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ON HOW TO SUBMIT MUSIC FOR REVIEW
©2000, Jodi Krangle. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission
the attention of music reviewers can be almost as difficult
as breaking into a bank - and let's face it - sometimes far
less profitable. But a good review is worth its weight in
gold. So how does one go about getting reviewers to give your
particular package the time of day? I receive quite a few
of these packages myself so while I'm no expert, I do have
a few suggestions:
POLITE WHEN MAKING A FIRST CONTACT:
This may sound like it's too obvious to mention, but trust
me - if you contact a potential reviewer by demanding their
submissions address because you are simply the best thing
that has happened to music since the microphone and the reviewer
would be out of his or her mind to pass you up, you're likely
to be disappointed at the response you receive. Sure, every
artist deserves a chance. But you're biasing a reviewer against
you right from the start if you use that tactic. Reviewers
despise being taken for granted. Never assume you *deserve*
a review - ASK for one.
initial contact should be polite and brief. A simple, "Hello,
my name is (so and so) and I'm interested in a possible review
in your (publication/web site), would you be able to supply
me with the proper contact information so that I can send
you my CD?" will be kindly received. Even if it takes
the reviewer a little while to get back to you - whether it's
by regular mail, e-mail or through the feedback form of a
web site - their reply will usually be helpful.
last word on the subject of "first contact": PLEASE
don't send an e-mail with your web site address and only a
"Check this out!" line for clarification. You don't
want to know how much spam e-mail I receive in a day and messages
like that simply make me feel as if I'm being asked to check
out the latest in cheesy porn. I delete such messages on sight
and I honestly don't know many reviewers who pay them any
THE KITCHEN SINK AT HOME:
Your package should include an intro letter that addresses
the reviewer by name whenever possible, a bio that's hopefully
no more than a page long, a CD (CDs are the preferred medium
these days. I'm afraid you're kidding yourself if you think
otherwise), no more than three reviews in other publications
and/or web sites, and that's about IT. Pictures are nice but
they don't really matter as far as most publications are concerned.
If a publication requires further material, you'll be contacted
for it. Frankly, for myself, I'd rather give other reviews
a complete miss. I rarely pay attention to them. I prefer
to make up my own mind rather than read others' opinions before
I've even had a chance to listen to the music myself. But
I think that's really dependent on the type of publication
you're sending your package to. Some publications and/or web
sites might feel that favorable reviews elsewhere lend more
credibility to the artist - which is one of the reasons you'd
be asking for another review in the first place, right? Just
because I disagree with that sentiment, doesn't mean that
all reviewers will feel as I do. However, keep in mind that
if you include too much, you run the risk of it all being
ignored. After all, it's the MUSIC that really counts.
said, the presentation of the CD itself is probably the most
important element of your package. It's that CD that will
give the reviewer his/her opening impression of your music
- and (unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you
look at it) your professionalism. That doesn't mean you have
to have spent thousands of dollars on your presentation, a
huge CD insert, a gorgeous color cover, etc. That just means
that your "look" should be consistent. Some of the
packages that impress me the most are the ones that have an
actual design in mind carried through from the CD to the stationery
the cover letter is printed on and further. If you're not
getting a professional printing of anything, a color inkjet
printer creating your own letterhead along with a similarly
designed CD covering sticker, will work quite nicely. Simplicity
is often the best way to go. Above all, avoid sending in a
blank, recordable CD with black marker written on it. Your
contact information should be on both the CD and the insert
and/or cover. No matter *what* you do, make sure your contact
information is easy to find. The insert certainly doesn't
need to be in color but there should *be* one if at all possible.
The insert is the perfect place to put contact information,
credits (the reviewer is often fascinated by who did and wrote
what, I know *I* am!), anecdotal information, etc - the things
that make you special and different from the other folks the
reviewer will be listening to.
know what you're thinking. "Why not just include that
stuff on a separate sheet of paper inside the package?"
Well, for the same reason that your contact information NEEDS
to be on the disc itself: the reviewer may not actually be
taking all of your package around with him/her (in fact, it's
pretty unlikely!). The CD might become separated from the
rest of your package and for that reason, you want it to be
able to stand on its own as a professional piece of work,
whether it retains its case or not. You want the reviewer
to be able to contact you from that CD alone.
Things to send in your package:
* A brief cover letter addressing the reviewer by name (a
* A bio (1 page!)
* A CD (tapes are a thing of the past, folks!) - preferably
with an insert of some kind.
* Up to 3 reviews if you really feel you need them (try to
keep this on one or two pages)
- Keep the "look" simple and professional. You don't
have to spend a lot of money to accomplish this!
- Make sure your contact information is on EVERYTHING.
in mind that if your CD itself is a nice little package all
on its own including inserts, you may not need the bio or
the reviews and could probably get away with just sending
in the CD and a cover letter. If you have a web site and include
the url to that site in your cover letter, the reviewer can
find out tons more information on you should they wish to.
As mentioned earlier, sometimes simple is best.
I don't mean to say that you shouldn't ever re-contact the
reviewer. Not at all. Remind the reviewer you're around! Just
don't do it every day. Wait a couple of weeks between contacts.
Reviewers have a lot of demands upon their time and are frequently
several weeks - or even *months*! - behind in their reviews
depending on the publication(s) they write for.
I mentioned that once before, didn't I? Probably because I
consider it to be very important. The way in which you treat
people will reflect upon your professionalism even more so
than the look of your CD. It takes years to build up a good
reputation and only a few minutes to completely destroy it.
As with anything in the music business, you never know when
someone you were kind to will be in a position to return that
kindness. It's all about relationships. Make sure you're the
sort of person who fosters good ones and it'll all come back
does this relate to tips about getting reviews? Above all,
try to be pleasant. It may not seem like much, but believe
me - the reviewer appreciates it a great deal. Don't demand
to know why your CD wasn't chosen for a review and/or spotlight
if you are told that it wasn't - not unless you actually want
to hear what the reviewer has to say. And if that reviewer
*does* let you know why, don't bad mouth him/her for telling
you. You asked! I prefer not to review CDs that haven't impressed
me, for whatever reason. I don't like the idea of putting
up a lukewarm (or even BAD) review on a web site where people
can be referring to it forever. I don't feel that's fair to
the artist. In other words, if I'm not giving you a review,
don't consider it a rejection. Consider it a kindness. Move
on and keep in contact with the reviewer. It might be that
a future release of yours will be better received.
hope these hints have helped. Meanwhile, good luck with your
Krangle created The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource (www.musesmuse.com)
in 1995 and the site has since gone on to win numerous awards
along with garnering attention from major media sources such
as Billboard Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. She has
over six years experience in website promotions and puts that
experience to good use by freelancing in the field of internet
marketing and search engine placement strategies
offering discounts to musicians and music-related businesses.
Jodi is also an active musician and voice over professional.
In her spare time, she can often be found doing studio vocals,
writing songs (though not as often as she'd like), performing
with her folk group, Urban Tapestry (www.urbantapestry.org),
and working on her website until the wee hours of the morning.