A How-To Guide
It is important to be confident in your work before you seek notice from the press. People working in the media will remember you approaching them, especially for the first time.
Make sure that your material goes in the right direction to have an impact. Find a journalist who you think is going to help, and arrange to have a chat or email to find out what he or she is looking for at the moment.
The best submissions have good photography and artwork, clear labelling and information on the CD, with song listing and contact details printed on the disc in case it gets separated.
Supporting material is extremely important — the more entertaining and interesting the better. Artists need to show some character to stand out and pique the reviewer's interest.
Keith Ames, MU Communications Official
Be reviewed in The Musician
We review CDs (albums only) or downloads (singles only) from Musicians’ Union members.
When submitting your music for consideration, please include your full contact info, blogs and PR material plus artwork and photos (at a minimum of 300dpi resolution) for printing alongside the review in The Musician.
Please submit your CDs to: Keith Ames, Communications Official, Musicians’ Union, 60—62 Clapham Road, London SW9 0JJ.
Please email your downloads, cover artwork and photos to keith.ames@theMU.org
Local publications will often be happy to run a profile, preview a performance or review a CD or gig — just ask how they like to receive material.
Submission protocol can vary widely, so it is essential to do your homework. Most magazines and radio stations now have an online presence, which makes it easier to make a list of publications and shows dealing with your type of music, and to research the best way to approach each one.
When trying to get a performance reviewed, call or email the publication and ask who your press kit should be sent to. Include a phone number that reviewers can call to secure a guest list place, as sending tickets will not necessarily ensure their attendance.
National and local radio stations offer many opportunities for unsigned artists to receive airplay and exposure on their associated websites. For details of how to submit your work, look on the station or show’s website.
For example, you can post your CD to any Radio 1 DJ or show via BBC Radio 1, London W1A 1AA or upload your music to the BBC Introducing website. For more information and practical advice on making music and the industry, visit bbc.co.uk/music/introducing
Search for radio DJs in your area who play new music, as they can be a valuable promotional tool. Also note that many local independent radio stations also gladly accept gig listings for their on-air what’s on guides.
Get yourself listed
For a live event to reach the widest possible prospective audience, it is important to submit the details for listing by local publications, specialist magazines, national newspapers, radio stations and online event databases.
Although they are not duty bound to use the listings they receive, it is still an easy, cost-free form of publicity that pays noticeable dividends.
For print publications, event information needs to be submitted four weeks in advance. Check each publication for its particular submission requirements.
Any event listing should contain:
- The date (it is surprising how many people forget this).
- The name of each artist, ensemble or band that is to perform, headliner listed first.
- A one-line description of each artist and the style of music they play or the works to be performed, plus the details of any record release, club or charity being promoted via the event.
- The name and full address of the venue, including postcode and telephone number.
- The advance ticket and on-the-door entry prices, including the details of any concessionary rates. If applicable, also the details of any ticketing agents.
- Pertinent website addresses, plus a contact email and phone number in case any additional info is required.
PA Entertainment supplies many national newspapers, including The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, and the Metro dailies. pa-entertainment.co.uk
This is just a small selection of UK online listing sites. Find more by searching online.
— Jazz in London compile a free, downloadable gig guide. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
— Concert Diary compile UK classical music listings that also feed into Gramophone’s website.
— Composition: today compile new music concert listings.