Updated: Feb 2
Back in the dark ages (the 90’s) music magazines, to music kids like me were as important almost as the music. NME would slander a record so badly you had to go out and buy it immediately, and the Kerrang! writers would invent whole sub-genres at a whim when the editor would make them write about things they really didn’t want to. That’s how a few generations of writers became cultural icons, and bands also became even more legendary and interesting. Getting IN these magazines was (and still is) hard, however and usually required getting there via a gatekeeper in the form of a PR company. That promo copy in a jiffy bag you sent to Mojo probably went in the bin unless it came via someone you paid a lot of money to.
That pesky internet changed the whole landscape of course, making music magazines less and less influential, but music blogs grew, and have been around a while now, over a decade. There are probably 5,000 active music blogs out there right now, ranging from professionally run giants like Pitchfork, to Becky’s Blog in her basement. Strangely enough they now are also losing influence to playlists which is a double edged sword; no creative words to inspire the adience, but instead a direct link to the music.
So, we made a record, you’re geting ready to release it. Have you sent it to blogs?
No? Then you have homework! Ideally you will do this: find blogs you like, figure out what they are into, make contact with the blogs and build a relationship. The Pitchforks of the world at this point, and in fact most decent blogs have the same situation as the magazines did; so much content coming in that the gatekeepers are in place but it’s not quite as rigid yet. It’s still worth a shot. Plus we have the Becky’s, remember? Even a blog that has a small readership has value. The very fact someone took the time and effort to write about you is something you should be greatful for and also - it raises your Google visibility. If someone searches for you, it’s way better for them to find something rather than nothing. Smaller blogs are more likely to write about you, you are more likely to be able to reach out to them, develop a relationship and actually get somewhere.
Another reason why blogs are important is they are still visited by the A&R weasels. I get a regular call from a young A&R asking me what I am working on, as these people need to stay on top of the newest thing and emerging artists - and checking respected blogs is part of that fishing trip.
The problem is you and every other weasel is sending them music, so they have to filter pretty drastically so prepeare to get your feels hurt as you get ignored. It’s NOT you, and you should NOT give up. Maybe 2%, perhaps even less will make it past the gate. It’s also why quality music is more important than ever.
Do some research. Send to blogs that cover your genre, don't use a scatter-gun approach.
Provide a streaming link to your best music. Nobody has time to download 500 albums.
Make a one-sheet or EPK and include it in your promo mail. Make sure your photo doesn't suck.
Get all of this ready AHEAD of your release date. Blogs like to write about NEW music, ahead of the pack. IF they write about you make 100% sure you say thank you on all the appropriate social channels, and build that relationship. Maybe you’d get a feature next time round, or tie-in with a premiere of your next video with that blog. It all has to start somewhere!
Rock climbing is never easy, and the more helping hands we have on the ascent the better.
Part of an ongoing series of Articles for Artists. Yes, the guy who writes this is Bald, English and offers professional remote mixing at mixedbyadam.com If you enjoyed this check out more Music Promotion Resources on the resource hub.