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Okay, so let’s get the milkshake out the way first:
The purpose of the review is to provide a tool that the artist/band/label can use to engage an existing or potential online audience.
Publishing and sharing it via my social media (which I will) will do little to nothing for your cause. The diagnostics have shown this with previous reviews. My sharing it will receive few hits as music reviews per se isn’t why I’m followed. Whereas when bands share/post them on their profiles or in focused pages/groups hits go through the roof.
As a rule of thumb reviews are most useful to artists if published pre release date; they can be used to encourage pre sales and also to generate interest on the day of release. The more reviews, the greater buzz created; posting ten different ones on release day will generate far more interest than the same one ten times over.
A release package can contain any number of things depending on the recipient. In this instance the focus is on everything needed to produce a good review on a website.
Therefore it needs:
- images of the album artwork and any others the band may have for promotion purposes.
Whereas a radio show or podcast might not have any need for images at all.
Oh, and ‘any others’ means maybe five or six, not a whole back catalogue of snaps randomly taken in the rehearsal room. Also: make sure all images are good enough quality for use on a website.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so:
- in the first instance try to create a pack containing everything possible
- then edit it down accordingly for specific purpose
- especially if what’s wanted has been specified by the recipient
I put as many links to the artist in as possible: where the music can be found/bought; where the artist can be followed/seen. Not every reviewer will do this; they definitely won’t think of it if the information isn’t there to start with.
While some aspects are to be anticipated, such as the music itself, album artwork, release notes, impact to the receiving inbox for anything above and beyond can be reduced by providing links to material held in dropbox/google drive or similar. This is also a good way of providing a choice of music formats.
It’s the artist’s responsibility to supply all relevant information. Don’t include band member names, then don’t expect the reviewer to come asking or go looking. They might. But there’s just as much reason for them to think the band only wants to be known by its collective name as part of its ‘thing’.
And if you leave the band members’ names out, then there’s no hope for when it was recorded, who it was mixed by, where, etc. So:
Of course, simply because you mention best friend of the band insert-name-here played tambourine on track seven for twenty seconds at the end, it doesn’t mean the reviewer will use the information.
However it does mean that if insert-name-here gets upset they weren’t mentioned, you can show it was in fact not your fault and direct their ire at the reviewer.
btw: keep the ‘technical info’ to the point; tambourine on track seven by insert-name-here should suffice (unless there’s a mega cute factor like it being someone in the band’s gran).
To start the whole thing a bit of background and information about the band/release is essential. This can include some of the above information, though I recommend also including it in list form if it does.
Don’t be put off if you don’t have professional photos or tons of social media links to include; its including what you do have in the right way that counts. That said, when your music is on a platform like YouTube (regardless of actual video or just pic of album cover/band as the song plays) it gives the reviewer a way of including the music directly; so in some cases, it’s worth looking at a platform like that if not already using one.
Finally, be creative.
If there’s a certain something that you think will give your package an edge while also helping the reviewer don’t be afraid to include it. Examples would only reveal other people’s creativity and defeat the point.
Finally, finally, be creative, but don’t overdo it and don’t at all when the recipient has specified what they want to receive (full-on relevant when contacting labels: failure to follow the instructions can result in the whole package ignored and deleted/binned straight off the bat).
- an introduction to the release
- the music
- album art work/promo photos
- technical information (names, who did what, when and where, including any label info, etc)
- include tour dates if applicable
- links to both social media and platforms where music can be heard/purchased; ensure links are presented clearly, see example below (as would appear in email, not as usually presented on site):
For more information on how best to present your music/information please read the article on One-Sheets by Heather McDonald here. It’s full of invaluable information including lots of links relating to other aspects of the music industry; and if you find anything there that contradicts me, take their word for it!
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