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Advice for bands

Advice for bands
October 07, 2014, 07:13:03 AM
Promoting your music in the metal scene is difficult because there is so much metal and, while the musical competence and production values have improved since the 1990s, content is generally bad and the result is that listeners tend to treat it all as about the same.

Getting a review

If you want your album reviewed, make an electronic press kit. This should include:

  • * An MP3 copy of your album, with correct track names including band name, album name and song name in both filename and ID tags.
  • * A large image of the front cover, preferably 1200x1200 pixels or larger, and a current band photo of the same size.
  • * In PDF, .docx, RTF or TXT form, a band biography including all contact information including social media and website presence for the band

When you contact us for review, do not ask if you can send the link; just send the link. Like other music sites, we have a "review stack" on which we dump the MP3s and then listen as we can. Remove as many barriers to this process as possible.

Most reviewers like to throw on the whole album, not selected tracks. This way, we hear all of what you have to offer. Most reviewers will listen to the first track until they find something that seems obvious, overdone, typical, random, etc. and then begin skipping tracks. They will listen to these subsequent tracks to see if anything grabs them in the first minute or less. For this reason, your first track should be something relatively compelling.

Things that turn reviewers off include obvious clones of existing acts that do not demonstrate their own content; if your band imitates a known style but has its own content, no one will mind. If your band imitates another band including content, you face a harder path. For example, a band that writes music in the style of Autopsy but clearly has its own ideas for song structure, riff form, melody, harmony and rhythm (including vocal hooks) will get more attention than a band whose only claim to fame is that they sound like Autopsy. Most people will prefer to just listen to the original. Reviewers also dislike lazy songwriting that falls back on known tropes, randomness which shows a lack of attention to quality, stupidity, textbook-derived technicality that serves no other purpose, and other artifacts which reveal a lack of purpose thus a lack of something clear to communicate. Be clear about why you are writing music and what you hope to convey, thus the experience and consequently emotion you hope to provide to the listener for their enjoyment.

Writing a press release

Unlike many sources, my attitude is that form is less important than clearly and concisely stating what your band is about and why you are offering up your music. The press releases that get glossed over are the ones that detail your successes as a commercial entity; that information is important for labels but not for reviewers. Better to tell us what connects an audience to your music and what inspires you and where you hope to be.

Include full contact information. Also include your band's presence on social media, the web, etc.

I suggest including a band statement as part of this, like a sample interview question. What's different about this new album or, if it is your first album, what does it shout to the world?

Proofreading never hurts but many of us are agnostic to spelling and grammar if the content is good. What will drive us away is a press release that looks like little thought went into it that also has no content other than "we're a local band looking for a label because we sound like a lot of other bands that made it big."

I also suggest having a YouTube link to a video with a sample song. You do not need to "make a video"; just put some cover art or a band picture on there and let the song stream. This way people can read for twenty seconds and listen for thirty seconds to tell if they think you have anything going on.