Submission process walkthrough

August 23, 2022 - 13942 views

If you're an artist/band and would like to know the submission process, welcome! I'm Niko, founder of Indie Music Center, and I'm going to give you some tips on this page for you to get a successful feature on IMC (and also other curators).

/!\ We strongly recommend that you read this entire article so that you understand our mindset. If you're too lazy to do that, that's fine. There are tons of other blogs that may like a blindly submitted song.

Now, let's answer some questions we're frequently asked by musicians.

I sent you a link through Instagram, why didn't I get an answer yet?

I don't recommend sending a link through social media, as I get ~200 DMs every week. I prioritize this way to communicate with already featured artists on a regular basis (some became close friends), but it's not made for submissions and I can be quite slow to answer.

This is an example of a DM I got recently. Just to show you the wrong thing to do.

worst strategy submission.jpg (374 KB)

Seriously? Not even a "hello"? Am I a slave or a robot? What do you want me to do with that? When I see that, I just want to publish an empty article and send back the link. Yes, this is a bit sarcastic, I admit. No worries, in that case, I didn't ;)

But it's worth knowing that DMs including Bandcamp, Youtube, Soundcloud, or Spotify links are automatically filtered and directed to a specific folder, which one of my friends is in charge of taking care of. And if it's a submission, you have a 100% chance that she will redirect you here.

We also recommend having a read of the About page, so you can get to know me a little bit more in detail. If you're too lazy to do that, let's sum it up in 3 words: quality over quantity. Oh, and another one: we're here to build CONNECTIONS.

What value does IMC bring?

You got it: connections. The connections we create on IMC are truly unique. Whether it's between the artists and our fans, or between the artists themselves. For example, Thomas LaVine was working on a song called "By The Coast" but he was kinda stuck, as he wanted a female voice for it to bloom. As he's been featured several times on IMC before, he came back here and started browsing our articles and came across Luna Keller. She was the female voice he was looking for. The song is here:

Without IMC, maybe this masterpiece would still be sleeping on a hard disk drive. But it's alive and got almost 250K streams.

Who else could talk about my love for independent music than some of the IMC Family artists themselves? Watch the music video below to learn more about the connections I just talked about.

Why does IMC exist?

Once again: creating connections. If I feel an immediate connection to the song, chances are my audience, who I've known for years, will have that same connection. I always prioritize high-quality songs that can give our readers goosebumps. The song needs to give us a "wow" effect and trigger emotions and even some chills. The melody needs to be so catchy that my readers will remember it several months or years later. If that "spark" doesn't happen, I will have to take a pass.

My goal is to select the best of the best songs for my readers and listeners so they don't have to go through 100K+ daily releases on Spotify or through hundreds of submissions. I prefer to do it for them so all they have to do is to enjoy the selection of the best indie music out there. Also, I never take off the reviews I write. So they stay forever, and some of them got 10K+ reads over time.

What kind of music do you feature?

We mainly focus on 3 genres: indie-folk (our favorite one), indie-pop, and indie-rock. But always with that strong emotional power that can move people. If you have that kind of track in your closet, please submit it! But don't submit old songs, our readers love to discover what's freshly released!

How many submissions do you have to deal with?

Honestly? A lot! This is why we recommend sending your song at least 4 to 6 weeks before the release so we can make sure we have some space for it. As we don't want to flood our lovely readers with too much content. 

How many times do you listen to a song?

It depends. We have to face a sad reality: 80%+ songs that are sent to IMC through our form are submitted blindly (we receive some R'n'B, rap, EDM, and metal songs quite often). So, in that case, we don't need more than 10 seconds to know that it won't be a good fit for us. On the other side, if a song is right in the middle of the target, it's the same: we'll know it within 10 seconds, sometimes less.

A little blogger secret...

Sometimes, we're hesitating, and we need to listen to the song several times. That's why you can see on SubmitHub "saved the song for later, they're still thinking about it". If we're unsure, we'll save the track and get back to it at a different time of the day, in a different mood, to see if it still works. Because we have to be honest: we are human beings. And if we listen to a song at the end of the day, after loads of other tracks that were not a good fit, our brain and our ears are probably tired and not really objective anymore. So it's better to get back to it the day after, with a fresher mind. And start the day with those songs. And that's a good thing because it gives the song a better chance of being featured, rather than acting on a not very objective primary instinct.

What about social media?

I personally don't believe in social media anymore. They did me more harm than good. This perpetual search for approval is not for me. I don't find it useful to go and see how many followers my fellow bloggers have, and how many reactions they get. This comparison game brings literally no value to my work and above all, it's extremely time-consuming! I want to spend my time being with you, artists, and readers, and not waste my time for free to please algorithms and enrich Meta even more. I do not recognize myself in these values.

How is it possible that in 2022, it's up to Mark Zuckerberg, who I don't know in real life and who has never come home for coffee, to decide whether you should see my work or not? After all, IMC is a community in itself and belongs to the artists and our readers. Not to billionaires. When someone has found a comfortable place, there is a good chance that they will return there. Whether it's social media or IMC. This is only my own opinion of course. But to answer the question, we only share to Instagram stories now. And since we left Facebook and Twitter to devote more time to improving IMC, traffic to the site has increased by 120%.

Okay, I understood the values of IMC and want to submit!

Two options: you can Submit here, through SubmitHub. I offer you a 10% coupon here so you can buy credits cheaper. So let's say that, if you want to send your music to 10 other curators, your submission to us is free with this coupon :)

For you to get a short SEO-optimized review that will stay forever on IMC, we need your artist profile on Submithub to have at least a bio, high-quality press pics (no black and white and no photos of your back), and your social links so we can send our readers to you. It's really essential that your artist profile is filled so that we can write "on the spot". I'll be honest: if a song is a perfect fit, but the artist's profile is empty, I'll refund you and advise you to fill it up. Because sadly, most of the time, if I approve the song, and then ask the artist in the chat for the info, I don't get any answer, and I'll end up at the same point: I'll refund you because your song won't be "new" anymore. So do yourself a favor: take your time!

Don't see this as a personal request on my part, Jason Grishkoff, founder of SubmitHub, says it himself: filling out your artist profile is essential:

BAD EXAMPLE:

bad example.png (31 KB)

I think it will be difficult to tell your story to my readers. And also complicated to send them to you...

GOOD EXAMPLE:

good example.png (407 KB)

Your attention please: you're not paying for coverage or guaranteed coverage. You're paying for the time it takes to listen to your song and write feedback about it. Not for placement. 

As I'm a human being and not algorithm-controlled, I can't stay active 7 days a week on SubmitHub But you can schedule a submission, and I'll get it when I return. The advantage is: you're guaranteed a response!

Alternatively, option 2 is the IMC submission form for free, but please be patient. Listening to and deleting all rap, EDM, and metal songs also take time :) But I promise I'll reach out to you if selected within 1-2 weeks max.

You approved my song, what happens next?

This is another blogger's secret, but I'd say it's more specific to me. If I have all the information I need on your artist profile... I'll do something that is quite normal to me but surprised the founder of SubmitHub when he saw my turnaround time. The secret is in this video and it may surprise you as well.

Got it? That's why the sooner you submit, the better it is, so you don't have to wait for weeks before my article is up, after the release date. It comes out ON the release date. And as I publish them in the morning here in Europe, if you're in the US, they're already up for a couple of hours when you wake up. This gives my articles this "hot on the spot" side. I put myself in the reader's shoes: they will come to IMC, click play in the review and start reading my thoughts. And they may think "ah yeah, I agree (or disagree) with you on that point". And also, the hot reaction (in my humble opinion) is the most important one for the artist. Knowing the feelings your own song can trigger is truly important and even rewarding and helpful. I'm not saying this to brag, but, as I already said earlier, if I feel an immediate connection to the song, chances are my audience, who I've known for years, will have that same connection.

So what happens if your song is already released when you submit it? Well, no worries, we don't only post on Fridays, so we'll have a spot for you during the next week or two (depending on how many songs we have to share).

And what do you expect from me?

Well, I'm not doing this to get anything in return. Offering quality music to my readers is already a great accomplishment in itself. 

A "thank you" is perfect :)

I often get sent some CDs and merch and my collection is beginning to be impressive. I can't believe it myself!

But if you want to do something totally free that is very helpful, you can share the review over your outlets if you liked it. The Graal is when you have a website with a press section: please make a link to it :) You know, this tiring law of algorithms. If Google notices that loads of websites have links to us, they'll rank us better. And so we'll get more readers. And the next time you come up with a new release, you'll get more readers. I'd say that I'm here to create the article about your wonderful work, and you're in charge of the promo. This is how we grow together.

Final thoughts?

If you have read this far, first of all, thank you for taking the time to do it! I hope this has helped you understand how a blogger works and revealed some "Behind The Scenes" that may be useful to you. If you feel like the values you found here are yours, go for a submission!