fbpx
Industry Tips

Submit to Indie Music Blogs and music review sites and promote your music for free in 2020

Submit to Indie Music Blogs and music review sites and promote your music for free

If you have an upcoming release in 2020 or have just released new music, you want to make the most out of it. Making music is like showing your most precious possession to the world. It’s really about expressing yourself. Submit your music to indie music blogs and use the following tips and list of music review sites in this article.

A great way to get your music heard is to get a review on music blogs. Sure, a positive review on a blog like Pitchfork will boost your career, but there are many other smaller blogs out there that are worth checking out. In this blog post, we have gathered valuable tips on how to promote your music for free on blogs, dos and don’ts of music promo, a 130 + list of indie music blogs and review sites and a few paid services (not in our music blog directory) worth checking out if you don’t want to do all the hard work yourself. Getting featured on one or more of these indie music blogs will surely open new doors, get you new fans and can be the starting point of a musician’s career. If you’re an independent artist you’ll most likely do all the hard work yourself but how do you do that? Find out in this blog post.

First of all, congrats on your new release and all the best of luck getting it out there!

If you want access to even more contacts, check this awesome directory by The Indie Bible with 960 music blogs, 4300 radio stations, 970 record labels accepting demos and more, click here for access to the Indie Bible via our referral link for only $59,95.

What is a music blog?

Music blogs have been around for quite some time. In the early zeros, before streaming platforms existed, these (indie) music sites were the go-to place to discover new music. Can you imagine a world without Spotify now? Spotify wasn’t founded until 2006 so music blogs were the place to go when you wanted to discover music.

Music blogs are great for exposure and to help artists build their fanbase and visitors to discover not only new music but also the stories behind the music. Most music blogs not only publish music reviews, but also feature artist interviews, music industry tips, and showcase videos. The exciting recent introduction of popular music podcasts elaborate on the stories behind the songs, provide in-depth interviews with the artists and much more.

Another big advantage of getting featured on music blogs is that the content will stay on the website indefinitely. This means whenever people Google your genre/mood or adjectives describing your music, they could find the music review about you, start reading and become a fan!

Tips how to submit to a music blogger

Electronic Press Kit (EPK) for musicians

Your first impression is the most important one. Make an awesome impression with music media using an up-to-date EPK (electronic press kit). An EPK is a CV for DJs, bands, artists and musicians and shows your portfolio. A good and well-structured EPK includes everything a potential blogger will need in order to write a blog post about you without having to look up all in the information themselves. Music bloggers, like musicians, don’t have all the time in the world and are most often doing everything in their own free time. Having a professional EPK at the ready, will most definitely help you get music reviews. It shows bloggers you actually care about your music career.

Credit Reverbnation

How to create an EPK

There are various free tools out there that will enable you to make an EPK yourself. Check out Adobe Spark, Wix, SonicBids, ReverbNation, Drooble,  Canva, Epresskitz, ArtistEcards for free options. Websites like Bandzoogle offer a premium option that are also worth checking out. If you already have a website, you can easily create your own and make sure to include the information listed below.

Tips for your EPK

  1. Make your EPK eye-catching and unique so it really stands out. Music bloggers and industry professionals see many EPKs daily and an outdated shoddy looking EPK will make them look away and move to the next one.
  2. Keep your EPK simple. This sounds easy because you want to stand out but remember, as mentioned before, industry folks like music bloggers don’t have all the time in the world to filter out the relevant information. Always make sure a quick glance will show them everything they need.
  3. Only include your best stuff.
  4. Keep your EPK up-to-date. Have a new track? Include it. Have new press photos? Include them. Have a new music video? Include it. Have new gigs or a tour coming up? Include it. Have a … well, you get the point.
  5. Don’t add very large files. If you want to add high-quality, large PNGs, videos or tracks, include a link to e.g. Dropbox in case a music outlet needs it.

Want to get on more Spotify playlists?

Make sure to check this blog post as well, with valuable tips how to contact curators and a list of curators to submit your music to.

What to include in your EPK

  • Music
    Make sure to have your best three tracks on top. Most people mostly will only play the first tracks in your EPK. Ask friends, fans and family what your best track is if you’re unsure yourself.
  • Band photos and album art
    Combine band photos (press) and live photos here. Live photos are cool, but only if they are really awesome and striking. Make sure to also include your band photos here.
  • Logos and branding
    Add your logo and other branding material for e.g. venues and clubs to use in their advertising and posters.
  • Embedded audio and video
    It’s easy to embed YouTube, Soundcloud, Spotify and other music and videos in your EPK. Find out how to do that here.
  • Biography
    This is a very important part of your EPK. Your bio should be well written and well structured. Make it short and concise. Start with the present, a bit about your history and end with the future. Find more info on how to write an effective musician bio (with examples) on Bandzoogle.
  • Videos
  • Links
    To social media, your website and where to purchase music
  • Past press and or testimonials
    Add a few positive words from music review sites that already featured your music. Always add a link to the original article for people to read the entire story.
  • Gigs or tour dates
    Apps like BandsInTown are great for showing your past and current tour dates and connect with fans. Sign up if you haven’t already. BandsInTown lets you promote events, talk to fans, have an events widget and a tour trailer to showcase your band. It will encourage more fans to see you live. It’s also easy to share on your socials (automatically) so you only have one place to manage your gigs. Alternatively, add your tour dates manually.
  • Contact info
    Add a contact form, e-mail address or other ways to contact you.

How to get music reviews (and how not to)

Use the directory with a list of music review sites below this article to find useful contact information on how to submit to music bloggers. But the most important thing here is to really stand out and have the blogger want to write about you. How do you do that? And also, how not to submit to an indie music blog… At For The Love Of Bands, we have seen submissions in all forms and shapes and more often than not they don’t follow our guidelines and or don’t match our niche. That brings us to the first tip.

Select blogs within your niche

Simply put: do your research. Don’t just send your music in BCC to hundreds of irrelevant media outlets at once. Demonstrate to the music blogger that you actually care and are a frequent visitor of their website by reading their reviews. Or, at least pretend you do. If you’re an alternative rock artist don’t submit music to a hip hop blog. If you’re an indie-pop artist don’t submit to punk, garage or noise bloggers. It makes you look bad and not serious about your music career.

Follow the indie music blog’s guidelines

Most blogs have a preferred way of receiving reviews. Some only accept submissions on e.g. Submithub. If they do, only submit on Submithub. Most music blogs, however, also accept submissions via their own system. Most even have their guidelines spelt out for you. E.g. if they want you to contact them via a submission system on their website use that option and don’t send them e-mails. We at For The Love Of Bands often get e-mails (mostly via mailing lists) about new releases asking about music reviews. These are not personalized and don’t show the submitter knows he or she submitted music specifically to us. Long story short: follow the music blogger’s guidelines. If you can’t find instructions on the website, send an e-mail to the blogger keeping in mind the information shared below.

Tip: Check if you can find contact details of the writers on the blog. If so, see what kind of music they’re into. If they like your genre, try to connect with them and e.g. refer to a few articles you read.

Don’t use BCC

This sounds harsh, but receiving a bulk e-mail is really off-putting. You’re right, receiving a BCC’d message is still better than seeing hundreds of bloggers in the CC but BCC is bad. If you don’t care about the blogger, why should the blogger care about you? If you don’t take the time to get to know the blogger, why should they? If you’re sending an e-mail (more about that below), address the blogger personally. Maybe even look up some writers on the blog and address them. It makes your e-mail so much more personal.

Use GMass if you do want to send out mass emails, but personal and friendly

Video source GMass

Engage with the music review sites you’re submitting to

Prior to sending your music, establish a (virtual) relationship with the blog. Follow their socials, start liking their content and maybe even share a publication. Refer to the content you liked in your first contact with the blogger.

Keep your e-mails short and relevant

Many e-mails we get start with “I know you must be really busy…”, “Hey, check out this new release…”, “You must be getting hundreds of these a week…” etc. Start with something nice, engaging and compelling. E.g. by mentioning what you like about the blog, which artists you discovered, that you added music discovered via their blog to your road trip playlist etc. Don’t add lots of images and design to your e-mails. It really clutters your message and makes it hard to read. In short: keep it fresh, nice and simple. If you really knock your socks off, it almost looks like a mailing list subscription the blogger didn’t sign up for.

Make sure your music is easily accessible and playable

Use an EPK (see above) or structure your e-mail or contact form nicely to make sure the blogger has easy access to your music. Always actually add your music to the e-mail. You can also use Dropbox (2 GB free) to host your MP3s, WAVs or (unreleased) videos. When you’re sharing cloud-hosted files, make sure to properly ID3 tag your MP3s. Find 5 free MP3 tag editors here. Another big plus of Dropbox is that you can also use it as an alternative to a web-based EPK. Simply include your bio, audio, press photos etc. here, easily sharable and easily accessible for bloggers of music review sites.

Want to get on more Spotify playlists but don’t want to do all the hard work yourself? Run a campaign with PlaylistPush using our affiliate link or use coupon code AGD5MHW for a 7.5% discount!

Have patience

Many bloggers get hundreds of e-mails per day. Follow up e-mails really clutter blogger’s inboxes and in fact, most will simply ignore follow up e-mails. Remember that writing a cool article about music takes time. Bloggers are human beings, not machines. Take a look at the website, see how many articles they post weekly and do the math. It’s not strange if they only write about less than 0,25% of all submissions, so if you’re not hear something back, don’t stalk the blogger. It won’t do you any good. You can, of course, ask for a follow up if the indie music blog answered your initial e-mail and told you they are writing about your music.

Music promo e-mail etiquette

E-mails sent to nobody in particular starting with “Hello!” or “Hi there” or are sent via mailing lists or other automated services, are mostly not read or followed up. Mostly they also end up in the blogger’s spam inbox. Ask yourself: do I reply to all the junk mail I receive? Imagine getting hundreds per day … 🙂 A few tips for e-mail etiquette:

  • Do your research
  • Address the blog you’re contacting personally. If you found out who writes for the blog, address them personally.
  • Share something nice about the blog you’re submitting to
  • Why does your music fit the blog?
  • Follow the outlet on their socials
  • Maybe even share a blog article or playlist you liked on your socials?
  • Mention what it is you want from the one you’re sending the e-mail to
  • Write what you have to offer for the outlet (e.g. social share?)
  • Avoid stupid subject lines
  • Don’t use CAPS-LOCKED subject lines (or CAPS-LOCKED e-mail body…)
  • Don’t be rude or overly friendly calling the blogger dude, guy, brah, bro, friend.
  • Never attach MP3s or videos to an e-mail. If you want to attach an unreleased track, use a private Soundcloud link or share a Dropbox folder with all the relevant information.

Paid services worth checking out

As you can read above, getting your music heard and contacting all the different blogs individually takes a lot of time, practise and, most probably, stupid mistakes. The music promotion services listed below, are services we at For The Love Of Bands use or have used in the past. The biggest blogger outlet is Submithub and you’ll either love it or hate it.

Submithub

There are 784 active blogs and labels using Submithub at the time of writing this blog post with a combined reach of 103.6 million fans. Submithub is a website started by Jason Grishkoff in 2015 that makes it easy for musicians (or their representatives) to send their songs to blogs, record labels, radio stations and playlisters. Find all the pros and cons listed here. Submithub is has a premium option ($1 per credit) or a free option. With premium credits your submission filters to the top of each outlet’s dashboard and the blog has to respond within 48 hours and listen to your track for at least 20 seconds and provide feedback. With free credits a blog can choose whether to provide feedback or not.

HumanHuman

HumanHuman is a platform where you can discover new music and can conversely be discovered. More than 75,000 artists have already been discovered and added by HumanHuman users. Music bloggers, A&R representatives, managers, radio makers and all-round music professionals are on HumanHuman sharing their expertise. They all set their own price (ranging €1 – €10) and you pay a fee to benefit from their expertise. Submit music via this link.

Groover

With Groover you can, like Submithub, send music to relevant media and labels. Feedback is guaranteed, as media and labels have 7 days to listen to your song, write feedback and decide if they will share your tune. You can send your music for 2 Grooviz credits (€2 per credit) per contact. If you don’t get feedback, you’ll get your credits back.

Use our discount code FORTHELOVEOFGROOV to get a 10% discount on our next Groover campaign.

List of music review sites

So, now that we’re 2500 words in, it’s time to share our Indie Music Blog directory with the list of music review sites. Surely at least one of them will want to write about your piece of art, right? The list below shows everything you need to get started submitting your music to these media outlets. Remember to always check the website before submitting, read a few posts, see if your music is a good fit. You can search the list by entering your genre, or search a specific blog. Many outlets cover most genres, these are simply listed here as ‘All’ or ‘Multiple’, although they might not feature your style. Make sure to always check the ‘about’ page, as the blog mostly outlines their submission guidelines there so you won’t go wrong there.

Good luck!

This is a dynamic directory and we’ll add more blogs all the time. Do you have a blog and want to be listed here as well? Send us an email. If your blog is listed here and you want us to change anything, email us as well. Feel free to download the table below as CSV or PDF and add an extra column to keep track when you submitted music (and what) and another column when you received a reply.

List of music review sites and music blogs

NameTypeNiche / genre(s)Submit via
PitchforkBlogAllSubmit to Pitchfork
Pigeons And PlanesBlogAllSubmit to Pigions And Plans via mail
Pop JusticeBlogPopSubmit to Pop Justice
Louder Than WarBlogPunk, Rock, Alternative, Independent Submit to Louder Than War
Indie Band GuruBlogAllSubmit to Indie Band Guru
alexrainbirdMusicYouTube channelPop, Folk, Rock, AlternativeSubmit to alexrainbirdMusic via mail
All Things Go MusicBlogAllSubmit to All Things Go Music via mail
Fresh On The NetBlogAllSubmit to Fresh On The Net
Solid MuseBlogPop, Alt Pop, Electronic, Rap, Hip Hop, Rock Submit to Solid Muse
HillydillyBlogAllSubmit to Hillydilly
Crack In The RoadBlogPop, Independent, ElectronicSubmit to Crack In The Road via mail
Dancing AstronautBlogDance, ElectronicSubmit to Dancing Astronaut via mail
dynmk.YouTube channeldynmkSubmit to dynmk.
Little Indie BlogsBlogIndieSubmit to Little Indie Blogs
Mix It All UpBlogIndie Rock, Indie Pop, Alternative, ShoegazeSubmit to Mix It All Up via mail
Wave MusicYouTube channelIndie electro, Chill, TrapSubmit to Wave Music via mail
We The BeatBlogIndieSubmit to We The Beat via mail
IndiespotBlogIndieSubmit to Indiespot via mail
AltpressBlogunderground, alternative, punkSubmit to Altpress via mail
IndieVibesYouTube channelIndie Pop, Folk, Rock, Acoustic, AmericanaSubmit to IndieVibes via mail
Gorilla VS BearBlogAllSubmit to Gorilla VS Bear via mail
For The Love Of BandsBlogIndie, Alternative, Rock, Punk, Punk Rock, Pop Punk, Indie Rock, Ska, ReggaeSubmit to For The Love Of Bands
PunaBlogHip HopSubmit to Puna via mail
We Are Going SoloBlogAllSubmit to We Are Going Solo via mail
House Music With LoveBlog/labelHouseSubmit to House Music With Love
StereogumBlogAllSubmit to Stereogum via mail
We Rave YouBlogEDMSubmit to We Rave You via mail
Gasmask MagazineBlogAcoustic, Country, Folk, Alternative, Dance, Indie, Pop, R&BSubmit to Gasmask Magazine Charge $10 per submission
FoundBlogIndie, darkwave, independent rap, psychSubmit to Found via E-mail
dlnwBlogElectronic, IndieSubmit to dlnw via E-mail
Aquarium DrunkardBlogpsych, jazz, avant-garde, folk, garage, funk Submit to Aquarium Drunkard
Indie Music HomeBlogIndie, Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, RnBSubmit to Indie Music Home
Add This MusicBlogAllSubmit to Add This Music
This Song Is SickBlogElectronic, Indie, Hip HopSubmit to This Song Is Sick
Tiny MixtapesBlogIndieSubmit to Tiny Mixtapes
Acid StagBlogElectronic (electro, disco, house, groove, funk, soul, dance, electro RnB, future-beat)Submit to Acid Stag
Indie Music ReviewBlogAllSubmit to Indie Music Review
SYFFALBlogAllSubmit to SYFFAL
The Word Is BondBlogHip HopSubmit to The Word is Bond
A&R FactoryBlogAllSubmit to A&R Factory
Consequence of SoundBlogAllSubmit to Consequence of Sound
Drowned in SoundBlogAllSubmit to Drowned in Sound
HearYaBlogIndieSubmit to HearYa via mail
12XUBlogPunk, Punk Rock, Post Punk, Garage PunkSubmit to 12XU
Beer For The EarBlogIndieSubmit to Beer For The Ear via mail
Pulp And Circumstance, JuicedBlogAllSubmit to Pulp And Circumstance Juiced via mail
We All Want Someone To Shout ForBlogAllSubmit to We All Want Someone to Shout For via mail
Adobe and TeardropsBlogRockSubmit to Adobe and Teardrops via mail
The Record StacheBlogIndie, Pop, Hip Hop, Electronic, Fynth, Folk, ExperimentalSubmit to The Record Stache
The Grey EstatesBlogFemale Rock MusicSubmit to The Grey Estates
Monolith CocktailBlogIndieSubmit to Monolith Cocktail
Submit to Monolith CocktailBlogAllSubmit to Gig Goer
Nordic Music ReviewBlogAllSubmit to Nordic Music Review
Kings of A&RBlogAllSubmit to Kings of A&R
Niche MusicBlogJapanese IndieSubmit to Niche Music
The Music NinjaBlogAllSubmit to The Music Ninja
My Old Kentucky BlogBlogAllSubmit to My Old Kentucky Blog via mail
I Heard A WhisperBlogElectronicSubmit to I Heard A Whisper
Who The HellBlogAustralian/NZ music onlySubmit to Who The Hell
Mute ControlBlogElectronic, PopSubmit to Mute Control via mail
Quick Like BunniesBlogTechnoSubmit to Quick Like Bunnies
A1234BlogAllSubmit to A1234
RavechildBlogElectronic (Scottish only)Submit to Ravechild
Paste MagazineBlogAllSubmit to Paste Magazine
Music from the heartBlogHouseSubmit to Music from the heart
Asian DanBlogExperimental ElectronicSubmit to Asian Dan via mail
For The RabbitsBlogAllSubmit to For The Rabbits
Purple MelonBlogPopSubmit to Purple Melon
Casablanca SunsetBlogAllSubmit to Casablanca Sunset
The PostieBlogIndie PopSubmit to The Postie
Weirdo WastelandBlogAlternative, IndieSubmit to Weirdo Wasteland
Different KitchenBlogHip HopSubmit to Different Kitchen
IndeflagrationBlogRock, Pop, FolkSubmit to Indeflagration via mail
Planeta PopBlogPopSubmit to Planeta Pop via mail
Under The Radar MagBlogAllSubmit to Under The Radar Mag
The Daily ListeningBlogAllSubmit to The Daily Listening
BeatrouteBlogAllSubmit to Beatroute
Fingertips MusicBlogIndie, Indie RockSubmit to Fingertips Music
UmstrumBlogAllSubmit to Umstrum
Music SavageBlogAllSubmit to Music Savage
Nordic SpotlightBlogAll genres (Nordic)Submit to Nordic Spotlight
Tuned UpBlogAllSubmit to Tuned Up
Nordic By NatureBlogNordic soundsSubmit to Nordic By Nature
OVRLDBlogAustin onlySubmit to OVRLD
Drunken WerewolfBlogAllSubmit to Drunken Werewolf
Bolting BitsBlogAllSubmit to Bolting Bits
Velvet IndependentBlogAllSubmit to Velvet Independent via mail
Ransom NoteBlogElectronicSubmit to Ransom Note via mail
Echo CloudBlogAllSubmit to Echo Cloud
2 Dope BoyzBlogHip HopSubmit to 2 Dope Boyz via mail
DJ BoothBlogHip HopSubmit to DJ Booth
POP ON AND ONBlogPopSubmit to Pop On And On
ManierenversagenBlogPunkSubmit to Manierenversagen
Collective ZineBlogRock, PunkSubmit to Collective Zine
The VPMEBlogAllSubmit to VPME
50THIRDAND3RDBlogRockSubmit to 50THIRDAND3RD
Balloon MachineBlogAlternativeSubmit to Balloon Machine
Beautiful FreaksBlogIndieSubmit to Beautiful Freaks
Silence NogoodBlogMultipleSubmit to Silence Nogood
PitchupBlogElectronicSubmit to Pitchup
MP3HuggerBlogSinger Songwriter, Alternative, Folk, Indie Pop and Indie RockSubmit to MP3Hugger
Obscure SoundBlogMultipleSubmit to Obscure Sound
Nialler9BlogMultipleSubmit to Nialler9
DisquietBlogAmbient, ElectronicaSubmit to Disquiet
Coast Is ClearBlogIndie PopSubmit to Coast Is Clear
Here Comes The FloodBlogMultipleSubmit to Here Comes The Flood
3hiveBlogMultipleSubmit to 3hive
The Blue WalrusBlogIndie, Electro, FolkSubmit to The Blue Walrus
Killed By Death RecordsBlogPunk, Hardcore, Powerpop, ModSubmit to Killed By Death Records
Bradley's AlmanacBlogMultipleSubmit to Bradley's Almanac
Soul SidesBlogSoulSubmit to Soul Sides
Indie PulseBlogMultipleSubmit to Indie Pulse
Santa Rosa RecordsBlogMultipleSubmit to Santa Rosa Records
Various Small FlamesBlogMultipleSubmit to Various Small Flames
Indie Central MusicBlogMultipleSubmit to Indie Central Music
Atwood MagazineBlogMultipleSubmit to Atwood Magazine
The Owl MagBlogMultipleSubmit to The Owl Mag
The Alternative FeedBlogMultipleSubmit to The Alternative Feed
The AlternativeBlogMultipleSubmit to The Alternative via mail
The RevueBlogMultipleSubmit to The Revue
YVYNYLBlogMultipleSubmit to yvynyl
TwangvilleBlogMultipleSubmit to Twangville
Somewhere SoulBlogSongs with SoulSubmit to Somewhere Soul via mail
EQ MusicBlogPop, ElectronicSubmit to EQ Music
Brooklyn VeganBlogMultipleSubmit to Brooklyn Vegan
Deep House AmsterdamBlogDeep HouseSubmit to Deep House Amsterdam
Live Music BlogBlogLiveSubmit to Live Music Blog via mail
EDM IdentityBlogEDMSubmit to EDM Identity
Indie Rock CaféBlogIndie RockSubmit to Indie Rock Café
Underground Hip Hop BlogBlogHip HopSubmit to Underground Hip Hop Blog
Nashville GabBlogCountrySubmit to Nashville Gab
Indie Music FilterBlogMultipleSubmit to Indie Music Filter
Ride The TempoBlogCanadianSubmit to Ride The Tempo
The Wild Honey PieBlogMultipleSubmit to The Wild Honey Pie
The New LoFiBlogMultipleSubmit to The New LoFi via mail
The Mad MackerelBlogMultipleSubmit to The Mad Mackerel
The Music CourtBlogMultipleSubmit to The Music Court
Swell ToneBlogMultipleSubmit to Swell Tone
Portals MusicBlogMultipleSubmit to Portals Music
Still in RockBlogRockSubmit to Still in Rock via mail
Heavy Blog Is HeavyBlogMetal, Heavy Rock Submit to Heavy Blog Is Heavy
Upstream IndieBlogAll genresSubmit to Upstream Indie
The Bops CollectiveBlogIndie, Alternative Pop, Hip HopSubmit to The Bops Collective via email

the authorRoel Wensink
Owner
Roel started ForTheLoveOfBands to provide bands and artists with a platform to get their music heard and provide tips gathered along the way. Being a musician himself, he knows how hard it is and how much time it takes to promote your newly recorded gems.

45 Comments

Leave a Reply

766 Shares
Share91
Tweet
Share
Pin3
WhatsApp