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.
Really good, helpful review thank you
I submitted music to Spotify playlist curators last year and one thing that bugged me was that the playlist description said they accepted certain types of music like Indie Rock for example. It would say how many songs of that genre it accepted over a year and would have that type of music playing on the list but then I was notified that the curator didn’t accept that genre. What? Also, Submithub and Spotify in general for that matter more or less forces songwriters to get the hook in right away since the curators listen to at most 90 seconds thus altering your writing style to fit. If you are an experimental writer or just like to have some instrumentation in the intro you will most likely get rejected. I found that the music the curators were looking for was actually very narrowly focused.
Hi Rory, I 100% agree with everything you wrote! Yeah, you have to be very selective with who you apply to on Submithub, and it’s still a bit of a guessing game from then on. I think when releasing experimental, you need to be really careful with who you send your music to on this platform, there’s a lot of very opinionated curators that are single-minded and will offer bad advice or conflicting feedback. Artists that don’t follow their own vision might end up ruining their music by making it overly generic just to please the curators. I’ve just updated the article intro, your comment got me thinking that I hadn’t highlighted the negatives enough at the start of the post.
Yeah, intros are getting shorter and shorter in released music these days. Attention spans are seriously decreasing!
Thanks for writing!
I think SubmitHub is broken. At least, it is for certain genres (probably most of them based on what I see). I’ve been using it consistently for 6 months, spent about $1,000 in total. I make Deep House / Progressive House music. It’s not a very obscure genre, my tracks aren’t experimental in the least bit. I’ve released 13 tracks for which I’ve used SubmitHub for each. While I won’t pretend like my music is always executed perfectly, most of my tracks are well done, especially my more recent ones. When submitting, I use Deep House and Progressive House as genre filters for curators. I’ve been submitting only curators which submit to Spotify. Somehow I can’t seem to get anyone to share my tracks. I get the odd comment that says I could have done better on this, or that, but the vast majority of them come back as one of two things:
1) I like your track, it’s really well executed, but it doesn’t fit my playlist style, or;
2) The track is well done, but the melody just didn’t catch me enough to put it in my playlist.
There’s also the occasional “I really like your track, and although it doesn’t fit my main playlist, I have this new playlist with 7 followers that I’ll add you to”
I should say that I have approximately 50K views on YouTube for these same tracks, and 40K plays on Soundcloud, so there’s definitely an audience for it, who like my music, so I have to rule out the possibility that I’m not getting success with SubmitHub because I suck lol.
That why the only conclusion I can really get to, is that:
A – SubmitHub doesn’t have enough curators who cover playlists of enough genres. Even in Deep House, which is pretty mainstream right now, once you get past the first 5 or 6 biggest curators, the other curators down the list will only really expose you to 30-50 streams per playlist.
B – Most curators are now simply just taking submissions and declining them using the same reason, that your track doesn’t fit their style. It’s an easy excuse to use given curators need to have creative control over their lists, but it doesn’t help artists at all, nor will it help SubmitHub when artists, such as myself, decide to call it quits with the service, because of how stacked it is against you.
To be fair to SH, I don’t think the problem is solely with their service. I think with so many new music producers out on the market nowadays due to the pandemic, they’re flooded with requests, and can only share a fraction of those on their playlist to avoid diluting it so much that it’s pointless. That’s why it seems to be a problem with more playlist pitching services now. You would just expect a bit more from SH because they seemed to have a good system once.
For anyone reading this wondering what they should do instead, I would say focus on growing your followers, not your streams. Use social media, reach out to people who follow similar artists as you on IG and such. Avoid Spotify as well. Spotify is great for established artists who have a solid following, but because you can’t have any interactions with your followers on the platform itself, it makes it really difficult to get people’s attention.
I’ve used SH for years and very much agree with John on all his points. It seems that playlisters are becoming extremely specific in their selections and every playlister is different. I guess this is just a supply / demand problem.
I Tested this site recently. I disagree the above caption about this is Good for commercially based songs.I submitted commercially Based Pop & R&B well Produced & Recorded. I used a Free account to submit these songs with 2 credits every 4 hrs. I received No positive feedback on 6 tracks which i found strange. I was also told i had a Hit by a Fiverr.com Critique before i submitted. I placed it with a company who deals with the same Genre but still nothing.
I think there’s more behind this webpage than it purports to be. Like the songs are already produced & mixed so theres little a Record Company can do with them on the Production side Apart from Distribute but then they will probably ask you to pay for it anyway & you can do that yourself with some patience. They do not seem to have any Publishing Opportunities either so this for me did not work. I have 1 Million Hits on my Spotify within 6 months & now 1 million on sound-cloud. I have a feeling they may had been more responsive if I was a Premium member. Even using the Free Credits Im sure theres something in it for the Curators. I think this is simply a Blog posting services & has no real Opportunities to Land a Genuine Record Deal / publishing Deal.
This appears to be a was a waste of Time. I think there’s more to this service than meets the Eyes. I had placed decent productions to the specific Genre & I was told by a fiverrr.com I had a Hit. After submitting several Good songs I never heard back any Positive feedback which i found peculiar as i now have 1 Million hits on Both Spotify & Sound cloud with an average of 30-50 k Monthly Spotify Listeners in my Genre. I used the Free Credits Avenue
so not sure if i had used the Premium any different. I was here seeking any possible Record Deal or Publishing Deal? Im already signed to a well known New York Sync company with my Album so i was here looking for more non ex deals. It seems limited & to what i had seen a lot of these Labels have funny names more alike sounding to a Car Spark Plug.
I wouldn’t advise any one who has Decent Recordings to use this Platform as you also do not know if the recipient or Label has actually listened to any one song as you simply get a message thread saying listened 30 seconds or whatever with out any such Knowledge they listened at all. This could be Software used to make it out.