How to set up a blog premiere for your song

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How to do a blog premiere for your songBlog premieres (where you give a blog a limited window of time in which they’re the ONLY place someone can go to hear a song or watch a video) have become a ubiquitous way of promoting new music — but are they WORTH it?

That’s something Kevin Breuner and I discussed on our latest episode of the DIY Musician Podcast after hearing news that Indie Shuffle had decided to stop doing premieres (here’s why), and that artists like RAC were applauding the move.

I recently premiered five tracks and one video on six different blogs and saw some mixed results (though honestly, it’s difficult to measure the effect of these types of things), and I shared a bit about my experience in our podcast discussion as well: the good, the bad, and the puzzling.

Here are a few of those blog premiere puzzles:

* Barring the scenario where your tune becomes a hit, the premiere window might be the time when that song attracts the most concentrated attention it’ll ever get. BUT since it’s a premiere, by necessity it can’t be available anywhere else, which means you’re also giving up the opportunity to make money on that song through monetized streams, downloads, or album sales.

* If it’s not premiering on a super popular blog, many of the people listening to the track on their site are probably existing fans who you sent there via social media or email. If that’s the case, why not just share the track directly with fans?

* Facebook hates external links, so you might have to pay to boost a post sending fans to a website that earns advertising revenue from the traffic.

So why do a premiere?

A few of my premieres felt like drops in the bucket. But a couple had an obvious effect, leading to some radio play and good press quotes. But the real power of the premieres was in their cumulative effect; they seemed to build an online momentum and excitement for the release, even among people who might not have clicked to hear every single song premiere.

That being said, I had a publicist help me set up all but one of these premieres, so if you’re handling your own PR — which takes a lot of time — it might be advisable to shoot for just one song premiere and one video premiere in as high-profile an outlet as you can get.

Ten steps to setting up a blog exclusive

1. Find the right songs

What’s your “single?” The song that will most immediately grab people’s attention? Or maybe the song you’re proudest of? Pick a few standouts from the album. (If you’re releasing a single, well, problem solved!)

2. Upload them to SoundCloud

Some blogs will request an audio file, but most blogs are happy with a SoundCloud link. So upload those tracks, add any relevant notes and artwork, and then BE SURE to set the audio as private — otherwise it wouldn’t be much of a premiere, would it?

3. Appease the Hype Machine

Hype Machine is a site that keeps track of what’s trending in terms of music activity on blogs — blogs who, I should add, if they’re the first to feature a track, get credited on Hype Machine with much of the early activity for that song, even if other blogs start to share the same tune.  So: win-win for you and the premiering blog!

In addition to MP3s, HypeMachine monitors SoundCloud plays as long as the song is set to public on the platform, so you want to make sure you’re ready to set that puppy to public on the day of the premiere.

Here’s a little bit more info from Hype Machine’s site:

SoundCloud embeds must be public and be “Enabled for App Playback” in order to be read. Hype Machine must be allowed to access tracks by the rights holder on the account.

Why do some track names show up incorrectly?

We get our data from mp3 ID3 tags, so the artist and title fields need to be filled out completely. If there is no data in these fields, we will display “Unknown Track.”

SoundCloud: Tracks uploaded to SoundCloud should always be titled Artist – Title. We will check ID3 tags first, but will fall back on SoundCloud track titles if there is not enough information (it also seems that SoundCloud sometimes erases ID3 tag contents during its processing).

If there is no artist specified in the track title, we will use the username of the uploader.

Remixes should be titled Original Artist – Title (Remix Artist Remix)

Covers should be titled Cover Artist – Title (Original Artist Cover)

4. Find the right blogs

What are your dream blogs for a premiere? No harm in starting at the top and working your way down the list. So make a list! But make sure you have in mind to send them genre-appropriate tracks. For instance, don’t send your pop-rock track to the Americana blog.

Search the sites for contact info. If none is provided, try a resource such as The Indie Bible, or you could even ask a publicist if you can purchase a truncated portion of their media list for blog outreach purposes.

5. Write your pitch

What’s exciting about this release? Write it down in a sentence or two, copy and paste the private share link for the track or album on Soundcloud, and then ask if the outlet is interested in premiering the track or video. Also, be sure to include links to your website, social profiles, and longer press release.

6. Contact those blogs

Start at the top of the food chain and work your way down. Don’t necessarily jump at the first blog that bites; you might get a delayed yes from one of those dream blogs (who also probably have stuffed email inboxes).

7. Pick the date and time

Once you’ve confirmed that a blog will premiere your song, work out the exact date and time (if possible) the song will go live. This will help you get everything else ready in advance of the premiere.

8. Get ready to set your SC clip to public on the day of the premiere

Switch that track to public at right time if you want Hype Machine to take notice.

9. Write your posts in advance

Have some messaging ready to go for social and your newsletter. Once the premiere is live, just copy the URL and a nice quote from the post (if the blog wrote something extra about the song) and fly it into your pre-written copy. This will help you keep from scrambling on the day of the premiere when it’s most important to blast the news out through every channel.

10. Share directly with your fans once the period of exclusivity is over

24-48 hours later, you’ve got more content to share with fans: the actual song (on SoundCloud, or wherever). No need to route them to another destination at this point when they can get it right from the source.

Well, that’s a brief outline of the process of securing exclusive blog features for your songs. Have you done a blog premiere before? How’d you arrange it? What happened as a result? Worth it? Weigh in below!

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  • Rose Paradise

    Great timing on this article, I’ve been going back and forth today about whether to release a single off my upcoming cdbaby album that comes out next month. I know I’m a little late on my timing but I think I’ll go ahead and do it. I’ll keep you posted!

  • Awesome. Let me know how it goes.

    @ChrisRobley

    • Rose Paradise

      Thanks again for your helpful article. I didn’t get any blog to pick up the song I submitted off the album, but one blog on hype machine is going to do the premiere of my album on 4/14, before its 4/15 release date! So is it also important for me to get people to go on hype machine that day to press the link and follow me there? I feel funny asking my friends and fans to go on a site they wouldn’t normally follow to like my music, but I will if that is important! Or should I just tell people to follow the blog and let them know about the premiere? Thanks again. You really helped me get this going!

  • Will Small

    How long does the window of exclusivity generally last? If one site debuts the song or video, when is it appropriate to share the content with other sites?

  • 24-48 hours is pretty standard for a premiere. Some exclusives could be longer; say, for example, an arrangement where your album is streaming on a website for the whole week leading up to the release, or something like that. Always good to ask what that period is before the thing goes live.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Yeah, I think you should just share the link to the blog that’s premiering your music. That’s what your fans want, access to the music. No need to make them jump through extra hoops. Congrats on the release, btw.

    @ChrisRobley

  • Delton Lorenzo Hudson

    All wonderful, but does any of this apply to Classical composers for their works?

    • To be honest, I don’t know to what extent premieres are the norm in the classical world. But a blog is a blog, and I think a premiere would be appealing to both blogger and composer no matter what the genre.

      @ChrisRobley

      • Delton Lorenzo Hudson

        Thanks for your thoughts on this. I agree it would be appealing to both blogger and composer!

  • Ryo

    Hi, thanks for the info! Btw, what if one receives more thsn one opportunity of premieres, and one decides to approve them all? (more than one… Maybe 4 or something) would there be an strategy for that?
    Thank you.

    • Well, you can’t do more than one premiere for the SAME content. Like, you can’t premiere the same video in more than one outlet, but you can absolutely premiere DIFFERENT content on multiple blogs.

      @ChrisRobley