Coming up as a self-promoting artist in 2012 is not easy. The Internet has made it very possible to catch a big break, but it also presents a lot of obstacles. One of the biggest issues is that with such a low barrier to entry, the world of music on the Internet has become saturated. Music blogs do their best to sift through it all and share the good stuff, but with so much out there, standing out is much harder to do than being ignored.
In the past, we’ve given tips on how to get your music posted, but a lot of the time you can learn more from understanding what NOT to do. We drew from our own experience and asked other music bloggers to share some of the most annoying things they encounter as part of the job. This is what we came up with. Here’s how to go about getting blacklisted, ignored, and not posted on any music blogs.
Hit “next” or click the pictures to read on…
1. Start a fake friendly/small talk conversation when you have an agenda.
It’s great to have a rapport with the people that you’re going to eventually pitch your music to. But that relationship is not going to be built over a five minute period right before you ask if a blogger will check out your latest single. Here’s how that conversation should NOT go:
You: Yooo long time no talk, what’s up? How’s New York?
Blogger: Not much, it’s good.
You: I feel that. I gotta get out there some time.
You: I saw that post you did on How To Not Get Your Music Posted On Blogs, that was great.
Blogger: Thanks for reading it.
You: Of course. Today was my little sis’ birthday so I’ve been off the grid all day.
You: My girlfriend has the flu.
You: I just saw the new Batman movie.
You: I’m listening to 2 Chainz and eating soup.
You: You got a minute to check out my new song? I PROMISE you’re gonna love it.
If you do that, your next conversation will probably look like this:
You: Yooo long time no talk, what’s up? How’s New York?
2. Make promises you can’t keep.
The most common lie a music blogger sees on a daily basis: “YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS.”
The logic of this understandable; if you really want people to listen to your music, you have to be confident in it. But there is a tactful way to be proud of your art, and this isn’t it. And if a blogger reads this, listens, and doesn’t love it, you are now a liar.
Instead, try an approach like this: “I put a lot of effort into this one and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I hope you like it.”
3. Be a Twitter spammer.
It’s a simple truth: 99% of bloggers HATE getting music via Twitter. Along with lines at the DMV, airplane food, and stubbed toes, music submissions on Twitter are among the most unpleasant things in life to a music blogger. If you’re not close to a blogger and you’re not sure that they won’t get pissed, avoid tweeting music at them altogether, and definitely don’t DM them. (Personally, I don’t mind being bothered on Twitter, so spam away.)
One good tactic (if you’re trying to make music bloggers hate you) is to wait until you see two of them going back and forth on Twitter. At this point, that old “two birds, one stone” should pop into your brainless skull and bounce around like a rubber ball in a fish bowl. Whether or not you know/care about the topic of conversation is irrelevant. Jump into the convo, @ing them both and using your loudest tweeting voice to make sure you are engaging. Hop in quick with something like, “I TOTALLY AGREE YOU GUYS ARE BOTH SO RIGHT!” Then cut to the chase: “btw if u have a minute check out my new video.”
Congratulations, two more people on the Internet hate you.
4. Get upset when your music doesn’t get posted.
Someone doesn’t like your music? The answer is not to hit you social media outlets and get to shit talking. This will not only ensure that bloggers will probably never post your music in the future, but it will let other bloggers know what an asshole you are so they can also ignore you. That is, unless you’re Tyler, The Creator. Then this might backfire and you might get famous.
A surprising amount of artists feel a sense of entitlement, like they have the inherent right to be featured on music blogs. If you feel this way, try to hide it. Respect is key, and if you come off sounding like you can’t possibly comprehend why someone wouldn’t want to champion your music, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding people who will.
5. Spell the site’s name/name of writer incorrectly.
Pigeons & Planes is a weird name—we get that. But don’t reach out and say, “I love the blog, I’m on there every day” if you’re going to spell like a dickhole and add a “d.” I don’t know what a pidgeon is. If, by sliver of a chance, you do actually make good music, you can count on us spelling your name wrong in the headline. This applies to author names too. If you’re going to address someone personally, take a second to double check their name first.
While we’re on the topic, I guess it’s a good time to make the official announcement: P&P will be purchasing pidgeonsandplanes.com and launching a second site, specifically for dickholes.
6. Email blast out every song you make.
It’s better to make 5 really good songs than 100 mediocre ones (unless your name is Lil B). If you send over some mediocre shit, chances are bloggers are going to start to ignore you. If you send over an amazing song, chances are bloggers are going to take notice. I’ve received emails that said, “This is just a rough cut, it’s not my best work at all but I think you’ll see the potential.” To me, that reads similarly to, “I’m lazy and sloppy and you should disregard me because I do not want to be taken seriously.”
Trust me, nobody wants to hear a rough cut demo of your own song that even you don’t really like.
A good practice is to have 5 or so people who you know will give you their honest opinion. Run it by them before you blast it out to the Internet. If you don’t have anyone who will give you the harsh truth from time to time, you need to get more honest friends.
7. Send a download link to an album or mixtape without a link to stream.
If we’ve never heard of you, we probably aren’t going to download an entire album’s worth of songs and spend an hour listening to the whole thing. You’re better off sending through your best song. If we love it, we’ll listen to more. Another good option is to stream your tape on an easy-to-use player like Soundcloud. Suggesting a few key tracks as a starting point is always appreciated.
For bloggers, consuming a lot of music is part of the job. If you make it too much work to listen to your stuff, most bloggers are going to skip over it and move on to the next submission.
8. Forget to BCC.
Want to piss off a gaggle of bloggers at the same damn time? Send out a mass email and don’t use the BCC function. In case you are unfamiliar, BCCing allows you to send out an email to numerous people at once without allowing everyone to see who is included in the email. Failing to do this really annoys some bloggers, because it puts their sometimes personal contact info on display, which usually leads to their email being added to more spam lists. If you’re sending out email to multiple bloggers at once, ALWAYS use the BCC.
9. Get too personal.
You need to know your boundaries. An email is fine. Depending on the relationship, Facebook, Twitter, GChat, AIM, phone calls, and texting may also be appropriate. But if you’re not sure, don’t push it. If you’re using more than two forms of communication to relay one message, you’re probably being obnoxious. You’re probably going to be ignored a lot. And when all the music bloggers get together for the secret Music Bloggers Only party each year, we’re gonna tell stories about how annoying you are and laugh so hard that we spit champagne all over each other.
10. Make shitty music.
Without question, most artists who are actively trying to get their music heard think that their music is good. But if you’ve been pushing your music for years and not getting the response that you had hoped for, you have to consider the painful possibility that your music just isn’t as good as you think it is. Either that, or the world just isn’t ready for your level of genius. In the case that you believe you are in fact a misunderstood genius, carry on, the world needs you. Keep fighting to be heard—just please keep this article in mind while doing so.