The Pros & Cons of SubmitHub – An Honest Review
SubmitHub.com is an online service that acts as a link between musicians and bloggers/playlisters/labels/radio stations. It might sound like a win/win situation, but the platform comes with many pros and cons.
SubmitHub started as a way of streamlining communication between musicians and people with influence in the music industry.
When you’re starting out as an artist, it can be difficult to gain traction. It can also be tough to get honest feedback from people. Your friends and family will probably say that your music is great, but you quickly need to step out of that comfort zone and see how your music resonates with strangers!
Should you try out SubmitHub? It very much depends. If your genre fits, then it might be very useful. The feedback may be helpful, particularly for commercial and mainstream genres.
On the other hand, you should expect many of the influencers on this platform to offer contradictory, condesending, and/or completely unconstructive feedback. You need to use your own sense to separate constructive feedback from nonsense!
Even if you release great music, you need to go into it with a very specific mindset and be mentally prepared for rejections! However, that’s how you should approach the music industry in general.
In this article, I’m going to go through some tips and specifics for getting the most out of it.
- How Does It Work?
- The Pros of Using SubmitHub
- The Cons of Using SubmitHub
- Is SubmitHub worth it?
How Does It Work?
You can either use a limited amount of free credits or pay to submit your tracks for consideration.
How does it work? You pay to submit your track (usually between $1 to $3) and the blog has 48 hours to review your track (or 96 hours for labels). You get a refund if they don’t respond OR if they don’t provide enough feedback OR if they don’t listen for a predetermined amount of time (you choose some of these conditions when you start your campaign).
What’s it like? Responses from bloggers can range between very helpful and constructive to obnoxious and lazy.
The Pros of Using SubmitHub
1. Get fans and traction for your music
SubmitHub gives you the opportunity to quickly reach a large number of influencers, labels, and playlisters.
A lot of artists have gotten great exposure and traction using this platform.
2. Get feedback on your track
SubmitHub is a great way of getting quick feedback on your tracks.
Some feedback is very helpful and specific. I have seen playlisters that have really gone out of their way to go into specifics and constructively give their opinion about tracks.
I have also seen the other side of the coin… I’ll talk about that in the “cons” section!
3. Helps to Analyze Bloggers and Playlisters
SubmitHub has very useful data to help you determine the quality of the influencer (e.g., reach, feedback quality, influence, etc.).
You should go for “quality over quantity” when submitting via SubmitHub; this data is useful to help determine the quality!
4. Compensation for Bloggers
Bloggers and playlisters spend a lot of time reviewing and sharing music. Many of them just do it for the love of music. It’s no harm paying these people a dollar or two to keep doing their job.
Although the standard musician is not exactly a millionaire, it’s still quite affordable for many that are looking to promote their music.
The Cons of Using SubmitHub
1. Get Ready for Rejection!
You will likely face a lot of rejections, many more than your approval numbers. The approval rate can be really low for some bloggers and playlisters (e.g., some may only accept 1 in 10 paid submissions, or even 1 in 100!)
Rejection is something you can’t really avoid in any art form, but the rejections are very clear and obvious using SubmitHub.
2. Feedback – Take It With a Large Grain of Salt
Rejections often happen quietly through other media. This could be through the form of an unanswered email or people pretending they like your music.
This is not the case through SubmitHub!
The responses can be brutally honest.
This can be either constructive criticism OR vague rejections OR completely unhelpful, obnoxious, stinging criticism.
You need to be ready for all of the above.
In the music industry, you need to get used to these types of responses.
You also need to use your own maturity, self-belief, and vision of your own music to weed through the responses and come to a positive conclusion.
Some responses might be absolute garbage. They may be know-it-all playlisters that have a single-minded vision that every song should follow an exact format or style. They may only like commercial dance music with female vocals and dismiss practically everything else. You should disregard much of what these type of people say.
However, some negative responses should be taken on board, even if phrased rudely. Perhaps you’re trying to present a track as “minimal techno” that playlisters can clearly tell does not fit into this genre, this can be useful feedback to help you pitch your track better in the future.
You should look for broad patterns in many different responses and consider that in your areas for improvement. Don’t just take the word of one particular playlister. Some may say your song has too much melody, while others will say it has too little melody!
If you are trying to match a very specific genre style, then feedback can be quite useful to help you improve your mixing and mastering. Perhaps your beats don’t have enough intensity, or the song is too repetitive, or the vocals don’t come through properly in the mix. Getting tips on these can be useful (or they may be absolute garbage!).
Finally, if you’re going to go for a creative new style, then perhaps you need to just believe in your own vision for the music and let it develop according to your own plan. Take some feedback if necessary, but keep progressing.
If a blogger responds to your ambient mix saying “It needs vocals,” then consider if this is good or bad advice. Just because they prefer music that has vocals does not mean that’s right for your own style of music.
3. Not All Bloggers and Playlisters Are Equal
If you’re looking for lots of quality streams, then check out the “reach” and stream count per track for that playlister.
Some playlists through SubmitHub have very large play counts, but many of them are really low.
There’s probably not much point wasting your money on playlists that won’t get any traction.
For example, if it costs you $1 to submit to a playlister that only accepts 5% of their submissions, and if successful, that track will only get 5 plays on their playlist, then I would view that as a VERY bad potential deal for you!
Also, check out their sharing methods. Some playlisters on this label on focus on SoundCloud, others focus on Spotify, others only have YouTube channels.
If you only focus on Spotify plays, then ignore the people that don’t fill this category.
4. Many Are Very Genre Specific
You should individually select bloggers and playlisters before submitting them, because many bloggers and playlisters on SubmitHub have very specific preferences.
Make sure you check out their profiles before you submit to them.
Don’t submit a minimal techno track to a playlist curator that only accepts commercial house tracks. In most cases, they will never accept your track, no matter how good it is.
This is a total waste of money and you will get a ton of pointless rejections.
5. Some Are Just in It for the Money
While many of the people you pitch to are honest and give thorough consideration to your track, there are some that are not focused on giving a good service, and want to get through tracks as quickly as possible while getting paid for it.
Some bloggers give very low quality and generic feedback, which can be very unhelpful.
SubmitHub also has a great feature that allows you to see how long people listened to your track for. Some people reject tracks after quite a short amount of time, which means they made a very quick decision and didn’t really give it time (although I don’t like this at all… in their defense, that’s also likely the behavior of quite a lot of modern day listeners for commercial genres).
Is SubmitHub worth it?
It very much depends on what type of music you release.
SubmitHub is good for particularly commercial sounds or music that very closely matches a specific genre (e.g., well-produced pop music, club-ready techno tracks, progressive house music, etc.).
Using SubmitHub is a very good primer to getting into the real world of releasing music.
You will probably face a lot of rejection, there are going to be a lot of people that have very predefined tastes about what your music “should” be; you may get bloggers that will try to give you bad advice or might appear very rude.
I think SubmitHub is worth trying out. You can start off with some free credits, or pay a few dollars to go for their premium service.
Just make sure to go into it with the right mindset. Hopefully you will get some great shares and exposure from it. Either way, take responses with a grain of salt, act on feedback that you think is useful, and believe in your own vision.