If you’ve been learning about promoting your music for any length of time, then you probably know how important it is to get your music reviewed by influential bloggers.
Reviews don’t just bolster exposure, streams, or sales. If that’s all you're looking for, you should probably focus on selling to your fans instead of getting reviewers to talk about your music (and that’s what I’d suggest you do instead).
It’s not that reviews won’t help you achieve those goals. But as I see it, some of the main advantages of reviews are:
- The ability to build connections. It’s one thing to cold call a blog. Quite another to make friends with people who regularly write about music. Building that connection can help you get more coverage in the future. Getting reviewed can also lead to other industry connections – playlist curators, influencers, and others taking cues from influential review blogs.
- Search engine optimization. There’s a good chance you can get a link back to your website if you get your music reviewed, and you should. If the review stays online (there’s no reason why it shouldn’t), you’ll see traffic coming to your site long after the review has been published.
So, where can you submit your music? Check out the following 12 sites.
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1. Little Indie Blogs
If you’ve got a new song, and you’re serious about your career, submitting to Little Indie Blogs might be a good career move.
They update their site with loads of new content every single day, and they’re also a Hype Machine recognized blog. To me, the blogs most worth submitting to are those Hype Machine aggregates. But if you can’t get on any of these blogs right away, don’t worry – there are also some B-list blogs on this list, and you might want to start there anyway.
Anyway, here’s something to keep in mind for Little Indie Blogs, and any blog you plan to submit to – you must adhere to their submission guidelines. I don’t want to get any angry emails way telling me I told you to submit your music to them, and you didn’t follow their rules. Please don’t do that.
You can find Little Indie Blogs’ submission guidelines right on their website. They require you to send links to songs you’ve uploaded to Bandcamp, YouTube, or SoundCloud. You must have profiles on Facebook and Twitter, and they are also looking for new music to cover, not something that’s over three months old.
Again, refer to their website for a detailed list of submission guidelines.
2. Acid Stag
Acid Stag is another music blog that’s updated with tons of fresh content every single day. Their website is clean and attractive, and easy to navigate. Their content, however, is mostly short form. Still, it can’t hurt to get some coverage from them as an independent musician.
Although it is an Australian music site, they cover news from around the world. They’re not opposed to giving exposure to new artists too.
Acid Stag primarily covers electronic music, so if your music belongs to another genre, you might consider taking your submissions elsewhere. As with Little Indie Blogs, Acid Stag is featured on Hype Machine.
3. Indie Music Review
Indie Music Review gets updated relatively frequently. They review albums, EPs, singles, shows, and videos. They also have interviews and recommended shows on their website. They appear to be quite friendly towards indie artists trying to make a go of it.
Overall, their submission process is quite simple. They only require: Your artist or band name, photos or poster, a blurb about your band or release, MP3 or video embed code they can use in their review, a link to your website, and anything else you feel it important to include.
As with Little Indie Blogs, however, they are looking for new releases to cover, and if your music has been out for longer than six months, they probably won’t review it. You may find this to be a theme with many blogs.
SYFFAL doesn’t get updated as frequently as some of the other music blogs out there. Their content is also mostly visual or short form.
But in their own words, “SYFFAL.com is not an outfit of snobs.” That’s a relief.
They are looking for quality content, just like anyone else, but they are open to at least looking at any music that’s sent their way. They also don’t write negative reviews. So, don’t expect to get any exposure if your music sucks (they’ll just laugh behind your back – seriously, this is exactly what their website says). But if they like you, you should see some coverage.
Again, be sure to comb through their submission guidelines for best results. It’s not complicated, I promise.
5. Louder Than War
Louder Than War is updated daily with fresh album reviews, music news, and interviews. For the most part, it appears they review pop punk, rock, alternative, independent, and experimental music.
Their submission guidelines are not stringent. They require: A link to download or stream your music, and a single line of text to describe your sound. If you can work in a recommendation, that can’t hurt (i.e. “recommended if you like…” or “for fans of…”).
If you can’t find a band that sounds like yours on Louder Than War, then don’t bother submitting your music. Also, just because you reach out to them doesn’t mean you’ll get coverage. This goes for all blogs, but in case you’re fantasizing about a 100% response rate, just know that you probably have unrealistic expectations.
6. The Word Is Bond
The Word Is Bond is an attractive, content-rich site that primarily showcases underground hip hop and sometimes jazz. Audio, video, features, reviews, podcast… it’s all there.
They have submission forms for those looking for coverage, so simply provide them with the information they need, and wait for their response.
They do, however, have submission guidelines too, so don’t forget to read up on what’s required: High resolution artwork, short bio, links to Bandcamp or SoundCloud (are you noticing a theme here?), and so on. You can also submit videos, but the guidelines are slightly different for video content.
7. This Song Is Sick
This Song Is Sick caters to those looking for new music, specifically electronic, hip hop, indie, and alternative music. They’re sharing plenty of new content daily, but most updates aren’t much longer than three paragraphs.
Their submission process is somewhat like The Word Is Bond in that they have forms for you to fill out, and you can choose between an exclusive premiere or a regular post upfront. If you didn’t already know, blogs love to break news, so the exclusive option is good if you aren’t planning to get other blogs or publications to review your music right away. Please don’t choose “exclusive,” submit your music, and then turn around and sell your story to another publication or become a victim of shiny opportunity syndrome.
Another interesting perk of submitting your music to This Song Is Sick is that you may have the opportunity to be featured on their SoundCloud profile. They have nearly 770,000 followers, so this might not be a bad opportunity for exposure (if you can get in on it).
8. A&R Factory
A&R Factory is somewhat unique in that in addition to being a popular music review blog, they also offer artists development packages and consulting services. Now, don’t ask me whether you should hire them, because I don’t know. I would suggest finding reviews or talking to other artists who’ve worked with them if you're curious.
A far as content goes, they update semi-regularly, and typically write more than just a few quick sentences about the music they cover.
As with a few other blogs on this list, instead of submission guidelines, A&R Factory simply has forms for you to fill out. Whenever you are presented with forms like these, be thorough with your answers. For instance, A&R Factory has a form for links to your SoundCloud, Twitter, Facebook, bio, and website. If you don’t have any of these things set up yet, go and do that before submitting your demo to them (they only cover one track at a time, so don’t submit more).
9. Consequence Of Sound
Consequence of Sound is so much more than just a music blog. They’re a noted Chicago-based publication that also covers film, TV, and related news. They also have several podcasts of their own.
I can’t find submission guidelines on their site, but they are accepting music submissions via email (also see their “Contact Us” page). Again, there are no guarantees they will cover you, but if they like what you’re doing, you might get some love from them.
Best I can tell, they cover a wide range of artists and bands, so no matter what genre you play, it’s worth a look.
10. Drowned In Sound
Drowned In Sound has news, features, interviews, and reviews, and they publish tons of new content daily. Their site isn’t just about unsigned acts and independent artists, but that appears to be their focus, and their content tends to be a lot more in-depth compared to other blogs out there.
Although I can’t find submission guidelines on their website, they do have contact info for both single and album reviewers. They are upfront with the fact that their album reviewer gets 100 submissions every week, and he only publishes 15 weekly. Those aren’t the worst odds, but it’s not hard to see why getting your music reviewed is sometimes serious business.
Additionally, their single columnist seems most interested in singles that are about to be released, and not those that have already been released, so keep that in mind.
11. Gorilla vs. Bear
The Texas-based Gorilla vs. Bear has no genre-specific focus (meaning they cover everything). They’ve received quite a bit of praise from noteworthy publications, making it an influential music blog. Although they do not have guidelines, they do have an email you can send your submission to.
Content-wise, they update their website semi-regularly with visual content (pictures and videos), and short text snippets.
If publications like Rolling Stone and New York Times have this blog on their watch list (and they do), then it’s obviously a good place to submit your music to.
HearYa is another music blog with semi-regular, medium-length updates. In addition to reviews, they also have interviews and best-of lists on their site. They also have live sessions, where they film bands performing and feature the videos on their website.
I can’t find any submissions guidelines here, but again they have an email you can send your music to. The main things to know are that they prefer to receive digital album downloads as opposed to CDs. But most blogs don’t appear to be asking for CDs anymore anyway.
They will also take one or two of their favorite tracks and embed them on their blog. This is common practice, but still good to be aware of if you're not happy with that arrangement.
Music Review Blogs That Accept Song Submissions, Final Thoughts
There are many ways to find good music blogs to submit to. You can search Hype Machine. You can Google music blogs that cover your specific genre (you’ll always get better results submitting to the right places). You can ask your other musician friends if they know of any good ones. You could even get your fans to write about you if they happen to have a blog of their own.
If you’re a writer yourself, you could even guest post on various blogs. You can’t necessarily post reviews, but you can always use the author byline to direct traffic to your website or new release. This is an advanced strategy, and it takes a lot of work, but can still help you achieve results you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to start small. Unless you’re relatively established, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get reviews on major online (or offline) publications like Pitchfork.
Make outreach a part of your regular release campaign. Get all your material in order before you start reaching out to music blogs. This will help you streamline the process so you can get the highest leverage from your latest – or upcoming – release.