Dear Artist and or Band,
I’m The Green Hearts Blog, a small, independent, personal, music blog. I’ve written about 200 reviews, features, and interviews. I make zero dollars doing this, I actually spend a good amount of money on promotion, time digging through bandcamp and soundcloud, and on music that I like/artist I want to support. I have loved running this blog for the last three years, but it has not all been peaches and cream (that sounds horrible). Most of the issues have stemmed, not from legal issues, licensing, or hackers, it has stemmed from young bands and artist such as yourself.
In this day and age of startup campaigns, social media-driven publicity, and an over-all more connected world, Indie bands need to be painfully aware of their image. I recently reviewed a single for a band (I only use names here from whom I have received permission) and I put a little bit of money into advertising it. The article took me an easy 15 minutes to write, and it received a flood of views across our social media platforms; twitter, Facebook, and our webpage itself. Most importantly, the bandcamp link with the song received a dozen “clicks”. The post sat there for almost a week before I shot a message off to the band simply saying how much I liked their music, and that I would appreciate them sharing the article. No response.
This isn’t the first time this has happened and it wont be the last, and for the most part it doesn’t bother me. I tell myself that the band, much like myself, is scatter brained and doesn’t really have their shit together, or that maybe they were just too big of fish for my little blog’s pond. But the truth is that this happened far more than I would like to admit and it drives me, and I am almost 100% certain, other blogs, crazy.
I spent hours combing through music before stumbling across that song. I listened not just to it, but to the entire ep several times, and ended up listening to the song for days (my usual mo. ) before sitting down to actually write out what I had been working on for days in my head. I not only spiked their play stats, I then took my own, personal time to write, post, and share their music to my audience (400-500 readers) who in turn take time to listen, buy, and most importantly, share with their friends.
I think most sane people would agree that anyone, regardless of their audience, should take the time to at least hit “like”. But the truth is, I am more frequently snubbed by newish, small to midsize bands (1-4,000 facebook followers) and I have gotten few answers as to why. The few are posted below in order of frequency.
- Our management is responsible for sharing articles, we don’t or aren’t allowed.
- Your blog doesn’t seem to be very popular.
- Our target audience is in another country than your blog.
- We didn’t give you permission to write a review of our album, ep, single.
- We only received, like, 5 plays from your post.
Some of you may think, well they have a good point. I hate to tell you, but you are wrong. Here is why you are.
1.Bullshit. What small-time Indie band has management that would avoid publicity? Its complete nonsense really. Even if your management runs the social media I guarantee you that someone in your band (you, like as not) compulsively watches for just such acknowledgments. Share it.
2. Fuck you too. about 10% of the assholes who are egomaniacal enough to be as rude as to say that to me are actually signed by a label of any size. Blogs that pull in a large audience and that are worth their salt will probably not give you equal attention, nor will a label seriously consider your band if you continue to act this way. I have interviewed Platinum, Gold, and Silver selling artist, a Grammy nominated band, as well as a Rock ‘n Roll Hall Of Famer, so clearly, I wasn’t “too small” for them. Oh and by the way, they were super fucking cool to interview.
3. Again, in this day and age, we are closely knit. A huge portion of my readers (thanks guys!) are from Europe and Asia. The only inhabited continent I have very few readers is Africa, and I have had readers from 90% of the countries in the world check out the site. This is the most excusable reaction out of the five so here is a little FREE advice. If you want to target an audience in a certain country, use Facebook to promote there and use the FREE publicity that I am giving you as evidence that people enjoy your music.
4. You don’t have the right to stop me from writing a positive review. If you don’t like what I have written ( I have never written a completely negative review, though I have been critical) simply shoot me a line and ask me to fix, change, or delete the post. I may refuse, but usually I am more than happy to help, especially if you are nice!
5.This one baffles me completely. I don’t care if it was one play, it was still more exposure than you had, if your music didn’t stand for itself that’s your problem.
These were just a few bands, and believe me, they will never see my blog covering them again. For the most part, most bands are super excited to get a review or a feature. They share across their social media and make a point of thanking me. And its not just artist I interact with, those of you who are thinking of submitting (please do, its fun!) or just wondering about this strange blog that just shared their ep, and to those who have snubbed me, I work with other blogs but most importantly to you, I work with labels.
Across the board, labels tend to respond when I post about one of their bands. Some just say thanks. Some share the post and encourage their followers to “like” or follow The Green Hearts (you should too!). One of my Favorite Labels to work with is Breakup Records, based in Portland. They are extremely communicative and the most seriously friendly people in the business. They represent some of the finest bands on the west coast (Taxes, Heartwatch, Bed, clintongore, Alex Pinto, and Cash For Gold, just to name a few), and can you guess which bands out of all I cover are the most friendly and thankful when I cover them? yep, Breakup’s crew.
I mentioned above about communication. It is also very important, especially if you don’t have a label backing you, to get what you need out of every interaction with a blog. A large number of artist that acknowledge our coverage, also tend to ask for more, may it be a full album or Ep review, or a interview, which is a good thing. Those bands that are good at making inroads wherever they can will also find themselves meeting and making friends with people who can really help them towards their goal.
One of the most frequently covered artist on The Green Hearts is Ancient Lasers AKA Daniel Finfer. I cover him frequently for two reasons. His music is fucking sick, and he is super nice, I would like to say we have formed a friendship over the years that has led to a very productive relationship. He lets me know about releases with plenty of heads up time to review it, and he also keeps me in the loop with Demos and bits of information about upcoming releases. That is how you make friends. I will cover all of his albums for life now, simply because he is a nice guy.
So all in all it is really easy to maintain and grow a healthy relationship with a music blog. Share not only the reviews and features about you, but also the reviews and features of other bands they post. It makes it look like you care and are interested (its even better if you take the time to listen to your fellow artist efforts). Make sure to stay in contact with the blogs that cover you. Tell them about upcoming projects, share demos, just say hi and ask about the blogger’s cats (I have three) and most importantly, “like” and encourage your followers to “like” and follow us on Facebook, WordPress, or twitter. Also, don’t forget to not be a Ass-hat.