The Opposite Of Merrier

Everyone likes to be surrounded by friends and adoring fans, right? It may seem like a fun idea to bring 10 of your closest acquaintances along to watch the magic happen but remember, you’re on the clock and they’re not. $75 and hour can quickly turn into an expensive YouTube and chill. You’ll soon find yourself re-tracking because your bestie can be heard watching Fail Compilations in the background of the track.

It Stinks

Don’t be afraid to try things in different ways. It’s easy to get the original phrasing of a riff or vocal melody stuck in your head but sometimes the best results come from experimentation. Be open to constructive criticism from external sources and stop being your own worst critic. Leave that to the angry bloggers and internet trolls.

Conclusion

When you record you’re capturing a moment in time. Just like a picture, you’ll look back at it as not only a song but an experience that you were a part of. Make it a good one! Prepare for what you can and when things don’t go exactly to plan, make a new plan. Have fun and the people that hear the song will too.

~
brandon kellum 100Brandon Kellum is the vocalist of the metalcore band American Standards. American Standards play their hometown Mesa, AZ on June 24th at The Nile Theater with ZAO.

9 PR Mistakes Your Band Might Be Making

Building a solid Public Relations [PR] platform for your band or brand can be tricky. You might be stepping on toes without even realizing they were ever underfoot, but there are easy things to avoid in this age of self-promotion that can help you expand your brand (or band) without pissing people off…

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(1) Don’t Skip the Press Photos

Okay, I know it might feel a little corny, but you really should do the band photo shoot. Even if you’ve never had a press inquiry and you’re just starting to gig around town, a few tasteful and professional-looking photographs can help you through those early stages of being a band. They’ll help you look more pro when show promoters or venues check up on your band’s online presence, but they can also help to land you press.

And, don’t forget that this is a time for Music Bloggers so don’t expect them to fly in a photographer to your next gig to snap a picture. If you want coverage, you might need to provide an image.

Hiring a professional photographer is really the best way to go and there’s a host of local talent available for a reasonable price, but you can try to a wrangle a friend in a pinch. You may do some Instagram research to see which of your friends has the best visual sense and plead your case.

(2) Over-Saturating Fans

So it is the age of shameless self-promotion but you want to be careful that you’re not over-saturating the market. A few interactions through your preferred platforms is totally appropriate, smart even, but there is a dark path that ends in a cycle of constant posts until you’ve been blocked from the visual stream of your fans to the point of online obscurity.

Maybe don’t have all your Instagram photos immediately repost to Twitter AND Facebook AND then on your band’s website so that an email goes out to your whole list announcing, “Hey, we added a new photo!” Just a suggestion. Or maybe cap the number of direct posts through your band’s Facebook page to a few announcements a day.

No one’s trying to limit your personal social media time but maybe don’t swamp your friends with constant requests on behalf of your band. Sure, it’s good to put yourself out there if you want your art out there. We all get it. But maybe take a moment to consider how much a little fine-tuning that social media attention might do by reducing some of the fodder.

(3) No Social Media Engagement

Of course, the converse to over-saturating the online world with all things Your Band is not engaging through social media at all. Just as you’re trying to grow your fan base, media outlets (like blogs and radio stations and so on) are trying to do the same. If they offer you a little time and attention, it’s considered polite to share the love. Like, Comment, Share, Re-Post, whatever. It’s a way of showing the writer/DJ that you appreciate them tossing a little support your way.

And, if we follow this line of reasoning, this also means that your band has some sort online outlet for connecting with their fans be it through Facebook, Twitter, G+, Instagram, Tumblr, or the myriad of additional offerings the internet has to offer.

We have noticed a trend among some bands to skip the whole Social Media / Internet thing entirely. Oftentimes, these bands have label support or representatives who send out appropriate support on the band’s behalf, but sometimes it’s a smaller band who just doesn’t want to buy into the self-promotion.

That’s cool, yo. I’d just not expect the people of that mind to be delving into an article called “9 PR Mistakes Your Band Might Be Making”.

(4) Don’t Piss Off the Press

Okay, maybe you’re going for an early Dylan thing. Or maybe you really do resent the people who put their time and effort into writing about music because the act is, in and of itself, an absurdity. Or maybe you just think it’s super cool to act super disinterested in absolutely every thing. Whatever. You do you.

But this is a time in music history of total and complete inundation. Now everyone with a computer and a microphone is a recording artist. A few quick minutes on the internet and that person can find a plethora of places to send their recordings. Some of them suck, but some don’t. And when you run the numbers on that you end up with critics swimming in a sea of music.

Until you get to that superstar status that simply “can’t be ignored” critics might just ignore you if you rush out the gate with a too-cool-for-school attitude. Sometimes cheeky can be amusing, but you don’t want to come off as all bluster and bravado. Your track might get the delete before the chorus because there are forty other singles waiting in line.

So think twice before hitting the send button on an angry email or posting a Twitter rant because writers hold grudges. We’ve seen it in chat groups for music journalists. Any angry tweet about a bad review gets passed around from writer to writer until you’re “that guy” and I don’t mean to get gender-specific, but come on, dudes, it’s like always dudes.

(5) Don’t Facebook Your Pain

In that same vein of don’t piss of the press, I suggest you learn to handle your scandal before you decide to sit at the helm of your band’s social system interface. Maybe pick the calmest, least-likely-to-embark-on-drunken-tirade member of the band to manage the day to day posts on your social media accounts. Most bands (but certainly not all) should just probably pick the bassist.

Maybe you had a really bad turn out at a gig or maybe the other band “accidentally” jacked your drink tickets or maybe your lead singer slept with, well, everyone. Or maybe you just had a real shit day. Who knows? More importantly, who should know?

Those are important questions before taking to the interwebs where the Department of Hurt Feelings is always open for business and will to listen to your lamentations. Before you launch into your next internet tirade or publicly indulge a woe-is-me moment, ask yourself: How would you feel if everyone you ever knew or will ever know might have access to this very personal moment in you life? Because that’s how the internet works, kids.

(6) Bad Response Time

A really fast way to piss off the press is to not have a decent response time when contacted, but waiting too long to replies to inquiries is just generally a bad idea if you’re trying to push your band to the next level.

Now, in all fairness, you should be clear about how you would like to be contacted. Maybe your Facebook page or band website or your Bandcamp page includes a little snippet that says, “For press and all other inquiries, contact My Band Here,” and then include an email.

And, here’s the important part, make sure someone checks for inquiries every few days if not every day. Ideally, one member of the band (at least) should have an alert on their phone when a new email pops into the band account. It might be a booking request or a press inquiry or an Argentinian financier whose life was changed by your song “Change” who now wants to bankroll your next album. You never know.

(7) Not Seeing a Difference Between “Persistent” and “Annoying”

Just as you don’t want to over-inundate your fans with a barrage of social media updates, it’s a wise idea to learn to draw a line between persistent and annoying when dealing in band emails.

Sure, you’ve got a tour to book so you need to hear back about that August show date or you sent out that track to a blog two weeks ago and they haven’t acknowledged that they received it. Reach out. Touch base. Politely inquire if the party in question had a chance to review your request or material, but repeatedly prodding in hopes of being that stubborn bastard that the press covers just to get off their backs is not the right approach.

Two follow-ups on an initial email seems appropriate in most cases. If you don’t hear back, move on. There are lots of other opportunities waiting out there. Don’t waste your time mulling over the one blog or label or radio station that doesn’t give you the attention you warrant.

Keep trying. Others might.

(8) Thinking Too Small Scale

Okay, so maybe an Argentinian financier is not lurking around every corner to foot the band’s bill, but there are lost of opportunities for independent artists in the world today. You have to keep yourself open to the possibilities.

Maybe you think that you’re happy just gigging around town and opening for a few notable names that might pass through. That’s cool. Maybe you don’t need to knock yourself out emailing every label and publication from here to Dubai. But it’s still not a bad idea to put a little effort into the back end of the band life to see that you aren’t always playing to that same sparse room of friends at every single show.

Maybe you don’t want to tour the world and throw chairs out of hotel windows (do people even do that anymore?), but if you’re in a band that actually plays outside of your living room/basement/garage, I assume you want people to hear you. A little PR effort can go a long well at helping you establish and maintain connections to fans, new and old.

(9) Don’t Be a Dick

This one isn’t about social media or press relations; it’s about personal relations. A lot of your fan base is going to be cultivated through your live performances (and your personal interactions at these events) so try not to be an asshole.

I always remember that one guy in a band who started getting drunk before shows and calling his band-mates the “supporting cast”. That didn’t go over well. Or that one drummer that tried to fight the bouncer in the parking lot after the show.

Think about it, the music scene is made up of relative strangers who hang out together in a special set of circumstances and no one really wants to talk about their day jobs. What’s left? Politics? Ugh. It’s no wonder musicians and artists are all a bunch of gossip-mongers.

It only takes a couple choice moments to forever scar your public image so try to be cool. And, if you do find yourself in a social snafu, the best option is to take responsibility for your faux pas. We live in a time of social sensitivity. You might not have intended offense, but being respectful means acknowledging past errors as errors.

You vomit on a bouncer, you apologize the next day… profusely… with cookies and promises of redeemed behavior.

~

Lessons Learned: Starting a Band

by Brandon Kellum
of American Standards

Starting a band can be a highly profitable venture that definitely will not consume your every waking hour… said no one ever. In my first Lessons Learned I started with touring. If you haven’t checked that out, go read it next. I figured with this one we’d take a step back and take a look at all the fun things you’ll find out when forming a band…

Drummers Are The Mythological Unicorns Of The Music Industry

You may have read about one once or saw them in a movie but drummers exist just about no where. When you do come across one they’re probably already in 4 or 5 bands or they’re just a frustrated guitarist trolling you on Craigslist. They’re never showing up to practice man. I’ve got to imagine this is because drums are arguably one of the most expensive instruments and honestly, what parent wants to listen to their kids bang on stuff all day? At least guitars have a volume knob.

Bassists Are Just Guitarists Minus The Confidence

I know some of you are probably yelling at your screens; “What about Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers” or whatever other bassist you look up to. Sure, when playing more then the absolute minimum, bassists are great… but let’s be real. The guy you found started on guitar and just went with the flow when the band needed some low end.

Guitarists Doodle – It’s What They Do

Writing songs takes work, focus and communicating ideas. The space between playing songs is invaluable and can be the most productive time of practice… if it wasn’t for that annoying riff being played on loop. Why is it that every silence is filled with doodling to the point where you’re yelling ideas over the main riff for “Seven Nation Army”?

Don’t Call Me A Singer, I’m a “Vocalist”

The bar is set low for us “vocalists”. Nowadays we don’t even have to really sing. I mean in metal, they literally have to differentiate singing from “clean singing”. So just help carry some gear once in a blue moon and you’ll win the Vocalist of the Year award.

The most important thing that I’ve learned from forming a band is
talent will come and go but genuine friendships can last a lifetime. It doesn’t matter if you found someone that shreds if they’re unbearable to be around. If you’re in it for the long run, find someone that you don’t mind being in a van for hours on end with then learn and grow as musicians as you go.

~

brandon kellum 100Brandon Kellum is the vocalist for the band American Standards. American Standards release their new album “Anti-Melody” April 28th, 2017. You can celebrate the release with them at their show 4/28 at The Rebel Lounge. You can also preorder the album on iTunes, Amazon or Bandcamp!

Lessons Learned: Touring

by Brandon Kellum
of American Standards

The Gas Station 5 Course Meal

A good majority of your nutrients on the road will come in the shape of a cylinder. Whether it be a QT taquito or a hotdog that’s past its prime. There’s just something about stopping at a gas station every few hours that makes you feel the urge to buy something that’s horrible for you- even if you’re the vegan in the band living off Oreos and Pringles.

There’s A Game Where The Most Annoying Person Wins (and it’s hilarious)

It’s your turn to drive so you pop on the Full House theme song on a 10 hour loop. Check and mate. Doop-a-dee-ba-ba-dow!

Starbucks Is An Oasis For WiFi And Clean Bathrooms

$5 coffee isn’t what makes Starbucks a band oasis. It’s the free wi-fi and the reduced likelihood of encountering a crackhead in the bathroom. *Lifehack- the doors lock

The One Who Hasn’t Lost Their Phone Charger Is King

You went in with 5 phone chargers… and then there was 1. Now you owe someone a few drinks every night from the compounding interest.

Any Flat Surface Can Be A Bed

How about gap between the van door and the bench seats? It’s not uncommon to say 2 people will be occupying the hotel room only to sneak 5 in. Suddenly floors, bathtubs and pushing two chairs together become viable options.

Tour Life Lessons 0290% of Touring is Sitting in a Van

Tour is one giant party. I mean sex, drugs and rock n roll, right? Wrong. Everything you see on your band friends Instagram feed from tour is a lie. That’s the one eventful thing that happened within the 6 hours of driving to play a 30 minute set.

There Are Inside Jokes That Only The Band Thinks Are Funny

Maybe it’s just me but these are the jokes that I tell between songs… to uneasy applause.

If You Don’t Have To “Go”, Go

I once witnessed a grown man pee into a champagne bottle between cities. He then proceeded to go for a drink from a certain fountain upon waking from his drunken stupor.

The Power Of The Axe Shower

It’s a wonder that Axe Body Spray hasn’t picked up on sponsoring bands because the Axe effect is the smell of the road. Real showers are sparse and when they come along it’s a race between 5 guys and who gets stuck with the cold water or soggy towel. Am I the only one that has pat dry with toilet paper?

Anything That Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong (and it’ll be worse)

I once went on a tour where we got pulled over for “following to closely”, blew a tire and locked our keys in the trailer… this was all on day one.

You Stink, No Seriously

Let’s face it. A few days without a real shower and anyone smells. Now add a nightly concert and multiple this by several guys hopped up on midnight Taco Bell runs and well…

Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that at the end of the day it’s all about community.

We all want to belong to something and being in a band or part of the music community is no different. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a family that you can chose. You quickly learn that the smallest shows are the ones you remember most, the time between sets is everything and at the end of the day the experiences that music gives you will last a lifetime.

~
Brandon Kellum is the vocalist for the band American Standards. American Standards release their new album “Anti-Melody” April 28, 2017.

Booking Basics with Andy Warpigs

andy booking 03
Photo courtesy of Andy Warpigs

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

If you’re a new band starting out, the prospect of landing that first gig can be a little intimidating. Even if you’ve been making the local rounds and are ready to start looking toward furthering your fanbase, a little booking rundown can help you find shows in new area codes. We asked Andy Warpigs – musician, performer, booking guru, and man about town – to help us understand a few of the show-booking basics.

YabYum: So… how did you first getting into booking shows? Was is something you had to learn to do as a musician? You book shows not only as a musician but also as a show promoter. Is that correct?

Andy Warpigs: I first started booking shows when I was 19. I would find bands on ReverbNation and Myspace and websites like that. I used to book shows at different DIY spots downtown and then I got more involved in The Trunk Space and learned to book more through them.

Booking is definitely something essential to being a musician. I feel like learning things from the venue’s perspective and running shows and doing sound are all skills that you are going to learn eventually if you are a serious musician.

I have booked shows for my own band, and have also booked for my friends bands and community type events. I have also worked with different bars to set stuff up for traveling musicians or residency for local bands.

As a musician, are there some basic steps you should follow in trying to book a show?

I think the first stop in learning booking from a musician’s perspective is to make sure you have open channels of communication with the venue. You have to tap into their built-in crowd and their promotional resources. It is also really important to build a show that is cool from the audience’s perspective and has a variety of acts ’cause that will keep them on their toes.

It’s really important to make sure all of the bands involved are on point and doing everything they can to promote the show as well to their fans and friends. It can be really helpful to book shows through a collective with different like-minded friends, so all the responsibility doesn’t fall on your shoulders.

As a promoter, are there things you look for when you’re approached by a band interested in booking? Social media outreach? EPK? Is there anything you feel is essential when considering a band for an event? 

I’m just learning about electronic press kits. Personally, I book new bands because I like their attitude, sound, style, or sense of humor or theatrics. Web presence is important, but it’s about how good they are at engaging their audience, not necessarily how many [followers] they have numbers wise…

So, let’s say a band is just getting started. What advice would you offer to help them get out there and performing? 

New bands should play as much as they can. Practice playing out is just as important as rehearsing the songs or practicing your instruments. You hone your craft that way and learn how to work a crowd. The idea of playing for exposure is kind of inflated but you never know who might see you. What’s the worst that could happen? Lol.

Let’s say your a new act looking to book a gig. What’s the best way to go about it? Talk to other bands playing that venue? Ask a bartender? Email the venue directly? Is there a method to this madness?

Emailing a venue and asking who their contact person for booking is always a polite and acceptable way to get a foot in the door at a new spot. Sometimes you can even get things going at a place that doesn’t even do shows by approaching them with the idea.

~

Check out the Andy Warpigs Facebook page for all his upcoming shows including opening for Bigger Than Mountains on Dec. 29 at the Trunk Space, at Yucca Tap Room Jan. 5, and at 51WEST Jan. 15!

The Rejection Rundown

rejection 00by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Rejections are rough. I know that personally. I might not be a musician but I am an aspiring novelist so I know the struggle of putting your heart into an art project only to begin the tedious and soul-crushing task of sending it out for others to peruse, judge, and, often, reject.

As hard as it might be to hear, rejection is both a painful numbers game and a necessary evil that must be faced in order to take you from hobbyist to professional artist. The conventional wisdom on the matter is that for every 100 rejections, you’re lucky to receive one acceptance.

That’s 99 rejections for every acceptance. Most of us know, and some more personally than others, artists are sensitive creatures. Our creations are an outpouring of our internal workings so the rejections can seem like a personal affront.

They are not nor should they be taken as such.

After managing a music blog for years, I’m continually amazed at the never-ending supply of quality recordings we are forced to decline due to lack of coverage space. And keep in mind that we are a daily publication. That means every single day, we’re trying to provide our readers with something new for their eyes and ears yet we don’t have nearly enough space to accommodate every worthwhile artist that crosses our path.

In the interest of transparency, we’ll share with you that our acceptance rate hovers just over the 10% mark and, since making the shift to national, it has continued to decline. That means for every acceptance, we’re dealing with nine rejections.

Through SubmitHub, we’ve discovered other music blogs frequently have lower acceptance rates, sometimes even under 1%.

That’s where the numbers game comes into play. You must be brave and face the rejection. The odds are not in your favor. If you want to take your music or art to the next level the submissions pile is a place you can’t likely avoid.

Maybe you’ll want to shop your album to a label? Or you’re looking for press for your project? Submit. Maybe you’re like me and have to face the dreaded submissions process for publishers and book agents. Do it. Don’t be afraid.

Start collecting your rejection slips now and do it with pride. For every 100 passes you might just get that coveted acceptance you’ve been waiting for. And, ultimately, you’ll be glad you did. Maybe you’ll even receive some constructive feedback along with those rejections that you can apply to future efforts.

Accept your rejections as part of the process. Victory long sought is better savored.

~

Industry Insider: Jason Grishkoff of Indie Shuffle / SubmitHub

Jason Grishkoff 01by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

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.Jason Grishkoff 02

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.

Additional Links:

Indie Shuffle

SubmitHub

8 Music Blogs You Should Submit to: Part II

music blogs 01Our new series continues with 8 more publications you should check out and (maybe) submit to. Get your music (or art) out there!!

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Impose is just one of those magazines you should probably know. Originally started as a print publication, Impose has grown into a daily online zine with its own record label. The run the gamut from music and art to humor, food, fashion, books, politics, and even sports.

Website

Submissions

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This “handcrafted music blog” has been supporting the arts for more than a decade. The Owl Mag offers photos, album reviews, exclusive premieres, and features. Head to the “About Us” page and click on the Editors link to send in your submission or email the editorial staff at editors@theowlmag.com.

Website

Submissions

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Every month, BIRP! compiles a playlist of 100 songs which streams (for free) from their site in addition to music reviews and articles. BIRP! not only provides a great way to discover new music, but a great way to find new fans if your band makes the cut. Make sure you check over their submissions information before you draft that email!

Website

Submissions

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Indie Shuffle offers up a selection of hand-picked tracks for streaming from a range of genres from electro-pop to hip-hop and everything in between. They have quite the team of writers collected to find the best of the best from the inundation of submissions the site receives. Be brave and maybe you’ll end up on their playlists.

Website

Submissions

1

Bitch Media is an independent, feminist media organization that goes way beyond politics and activism (although they do cover that) to include art and music as well. In addition to maintaining a popular monthly magazine, their website offers additional offerings on a regular basis. For all you femmes, Bitch might be the outlet that connects with your work.

Website

Submissions

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Lauren Rearick is the “blog queen” behind The Grey Estates. The site provides reviews, interviews, music videos, and even the occasional recipe. Additionally, The Grey Estates offers up some stellar seasonal compilations through Bandcamp if you want more musical goodness.

Website

Submissions

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Based out of Cali, BoxSpeaker features “the latest tracks from up-and-coming artists, updates on already-established indie favorites, and throwbacks to old school nostalgia.” BoxSpeaker is a great spot to discover new music and read interviews with artists.

Website

Submissions

1This Arizona-based, online zine features bands from the national circuit as well as local acts of note. Through Hear & Now Media, you can check out album and concert reviews, interviews, as well as featured singles and playlists. Keep in mind that they, like us, ask for advanced notice (like, a month) for album releases and events.

Website

Submissions

For more Music Blogs, check out Part 1 of our series…