Have you ever wondered how to go about getting your music featured in a YouTube mix video or a Spotify playlist? With little to no avenue for directly contacting and submitting your music to the curators of such channels and playlists, what can you do?
SubmitHub.com is an online platform which acts as a medium through which to get your music in the ears of these playlist curators and tastemakers, as well as bloggers and smaller record labels.
Free to join and upload your music, the website has a no-fuss layout which aims to simplify the relationship between creator and curator. The SubmitHub process is very smooth and unintimidating, even if you have zero experience pitching your music to someone for review.
Through SubmitHub, you’ll upload links to a new single or a selection of your best tracks, add a little artist info, search through the site’s directory of playlist curators, tastemakers, bloggers, and record labels, and submit your music.
Credits and Costs
While free to join, every time you submit a track to a single playlist curator or blogger, you will spend a given number of SubmitHub credits. These credits come in two different flavors—Standard (Free) and Premium (Paid).
The advantages of Premium Credits:
- you’re guaranteed a listen by the curator within 48 hours of submitting your track
- your track filters to the top of the heap of submissions
- the curator must listen to 20 seconds of your song minimum
- the curator is required to submit at least 10 words of written feedback if they reject your song
- if the curator doesn’t meet these requirements, you get your credits back
Premium credits are not terribly expensive, and $20 USD could get you anywhere from 10 to 20 submissions depending on the curators you chose to submit to, as some curators demand more credits than others depending on their impact and reach.
With Free credits there is no obligation on behalf of the curator to listen to your track or provide any feedback at all.
Furthermore, certain curators only accept Premium credits, so your scope of potential curators increases if you’re a paying user.
Upload Your Music
For SubmitHub, you do not upload music directly to their server, rather, the preferred method of delivery is through links to a YouTube video, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, or Spotify.
Once you provide a viable link, you can tag the appropriate genre for your song, and add a short description of your track that will hopefully grab the attention of a curator.
Once your track is linked up and your descriptions are in place, SubmitHub will create a Campaign around your track, which you’ll be able to track and manage on your dashboard.
The “hub” of your SubmitHub experience lies in the user dashboard.
Here you can get an overview of how well each of your campaigns (submitted songs) have fared.
You can also go in at any time and edit track info or links, submit to more curators, and review any written feedback provided by curators.
SubmitHub’s directory isn’t just an itemized list of curators, bloggers, and record labels, it gives you some key analytics for each entity. For instance, you can gauge at a glance whether or not the curator is a good match for the genre you’ve selected for your music.
Other key bits of info to look at on the curator listing is their location, influence and platform.
In all, the directory gives you a quick way to judge the curator’s:
- credits required to submit (indicated by $)
- format (YouTube, Spotify, blog, webzine)
- compatibility with your genre
- country of origin
- credits required per submission
- influence rating
- response time
- total submissions received
- approval percentage (total and for your selected genre)
- recently accepted tracks
- copyright and royalties requirements
- special notes and other data
The Directory makes the process of shopping for the right curator an expedient task, saving you (and the curator) time and trouble.
To see what SubmitHub is all about, I shopped around some of my electronica/world tracks written under the name Keith Kaspian, from the 2018 album Eye of the Needle. I also tested the waters with some of my alt-metal music under the name Drive the Ghost. To gauge for yourself where I am at musically, here are two of the tracks I used:
So how did my music fare?
For my first track, “Obsidian”, out of 10 Premium Credit submissions I was rejected on all of them!
“Well, maybe you just suck,” you might say.
Here’s the catch—based on the feedback I had gotten, no one once said my music was bad. So, the “you just suck” factor does not seem to be a real variable in my case. I was complimented repeatedly on originality, sound quality, melody, beats, instrumentation, and overall atmosphere.
The unifying theme belying all of my rejections seemed to be a matter of style.
“This is great stuff and I really like it personally, but it’s not aligned with what my listeners expect,” was the general consensus. I certainly wouldn’t view this as outright rejection. In this case, the feedback was useful to get a better lay of the land in the music-scape, to understand where I do (or don’t) fit in stylistically.
The Necessary Evils of Genre
The biggest issue I had personally during my test drive of SubmitHub is this “burden of genre”. To be absolutely fair, this isn’t just a SubmitHub flaw, but a problem in all platforms of music distribution or promotion that I run into with my particular styles of music.
I understand it is necessary to filter the music submissions by style. After all, why would a hip-hop-head playlister want to waste his or her time slogging through death-metal tracks?
Much of what I love and what influences me is music by iconolastic artists; how would you classify musicians like Nine Inch Nails, Bjork, Massive Attack, or Deftones, who all flirt with and hybridize so many different genres, styles and moods that the resulting sound is difficult to confine to a single genre? Some of these artists don’t fall squarely within any of these genres or sub-movements, but create their own unique niche.
SubmitHub isn’t placing genre filters between you and the curators to get under your skin, its simply a reflection of the fact that curators cater to specific genres or subcultures.
So, if you’re a genre-bending sort of artist, you may find this aspect frustrating and confusing, as I did. Your music will likely fall upon the ears of people who are selectively scanning for a very specific sound that compliments their own brand, and although they may dig what you’re doing, they will reject it based on how appropriate it is for that brand.
If you’re making true-blooded Synthwave, Hip-Hop, Dubstep, Indie Rock, or any other well-established, well-defined genre, then targeting a curator and their listener culture should be easy.
SubmitHub fully delivers on its promise, which is to shuttle your tracks to taste-makers and curators. Using the Premium credits during my own campaigns, the curators held up their end of the deal promptly by providing feedback and listening to my entire tracks in some instances.
The process of uploading links to my music, evaluating curators, submitting my tracks, and managing my campaigns was simple enough, and the entire effort is easy to track with the user dashboard. SubmitHub takes great strides to offer an easy-to-read, user-friendly platform with zero tolerance for abuse or spamming.
The platform also offers a live user chat and an interesting “Hot or Not” program, the latter of which allows you to submit tracks to random users who can give unfiltered feedback on the quality of your track. Participating in Hot or Not you must also rate other users tracks, which can score you some Premium credits to use towards your own campaigns.
Be aware, though, that SubmitHub does not guarantee placement and does not guarantee your ego will be spared, which is all fair game. If a rejection note would spell the end of your musical dreams, I would suggest building much more resilience before stepping foot in the SubmitHub arena.
With over 1,500+ active curators listed on SubmitHub, and over 14-million submissions to date, it really is a roll of the dice in an enormous casino when it comes to getting your track accepted. Premium credits truly are the best bet, allowing your track to peak out of the tsunami of submissions long enough to be heard for at least 20 seconds, dramatically increasing your odds of acceptance. Just like casinos, the more you play, the closer you come to the inevitable win, but you will have to spend a chunk of change by the end of your campaigns. This is the reality of the modern music industry.
In this article, Brian Hazard over at Passive Promotion shares in great detail his own experience (being a more established artist than myself), that puts this SubmitHub gamble into perspective quite nicely. You will be surprised by his submission:rejection ratio, and come to fully understand the level of competition us indie artists face for breaking through the veil of obscurity.
If you’ve got some extra cash rattling around in your pocket, go ahead and buy a few Premium credits and shop your tracks to some playlisters and curators, you may be pleasantly surprised, or at least find the written feedback useful. Even if rejected, you will come away knowing where you stand in relation to “hot-genres” and styles.
A few campaigns will show you whether or not SubmitHub is a useful tool for your musical journey.