How to Get Your Music Reviewed: Targeting Media Outlets

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How to Get Your Music Reviewed[This post was written by guest contributor brian botkiller.]

I don’t know about you, but when I was first starting trying to get my music reviewed, I thought I knew all the right media outlets. But as time has gone on, the places I look to get those reviews have changed — immensely.  I’m going to give you some ideas on what you can do to look for reviews of your music on the internet, and how to get more features.

Find blogs that will review your music

I’m not going to lie to you; getting blogs to pay attention to your music is quite hard, because there are so many of them, and because the editors of those blogs can have very specific tastes, but it’s proven that music blogs serve a very important role in the new music industry. Why?  Because the editors do not report (on average) to a corporate sponsor; they do not have advertisers they must report to, and they are independent. This means they can talk about and review what they want to.

But how do you find those blogs? 

There are resources. I would suggest taking a look at Hypemachine first, which is located at hypem.com – they aggregate music posted on music blogs, and also list blogs which post music. You can search this list, and then contact those blog owners to ask for a review of your music.

Remember to have your electronic press kit ready, with pictures, and a good, easy (did I mention EASY?) way to listen to your music.  If your music isn’t in a quick, easy to listen to format, it won’t get listened to.

You can also spend some time searching the web for blogs that specialize in your genre of music, and this will also lead you to Internet Radio stations which do the same, as well as other reviewers.  Make sure to use search operators which utilize quotation marks for your search terms – so if you wanted to find electronic music blogs, try searching for that phrase in quotes – this will give you better, more accurate search results.

Other great music blog aggregators are:

http://elbo.ws/ – Another useful music blog aggregator

http://www.npr.org/music/blogs/ – NPR knows a lot about the media world, so their blog list is worth exploring.

Find the companies that make your instruments and interact with their Artist Representatives

I wrote awhile back on the CD Baby blog about how you could work to be in touch with those who make your instruments and endorse them, and I would like you to reference this practice again.

If you can make contact with the companies that make your instruments, you might find one that is willing to feature you on their blog, newsletter, Facebook, and beyond.  I know this works because I have made it work for bands I’ve been in. After chasing down the Artist Relations manager for Digitech guitar effects, I was able to get an offer from Digitech to do a video for one of their effect boxes which featured my band’s song. This video made it all around Digitech’s social media outlets, and helped to increase our recognition.

Take your time finding these folks, and when you do, slowly introduce yourself to them.  They might just feature your music and showcase it to potentially millions of people into what you do.

Network with other bands

It really can’t be said enough; networking with other bands is key to finding great ways to get your music reviewed and featured.  Why? Because other bands have done much of the footwork that you may not have done. Network with those bands that are like you, and see if you can share connections between your entities. This was how I was able to get my music featured on television; I knew a band who had done a lot of footwork, and I politely asked them for some input. They didn’t do all the work for me, mind you – I had lots to do myself, but they helped me find the way!

Dig local

You should never underestimate your local media, including the local paper and blogs, forums, and other local resources. Take some time to get to know the editors of these outlets, and find (if they still exist where you live), the music stores around you, and get to know the folks in charge of featuring music in-store. Your hard work could lead to one of many local outlets featuring you because you are part of the local artistic economy, and because you’ve taken the time to show why you’re worth featuring.

Closing notes

There’s no one simple answer to getting featured on any media outlet, but spending the time seeking those that are close to your genre or style, along with having a good press kit ready can pay off.  Remember to not be too pushy, but don’t be afraid to send follow-up emails. Take the time to search and communicate, and you can spread your music globally in no time!

brian botkiller is an electronic musician and drummer who endorses DDRUM, Ahead Drumsticks, and Presonus Audio Electronics.  He trains musicians on music-making at OBEDIA and can be found at brianbotkiller.com

[Target photo from Shutterstock.]

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  • Good idea for partnering with other bands, tons of positive things that could come from it. Help for recordings, more connections to get more performances, not to mention learning new sounds to enhance what’s already done. That said, not always trivial to find a band to connect with, especially when starting out, no experienced band is too eager to take on newbies too much.

  • We also review Albums and Mixtapes in our hard copy magazine @ http://www.sm-mag.com

  • Street Motivation Magazine also give Album & Mixtape reviews to indie artist and place your review in our hard copy indie artist magazine, we are also sold at 7-Eleven and Music Shops such as Amoeba Music in Hollywood, Is there a charge? Yes, $25 for 90 days and full color.

  • bricescreek

    What if you are NOT a band, but an individual that has spent 3 years on 30 songs in your studio, has a web site with all the updated (but unmastered) songs, biographies of those on the albums, photos, etc., and want reviews? Without the aforementioned “presskit” do you think it would be appropriate to seek reviews from the above mentioned music blogs?

  • question – my CD has been released almost a year ago. I’m also the label, that’s my first album/release.. genre: free jazz/improvised music. It’s available online, digital + hard, but only sold some of them at live concerts. Well, I think i didn’t make enough (almost any) effort to get it reviewed and find distributors.

    Do you think it’s a problem if the CD is already ‘out’ – how would you ask for reviews, etc. “Hey, I’ve an album released a year ago, have a listen”? Did I just miss the oppurtunity when the disc was just ready?

    What would be the best strategy in this case? Maybe it doesn’t make so much difference.

  • Well, you did miss an opportunity for a big PR push. Most reviewers are so flooded with new music that they don't have time to go back and listen to old stuff (and yes, a year is considered old). BUT… people who are really into the kind of thing you're doing are still going to want to hear it. So maybe it's better to target reviewers individually and ask if they'd like to be sent a CD or a download code (and explain the situation — but you think they'd really like your music).

  • Yes. Most blogs don't expect the whole formal presskit anyway. All they really want (most of 'em, anyway) is a nice email explaining who you are and why they should give a damn. Then provide a link to your site and where they can download your track for free. (And permission to give the track away on their site, of course).

    @ChrisRobley

    • I guess it depends on the genre.

      Hip Hop blogs usually do not need a press kit. A streamable link, 4-5 sentences about the song or project, and artwork will do it.

      The issue is not how to get your music reviewed, the issue revolves around the time to get it reviewed. A lot of artists reach out to reviewers after a project has been out for some time (after it fizzles).

      In a perfect world, the artist would reach out to music bloggers months before a project is released. The artist could use these reviews to build the buzz for the album.

      Sadly this is not how a majority of artists think. As always a plan or strategy should be in place to maximize exposure for an album.

      I am speaking strictly from a hip hop perspective and I would love to be schooled on other genres.

      What do you maximize your marketing efforts?

      @PtheWyse

  • There are lots of resources online to get your music reviewed, but its usually overpriced for what you actually get. Best to get free reviews by getting contacts with the right people. Matt x

  • Would you please clarify what you mean by giving the blogger an "easy way to listen"? I have extended sound clips on my website (i.e., 2-3xs longer than CD Baby, iTunes, etc.), but I don't want to publish full-length mp3s for obvious reasons. I have all the sound clips on one page, which also include all the personnel/instrumentation, stories, photos, liner notes, etc. But I also have a Soundcloud account. Is that a better medium to use?

  • If you've already set it up on your website to have streams right there along with stories and such, I'd leave as-is. Sounds like you've taken care of it already. No need to pull in a SoundCloud player. That'd probably just clutter things up.

    @ChrisRobley

  • FAN TO FAM

    awesome

  • Dean

    so be a massive sycophant basically. no thanks, id rather keep my dignity.

  • joecooling
  • AndyBodu

    Good tips – thanks. TMO Magazine are accepting new music submissions (free). To get your music featured in the magazine, alongside regular features with artists like Glen Hansard, Local Natives, F**k Buttons, Trentemoller and more, fill out the interview form here http://www.threemonkeysonline.com/introducing-new-music/ (you can include soundcloud and youtube embeds).