What is Submithub? Can you explain it to our users?
SubmitHub is a super simple way for blogs to streamline their submissions process, and for musicians/labels/publicists to connect with those blogs. I started it late last year to try and solve a major problem we were having at Indie Shuffle: we were getting nearly 300 email submissions a day, and had basically given up on being able to look at any of them. It meant we were missing lots of great music, and I always thought there might be a better way.
We already get around 100 submissions a day on Submithub. How did you reach so many bands from all over the world in such a short period of time?
Simple: I told them if they wanted to contact Indie Shuffle, they’d have no other choice but to use SubmitHub. The best part of that has been that we no longer get emails. Every single one of our submissions comes to one place (SubmitHub), which makes it much easier for us to listen to it all.
Most of the artists are just normal users and not marketing specialists. What is the most important lesson, bands have to learn for their online promotion?
I think some artists are looking for a “magic bullet.” That is, they hope that by getting onto the blogs, their play count will skyrocket and they’ll become famous. But the blogs only make up one part of the puzzle: they’re really useful as a launching point, and can do a lot to help build a band’s “reputation” -- once a few blogs have given the thumbs up, it’s going to be a lot easier for you to shop your music around to the big Spotify playlisters or labels. Publicists understand that; indie artists don’t necessarily understand it right away.
We can only review a small percentage of all the submissions we get on Submithub. How do bands and artists deal with rejection?
Oh gosh, good question! Some of them really struggle. Others learn from it and apply the feedback to improving their future work. It really depends on the person, but I reckon that most successful artists out there have dealt with their fair share of rejection, and grown stronger from it. Those who cannot handle it are perhaps not well-suited to be artists.
More and more artists work on a DIY basis, but some also still prefer to rely on a big label who can support them with their business experience. Do you already talk to labels? What is the feedback?
Labels love SubmitHub! Before it existed, they’d often hire expensive publicists to take care of their digital promotion, and it was usually very hard to monitor their performance. But with SubmitHub, they can take the process “in-house,” saving major expenses and simultaneously ensuring that the right people actually listen to their music.
On the flip side, labels themselves are often the recipients of an overwhelming amount of unsolicited email pitches, which is why we launched SubmitHub for labels. Artists who are looking for help with their music career can message the labels for help, and if the labels respond, they earn premium credits that they can then use to send music to blogs.
Why are music blogs still important for the music business?
We are the modern A&R! (the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent scouting). The ~130 music blogs on SubmitHub sift through thousands of submissions every day, and in the process uncover some of the best emerging talent. Record labels and the like then watch the music blogs to get a good indication of the artists they should pay attention to. So it’s not necessarily that music blogs will make you famous overnight; what they *will* do is get your music in front of the right eardrums, because those are the folks who follow them.
Can any blog apply to work with Submithub?
Right now we ask that a blog have at least 500 Facebook fans, but we’re typically looking for more than that. When a blog applies, myself and Dylan (who recently joined to help me run the site) check out their website, the quality of their content, and the level of their social engagement. Based on that, we’ll make a decision whether to set them up for not (I’d say about 20% of applicants get added).
Once they’ onboard, the tricky part starts. We realize that bloggers are people -- after all, we’re bloggers ourselves. And so, it’s difficult to “pressure” or “force” them to behave a certain way. Blogging should be about passion for music, and so when it comes to quality control, we’ve mostly got our eyes on abuse of the system: blogs who try charge extra for services; blogs who copy/paste their feedback; blogs who can’t keep up with their commitments. In an ideal world, everyone comes away happy.