We are going to look at how to be your own PR machine.
For bigger music campaigns and albums you might decide to work with external PR company, however many indie labels will run PR in-house to keep costs down and to have more control over ensuring the music is being pushed out to the right blogs, websites, and influencers.
The process is divided between two simple steps:
Finding the right blogs that support similar artists and music that you are releasing
Send the appropriate blog contact a professional email and music pack
We will break down each of the steps with examples and handy tools to help get the job done quickly. If you follow this plan you will quickly create a personalised database you can use again and again to ensure your music is getting published to the right blogs and publications.
Call-out box: Blogs vs Publications. For the sake of simplicity we will use Blog to refer to any online publication regardless if it's a web publication such as Stereogum, or an influential personal music blog.
Lets get started!
Step 1. Finding the right blogs
There are two ways of approaching this part. You can either start from scratch and build a fresh database, or start with an existing database such as The Label Machine database. If you are starting from scratch you will have to manually find the contacts, however, with an existing database you already have these. Let's look at starting from scratch.
Starting from scratch
This process will show you how to build a new contact database around a fresh music release campaign.
Finding the right blogs and publications to support your music
Now, you need to make sure that you are reaching out to the right blogs and publications that will be interested in your music. Here is how you can narrow down the process of finding what sites support your music.
Find 2-3 artists that makes similar music to the music you are promoting.
Pick 2-3 of their most recent tracks that are doing well.
Use these songs to google and find out which influencers featured and supported them on Soundcloud, YouTube, and blogs.
If you only have one artist that your artist sounds similar too, pick a track from them and look it up on YouTube and Spotify. Alongside the track they will both suggest related artists that you can also use in your search.
Use this list of similar artists as the basis to then sift out and copy to a directory spreadsheet for each of the blogs and tastemakers that are relative to your artist’s music.
You can download a blank database below. If you don't have Microsoft Excel then you can use Google Sheets with your Google account (worth getting one of these anyway).
Click to download the blank database
Contact information for the blogs
The next step is to build up the database with personal contact information. This is where you list the details for each of the editors, influencers and contributors.
The format to follow is
- Listed on Hype Machine
- Twitter account
- Facebook account
- When you first reached out to them
- Through what medium
- When you last followed up to them
- Any specific/relevant comments
The final 4 tabs are for when you start reaching out with your release so these will stay blank.
The aim of the game is to find a contact name for each blog you want to post your music release and a means of getting in contact. Ideally via email, but Facebook messaging and Twitter tagging can work too.
With smaller blogs it is usually the founder you are looking for and the bigger ones will have teams of editors, curators and contributors so you need to be more careful working out whom the best person is to contact.
When looking at the writers and contributors you can see what other music they have supported and you should use this as a reference when pitching your own music.
Finding personal information:
Open up the blog link for the first contact in your list and scroll down the page to find the writers name. They might have an alias, they might not.
Take note of their name and then open a new google search and copy the name into there.
Add ‘twitter’ to the name and see if they have a twitter account. If so add this to the database.
Most writers will have an email address publicly somewhere so you just need to do some research to find it. A popular way sales managers in traditional businesses do this is by doing something called email scrapping and using a service such as
which both work by looking over a websites domain and searching for common email patterns, e.g
Emails are the best points of contact but failing this, a Facebook profile or Twitter profile can be used to private message them. As you go along with this research fill out as much information as you can get about the bloggers.
Repeat this process for each of the blogs you have listed that support your style of music.
At the end of this exercise you are ready to start contacting them.
Using The Label Machine Directories
This option is more efficient and what we would recommend doing. It still requires you to do some research as you need to find out which blogs will support your artists music but a lot of the legwork has already been done for you.
Note: You will need to be a member of The Label Machine for this method, if not skip to step 2 below.
The aim of the game here is to match the database contacts with your artists’ music style and filter out the blogs that support you.
1. First of all choose which database directory is most suited
- All Genres Directory
- Electronic Directory
- Folk and Country Directory
- Hard Rock and Metal Directory
- Indie Directory
- Pop and Electro Pop Directory
- Rap and Hip Hop Directory
- RnB and Funk Directory
2. Finding the right blogs and publications to support your music
You want to open up the LM database and then open up a second blank spreadsheet side by side. By clicking onto each blog and seeing if they support similar artists you can build a new list of contacts from The Label Machines list that are specific to your artist.
You can also use the starting from scratch method described earlier and work backwards from Googling similar artists to yourself, seeing the blogs supporting them, matching them to the LM database and then copying the contact details to your spreadsheet.
Note: For the bigger blogs with multiple contributing writers, you are looking out for the writer that supports your particular genre of music. So if Mary Jane supports deep house for example (which is your genre), then that is the contact you want to copy to your second filtered spreadsheet rather than Mandy who is an Indie fan.
Step 2. Sending out the music
Reaching out via email:
So now you have found blogs to reach out to that are relative to your music, you need to contact them in a professional manner. Here is a template you can use when reaching out to them:
In short, my name is [name] and I represent an [style of music] out of [city/country name] called [artist name] (websitelink). I found [blog] because of a post you made a few weeks back about DJ Qwerrty new EP, Sun King. I was wondering if [blog] would be interested in premiering a new single from [artist name] upcoming EP. It's reminiscent of [two other artists the blogger has reviewed].
Here is a link to the press release about the upcoming LP and a link to the artists EPK [dropbox links]
Thanks for listening, XXXX!
By keeping the email short and concise, your email will be more likely to be successful because:
- It shows the blogger you took the time to read their blog, find their actual name, and figure out what kind of music they like.
- It shows the blogger that the music you are pitching is relevant to their tastes and what they cover by relating it to past content they have previously covered.
- It includes a well-known listening link (Soundcloud).
- It has a direct call to action you want the blogger to take after reading your email, in this case, premier a single from the new EP.
When creating your private SoundCloud link, check that the private link can be viewed by anyone by opening up a separate browser window in private mode. E.g. in Google Chrome go into ‘Incognito’ mode and check you are not logged into SC. If you can still listen to the tracks private link when not logged in then you know the link works ok.
Nothing worse than having someone click a dead link- your first impression and chance is potentially blown.
Do not spam! It does not work ever and you’ll just get blocked. And what’s the point?
You have one chance to make a good impression, so make sure that the music you send is the best it can be. You must be able to play your track with music that is currently being supported side by side and sonically and musically they are comparable.
Never ever send demos to blogs. Unless you are at the point where they have supported much of your previous music, or you’re great friends and you are just looking for feedback.
Ensure you have created a press release and an EPK pack and saved both as Dropbox or publicly shared Google Drive links
Reaching out to contacts via Social Media
You might not have found an email address for your intended contact or that they prefer to be contacted over social media. If so let's look at the different ways below.
Facebook is great however the way the algorithms work is that if you don't have a relationship with the person, or any closely linked friends or contacts, then any message you send will go to the ‘message request’ folder and the person might not receive a notification and potentially you could be ignored. If you are in this boat then you could send a friend request paired with a private message, such as:
Hi Mitch, nice to e-meet you. I’m reaching out as I loved the last write up you did about Artist X on blog Y.
Wait to see if you get a response from this and then follow up with something like:
We wanted to reach out as we are making similar music to the Artist X that you have covered in articles before. We have a new EP coming out on X date and would love to give you the first opportunity to premier it.
If you don’t get a response then leave it for about 5 working days and send a quick follow up, if you still get nothing then make a note in your database they have been contacted and move on to the next contact. Don’t pester.
If you have exhausted your email and Facebook options then try Twitter by reaching out to a contact with a tweet like…
@NameX Hey NAMEX! We have a new EP out on Date X and would love to give you the premier. Where can we email you? DM me, thanks!
People get notification on twitter when @mentions are used so it’s likely they will see the message. Again if they don't get back to you don't spam them. Twitter is public and you don't want to come off as desperate and pleading by trying to persuade someone to reply.
This follows in the same vein as Twitter. You can @mention an Instagram account and they will get a notification of your message. Use the same message format as the Twitter message.
Make sure you do your research and only email writers that cover and support your style of music. Always. We want to foster professionalism at The Label Machine and with these resources we have hopefully made it really easy for you to conduct yourself in a professional manner.
Never Ever Spam. Do not bulk copy contacts into a mail provider and then blast everyone with your release. You will just get blacklisted.
Not to mention its rude and gives you bad KARMA
If someone doesn't respond, don't take it personally and definitely don’t get rude. Not all writers are the same, some will be more responsive and friendly and others not so much, and that's fine.