What is Music Submission?
When it comes to music marketing, it’s hard to imagine any campaign strategy that doesn’t include music submission in some form or another.
Like most aspects of the music industry, it’s an area that’s been heavily impacted by developments in technology over the years.
Music submission is an approach used by artists for decades. Back in the day mixtapes were recorded on cassette or cd and handed out to promoters and DJ’s, whereas nowadays it’s much more likely to be a USB drive handed out, and in most cases there’s no physical submission at all, it’s all done online.
As the approach to submitting your music has changed, so too have the rules and etiquette that accompany it. In this article we’ll explain how to submit your music, and some of the best places to submit it.
General Submission Advice
Before we dive in there are a few general guidelines to follow to help make the process more efficient for everyone, and to maximise the chances of getting your song listened to.
Be polite – good manners go a long way. Remember you’re asking someone else to invest their time into your career.
Be concise – There’s certain info you’ll want to include in your pitch, but don’t go into too much depth. If people want more background they can ask for it.
Include links – include links that are relevant to the platform you’re reaching out to. Generally a streaming link and a download link should both be included.
Be realistic – be realistic about who you pitch to both in terms of relevancy and suitability.
Generally, just use common sense when sharing your music and you should be fine.
Now let’s take a look at some of the different places to submit your music.
How to Submit Your Music to Blogs
There are plenty of influencer marketing tools that can submit your track to a blog owner: Fluence, Groover (affiliate) or SubmitHub are good options. These tools will get your track heard, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll write a post about you, or your track.
The other option is manually contacting the blogs you want to be in via their contact form. This can be extremely time consuming if you have a long list of blogs you want to be featured in.
You also have to bear in mind that some owners get a lot of email, so may not even read yours, and if they do, they still might not play your track.
How to Submit Music to Spotify Playlists
Spotify has editorial playlists curated by their team. The submission process for these can be found via your Spotify for Artists account.
There are also user curated playlists that you can submit to by contacting the owner, or through submission tools such as Groover, PlaylistPush or SubmitHub.
You can read more about both of these on our Spotify promotion article.
How to Submit Your Music to Apple Playlists
You can’t submit your music to Apple created playlists like you can with Spotify. The only way to get featured on these playlists is to build up your followers on Apple Music to make it more likely a playlist editor will find your tracks and include you in their playlist.
There are user created public playlists, but the process of manually finding these, and sending music to curators is likely not worth the streams it would bring in.
How to Submit Your Music to DJs
Most DJs who accept submissions will make their contact information publicly available, so try to respect their preferred method of song submission.
When submitting to DJs online it’s important to make sure your tracks are as easy as possible for them to use in their mixes or live sets. We recommend the following:
- Fit their style – Ensure your songs will fit in with the DJ’s style.
- Label your file names correctly – include your artist name and track name within the file name. You may want to include your label name or an ‘unsigned’.
- Do not attach full files – instead share a link where they can listen, and then a link where they can download a high quality version of the track.
- Be aware of track arrangement and formatting – make sure the track is put together in a way that makes it easy to mix, with no silence at the beginning or end.
- Provide a short bio – a couple of facts about yourself as opposed to your life story.
Don’t underestimate the old school approach of in person contact. If you have a target DJ in mind then do your best to get out and support them in the real world. If you can catch them (or one of their team) at a quiet moment, this can be a perfect opportunity to present your media kit including a USB.
How to Submit Your Music to Radio Stations
Most radio stations will provide submission guidelines on the best way to submit to them. For the larger stations you may need to locate the specific DJ or show you’re looking to reach, whereas smaller radio stations may just have one point of contact.
A key consideration when submitting your song to a station is to provide a radio edit.
This may mean censoring any swearing on the track, and it may mean adjusting the track to ensure it isn’t too long.
Most radio stations will also expect to receive a press kit with any submissions. This should include all the usual – your artist bio, links to the songs, social media profiles, photos, and album artwork.
You could also consider hiring a radio plugger as part of your campaign. This is someone who has good contacts in the music industry and across different radio stations, and can help to get your music to the right people.
How to Submit Your Music to Record Labels
Most labels will have an official route of accepting demos and submissions, so look out for any submission guidelines on their website. It’s more professional to contact them via these channels than to try and get their attention via social media or through personal channels of the people working there.
When submitting to record labels, it’s important to do your research beforehand. A blanket approach to sending out your music will not get the same response as a more targeted and considered approach.
Most labels will be built around a sense of community and a specific sound. It’s important to understand how you fit within this. Try to understand what the record label is doing currently and make sure you’re relevant – don’t go pitching to them based on what they did ten years ago.
It’s also important to understand that the majority of record labels exist to make money, and if you want to get noticed by them it needs to be clear in your pitch how you can help them with this goal.
Most record labels are looking for independent artists who have already started to build their fanbase, and have proved that their music resonates with an audience.
How to Submit Your Music to YouTube Channels
To submit your music to a YouTube channel you need to contact the channel owner. You can usually find the owner’s contact information on their about page, or in the description of videos they post.
You’ll need to make sure they accept submissions, and that they post music in the same genre as your track.
We have lots more tips and information in our YouTube Music Promotion Guide where we go into detail on this topic.
How to Submit Your Music to Movies and TV Shows
The process of submitting music to Movies and TV shows requires something called a music sync license. This means you get paid a synchronization fee from the person / company licensing your music, and, depending on the use, you’ll also get paid royalties.
You can get a sync licensing deal yourself by negotiating with the Movie or TV company, but most likely you’ll get the deal one of two ways.
- Placing your music in a music library for this use. Scout.tv is an example of this type of library, but there are many others. Some, like songtradr.com offer more perks such as distribution.
- Through your music publisher. If you’ve signed a deal with a music publisher then they’ll handle all the rights, and may also promote your music for use in movies and TV.
How to Submit Your Music to Video Games
You’ll need a music sync licensing deal to have your music featured in video games, and you can approach this in a similar way to movies and TV.
However, the audio directors in the game industry often work on a longer development cycle, and can also be making updates over time. Therefore they have different needs and processes to the constant cycle of movie and TV audio directors.
For this reason if appearing in games is important to you, you might want to consider using a publisher who specializes in the games industry.
How to Submit Your Music to Twitch Streamers
If you want your music to be available for use on a Twitch Stream, you’ll need to ensure your track is added to Twitch’s licensed music library via their Twitch Soundtrack tool.
You can upload to Twitch Soundtrack using their preferred method of DistroKid or SoundCloud, or you can use one of the other Twitch Soundtrack distributors.
Uploading a track doesn’t guarantee it will be added to Twitch’s licensed music library, their staff will review your application and decide if it makes the cut.
The license you get also only covers live streams, so a streamer won’t be able to play your track in any of their pre-recorded content. During a livestream users will be able to see what track the streamer is listening to, and using Linkfire will be able to add the track to their own music libraries.
How to Submit Your Music to Influencers
There are two ways of going about submitting music to influencers.
If you know the particular influencers you want to submit your tracks to, you can find the contact details for them and contact them directly. Most often their details can be found in the about / description sections on their social profiles, or on their website. Just remember to follow the general submission advice above.
The other way to submit music to influencers is through an influencer marketing tool like SubmitHub, or Shoutcart. These platforms have a list of influencers who are willing to be contacted.
The downside of using these platforms over contacting manually is that these platforms will take a fee, however, the time saved is usually worth it.
So there we have our breakdown of how to submit your music to all the different channels out there, along with some general guidelines to consider.
It’s just a short overview of each area, but we’ll be creating more in depth guides over time so be sure to sign up to our mailing list to get notified when these go live.