With the streaming era allowing eager musicians easier access to post their music, the likelihood of getting your pitch recognized by music bloggers in the flood of tracks feels more like a lottery than a talent show. Every unknown artist, no matter how skilled, is a small fish in a big pond, making the quality of your music pitch to a media outlet more important than ever. The excellence of your music isn’t the only requirement blogs look for when determining what’s worthy of music reviews. The preparation starts before you even begin writing the email.
Preparing to Pitch For Music Reviews
1. Find Your Perfect Pairing
While some blogs feel like faceless content machines built for churning out music news at a rapid pace, it’s crucial to remember that there are actual people behind the words on your computer screen. Every publication houses writers from all backgrounds, each with their very own personal interests and areas of expertise. This understanding makes researching to find the ideal artist-to-blog partnership a very important first step in the pitching journey.
The first step is to match the blog’s audience with your audience. Make sure each media outlet on your list mirrors the genre, style, and message conveyed through your music. Support your target blogs by leaving comments on reviews and feature stories that you sincerely enjoy, helping the editors and writers familiarize themselves with your name. After establishing your target blogs, turn your attention to the writers themselves.
Find writers that you envision drawing inspiration from your art. Music journalists craft their finest reviews on projects they are most passionate about. While any type of exposure is beneficial to your brand, a project of yours being showered with praise by one of the tastemakers of the music industry can mean a world of difference in the perception of the way your music sounds to potential newcomers to your fanbase. Build a relationship with the desired writer by engaging them on social media and commenting on their work especially on their website or blog. Show that you enjoy their content and are willingly engaging with what they have to offer.
Discovering that perfect pairing with the blog and the writer will give your pitch a much-improved chance at being recognized in the sea of submissions that populate every writer’s inbox.
2. Start Small
Every aspiring musician pictures their name under the bright lights of a Pitchfork or Rolling Stone review. It’s tough not to crave the gratification and publicity that comes with being dissected by a high-profile, high-traffic blog. However, the path to the pinnacle of blog reviews is a ladder with many rungs. You’ll have to start at the very bottom and pay your dues with smaller publications before gaining the recognition necessary to be one of the lucky few selected for publishing by top-tier blogs.
Be honest with your audience size. Many emerging artists fall into the trap of trying to reel in a big fish blog instead of focusing efforts on micro-influencers that can pay dividends down the road. Your time is valuable and how you spend it can determine how quickly your music can reach listeners and spread like wildfire. Start by pitching to micro-influencers that have a specified target audience geared towards your music type and graduate to bigger publications as your audience grows. Many of these blogs are hungry to discover new talent to highlight on their platform, delivering music reviews with a passion and authenticity that can make readers believers.
Crafting Your Content
3. Stay Professional and Brief
Many artists foolishly attempt to drive up hype for themselves with a bombardment of Twitter comments, pestering writers with emojis and claims that their track is “fire.” This informal request for coverage is futile, as a publication with thousands of similar submissions daily is unlikely to inspire much of a response. Avoid spamming links or commenting with unwanted music videos. Every publication has a process for music submissions and be sure to follow it. A compelling music pitch requires a well-planned approach with a healthy blend of creativity and professionalism that separates your art from the rest.
Keep your pitch short and sweet. Let the music that you’re showcasing do most of the talking. A quick explanation detailing who you are and what you aim to achieve with your product is all you need to make an impact. Many blogs don’t have the time or patience to scour through an essay or life story, and will typically send pitches formatted in this fashion straight to the trash folder. Don’t forget to add a personal touch to your request that varies depending on the specific publication you are submitting to. It’s important to not make your pitch look like a generic mess that you’re mass-sending to every single blog with an email address. Inform your targeted media outlets the reason you picked their blog. Let the writer know why you chose them to write the review. Make blogs feel special and they will be likely to reward your efforts in return.
4. Send Exclusives Whenever Possible
If possible, hook publications up with an exclusive song or project that hasn’t been released to the public yet, make them feel special. Blogs have little desire to review music that is months old, as it ruins the timeliness of the article, impacting traffic to the website. Create a win-win situation by timing your music release with the release of the review for increased engagement that satisfies both parties.
Also, make sure to update your electronic press kit, or online marketing portfolio, on your website with an accurate bio, recent music, images, tour dates and links to your social media pages. Attach the link to your EPK somewhere in your pitch so blogs can have easy access to all of your essential information when considering reviewing your album. Music blogs don’t want to waste time on an artist treasure hunt and will appreciate a clear, concise pitch with as much information about you in as few words as possible.
Submitting Your Pitch
5. Timing is Everything
After spending many hours researching and constructing the perfect pitch, your work doesn’t end there. Editors don’t spend every second of every day refreshing their email, therefore choosing an optimal timeframe to pitch your music is almost as critical as the content itself. Avoid the weekends like the plague, focusing your efforts on Mondays and Tuesdays when publications are usually scheduling their articles for the week. Pick specific times when you would expect somebody to check their email, for example, right when work begins between 7 and 8:30 a.m. or before lunch around 11-12 p.m.
Make your music pitch jump out to an editor, using the subject line of the email as a call-to-action. Think about why the recipient of your request should open your email when it’s listed in their inbox. Don’t get lazy when sending your pitch to multiple writers within the same publication. Send each person a custom email addressed to them directly, including personal information discussing reviews from them you loved and why you think it would be fitting for them to write a review about your music. Always abstain from sending attachments in your email, instead opting to deliver your EPK and music in the form of links to Soundcloud, YouTube, and other streaming platforms.
Bonus: Dealing With Denial
Following these tips increases the odds of your art being chosen by a music blog, but doesn’t necessarily guarantee a review. The massive amounts of hopeful musicians submitting their hard work significantly outnumber the platforms available for the taking. Hundreds of talented artists with bright futures end up having their music go unheard. Sometimes, the possibility of your pitch translating to a full-fledged review is out of your control. In those moments, the key is to stay positive and be persistent. A lack of response to a pitch doesn’t necessarily mean the writer didn’t end up enjoying your song. Successful pitching is usually never a single hit exercise. It usually takes multiple trials before getting it right and hitting the jackpot. There’s nothing wrong with constantly adjusting your pitch, attaching an improved song and resending your request. Avoid spamming, but don’t give up on your dreams. Plow ahead and perfect your approach.
Getting your music featured on blogs in a pitch format isn’t exactly the sexiest part of being an indie musician, but is necessary for achieving organic growth in the form of album reviews. Establishing writer relationships, sending exclusives and waiting until the timing is right can increase the probability of your art being heard and keep you one step ahead of the competition.
Suggested Continued Reading: How To Market Your Music Like A Record Label