Where Do I Start? How Do I Get Album Reviews?


Tim Ruff

THE ARTIST: Tim Ruff (Pittsburgh, PA)
THE QUESTION: Would you be able to set me in the right direction for getting album reviews? Whether they be with online mags or papers?

THE ANSWER: Searching for online magazines and publications is harder than most people think. For starters there are millions out there! Where do you start and how do you know this starting point is the way to go.  How do you make sure your time and effort is spent wisely…after all, you could spend hours pitching magazine upon magazine and come up with zip. Here are some ideas on how to make the job a little bit easier.

1. Mimic: Determine what genre you best fit into and google a similarly styled artist who has been around the block a few times.  For example, Tim, your tunes are easy listening.  Your stuff could easily share a shelf with independent artist Denison Whitmer.  He’s got a pretty decent resume, but it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to think you could get into some of the same magazines and blogs as he has.  Google his name and you’re sure to come across articles that have been written about him. Contact the administrators/editors of those websites and ask them to considering reviewing your music.

This has been the most helpful routine for me…and will give you a great starting point. You’re basically letting someone else lead you in the right direction…and you’ll know that the magazine is interested in your genre because they cover other artists with a similar vibe.

2. Blogs: These days blogs are very credible sources for reviews. Nothing like hearing an every day listener’s opinion on your album. There’s something more genuine about it.  So do a search for blogs and consider starting in your city.  Use key words “music blog” + “Pittsburgh” (or whatever city you’re in).  You’ll be surprised to find that there are probably a handful of avenues to pursue.

Ok so…some/most blogs don’t have the kind of readership that an “official” online magazine would have BUT its a trade off. Its’ll be easier to get reviewed, and you’ll have direct access to the writer (instead of having to go through a head editor).   Its also alot less stressful 🙂

3. Work around a specific event(s)…It’s often hard to convince media to review your album if its been out for a while. Writers are always looking for what’s new and fresh. If your CD isn’t brand new, try working around a specific event. College gigs are great for this. Playing at So-and-So University? Contact So-and-So’s student paper and ask them to consider interviewing you or doing an article in anticipation for the show. Things like this are really great b/c student papers are easier to work with and who wouldn’t want some student fans?

Do the same with local papers…but pick your poison. Make sure you’re hitting them up about a worthy cause or event. They get so many submission and you don’t want to be that artist who spams them about every single show you play. Hit them up about the big events…and pitch it well.

4. Check out these related posts…especially this first one. It’ll give you tips on how to write the perfect pitch.

How to Score Reviews of Your CD

Mimic the Artists You Respect

Persistent, Not Pushy

What’s Wrong With this Message?

Creating Content – Giving People Something to Talk About #1

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2 Comments on “Where Do I Start? How Do I Get Album Reviews?”

  1. Jon Patton Says:

    I write and do some editorial work for a music magazine (Driftwoodmagazine.com), and I’m also a musician.

    The biggest thing that keeps indie artists from getting reviews is simply saturation. Most magazines, except for the really big ones, believe it or not, do not send every artist on a label to the head of the line. But when an artist can afford to hire a publicist, and to print an extra 1000 CDs, and the postage to mail them out, they’re simply going to get more editors who like their stuff. You know how you might get only one or two new fans out of each show? It’s just like that with magazine. Editors like good music, but some people have different ideas about what that is. (I disagree often with our Headitor.)

    In other words, once you do what Joy says and find yourself some blogs, start sending stuff, and don’t let up. Go in with the idea that you’re going to get 1 in 100, 1 in 1000, whatever, but keep sending stuff and don’t take it personally when it’s not reviewed. There’s only so much space in any single magazine, but an awful lot of space collectively in every magazine!


  2. […] This month Grassrootsy addressed a question a lot of artists have, “Where Do I Start? How Do I Get Album Reviews?” […]


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