So, you have created your album, put it on your internet site, and – nada. Next day? Still nada. And you start to quietly wonder how you could get help to let this ignorant world know that you just created this stellar material.
Well, review sites – like RMR here – are one of the venues you have to gain many more fans and supporters on this cold, cold internet thing. These sites usually offer free or paid, bona fide1) feedback on the stuff you produce. And this might – just might – incite these readers to buy your tune and make you stinking rich.
But how to get OUR attention?
At this moment the RMR backlog sports enormous amounts of unread emails sitting in our inbox, truly insane amounts. Plus a gazillion of messages quietly blinking their life energy away. Which wrecks the ‘zine’s stats big time, by the way, so the Zuckerman and his ilk can continue to bitch at us.
But here we are with limited time, usually two hands only and a day job. Which means that we will not be able to physically answer all communications, nor even be able to look at all of them.
And we know, this might sound rude and it’s definitely bad etiquette. But it’s brutal reality, too.
Now, not all is lost. Here are a few hints to get you moving closer to the front of the review list or even jump to the very top of it.
# 1 – Write great music!
Yeah, I know. That one sucks and everyone is saying that. And it is the same friggin’ line used by blogging experts to me. They do like to take the verbal blow torch to your esteemed behind with stuff like ‘write great content’, which usually earns them an outbreak of obscene hollering.
But you know what?
All cussing won’t help. Face it, they are right. For me to pick up a promo, it’s got to connect emotionally and technically. Like straight away.
Fingers twitching with the urge to write about your music. Shit carelessly thrown out into the open won’t even get looked at – and maybe sometimes this is a good thing. I got only 1’440 minutes in my day, but for really good stuff I will add the night to it. Okay, just kidding, but you get my drift. This is why you will find many good ratings on the blog. Because we actually choose the content covered.
It can however happen that we insert a negative review or two from time to time. But it definitely isn’t a great use of our limited time. Besides, it will drive traffic for all the wrong reasons. Meaning, negative feedback often drives traffic better than a positive one. And there are blogs that excel in that. But not at RMR, we’ll just try to keep it honest.
#2 – Get a PR! Oh, and get a PR. Please.
Yep, you heard that one right!
And I know they suck and you would like to hate them with a passion because they cost money. But get off it! It’s an investment.
Promotion Agencies fulfill a very useful function in the music business. And it is money really well invested. Usually, these folks have connections to review sites like mine already, and will literally flood all channels to get attention. They don’t choose, they cover what they have on contract and do so in a standardized way.
Meaning, my lazy ass knows what to expect, where to find what data. Quicker access, faster delivery of the goods to you. And your stuff gets widely distributed, even outside of your direct sphere of influence.
Also, I will know that the stuff in there is safe. Relatively speaking. Because – you see – these emails sent to me from the wide wastes of the internet always carry a risk. And the security geeks from IT always have a fit when you start clicking on unknown links. And that’s not to say that you – the sender – cannot be trusted with the stuff you strut. But believe me, there are some pretty bad assholes out there in this electronic new frontier.
Last, but not least, a PR will get the administration out of your hair to find new blog sites to promote your stuff one by one. Now, there are indie bands that like to do their own promotion, like in really independent and I respect that. But I can also see the real value a PR will get ya.
One caveat, though.
There are some PRs out there that made it their mission to fight for their clients, instead of concentrating on PR or – digital marketing.2) So, these folks try to strap everyone with a perceived negative opinion or stance to the public pillory. And they do that with cheap attacks via social media, the mother of negative reinforcement.
That’s cool, and every outfit is entitled to its marketing strategy. But take note that RMR does not condone that kind of practice and such agencies risk being banned from our webzine. So, if you contract with them, this will mean that your work may NOT reach the RMR crew.
#3 – And/or get connected to a label!
No, the music industry don’t pay me (I wish…), but I can see the value labels potentially bring to your venue. Depending on the weight of the music label, you will find great spread. Ironically, these very same labels not only come directly to us reviewers but sometimes use … well … PRs to promote their stuff.
See what I mean?
A whole spider web of connections you got yourself going all of a sudden. Now, I agree that labels are really expensive in a sneaky and scary way. They can be greedy, suck up many of your profits. And may even try to keep the rights of your songs for themselves.
That kind of stuff – perceived or real – is in the mind of the beholder or – more precisely – in the contract it governs. And these contracts connect directly to intellectual property rights. So – yet again – it is up to you to structure your deal.
Yet, there is good in their services, too. Or in other words: If they were that bad, why would anyone use them? As to me, a band promoted by a label might just get that much quicker to the blog than an indie one. But then who knows if your stuff is really good?
#4 – If you try to contact RockmusicRaider, go straight at it, no maneuvers!
Get straight to the point and don’t schmooze me.
No brownie points for that, but hey keep it nice nevertheless, will ya. I often get stuff I cannot work with too, either not complete or not enough information to really work with it. Try to use the subject line in the email or contact form to let the author know what you would like to do.
Oh, and don’t send an email to tell me to contact you for a promo! Time is short for the devil to send the beast. And so it is for RMR. Just send the damned thing with links to download.
Then, a bio of reasonable length would be great, plus some description of what you are up to. The tracks of course and any video or picture you are willing and able to divulge without me getting my skull hammered in by the copyright wackos.
The request also needs to indicate clearly when the release is going to happen. I, of course, gladly take any juicy and secretive detail and element you care to add to this. Needless to say that requests not meeting the above will not get a lot of loving attention. And especially for the virtually unknown bands. Those often have no internet presence to boot, so I cannot even look them up to check or communicate with them. What do you want me to do?
#5 – The thing with the music!
Some policy first.
However, there may be instances where a first listen prompts a download. Yet, on further analysis, the RMR review committee will decide not to issue an opinion. We agree, this is vile, but it can happen. So, be warned.
Do this, not that!
- Send us Spotify links or the ubiquitous low-quality Bandcamp account to review from. Or – Loki forbid – the terrors of Soundcloud.
- Send your wares via the free WeTransfer service. This thing has an expiration problem. And we may not look at your carefully crafted message for weeks after you sent it. To ask for a re-send is never a good use of our time. So usually, your work will most probably sail past the blog unheard.
- Send your download material over Google Drive. It’s not working nor welcome @ RMR and we hate those eternal issues with The Kraken. This means that we’ll usually just ignore requests using this tool. In other words, your hard work has little chance to get a review, literally. Any other service has worked so far, though. So, feel free to try something else.
- Try to send us physical copies. It is a simple storage thing, you know. There just isn’t enough space in the world to house that tsunami of plastic that would descend on the poor RMR‘s lodgings. True, it would make the recycling folks and the local post office very happy. But no, just no.
- Send promos as digital download links with all the data necessary to potentially get that review. And whatever music standard you send, make it lossless. Anything else will be bad quality and have a devastating effect on the review we may write.
- Send promos through preferred services like Haulix or Hear The Music. Those are trusted sources that will not suddenly shut down the RMR ‘zine. And yes, they’ll cost ya a coin or two. But what can I say, those free services out there may just try to steal that data. If you don’t have that kind of dough or for whatever other reason, Dropbox might work as well.
What formats will get our juices flowing?
LPs or full-length records get priority. No contest, this is our daily meat and potatoes. And I agree, this is an old and grumpy approach, some even call it a dead concept. But albums rule, they tell stories and they get a rating of whatever is in fashion at the time of writing. And that is why they get full reviews.
EPs might get some attention and usually return to you as a so-called Newsflash with no rating. Sometimes, on very rare occasions and if your wares are really stellar, we will do a full review with all honors.
Videos sometimes get coverage as a news item without a rating. But only if the storyline – the moving pictures – talks to us.
For Live Shows, we started a new stream that gained traction until Covid arrived. But they will be back eventually. So, if you want us to attend your live event, give us a shout. But have a care, it might cost ye. These concerts are not cheap and sometimes far away from where we live. They will garner a full review, though. But without a rating.
Splits and similar formats will get no attention. We’ll let you know, in case this should change.
#6 – Be obnoxious!
Yeah, okay. I don’t necessarily mean that one literally. But if you sent out a promo request and you are not getting a response, well then yell. A little poke out of the dark abyss of the reviewless masses may work wonders for you to get noticed and obtain that review.
Of course, if you are not getting any meaningful reaction by the 3rd time, you may just wanna can the idea and go somewhere else. And believe me, this is nothing personal. With the current staffing issues limiting things to certain parts of yours truly only, it is not possible to cover everyone – just too much material out there.
Yep, there you go. That should get you a little more grip on this slippery rock surface of RockmusicRaider‘s inner workings and review sites in general.
Now go ahead and send the next promo for review!
Ed’s note: This is a newly edited version and will replace the one from May 2021.