Promoting your new music release is a crucial step in building your music career, and sending your track to DJs and playlist curators is an essential part of this process.
However, it’s not just about hitting the “send” button. To maximize your chances of getting your music noticed and added to playlists, you need to approach it strategically and professionally.
I’ve been at this since the late 90s, so here are 8 of my proven tips to follow when sending out your song on promo.
1. Don’t Send Your Song to DJs Post-Release
One of the cardinal rules in promoting your music to DJs is not to send it out after the official release date.
DJs prefer exclusive material that they can premiere in their club or radio sets.
Sending your track ahead of the release date gives them a sense of exclusivity and encourages them to listen and consider featuring your music.
For playlists, obviously the track will need to have been released for them to add it to the playlist, but make sure you send it on the day it is released. You want the playlister to feel like a priority not an afterthought.
2. Be Polite & Professional
Don’t just paste a link to your track in an email, on Instagram or on the contact form of a website.
Someone sent me a track like this the other day and I found it quite rude. At least put in some effort!
Your initial email or message is your first impression on the recipient. Be polite, concise, and professional in your communication.
Start with a friendly greeting, introduce yourself briefly, and explain a little about your song.
And remember to use proper grammar and punctuation to demonstrate that you have invested care in creating the email/message.
3. Personalize Your Outreach
Don’t spray and pray! Sending out mass emails with generic messages is a surefire way to get ignored.
Get this: I replied to one producer about his track, and he replied asking where I had heard it? You sent it to me dude!
Take the time to research the recipient.
First up, use their real name, if you have it. A little Googling will help you here.
In the body of the message, mention something specific that demonstrates you’ve put some effort in. It could be a gig they recently played that you attended or a track of theirs that you admire.
Personalizing your message shows that you’re genuinely interested in their work. This, in turn, will make them more likely to support you.
4. Follow Submission Guidelines
Pay close attention to submission guidelines provided by DJs and playlist curators. Some may have specific preferences for how they want music submissions, such as preferred file formats and file-sharing services, subject line conventions or submission forms on their websites. Following these guidelines demonstrates that you respect their process.
5. Provide All Necessary Information
Make it as easy as possible for the recipient to consider your song. Include all the necessary information, such as artist name, song title, genre/sub-genre and release date.
If you have one, attach a link to your press kit with promotional photos and artwork, brief artist bio and links to your primary social media profile.
Don’t include all the press stuff in your email or message, or lace it with a ton of links to all your socials and streaming platforms. Having lots of links in an email will make it more likely to get picked up by spam filters and added to the junk folder.
Just put what is necessary and of primary importance to you.
6. Create a Catchy Subject Line
Your email subject line is the first thing the recipient will see. Craft a subject line that grabs their attention without resorting to clickbait. Use concise and engaging language that conveys the essence of your music and why it’s worth listening to.
Here’s a few that convert, no charge 🙂
- Hey [name], here’s that new track
- New music for your playlist 🎧
- Hey [name], do you like this track?
- How was [name of gig]? [use this one if you know the name of an event the DJ recently played)
- Your Radio 1 set was🔥
6. Follow Up
If you don’t receive a response within a reasonable time frame, don’t be discouraged. Playlist curators and DJs receive numerous submissions daily, so it’s easy for your email to get buried.
After a week or so, send a polite follow-up email to reiterate your interest and provide a friendly reminder about your submission.
- Re: my new track
- Just circling back around… 🎧
- Hey [name], what did you think?
- Not sure you received this?
7. Build Relationships – Play the Long Game
Remember that the music industry is highly competitive, and the key to success is not just in sending your music but in building meaningful connections.
Instead of treating this as a one-time interaction, focus on building long-term relationships.
Engage (genuinely) with DJs and playlist curators you admire through social media (comments and likes) and genuinely support their work. A meaningful connection can make them more receptive to your submissions in the future.
But let me say this from personal experience…
You’ll find that some DJs never respond. In fact, in my experience you will find that some of the people that have achieved way less in music than you have are already way too up their own backsides to ever respond, and yet some big names that you never think would get back to you are really polite and always send a response.
Personally, I reply to everyone, no matter how busy I am I find the time – because it doesn’t take much to say,”Hey, thanks for sending this over. I’ll take a listen”. Or, “It doesn’t really fit into what I’m playing at the moment, but please do keep sending stuff in”. Or, “This is great. I’ll give it a spin.”
I’ve been replying to, and helping others with advice, since I can remember. I still do this, even with two kids and multiple businesses! It’s just the right thing to do. Those who say they are too busy or get too much email are surely making enough money for an assistant, no?
But don’t worry. Keep sending polite emails with each release. One day you might get a pleasant surprise and be graced with a response.
8. Show Some Gratitude
Regardless of the outcome, always show gratitude for the time and consideration provided by the DJs and playlist curators. Even if your song is not selected for a playlist, rejected by a label or criticized by a DJ, maintain a polite, humble, professional and respectful demeanor for future interactions. Trust me, it will serve you well in the future.
Check this out: I didn’t hear from top DJ Ray Keith for a good few tracks I sent him, but then I got this amazing response (listen here).