Updated: Sep 7
It seems that lately SubmitHub has become the "necessary evil" for independent artists to get their music reviewed with the hope of getting some press or at least a placement on a Spotify playlist. Just like the playlists we have at Neon Collective.
SubmitHub can be a valuable tool for artists but it can also be a time and money waster depending on a few things. This is what we're going to dive into with this post and explain everything you need to know about SubmitHub. If you're looking to extend your SubmitHub knowledge, you can check Ari's review on SubmitHub here.
The following sections will cover different parts of SubmitHub and then finally our honest opinion at the end of the post. Our promise to you is that by the end of this post you'll understand if SubmitHub is a good tool for you to leverage with your music marketing and promotion.
The Submission Process
First, you will need to setup your profile. The profile info is fairly standard like it is on every internet site. Add your artist name, a picture, fill out your social links and then top it off with a short bio.
Your complete profile should look something like this. This is Charles Cleyn, an indie pop artist from Canada.
On your profile is where we you'll be able to edit your songs or add more. We'll also be able to see the status of current and past campaigns.
Once we're done setting up the info on our profile then we can upload our song or multiple songs to SubmitHub.
You can provide a variety of links; SoundCloud, Spotify, Youtube, Apple Music, Deezer, and a few others. However, to guarantee that the curators can listen to your song, we recommend to upload an mp3 of your song. Don't worry your file will be kept private and won't make its rounds around the internet. That would be a nightmare.
Once we have our song or songs uploaded, now it's time to figure out if we want to use free credits or premium credits.
What's the difference?
SubmitHub is based around credits. Anyone who signs up to SubmitHub gets two free credits. If you use these credits, you can wait 24 hours, and then receive two more free credits.
Two credits are good for about one submission. So, with that said, it's completely fine to use SubmitHub for free without ever paying. You just need to stick to the free credits and submit your music; one playlist at a time, waiting 24 hours in between each pitch, until your credit refills. Oh, by the way, the credits don't accumulate. So, if you don't use your two free credits, it's not like it turns into four credits the next day. It stays at two.
So what if you want to submit to more curators at a faster rate?
Let's say you want to pitch your music to 30 blogs or 30 playlists in one day. This is possible if you purchase premium credits. SubmitHub premium credits can be purchased in 5, 10, 30, or 100 batches.
The more credits you buy the bigger discount you get. So if you know for a fact that you'd like to submit to 90 playlists then it might make sense for you to buy the 100 credits option.
So what's better Free Credits or Premium Credits?
Well, it's hard to beat free. However, there are some benefits to premium that you don't get with free.
The premium credit benefits are:
1. Guaranteed response within 48 hours
2. Your submission filters to the top
3. They must listen for at least 20 seconds
4. You'll get some feedback if the don't like your song. However, if you don't want feedback, you can make them listen to 90 seconds instead.
Above all this, if these conditions aren't met with 48 hours then you will get your shiny credits back. That's nice to know. In our experience, about 25% of our submissions on SubmitHub don't meet these conditions so we get the credits back and can submit again. Nice.
Still not sure if it's worth it to get the premium credits? Keep reading.
The SubmitHub Curators
Let's talk about the curators on SubmitHub for a second. Who are these people? Where do they come from? Are the legitimate or is it just Bob in his bedroom?
To be honest, there are some shady characters on SubmitHub. All curators must be vetted before joining so at least theres that but who's to say some 'no name' blog or curator can make their way in?
There are minimum requirements for curators to meet depending on how they want to promote the artists work.
For example, a curator who has a Spotify playlist must have a minimum of 1,000 followers on the playlist. Or if the curator wants to share music on their Instagram then they would need a minimum of 5,000 instagram followers.
So at least we know there's some minimum requirements that curators have to meet. So why do we mention any shady characters then? Well, we don't mean that any SubmitHub curators are doing anything illegal what we mean is that some curators seem to be bigger than they who they actually are.
So, what's this mean exactly and what do we do about it?
We recommend that you look into the success and background of the curator before submitting. The best way to do this is by looking at the artists the curators has previously shared. Was it a successful campaign? Did the artists get streams? Did the artist get engagement on the post? Good feedback? Good outcome?
You'll usually see one of two things. Either the promotion is great and the campaign gets a lot of engagement or the exact opposite; hardly any.
We've had some artists get over 1,000 streams with some of the curators on SubmitHub but on the other hand, we've also got 10 streams with some curators. So do your research before submitting. It will pay off in the long term.
How do you find the good curators then? Psssstt.. we are.(But we're a little biased)
You can leverage the filters in SubmitHub which will help you narrow your results and clear through the rubble. Start with using "type" and "location" to get a list you can sort through first.
Once you come across a curator you think you might like, dig into their profile and see what their online quality and following is like.
Take a look at this video by Andrew Southworth. He talks about how you can increase your chances of getting noticed by different SubmitHub curators.
SubmitHub Response Rate and Approval Rate
This is what most people care about. At least the artists. What's are the chances that I will actually get some press or exposure from this and is it worth it?
Let's first talk about the response rate.
The response rate across SubmitHub is quite good. You can never get 100% but it's definitely close if you're using premium credits. Plus, with premium you get your credits back if you don't get a response at all. Win win there with premium.
For free credits, the response rate is still high. We've noticed at least over 70% of our submissions with free credits get a response. However, we never get any feedback. Usually a yes or no.
Why is it often a no?
Well, let's get into that. This is called the approval rate which is a percentage. If there were 100 submissions in one day and the total number of accepted submissions were 14 artists then the approval rate is 14%. There is a general approval rate across SubmitHub which includes different rates for free and premium credits. It just so happens to actually be 14% for premium and 4% for free.
So if you submit your music to 100 blogs then you should get 14 placements? Technically speaking, based on their approval rates, yes, this is correct. However, the statistic is misleading.
Why is this?
This is because the sample size is not segmented into styles of music or quality of curator. For example, all submissions are grouped into one big bucket. How is this helpful to you? What if you're an indie folk artist and most song submissions on SubmitHub are electronic dance music? If so, then the stat falls useless. More on this later.
So you must take these approval rates with a grain of salt. Instead, take a look at the approval rates on the specific curator. You'll notice quite a difference. See what we mean below.
So let's say you do get approved. Well, congratulations! We hope it's some successful exposure for you.
What if you don't get approved? Don't worry. Most people don't. However, you might get some feedback and this sometimes could be useful. It's always good to take notice of certain themes when reading feedback you receive.
By the way, upon upload, you'll have the opportunity to choose if feedback is important to you or not.
So what's the feedback like?
In general the feedback is short and subjective. It's usually not constructive because of the subjectivity of music. Everyone has different tastes and styles.
If you're new to SubmitHub then why not give it a try and see what comes out of it. Again, take everything with a grain of salt, maybe two, because not everyone is going to like your music. Take the artist Charles Cleyn as an example, he even made a video about it getting negative feedback.
Here's some examples of some written feedback:
What Songs Do Well
According to Ari's Take, SubmitHub highly favours electronic music, pop, and hip hop. So sadly, if you're a singer songwriter making pop, folk, or anything indie music then don't be surprised with a 0% approval rate.
On the other hand, if you are an EDM producer then SubmitHub might just be your golden egg and the answer you've been looking for to get your exposure.
Is it still worth it if you're in indie singer songwriter?
We would recommend that everyone try it to understand how it works and if it yields some results for your music. Like we said many times, music is a subjective thing, so you'll never know the response to your music until you get it out there.
SubmitHub Special Features
SubmitHub has a few special features worth mentioning that you might be interested in. The chat feature and the hot or not feature. It looks like the people that actually use this features are the people who have had some success with SubmitHub. Go figure.
The Hot or Not Feature
This is a feature that incentivizes artists to rate other artists by giving them some feedback. In return, you'll get some shiny new credits.
If the artists heart is in the right place you just might get some strong and valuable constructive feedback on your music. It's also likely that you could get a bunch of BS just so the other artist can collect a few free premium credits.
Unfortunately, we'll never know. So if you're hoping to go down this road then don't read too much into the feedback. Or if you are the one giving the feedback then please be respectful! "What goes around comes around" -Justin Timberlake
The Chat Feature
The chat is exactly what it is. A chat room. Think msn back in the early 2000s. Just like all chat rooms there are people who come in and out to ask questions or who need help and then there are the power "chaters" who are in there 24/7 looking to answer everyones questions and be the king or queen of the channel.
There are different popular hashtags that are broken down into different rooms to make it easier to navigate. It can be a good tool if you invest the time into asking thoughtful questions and providing good answers.
We recommend using this tool to help you get started if you have any questions but then to leverage as a networking tool to get to know other artists and curators in the industry.
Here's what the SubmitHub chat tool feature looks like:
Our Honest Opinion on SubmitHub
We're going to recommend that everyone try using SubmitHub if you never have. It has almost become an industry standard for most PR agencies, labels, playlists, and blogs to use SubmitHub as the centralized system to listen and approve music for their sites. So it's a good idea to try it out and see for yourself what it's like.
If you end up signing up, purchase a small bundle of premium credits and start pitching your music to curators who you think are a good fit. Then give it 24-48 hours and you'll start getting some answers.
It's only at this moment that you'll have a good idea if you should continue to invest your money on premium credits. You'll know if curators are accepting your music and if they're not, you'll know why too. (Unless they don't give you feedback which means you'll get your credits back).
We've seen people continue with SubmitHub and them having a lot of success but we've also seen a 100% rejection rate with some pretty awful feedback.
Are there any alternatives? Yes. Let's get into that next.
A Few SubmitHub Alternatives
We recommend reading this post, on 5 different alternative sites that you can submit your music to that is not SubmitHub.
Most of those sites are free to submit or they ask for donations to support the cause.
In general, you can always look at the curators on SubmitHub and cross reference them in another place on the internet. Like their website, an Instagram account or Facebook account. You can ask if they have other ways to accept music submissions. Some do. But some don't.
If you find a curator that fits your genre perfectly and you know that they can really help skyrocket your growth then it's always a good idea to try and build a personal relationship with them. Online or offline. This might take some time but in the long run it will pay huge dividends if you get to know the curator on a more friendly level.
We pride ourselves in providing you quality feedback in your music submissions to us. We do so if you take the time to give us a quality music submission. Not just link spam. We truly believe it's a two way street when it comes to submitting your music for streams and exposure. You should also always pitching to the Spotify editorial curators for free before your music launches.
You can check out all of out playlists here. But for now, here are three of our favourites that you can submit to today: