Today is a day when I would normally post music from independent hip hop artists. Tuesday evenings are one of the days I set aside to listen to submissions for posting the following day. After my 3rd week of going through over 2 hours of unusable submissions, I asked my self, “dude, what in the hell are you doing?” And I took some time to reflect on how I got here. Follow me…
After 2 1/2 years, this blog’s popularity is increasing among independent hip hop artists. Nothing could make a blogger happier than to have his or her blog strike a resounding chord with audience they’re trying to target. Some of the music I’ve been introduced to in the process has been one of the greatest rewards of running this blog.
When I started IndieHipHop.net, artists submissions and reviews were intended to be just a small part of this site. In fact, I was only profiling one artist every Wednesday back then. Why? Because I saw the big shift taking place in the music industry, and I knew that hip hop artists were going to need information that would help them with their independent music careers. I also knew that I could never keep up with the new music release game that other hip hop blogs have done very well. In addition, I didn’t want to put a lot of hard work into a blog where what I posted yesterday became old news and was irrelevant.
So over time, more artists began submitting music for my “artist of the week” slot, and I soon discovered that there were very few hip hop blogs that supported independent or lesser known hip hop artists. No problemo! I’ll be glad to support the underdog. Back then the volume of submissions were manageable, but I soon had to start posting more artists on Wednesdays because, at my usual pace, it was taking a very long time before artists would get a shot at being posted on the blog. Tuesdays became my listening day and I happily looked forward to hearing new music from indie and underground artists who lived in various places across the world. This was dope because I didn’t know shit about running a blog when I started, and the emails of support from independent artists were very encouraging.
Still, even though I was listening to more music and posting more artists, I was able to keep the primary theme of music business dominant in the blog. I developed the fairest system for submissions that I could come up with. I listened to all music submitted and I listened in the the order they came in. Over time I made a few personal connections with a handful of artists that I’d bump to the front of the line, but this was only because they consistently put out great music and were huge supporters. You gotta reward that. There were bad submissions always coming through from artists just not following simple directions, but this only confirmed my belief that the business information was still desperately needed. About 2 years in, this started to become a big enough problem to suck some of the fun out of going through submissions. And I’m a firm believer that if you’re not having fun doing something, stop doing it.
I’m not sure when the big wave hit, but this blog’s submission email address landed on many promotional e-blast lists. Promo companies started putting me on it, then the artists. Fewer submissions were personal,and I just became one of 50 other bloggers the submission would be sent to. I have no problem with this as long as the transfer of the music is easy for me. But the vast majority of these were just reoccurring emails of links to mixtapes and submissions that didn’t contain what I needed for a post. Some bloggers are really particular about the way they want music sent to them, but I became flexible in the way I’d except the delivery.
Fast forward to now, and my inbox is getting an average of 60 submissions per day. And I’m not counting the e-blast submissions. I’ve clearly posted what I need for a post on my contact page, yet I still get lots of emails with just a YouTube link. “Hey I’m an up and coming rapper and I want to be on your blog”. Then the artist just inserts a link to a Facebook page. And there’s…”Hey, check out my mixtape. Tell me what you think.” No pic, no info, and no website. But more abundantly, there are the artists who just don’t take their music seriously. Now I wouldn’t be bothered by this if the opening of these emails didn’t collectively take up so much of my time and keep me from getting to the good shit. Because of the volume, now it’s taking me even longer to get to artists submissions. An artist trying to promote his or her new single may not get seen for 2 months at the current pace, and I understand how sometimes artists need these post to be in sync with their maketing plans.
I wish I could wave a magic wand that would direct me to the good submissions in my inbox, but I can’t. If you’ve noticed lately, I’ve started adding more popular indie artists in the mix. This is due to the fatigue I’ve been getting from going through the pile. Basically anybody with a microphone and a ripped YouTube instrumental can send me music and use up a portion of my time. And they do. I’m still going to accept submissions but my system of posting will change. At this point I’m not sure how though. I’m writing this on a Tuesday evening after just discovering the need to create a better filter. I’m open to any and all suggestions from my readers. This blog will continue to support independent hip hop artists. It’s just time to develop a more effective way to spotlight those who are serious about their craft.