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What to Pitch for a Review 2.0

Sebastien Helary
Co-Founder / @helaryous

We get a lot of emails, I mean A LOT of emails, from people looking to be featured on Nextbop. Honestly, it’s flattering and we thank you for your interest, but we’ve found along the years a lot of musicians don’t understand how to properly pitch their work to a publication. Anthony already wrote a post on the matter three years ago (that still has some play), but I feel some of you may need a more concise and to the point refresher course. So here’s our best practices to being featured on our website.

1. Familiarize yourself with Nextbop
First thing you should do is to go to our homepage and check out who we are. Browse the website, read a few posts, get a feel for the type of content we feature (hint: our tagline is “The Next Generation of Jazz”) and figure out if we’re likely to provide coverage. Basically if you’re not a jazz musician, no matter how good you are at what you do, we won’t write about you. And if your thing is very traditional, straight-ahead jazz, you also have an uphill battle before getting featured.

2. Send us an email, with an emphasis on email
We like to get emails. Not Facebook messages. Not tweets. Emails. If you email us, your message will patiently sit in our inbox along with its friends until we have the time to check it out. We have lives and aren’t always in “work mode”. Plus we get the vast majority of our content from our inbox. It’s centralized. It’s the first place we check when we need content. If you send us a message on social media, we have to take the extra step of migrating its content to our aforementioned inbox. And frankly it feels like you were too lazy to find the Contact Us section of our website, meaning you didn’t follow Step 1 of our best practices.

And PLEASE do not use our personal Facebook accounts to submit your work. You might think you’re being clever in circumventing our submission process but really you’re making it worse for yourself. It’s like if you’re at a restaurant and you see a celebrity a few tables down having dinner with his/her family. Don’t go talk to them. We all need our privacy and our personal space.

3. Make sure your email includes a biography, a press release, your album in MP3 format and a link to a medium we can embed on our site

In other words, make sure we have everything we need to write our post neatly packaged in one email. Sure your bio is on your website, and your album is on Bandcamp. But if we have to choose between writing about someone who sent us an email with all the information required and someone who makes us scavenge for it online, odds are we’ll pick the first person.

Your bio and your press release should be exhaustive and preferably include quotes from yourself which we can use in our post. We condense information for our readers to its essence. We can’t do this if we don’t have enough information. Plus a flimsy bio or press release show you didn’t put proper effort into your submission, so why should we put effort in writing about you?

Furthermore, we are a multimedia publication meaning all our posts include either a stream or a video. We want our readers to be able to experience the music we are writing about and frankly no matter how laudatory our words are, they won’t be as convincing as a first-hand experience of your music. Plus we like to listen to a song or watch a video to get a quick feel for you, especially if we aren’t familiar with your work, something we don’t have to download.

Speaking of downloads, please send us your album in MP3 format. There’s nothing more irritating than receiving an album in WAV format. We are not a radio. We are folks who listen to music on their phones. We don’t have the time to download large files. We don’t have the space on our phones for large files. Basically, we don’t like large files. And if you don’t feel like going through the hassle of converting the WAVs to MP3s, we don’t either. Streams are also not recommended because we cannot listen to them offline. Plus we check out a lot of music so help us save our data.

If you follow these steps, it will greatly increase your chances of us writing about your project. Keep in mind we get a lot of emails so there is definitely an element of luck in whether you will be selected. Some of the things that help your chances are if one of your bandmembers is someone we are familiar with, meaning they are in essence vouching for you or if your album includes a cover or a standard. Covers or standards give you the opportunity to showcase your personality on a track we are familiar with. Those are usually the first tracks I personally check out when I receive an album. Also, if you can afford it, a publicist is not a bad idea. It shows you are serious about your release and again it’s someone we know vouching for you.

Finally, if you don’t get coverage, don’t give up. Keep doing what you believe in. We aren’t always right. If we aren’t crazy about your style it doesn’t mean there isn’t an audience for it. Everything is subjective. And sometimes we like the music but feel you just need more time in the shed before we can write about you. Doesn’t mean you aren’t now on our radar. Happened with BADBADNOTGOOD. So yeah, hope this helped a little bit and keep persevering!

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Nextbop has been working hard to promote new and innovative types of jazz music since 2009, but given our niche status we simply cannot survive on banner advertising, especially in this age of Adblock. This is why we have created a Patreon campaign to collect monthly donations from our fans. This has become our primary source of income. If you value the work we do, you can help for as little as $1 per month. This would make a huge difference in assuring proper wages for our writers and would give us the opportunity to create better more in-depth content for you, our readers.

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