In the wide world of music promotion, there are a lot of platforms to send your music through. SubmitHub, HumanHuman, Groover… they all allow artists to get in touch with music influencers for a small amount of money, and thus hope to obtain from them a playlist share, a radio placement, or a blog article to then attract a new audience or make their current one grow. They are reaching more and more artists and new platforms emerge as well ; among these platforms, there is MusoSoup : an English platform that works a little bit differently from the three others mentioned above.
In order for you, as an artist, manager, publisher or label manager, to better understand what these platforms are, how they differ from one another and which ones to use to promote your music effectively, we have written this guide for you.
Table of content :
- Overview : what are the main platforms to self-promote your music on ?
- MusoSoup : an English platform that works differently from SubmitHub, HumanHuman and Groover.
- But then, what do I choose ? SubmitHub, HumanHuman, Groover or MusoSoup ?
- Press coverage : articles or playlist shares ?
- Audience : is it local or international ?
- Budget : how much can you spend on promotion ?
- Planning : are you in a rush ? or are you taking your time instead ?
Overview : what are the main platforms to self-promote your music on ?
In order for you to better understand how to promote your music by yourself, here is an overview of three of the leading platforms that connect artists with music influencers.
SubmitHub is the undisputed leader of all the “self-promoting” platforms out there. It is certainly the one that brings together the most curators around the world, and it allows artists to get in touch with various influencers, ranging from independent Spotify playlists to magazines or radio stations. It has nearly 2,000 active curators on its platform, which can all be contacted by paying small amounts of money, an amount that varies from curator to curator depending on their popularity – the more popular they are, the more expensive they are.
Promotion campaigns are short on this platform : they only last 48 hours. The curators will send you a feedback during this short amount of time, and earn 50 cents each time they write a feedback, whether it is positive or negative. The main goal of this platform is that your feedback or coverage request does not remain unanswered. It is indeed easy for your support request to get lost in the dozens, if not hundreds of emails that are sent every day to these curators!
By setting up a campaign on SubmitHub, as on most platforms, you buy credits. Each influencer costs between 1 and 3 credits ; the price of a credit varies, because the more you buy at once, the less it costs you. Here is a little explanation below, taken from SubmitHub’s help section.
Credits are used to send your song to a blog. There are two types: standard and premium.
When you use a premium credit, your submission filters to the top of each outlet’s dashboard. The outlet that you send to then has to:
1) respond within 48 hours (96 hours for labels);
2) listen to at least 20 seconds;
3) approve the song, or provide a minimum of 10 words explaining why it wasn’t a good fit (for curators) or score the 3 elements selected (for influencers). If they don’t satisfy these requirements, you get your credit back to be used again. There’s also an option for “90 seconds of listening instead of feedback.”
Premium credits tend to have a higher approval rate because blogs are encouraged to spend time with the song, rather than making a split-second decision.
With standard credits, there are no such requirements: a blog can choose to provide feedback if they wish, but may instead make a quick decision and move onto the next song.
– source : SubmitHub’s help section
As mentioned above, a free credit option exists on SubmitHub, a rather unpopular one, which is called “standard credits”. When signing up, you earn two standards credits every four hours, and you must use them when acquired if you want to get two new ones ; this is an unpopular option because not only does it take time to earn enough credits to run a campaign, but curators are more inclined to respond to premium solicitations, as most of them are on SubmitHub to earn some money to support their blog, magazine, radio or playlist.
You can buy between 5 and 100 credits at once on SubmitHub. 5 credits cost $6, 10 credits cost $10, and 100 credits cost $80. As the price of an influencer can vary drastically, it is recommended to buy between 70 and 100 credits to get significant media coverage.
Groover is more or less similar to SubmitHub ; it is the French version of the leading platform. While most of the curators on this platform are French, it is reaching international curators at lightning speed, welcoming new influencers from Italy, England, Canada, Brazil and more every day. If you are a French artist, you can easily reach local media and curators of playlists as well as some foreign media / curators through Groover.
The campaigns on this platform last 7 days and each influencer (with the exception of twenty of them, such as Electro Posé or Beware Magazine) can be contacted for only €2. Each feedback that has been provided allows the influencer to ear €1, whether the feedback is negative or positive. If no feedback is sent within those 7 days, artists get their 2€ back and can thus contact someone else on the platform without spending more money.
Among the curators that have signed up on Groover, we there is a significant amount of “mentors”, labels, managers, publishing companies that are ready to help emerging artists who contact them for professional support. This way, while running your promotion campaign, you can contact a label you think is suitable to guide you creatively.
To get to know better what Groover is about, we recommend you to read Dorian Perron’s interview, who is the co-founder of Groover.
HumanHuman is certainly the lesser-known of the three platforms. However, it allows independent artists to reach curators from various countries ! Mainly based in the Uk and in the USA, HumanHuman gathers international curators that are all accessible for a slightly larger budget than Groover and SubmitHub. Indeed, each curator sets their own feedback price, ranging from 1 to 10€ tops. Each artist then manually selects the curators they wish to contact, and launch their campaign after making this selection. If the curator that has been contacted has not provided feedback, 70% of the price initially paid goes back to the artist – the remaining 30% is kept by HumanHuman in order to run the platform correctly.
– here’s how the influencers are displayed on HumanHuman. By clicking the “select” button, the curator is added to your campaign order list.
Just like Groover, on HumanHuman, most curators are able to give professional advice to guide you through your music journey. So, in addition to asking for feedback and for covering your release, you are allowed 5 questions per curator ! Do you want advice on the mix of your music ? On your marketing campaign ? You can ask curators like Sidekick Music these questions, for example, and get feedback from professionals while asking for press coverage.
MusoSoup : an English platform that works differently from SubmitHub, HumanHuman and even Groover.
What is MusoSoup ?
MusoSoup was created in March 2020. This fairly new English sharing platform works differently from Groover, SubmitHub and HumanHuman. Although it also allows you to reach several hundred curators in a few clicks… you do not select who you contact. In reality, you contact all of the influencers that have singed for a fixed amount of £20, or around $30, and the curators come to you if they are interested in your music !
On the curator’s side, it looks like this. You access the artists’ submissions in a sort of music library that includes all the tracks that have been accepted on the platform – the admin team first listens to the song or album that the artist has submitted on MusoSoup before sending it, making every campaign on MusoSoup risk-free – that way, you don’t get very amateur artistic projects in your music suggestions. You can decide to listen to all the suggestions presented to you at your own pace, or you can apply filters (for example: electro pop, synth pop and indie pop if this is your editorial line) and listen only to those that fit your interests.
In order for each curator to have the time to listen to the various artistic campaigns that fall into their preferences filter, the campaigns on the platform last 45 days. That way, as an artist, you run your promotional campaign over time, and you give curators time to come back to you at their own pace, and when their publishing schedule allows it.
Curators, when they start a listening session, simply click on “save this submission” or on “i’m not interested”. Any saved suggestion can then be viewed at will… and especially at any time, even after the campaign has expired. This gives curators all the time they need to get back to the artists and really think about what kind of media coverage they want to offer the selected artist.
What can I get from a MusoSoup campaign ?
Unlike SubmitHub, Groover and HumanHuman, MusoSoup is only a platform open to the media, whether you are a magazine, blog, radio or a YouTube channel for example. The MusoSoup curators are mainly British, Canadian and American ; MusoSoup is an ideal platform for English-speaking artists, or artists wishing to distribute their music beyond the borders of their country.
There are several options available to artists who wish to campaign on MusoSoup. The first one is to choose whether they just want to get “free shares”, which are usually Twitter mentions, Facebook shares, and Spotify playlist adds. In return, the curator can ask you to follow their playlist or their Facebook page, and they make sure to do the same on they side. MusoSoup is all about win-win deals both for artists and curators.
However, sometimes, a curator will make an “offer”. These offers correspond to various types of media coverage, ranging from a full review, a 10-question interview, or a feature in a global article including, for example, the “top 10” tracks of the week. It is also possible that the curator offers you to sponsor your post on social networks, through an Instagram advertisement that benefits you and them, so that way, by giving you visibility, they get some too !
These various media coverage formulas are generally offered (but not always) at the cost of a low financial compensation. If the costs rarely go beyond what HumanHuman can ask you to contact an influencer, if a lot of people (or not) come back to you and offer to pay them in return for an article, you have the choice :
- accept and thus pay the curator’s fee for the provided work.
- refuse, and thus accept the free offer he makes to you if you ever refuse his offer. Indeed, the platform will never force you to pay! You can always opt in instead of being shared in one of the media’s playlists, or being mentioned on their Twitter account in return.
- decline the offer altogether, free option included.
It is mandatory for curators to offer a free alternative, as what they want initially is to give you visibility, regardless of the type of coverage that will be offered. It is also a way of avoiding to promote a practice that corrupts the editorial lines of online magazines and blogs : content sponsorship, aka payola. And it is not payola for two main reasons : it is not the artist that asked to pay the curator to obtain an article in their blog or magazine, but in addition to that, the curator’s fee is optional : the curator can indeed, if they wish, write the article for free, or provide another type of media coverage. MusoSoup has even launched a movement to support this practice and to demonstrate that paying the curator for its work does not necessarily mean it is sponsored content: the movement is called #SustainableCurator, and the details can be found on their website.
But then, what do I choose ? SubmitHub, HumanHuman, Groover or MusoSoup ?
As we have seen previously, each platform has its specialty, its advantages and its disadvantages. Here is what we suggest you do – but please note that these are just advice, and we do not claim that this is the right way to do ! If you do otherwise, we strongly recommend you to tell us about it in the comment section on Instagram. We can even edit the article by mentioning the way you work !
Types of coverage
Are you looking for playlist adds ? We recommend SubmitHub and Groover.
SubmitHub and Groover can be of massive help when you’re trying to reach out to lots of playlist curators, regardless of your musical genre. And on top of playlist curators, you’ll even find curators of Youtube channels such as Electro Posé on Groover or Trap Flow on SubmitHub. Being featured on such channels is an excellent way to be promoted to hundreds of thousands of listeners, especially if your main goal is to increase your number of streams, reach and/or grow a new audience.
Are you looking for press coverage ? We recommend MusoSoup, HumanHuman or Groover.
If you are looking for reviews and interviews to add to your press kit, we recommend using MusoSoup and HumanHuman, and Groover to a lesser extent. MusoSoup is a platform that exclusively brings together media that are ready to offer you various ways to cover your release, so it is very likely that the journalist who stumbles upon your upcoming track will offer to write about it. The same goes for HumanHuman and Groover, although HumanHuman is more often used to getting professional feedback on your music.
Want to reach a French audience ? We recommend using Groover (and SubmitHub to a lesser extent).
Are you a French or a French speaking artist ? If the answer is yes, then Groover is the ideal platform for you. It is a fact : the French language will not perform as easily as the English language abroad, and it is important to gather a local audience first in order to gain visibility and credibility with international, foreign partners. Groover, by being a French platform, brings together several hundred French magazines, radios, blogs and even playlists & Youtube channels, and certainly has the highest rate of active French media of the four platforms presented in this article.
To a lesser extent, SubmitHub can complete your Groover campaign, especially if you are looking to reach French Canadian curators, for example.
Are you looking to get featured on foreign media and get playlist shares ? You can use all of the four platforms !
MusoSoup and HumanHuman are composed almost exclusively of international curators, with a significant proportion of English, American, Canadian and Australian curators. However, SubmitHub is above all an American platform, and the list of foreign curators (English-speaking or not) signed up on Groover keeps growing ! It is therefore necessary to analyze your campaign budget and how you want your promotion campaign to unfold. We see that a few lines below !
Our advice (not exhaustive): do you want to reach English-speaking media ? Choose MusoSoup, SubmitHub, or HumanHuman. Do you want to reach Hispanic media ? Choose Groover, which is adding more and more Spanish and South American media, and use SubmitHub as a complement.
Do you have a very limited budget (less than £50 or $50) ? We recommend using Groover or MusoSoup with the “free coverage only” option activated.
On Groover, (almost) all influencers are accessible for two euros. Thus, if you choose to contact 20 specific influencers that you have selected for their editorial line (this requires quite a lot of research time before setting up the campaign), you will not spend more than 40 euros on your promotional campaign. We advise you though, for an effective campaign, to select either only playlists or only media, depending on the type of coverage you want to get : if you are looking to increase your number of streams, we recommend you select playlists and Youtube channels only. If, on the contrary, you wish to put together a press kit in order to contact a label, manager, publisher or tour manager, we recommend you select magazines, blogs and radio stations only.
You can also split your budget into two : allocate €25 (£ 20) to MusoSoup and let curators add you for free to their playlists, for example, and allocate the remaining €25 to specific media you have selected because your music matches their editorial line.
On the contrary, you have more money to spend on your promotional campaign (between 90 and 150 dollars or pounds) ? We recommend using MusoSoup and HumanHuman.
As mentioned previously, MusoSoup is a platform that allows you to run a promotional campaign for music for £20 only. However, it does not stop there, because some curators may ask you for financial compensation to “pay” them, in a certain way, for the time spent writing their content and creating the digital content that will support the publication of this article (Facebook post, Twitter mention, Instagram story …). While most contributions are relatively small, when put together, it can be more expensive than a Groover or SubmitHub campaign. The advantage, however ? The assurance of quality media coverage and a wide variety of content on your release ! And above all, you have the possibility to refuse the offer that we make to you, you are never obliged to accept the financial compensation since a free cover (often a Facebook mention or an addition in playlist) will always be offered to you as an alternative.
HumanHuman works more or less on the same principle, except that this time, you pay the price that the curator has set for you to contact them (for example, you can reach out to HighClouds for 10€, ChillTracks for 5€…). The budget of your campaign is therefore flexible. And just like Groover and SubmitHub, you do not get your money back if the feedback provided is negative – these platforms are there to ensure you get feedback, not coverage necessarily.
If you have more budget to spend on your promotional campaign, we strongly advise you to hire a PR agent. Not only will you have time to focus on your music and on getting in touch with your fanbase, but you also won’t have to worry about finding the right contact and the right person to ask for a review – which is something that can be particularly time-consuming if you are an independent artist.
You have time and you don’t want to get all of your press coverage at once ? We recommend using MusoSoup.
As you may have now understood, MusoSoup allows you to set up a promotional campaign for 45 days… but some curators, by saving your track, may come back to you after the expiration date of your campaign. That way, you can upload your release on to MusoSoup one to two months before it is released, and reach curators for an extensive period – you can expect press coverage on a two to three months period since each curator will come back to you according to their own schedule. This is a good way to get articles on the long haul. On top of that, you will only receive positive feedback on the platform since you will not know who has dismissed your submission. You will therefore only be contacted by influencer who are interested in your project, and you can always refuse the curators’ fee if you have run out of money or maxed out your budget at the end of the campaign.
You are looking to boost the beginning of your promo campaign or to complete an ending one ? We recommend using SubmitHub.
SubmitHub, by giving only 48 hours to the curators to provide feedback, allows you to “test the waters” quickly : in less than three days, you have an idea of what types of curators (blogs, magazines, radios, playlists …) would like to write and / or share your upcoming release.
SubmitHub is therefore a very good way to complete a promotion campaign that is nearing its end or that is just starting : in order to show (again) that influencers are interested in your release or in order to complete your press kit, contact a few influencers on SubmitHub at the beginning or the end of your promotional campaign can give a little boost to your latest release.
Have any questions ?
No matter what your release plan is, we will always recommend a mix of two platforms. If you can often run your entire campaign on only one of them, some curators are only accessible on one platform and not on another one. In order to gain significant media coverage, you will only benefit from campaigning on more than one platform.
Do not forget, however, that being an artist is above all being a musician, songwriter, or a performer. If working on a promotional campaign stops you from doing what you are supposed to do, which is making music, it is important to know how to hire a PR agent for this. To better understand what a PR agent does, we recommend you to read Manon L’Huillier’s interview, who is a press officer at Phunk Promotion, a French PR agency.
Do you have questions about music promotion ? Reach out to us on Instagram in the comment section of our post dedicated to this article. We look forward to seeing you there !
Editor’s word : this article is in no way intended to discredit the work of PR agents. I myself am an independent PR agent, however, at hauméa, we defend all ways that exist for an artist to get in touch with the media, because we are aware that it is not always possible for an independent artist working by themselves to hire a press officer for a release. On top of that, as a (very) young independent media, we want to be able to finance our marketing actions and remunerate the time spent writing and editing in order to offer ever more interesting content but also ultimately to be able to pay contributors in the future – a goal that we hope to achieve in 2021 !
More information on the #SustainableCurator movement here as well as on the MusoSoup website.
NB : this article was written spontaneously, without receiving any financial contribution in return. When this is the case, you will find see it written at the end of the article alongside the hashtag #SustainableCurator.
PS : thank you Arnaud Marty from HighClouds for your help on how HumanHuman works !