Saturday, May 17, 2014

How Does An Independent Artist Get Their Work Reviewed ? / A Guide.

Four years and over four thousand reviews later it never ceases to amaze me that the most common question I get from Independent artists is, "How do I get my work reviewed?"

Let me see if I can help...

1.) You better have thick skin. Critics get ripped on every day simply for having an opinion. If you can not take a critical perspective for what it is then you are in the wrong business. If you have friends and family telling you that you are awesome then consider the source.

2.) Practice. You better be good or at least be able to hit a universal standard of decent. Luck helps.

3.) When you contact a critic or publication you better have the following up to speed and of respectable quality.

A.) Cover art or at the very least an acceptable bio photograph.
B.) An electronic file or the offer of a physical copy. Hint...a burned disc is something you give a friend not a critic.
C.) A professional letter or email. Keep it short and to the point.
D.) If you have You Tube videos (and you should) then they better have good lighting and sound.

You didn't hand in incomplete work in school did you? Critics have an eye for detail. Critics are also overwhelmed with mail and if you are hitting all these marks then I promise you that the odds of getting a review go significantly up! And don't call us "dude" or "man" or "brother." We want to be taken as seriously as you do.

4.) Be patient. Wait two weeks and then send one follow up.

Additional tools for you artistic trick bag:

5.) A short bio of recent relevant experience. "I graduated from Berklee with a Masters in theory etc...NOT, "I found steady work playing clubs in New York."

6.) A press release and much like a bio - keep it short and only hit the high spots. Make us want more.

7.) Practice. You better be good.

8.) Make the primary use of social media as a means of marketing the music and you as an artist. No one cares about political views, at least not until you have made it. Even then...bad idea. Example...Don't bitch about corporate greed in one breath and in the next breath ask people to buy your record. A tad disengenious.

If you still have not heard back from a critic or publication don't give up. Continue to update everything mentioned above. While Independent artists certainly struggle with finances remember this...everything I have mentioned above is FREE on the internet. Don't know how to write a bio or press release? Google it.

If you have any questions then contact me digitaljazznews@gmail.com - be glad to help!

Finally...practice. You better be good.

Win or lose, thank the critic or publication for their time. Music is a business and common courtesy goes along way. They will remember your professionalism!