For independent artists finding their feet in the industry, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to submitting music to blogs that accept free submissions.
The services may be free, but it pays to start small; by reaching out to smaller, niche websites that will help you build your credibility until you land your dream publication. See smaller blogs that accept music for free as your steppingstones to Rolling Stone Magazine.
There are now thousands of music blogs where artists can submit music for free promotion. When you submit music to blogs for free, you will put your music in front of audiences that would never found your music otherwise – and that doesn’t just include music fans who want to buy and stream your music. It also includes other integral members of the music industry such as playlist curators, radio DJs, labels, promoters and other artists in your scene.
Rather than write an extensive list of the top sites which won’t be relevant to everyone reading this, we will point you in the direction of multi-genre blogs and run you through the best ways to submit music to blogs for free.
Where Can I Submit My Music?
The competition may be tougher on blogs that accept all genres of music, but if you think you will make a good first impression, here are some of the top multi-genre music blogs looking for your music:
A&R Factory is rated one of the top 10 UK blogs to submit your music to (top 100 worldwide). The blog’s readership includes PR executives, sync listing firms, managers, publishers and record labels.
IndiePulse Magazine are advocates for all things Indie; they’ve built a vast community with their readership, and their site includes videos, news, interviews and a radio station.
FACT Magazine was established in 2003 and has had a keen eye for the next big music trends ever since.
Pigeons & Planes is consistently looking for new artists to champion; their high readership ensures that all of their features will make an impact.
Cut the Pause gives artists of all genres the chance to wind up on their blog and in their The Discover List Spotify Playlist
XUNEMAG allows underground artists to become the artist of the week, feature on their Spotify playlists and score interviews by experienced journalists.
Finding the best free music blog to submit to will largely depend on you as an artist. To reduce the chance of your demo falling on deaf ears, you will need to know your niche and have a sense of who will be excited about your music instead of cold-contacting random bloggers.
Like any good PR package, you need to know where to invest your time and energy when it comes to boosting the signal on your new demo. You can save yourself time navigating your way through unhelpful Google search results by utilising sites such as Musosoup and SubmitHub, which was created in 2015 to connect artists with curators; that includes playlist curators, labels, blogs and radio stations.
Start by narrowing down music blogs by your location; look for websites promoting music in your town, city or country. Then, you will want to find blogs that champion music similar to yours.
Tips on How to Submit Your Music Free
Avoid sending blogs old material – all music blogs want fresh content; try to avoid submitting music past the release or leaving your promotion until the last minute.
Spend time on or invest in an eye-catching Electronic Press Kit (EPK) – don’t just fire off thoughtless emails to bloggers. Craft short but informative EPKs that immediately lets them know who you are and what your sound is about. Top tip, personality and humour go a long way.
Scope out the competition – if you know artists at a similar level as you or who create similar music, take note of which music blogs are publishing them and then take a chance.
Submit Music to Our Award-Winning Music Blog
A&R Factory is rated the number 1 music blog to submit your music to in 2021 by openmic.co.uk. We are also highly rated by Ditto Music, xxtrawave, and For the Love of Bands.
Our international team is always looking to hear the next big thing from artists, of any genre, across the globe. As we embrace authenticity as much as talent, we don’t discriminate on style. You can submit your demo to us as a premium submission with total confidence. More artists choose us to submit hip hop music than any other site in the UK.
What defines hip hop music and what hip hop music has come to represent in culture are two very different phenomena. Hip hop can be instantly recognisable by the canter of rapid-fire vocals and familiar patterns of the 808s. However, hip hop transcends sonic style to embrace an artistic edge that is solely synonymous with the genre.
Since hip hop music was born in the Bronx in the 70s, it has become a way to celebrate, confront and narrate the highs and lows of existence.
Hip hop became a way of seeing the world that resonated in minds across the globe. The popularity of hip hop had plenty to do with how it exposed wealth equality and disparity in 1970s America and offered compassion to everyone that found themselves on the wrong side of the rich-poor divide. Perhaps most importantly, hip hop offered an alternative to apathy for marginalised groups in society, resistance.
Lil Baby, Juice WRLD, Drake, Eminem and Kevin Gates are just a handful of the artists taking up their well-deserved space on the Billboard music charts in 2021. It is safe to say that the cultural influence that established in the 70s is just as essential now than it was back then. If you need any further convincing, look at the change-invoking art that transpired as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Hip hop became the soundtrack to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 as the artists paid ode to a tradition much earlier than the invention of hip hop music itself. Fighting oppression was a major theme in the James Brown era of blues music, taking the Isley Brothers and their single, Fight the Power, as a perfect example, but no one fought the power with the same fire as the early hip hop pioneers such as Tupac, Run DMC, De La Soul & Rakim.
A Short History of Hip Hop Music
DJ Kool Herc made history happen in August 1973 when he filled a dancefloor by isolating and extending percussion breaks while spinning the same dance record on twin turntables. The other big-name DJs in the Bronx were paying close attention and found inspiration in Herc’s experimental ethos that was later defined by two principles:
Utilising talent and available resources to create something new.
Emulating others but finding your own voice and groove.
The founding principles of hip hop music go a long way in explaining how the genre evolved so rapidly through the past few decades; it spoke to a growing movement of urban philosophers, poets and visual artists who all wanted to make their impact. Simply put, hip hop became a platform like no other.
The middle-classes did their best to ignore the hip hop revolution, but the pioneers persevered and kept pushing their messages that threatened to shake them out of complacency. Hip hop music attacked everything from urban poverty to racism to economic abandonment. The gangster rap group, N.W.A. shook the world with their iconic track, Fuck Tha Police, in 1988 before the Sugar Hill Gang proved that there was plenty more to hip hop than just aggressive narratives.
Over the years, many things became synonymous with hip hop, from the spoken-word style to the self-awareness of the artists keen to share their social and moral principles with the world. Today, hip hop encompasses a multitude of sub-genres, including, but not limited to, drill, grime, cloud rap, trap, jazz hip hop, boom bap, lo-fi hip hop, hardcore hip hop, mumble rap, nerdcore, breakbeat, ghetto house and emo rap. With artists such as Yungblud, Kae Tempest and Niki Minaj on the airwaves, we probably don’t need to point out that hip hop culture is more diverse than ever.
Submit Hip Hop Music
A&R Factory has been championing hip hop artists since 2012. Since then, we have become lauded and recognised as one of the best hip hop blogs to submit music to for artists looking to expand their reach to an international audience.
We especially want to hear from artists covering experimental ground with their sound, artists paying ode to the old school with their own lyrical flair and those looking to shift perceptions with their introspection. Submit hip hop music to our award-winning blog here.
It is no surprise that there is plenty of confusion in the common consensus around the definition of Indie music. While some defiantly proclaim that indie is NOT a genre, their defiant standpoint does little to explain the undeniably sonic likeness to the artists that often fall under the indie umbrella. Most guitar-based pop artists can’t seem to shed their indie status, regardless of how dependant they become on companies to distribute, create and promote their music.
Popular bands including REM, The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes and The Smiths are all listed as some of the best indie artists of all time. However, when Warner Bros. Records signed REM and the Strokes found themselves on the roster at RCA Records, they *technically* shed their independent artist status.
Originally the term ‘indie’ wasn’t affixed to bands to describe their sound; it alluded to their distribution style, financial status and autonomous way of creating their music. Independent artists operated outside the gaze and control of the ‘big four’ record companies (EMI, SONY BMG, Universal Group and Warner Music Group). Instead, artists either adopted a DIY (or die) ethos or partnered with one of the independent record labels which didn’t share the financial force of the big four.
Still, it seems somewhat of a contradiction that you can walk around a record store and find the indie crates with Florence and the Machine and Oasis records, or head to an indie night and be sure that you will hear King of Leon and The Killers. To truly understand how indie became a homophone, you’ll need to head back to the 70s.
The Origins of Indie Music
The 1970s – The term ‘indie rock’ became popular when it was used interchangeably with ‘guitar pop rock’ and ‘alternative rock’ in the US and the UK. Plenty of iconic independent record labels started to spring up in the 70s, including Manchester’s Factory Records (Joy Division, Happy Mondays, New Order, James), Stiff Records, who practically made punk happen in the UK and, of course, Rough Trade Records.
The 1980s – The term ‘indie’ started to veer further away from reference to independent record labels and artists, even more, when punk and post-punk artists noisily emerged. The 80s saw the rise of Mute records, which became a long-term home of artists such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Erasure, Depeche Mode and Goldfrapp. While Dischord Records in Washington, DC introduced the world to Fugazi and Minor Threat and Sub Pop started to bring the Seattle sound to international airwaves by establishing in 1986 by championing Nirvana and
The 1990s – Grunge and Britpop practically removed the word indie from its original meaning, allowing it to become synonymous with alternative music instead. By the end of the 90s, multiple subgenres evolved, including math-rock, post-rock, emo, lo-fi and noise-pop.
The 2000s – the widespread accessibility of the internet in the 2000s allowed indie music to take off in a massive way as artists stopped being so reliant on major labels to make it in the industry. The internet was used to discover new artists (RIP Myspace) and to frantically search “what IS indie music?!” to settle heated debates in the pub.
The Contemporary Importance of Independent Music
If you’ve ever seen a biopic film about one of your favourite artists or read a book by John Niven, you will have probably gained an idea of the role of record companies within the music industry.
You will also know that profit margins and mainstream potential are often considered above expression by major labels. Unlike artists signed to a major label, independent artists can explore their sonic palette and don’t need to filter their lyrics because their record label fears rocking the boat and the controversy hitting their share value.
Without independent artists and labels, punk would never have happened. If you want an idea of just how devastating that would be, you only need to listen to The King Blues’ What if Punk Never Happened. It’s safe to say that we would never have had no-wave, post-punk, art-rock, psych or avant-garde, shoegaze, noise-rock, lo-fi or space-rock either.
To be an independent artist is not to strive for commercial success but to accept it as a by-product of experimentation and honest expression. This is how indie also became synonymous with emotional or “emo” lyrics which tend to delve far deeper than artists signed to major labels. The term ‘plastic pop’ exists for a reason.
While there is perceptibly an ethos and aesthetic to indie, it can also be defined by its diversity. For example, compared to every other preceding rock genre, indie rock has a significantly higher representation of women in the charts. Kathleen Hanna started the third-wave feminist movement with her Riot Grrrl music in the 90s – at the same time, the ‘ultimate girl group to compete with boy bands’ was manufactured. You only need to look at the difference in the lyrics between the Spice Girls and Bikini Kill to see the true value of indie music.
The popularity of indie music may have seen a decline in the internet era of music with a dip in record sales, but indie music has always been worth more than what the album charts reflect. The uniqueness of the messages in the lyrics and the relatability of the iconic artists (The Smiths, Elliott Smith, Nirvana, Sleater-Kinney) gave people a voice to explore their own identity with. It created culture; it created the possibility of non-mainstream artistic autonomy being enjoyed worldwide.
Discover and Submit Indie Music
A&R Factory has been supporting independent artists since 2012; our award-winning blog attracts millions of visitors worldwide each year, amongst them are industry professionals looking to discover fresh new talent.
If you’re looking to get signed, or you want to expand your reach and get in more ears, submit indie music to our blog to put your music. By submitting your music, you will make yourself known to radio stations, management companies, publishers, record labels, playlist curators and promoters. Regardless of genre, we are always looking for the next big hit.
For a fourth time Jack Whitehall joined us to lead an entertaining night where we saw ten awards presented.
Coldplay opened the big night with an exclusive performance of their new single ‘Higher Power’, Dua Lipa then delivered an incredible medley of her bops ‘Again’, ‘Physical’, ‘Pretty Please’ and ‘Hallucinate’. US upcoming star Olivia Rodrigo followed, treating us to her debut performance on British soil singing ‘Drivers License’.
First-time BRITs nominee Arlo Parks delivered a beautiful performance of ‘Hope’, which was followed by an epic collab of ‘It’s A Sin’ from icon Sir Elton John and Years & Years. Tuning in live from across the Atlantic – international icon, The Weekend, performed his stunning hit ‘Save Your Tears’ and 2021 Rising Star winner Griff shared a mesmerizing performance of her pop anthem ‘Black Hole’.
Headie One lit up the stage with a double-drill mashup of ‘Princess Cuts’ and ‘Ain’t It Different’ alongside fellow nominees AJ Tracey and Young T & Bugsey. And closing the amazing night was P!nk (remotely) and Rag’N’Bone Man who sung their powerful ballad ‘Anywhere Away From Here’ and were also joined by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Choir.
Presenters on the night included Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, Celeste, and more!
Elon Musk will make his “Saturday Night Live” hosting debut on May 8. Musk is the CEO and Technoking of Tesla and the Chief Engineer of SpaceX, which launched the second operational flight of its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station on April 23.
Miley Cyrus will make her sixth appearance as “SNL” musical guest. Her most recent studio album, “Plastic Hearts,” has garnered over 1 billion streams to date on Spotify.
“Saturday Night Live” is produced in association with Broadway Video. The creator and executive producer is Lorne Michaels.
Every season of “SNL” is now streaming on Peacock.
The iconic festival, Glastonbury, is set to receive £900,000 (Over US$1 million) funding after having to cancel in 2020 and 2021.
The Worthy Farm event in the UK is being supported as part of the government’s latest Cultural Recovery Fund announcement, with more than 2,700 organizations being handed grants and loans to help with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
An announcement from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed: “Glastonbury Festival will receive £900,000 (Over US$1 million) to help the festival continue in 2021, with two smaller events this year, as well as to carry the festival through to 2022.”
In a statement, organizers Michael and Emily Eavis said: “We’re extremely grateful to be offered a significant award from the Culture Recovery Fund.
“After losing millions from the cancellation of our last two Festivals, this grant will make a huge difference in helping to secure our future.”
The news comes days after Glastonbury confirmed a special ‘Live at Worthy Farm’ live stream event on May 22 with the likes of Coldplay, Haim and Damon Albarn taking to the stage.
On what fans will be getting for their tickets, Emily added: “We are going to take you on a journey through all of those spots that you know from Worthy Farm – the woods, the railway line, the stone circle, the pyramid, and it’s going to build into this epic journey around the site into the night.”
Accessible only to ticket buyers, the online event will be broadcast in full across four separate time zones, with staggered livestreams for the UK, Europe, Africa & the Middle East, East Coast North America & Central / South America, West Coast North America, and Australia, New Zealand & Asia.
2020 was a challenging year across almost every industry, and few took a bigger hit than the entertainment sector.
With venues around the world shutting their doors and cancelled gigs piling up, many young artists had to postpone their debut.
At the very least, they had to find an alternative way to get their music out and build a fanbase without relying on live performances.
Fortunately for these artists, TikTok came to their rescue, allowing them to grow their career from the comfort and safety of their own home.
So, what’s the deal with TikTok?
TikTok is a popular video-based social platform developed by Chinese tech giant ByteDance in 2018.
The platform started life as two different apps: Musical.ly, which launched in Shanghai in 2014, and Douyin, which was founded by ByteDance in 2016. ByteDance wanted to expand Douyin internationally, and did so under a new name in September 2017: TikTok. They then acquired Musical.ly and folded it into TikTok shortly afterwards in August 2018.
In a nutshell, TikTok allows its users to share videos of up to 60 seconds. These rapid-fire short videos of lip-syncs to popular music and viral challenges delivered via a never-ending feed make for an addictive viewing experience. According to data released by ByteDance, their U.S users open the app eight times a day, with an individual session lasting for about 4.9 minutes, which is reportedly the highest individual session time across all social media platforms.
Since TikTok’s launch in 2018, the app has racked up billions (yes, with a ‘b’) of downloads globally. The highest peak was observed during Q1 2020, which saw global audiences quarantined at home amid COVID-19. Already claiming the coveted status of “most downloaded app” for both 2018 and 2019, in April 2020, TikTok officially reached a staggering 2 billion downloads.
How musicians are using TikTok to grow (and resurrect) their careers
Although TikTok took Gen Z by storm almost instantly, older users needed a little more time to get hooked. But as soon as they did get involved, their demographic has started indulging and creating TikTok content in a big way.
Despite its rapid growth in popularity, TikTok remains a relatively new medium. As the app continues to attract new users, it creates a unique opportunity for young talent to embrace its potential.
To reach mass-awareness on TikTok, users across the world are tapping into trending memes and challenges featuring a mix of chart-topping songs, niche artists and even long-lost hits from decades past.
Matthew Wilder, the artist behind 1984 single ‘Break My Stride’, is enjoying a huge surge in popularity by going viral on TikTok, helping him to climb the charts again almost four decades later:
At time of writing, TikTok users have featured Wilder’s song on their videos over 526K times as a part of the ongoing trend.
What kind of trend could lead to such impressive streaming performance? It involves texting someone the lyrics to ‘Break My Stride’, one line at a time until they figure out what you’re doing; then you film yourself dancing in front of the text chain – and the results are astonishing. The track has recently popped up on Spotify’s Viral 50 and Apple Music’s Top 100 charts around the world, giving it a whole new lease of life.
And what about new artists?
The most famous example of a “TikTok-made” musician is Montero “Lil Nas X” Hill.
Instead of competing with other up-and-coming rappers on more popular streaming services such as SoundCloud or Spotify, this 21-years-old American rapper decided to leverage the potential of a new social media platform. His efforts to promote “Old Town Road” using TikTok proved successful, and the song eventually got picked up as a trending meme, securing millions of streams as a result.
In his interview with Time, Hill commented: “I should maybe be paying TikTok. They really boosted the song. It was getting to the point that it was almost stagnant. When TikTok hit it, almost every day since that, the streams have been up. I credit them a lot.”
TikTok creates opportunities – but can it sustain an artist’s career?
Despite many mainstream bands already taking advantage of the new social video platform, TikTok isn’t reserved only for well-established artists. On the contrary, the platform is known for causing the breakthrough success of many emerging musicians such as Powfu, SAINt JHN, BENEE or Salem Ilese.
Several previously unknown musicians made their name thanks to being a part of the popular trends, memes and challenges thatTikTok thrives on. However, with music always being at the core of TikTok’s value proposition, the discovery of niche artists quickly becomes a massive part of the app’s identity.
Search trends clearly show what we think of as “TikTok songs” are growing in popularity across the world. The app has been incredibly successful so far in generating online streams to springboard lesser-known artists into the charts, as well as driving their explosive social media following.
A UK-based video production studio, Nibble Video, has recently released TikTok earnings data that investigates how much money TikTok artists could make in online royalties as a result of going viral on the platform.
According to Nibble’s report, a Canadian artist, Isaiah Faber – also known as Powfu – could be making as much as £2.3M in royalties from Spotify and YouTube with his single ‘Death Bed’ alone.
“Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head)” samples the 2017 song “Coffee” by UK. indie-pop artist Beabadoobee and tells the story of a man confessing his love while on his deathbed. Since the tune was uploaded to Powfu’s YouTube channel back in April, it has already accumulated over 247M views,as well as being featured in over 5.8M videos on TikTok.
But apart from online royalties, Faber has also benefited from an ever-increasing following across his social media channels. According to data collected by Soundcharts, his fan base on popular social media platforms such as Instagram saw a significant uplift as soon as ‘Death Bed’ took off virally.
Since Powfu is already making a significant profit from online streaming thanks to a single song, it stands to reason that he could benefit greatly from his Instagram presence in the long-term.
With almost 382K followers on Instagram, Powfu could be charging as much as £1.6K for a single post if he’d choose to become a paid influencer. [source: Inkifi]
TikTok’s impact on the music industry
Although there are many examples of artists who have had their music career skyrocket because of TikTok, the social media platform still sparks controversy.
Even with Donald Trump publicly criticising TikTok and demanding a blanket country-wide ban in the US due to privacy concerns, the company behind TikTok is still one of the world’s most profitable start-ups, its value circulating around $50B.
But as the profit of the start-up grows, one question is still being asked – do musicians make enough off their TikTok success?
The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has recently launched an inquiry into the economics of music streaming, urging the UK government to look into the business models operated by popular streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. The inquiry aims to evaluate streaming platforms’ economic impact on the music industry for artists, record labels and record shops.
A recent poll by YouGov (on behalf of the #BrokenRecord campaign) found that 77% thought artists are not being paid enough, while 76% felt songwriters were also underpaid. In contrast, the research showed that Universal Music Group recorded whopping revenues of $1.14bn in the last quarter despite the global pandemic and economic downturn.
During the first inquiry hearing last week, equitable remuneration, increased transparency and user-centric streaming models were put forward as ways in which the industry could be reformed and made fairer for artists. At the hearing, Guy Garvey, lead singer of the rock band Elbow, declared that the “system, as it is, is threatening the future of music”.
The multi-year agreement that has been developed in partnership between TikTok and NMPA was apparently designed to “enrich users’ experience and the creators of the music made available by the platform by helping them to get their music seen on a canvas with unlimited avenues for expression”, as noted by the official press release issued by NMPA.
And while TikTok is reportedly getting better at paying royalties for mainstream artists and their distributors, it leaves new and unsigned artists behind in terms of equal compensation.
Yes, it offers excellent publicity and free promotion in front of a multi-million-strong global audience, which can be quite lucrative, especially if you’re lucky enough to get involved in a major trend. But for those who don’t, TikTok does has an alternative.
Back in August, the company announced its first music distribution partnership with indie music distributor United Masters. According to TechCrunch, the deal will allow artists on TikTok to tap into the platform’s ability to make their music go viral, and then distribute their songs directly to other music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.
Does this mark the beginning of a whole new future of music discovery? We firmly believe so.
What with our current moment in time making it hard (and somewhat irresponsible) to go out to a movie theatre, we will have to find our widescreen entertainment someplace else. So instead of settling in for a Roland Emmerich-style disaster flick about the end of the world, instead lose yourself in Rum Buffalo’s expansive, cacophonous sonic vision of doom. Written from the perspective of a nay-saying prophet waxing poetic about The End (and its nighness), ‘Screama Preacha’ is more than just a screed. A lot more, in fact—with backing vocals by a 13-piece choir, synthesizers, a horn section, blown-out guitar, and lyrics describing “Neon blood making a sea”, you could very easily state that this song is, in fact, a whole lot.
Good thing, then, that it’s a whole lot of goodness. From lead singer Jake Stevens’ pained howl piercing through the noise like a buzzing FM radio, to the chaotic yet eminently listenable production, ‘Screama Preacha’ presents a top notch musical journey—a madcap aural equivalent to Dante’s Divine Comedy. And just when you think you’ve heard it all, that Rage Against The Machine-esque chug sets in to clear space for MC Kathika (of the band Slamboree) to come in and spit some very welcome (and very fire) bars. If this is what the end of the world sounds like, well, we feel fine.
There are multitudes of ways for two friends to communicate, most of which an audience won’t be privy to. But for Adam Watkins and Patrick Savage, the two friends who make up Reunionunion, their communication is in their music. Them catching up and sharing musical ideas back and forth led to the creation of their new album, ‘RE:EVALUATE’, due out later this summer. And this dialogue is visible all throughout the first single, ‘Division’. From the icy synthwave that, at first, seems like it’s going to be the backbone of the track, to the sudden and violent outburst of meaty guitar work, there’s a push-and-pull at the song’s core that makes it eminently listenable.
The song feels like listening in on a good conversation: it’s a back and forth with sudden shifts in tone and content, smoothed over by the sense that you’re listening to good friends, hashing it out.
As wolves howl at the moon, Albanian model and singer KleoNiki sensuously moves from her bed to a dream space filled with arcane symbolism—and a beautiful message. “Look at what’s happening on Earth. Humans are living in separation. Let’s go on a mission to assist the evolution of consciousness,” she intones during a breakdown on the track. Her message of unity through love and an evolution of consciousness is a welcome one in these unsure times.
The video and song are a feast for both eyes and ears, and provide a promising taste of this Albanian polymaths’ potential.