This advice was put together after interviewing a number of big DJs, radio hosts and blog owners who get sent hundreds of new tracks every day. If you can follow most of these simple guidelines, you can give yourself the best chance of getting your music heard when you send it to someone.
Dear budding musician/producer/label/PR representative,
Thank you for considering me when sending music out.
Please remember that I get sent a lot of music. I love the fact that I get sent music all the time, but because of the amount of tracks, releases, dubs, albums, EPs and music that I get sent, it can be difficult to organise, listen to and keep track of everything.
To get your music heard by me in the best way, and for me to keep my sanity when receiving and organising music, I’ve put together some guidelines on what you should and shouldn’t do when sending me music.
My inbox is already big and busy enough. I don’t want to spend ages waiting for your email to load in my inbox because it’s downloading a 15Mb file on to my machine.
I would prefer to get a full track please. Then I can get a feel for the entire piece, as well as play it out, or in a mix if I want to support your music.
Facebook is not a great platform for sending music, and I don’t always check my messages and notifications there. It is easier for me to handle things I am sent with my email inbox. I can mark them “to do” or work through them systematically.
140 characters is barely enough room for a URL and a couple of words. I don’t keep track of my Twitter direct messages either. It is easier for me to handle things I am sent with my email inbox.
It will probably be flagged as spam for a start. I will not click a link unless I know what it is, and I would prefer you to put in a little bit of effort when you write me an email.
You emailed me, sent me a Soundcloud message, a Twitter notification and a Facebook note about this track. I got it the first time. Please just tell me once, via email.
It’s not very nice to get an email that has been sent to 200 other people. It’s not very personal. It’s even worse, when everyone else who got the email can also see all the email addresses. Please write to me directly. A little care and attention goes a long way. I don’t really care for the BCC field either, since I know you’re just blasting this email to more people than you can write to at once.
This is not about writing ten paragraphs about how you grew up listening to music, or how you would describe your sound with a million genre names. Please just be concise and try not to write too much. I don’t have time (or really want to) to read it all, and it will most likely get skimmed. This is more to do with the music.
I got your email (unless you got a failed delivery note) so I will check it when I get the chance. If you don’t hear back from me, then I may not have had time to check it, or maybe it just wasn’t my thing, and I don’t need reminders every day. One polite reminder after a week or two would be sufficient. If you don’t hear after that, it wasn’t good enough, and sadly that’s the honest truth.
Firstly, your age is irrelevant if the music is good. Secondly, telling me you’re inexperienced is not going to encourage me to check your tracks. I’ll assume (perhaps wrongly, but still) that they’re lacking in either effort, skill or direction. This is based on experience. I have yet to meet someone who has just started, who is good enough to support or release. These things take time.
If you send me a low quality file, then I probably won’t enjoy listening to it much, and I won’t be able to play or support it. if you send me a 320kbps mp3 file then at least I can use it and enjoy it to the fullest.
This might be the most important thing on this list. Please, please, PLEASE name your music properly. I don’t have time to check back through all the emails I got sent to find out who the artist or label is. Make sure the information is in the filename (and mp3 tags – see the next point). Here is a helpful guide to naming your track:
Artist Name – Track Name [label name or “unsigned”]
Artist Name – Track Name (Remixer Name Remix) [label name or “unsigned”]
Folder names (for multiple tracks):
Artist Name – Release Name [label & catalog number or “unsigned”]
The information you have in the file name above should really be put into the mp3 tags, since that helps me organise my music, and I don’t have time to tag everything I get sent myself.
ID3 Tags to use:
Artist, Title, Album, Year and use the Comment tag to add your URL (or email address).
Windows users, there are lots of programs that will tag your mp3s (even iTunes)
Mac users – I recommend Meta, but iTunes will also do the trick.
Please upload your track to somewhere like Wetransfer, Soundcloud, Dropbox or to your own hosting (if you have it) so that I can easily visit the link and download the track. Please also check that the link works.
It’s always nice to be able to preview a track quickly before downloading it, to make sure that it’s not a waste of time. Occasionally I get sent things that are definitely not the sort of thing that I would even consider listening to, so a streamable version or clip helps avoid that problem. Soundcloud is perfect for this (and you can even make it a private link).
I regularly create mixes or podcasts and put them online. Sometimes my DJ set or radio show may be recorded and go online. If you do not want me to play your music on the radio, DJing or in a podcast, then please let me know
If I love your track enough to want to play it out when I’m DJing or cut it on to a dub plate, then it’s always nice to have the option of downloading a wav file, to save me asking again.
Why not upload the uncompressed wav to Soundcloud, and make it downlodable. Then you can make it private – send me a link to stream it, and if I like it, I can download it right there. It really is that easy!
I’m not looking for your life story, or a huge biography but it’s nice to know who I’m getting email from, maybe how you found me or something about the track, as a precursor to me listening to it. Nothing more.
Please don’t bombard me with reminders. I get enough email as it is, and just one polite email reminder after a couple of weeks will be more effective than lots of notes every day.
None of these guidelines are difficult to follow, and most are just common sense.
If you can follow them, then I will be able to easily file and listen to your music, and I should be able to feedback to you if I can.
If you don’t hear back from me, then you can safely assume that your music was not for me. It may have been good, but often I am on the look out for something in particular. This is just the nature of dealing with such large amounts of music.