The Outsight Report #13

Be successfully seen and heard: the changing face of PR to blogger submission

As we head deeper into the internet age, the music blog market has become increasingly saturated. With more blogs starting every day, and more musicians battling to get their voices heard, a good PR campaign has never been more important.

As inboxes fill up, and emails become lost to the constant stream of new content, how then do you open a direct line to a blogger’s ear? Increasingly, the answer is pointing to submission services.

TonedenOver the last year, a steady number of these have popped up across the web, each with their own unique take on the idea of delivering music to blogs in the best way possible. From the everything-to-everyone approach of Toneden (a community, music sharing platform and a way of connecting artists to their audience) to the widget based Demobox (an add-on to existing blogs’ website), all are brought together under a unified aim: to simplify the music submission process.

As services like FATDrop, which provide feedback on uploads, have established themselves in the world of club promo, it has become increasingly apparent that music blogs must follow suit. The value of a submission service where bloggers are presented with music and can easily turn down or accept music submissions, with PRs kept in the loop, should not be underestimated.

E-mails and physical promos sent through snail mail have one thing in common: they provide no guarantee of feedback. Though follow-up phone calls and email chases have their place when it comes to established press and online platforms with dedicated offices, for the emerging unsigned artist the probability of feedback lies in the quality of an expertly crafted e-mail. Yet without a carefully planned PR campaign,  utilising the benefits of a PR company’s reputation and nurtured relationships with key contacts, even the most carefully packaged CD or vinyl may be sent out into the abyss with no way of knowing if the music was ever even listened to.

SubmitHub in a nutshell

SubmitHub in a nutshell

Submission services represent the genuine opportunity to provide a more efficient feedback process over traditional communication between blogs and PRs, with real-time updates on a blogger’s interaction with a submission. For instance, SubmitHub – founded by Jason Grishkoff of Indie Shuffle – clearly displays how many times a track has been listened to by a certain blog, and even by each individual writer, before showing a rejection or approval. As Jason explains, their goal “is not only to make submissions manageable for bloggers, but to ensure that publicists get feedback on their submissions (a task emails struggle to achieve). SubmitHub isn’t built just for the blogs – it’s built for everyone.” This certainly seems to be a step in the right direction – however, in order for submission services to present a viable replacement for the tried and tested e-mail pitch, one service must emerge head and shoulders above the rest, and be widely adopted as an industry standard. Just as the Hype Machine emerged triumphant as the music blog aggregator of choice, beating the likes of Technorati and Elbows to the punch, it would seem that so too must one submission service reign victorious.

hypemachineOn the flipside, the varied and personal ‘Submission Guidelines’ provided by so many blogs often yearn for the more personal side of submission – and is there anything more personal than receiving a tailored e-mail or a beautiful vinyl through the post, and anything less personal than a copy and pasted press release submitted into a text-box on a website?

When all’s said and done, after a turbulent year for music blogs, the emergence of submission services can only be a good thing for both PRs and bloggers. When the Hype Machine removed certain blogs from their directory in May due to what was perceived as unfair leverage of coverage between PRs and bloggers, relations arguably took a dive. But by providing a more hands-on way of connecting these two sides of the same coin, submission services will hopefully serve to reignite and nurture these relationships and by extension both achieve their mutual aim: to deliver great new music to as many people as possible around the world – a solution that can’t come soon enough.

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