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Feb 18, 2016

If you’re a blogger or publicist, chances are you know all about premieres by now. But just in case, I’ll try summarize it as best as I can:

  1. An artist has an unreleased song

  2. Either they, or a publicist they hire, reaches out to a blog to see if they’ll be the first to debut that song

  3. The artist then may (or may not) announce their song via the blog article

  4. Everyone profits? Except not.

Summary / TL;DR:

Receiving hundreds of email requests every day to “blog this song” sucks (it's why I built SubmitHub). Coordinating timing for premieres and then chasing down bands who don’t agree to terms sucks. Blogging should be about sharing good music, not about trying to get a bunch of traffic. And so, we’re no longer accepting premieres.

Seriously though, you should read my full blog post below. But, as a caveat, I’ll warn that this article is from my perspective, and may miss some truths. Ultimately, I believe it to be pretty darn accurate. So here goes…

When did “blog premieres” become a big thing?

It’s all Hype Machine’s fault.

Just kidding, I love them. We wouldn’t be where we are today without Anthony + team’s fantastic platform.  And premiering music has been a thing for a long time, too. But, it’s my belief that Hype Machine is largely responsible for unintentionally expanding the practice "blog premieres."

Roughly four years ago, Hype Machine realized that they had a big problem: they were scanning and publishing all of the songs that blogs were sharing, but they weren’t “collecting” them as a single song. Instead, if 20 blogs wrote about a song, it would create 20 new entries on Hype Machine.  So, they took the very logical step of combining those blog posts into one singular song entry on Hype Machine that gave a nifty summary of all the blogs who had posted it.

The unintentional misstep? They decided that whoever posted the song “first” would be credited as the original blogger, and in turn reap all the benefits of 1) being cool; 2) getting visitors from Hype Machine to their blog.

This kicked off a frenzy among bloggers.  Sharing music online became about who could do it the fastest -- all with the goal of being credited as the “first” on Hype Machine.  One of the easiest ways to ensure that you were the first blog to share a song was to pre-arrange the release with the artist, their publicist, or their label.  And so bloggers began to actively seek “exclusive premieres,” whereby the person releasing the song would agree to keep it secret until that blog had shared the song -- thus ensuring they were "first."

The only problem was that once a song was on the internet, all the other blogs would latch onto it regardless. And because Hype Machine would scan blogs at semi-regular hourly intervals (rather than every few minutes), it meant that if a second blog came along and shared your premiere, they might get credited as the original uploader.

Needless to say, Anthony and the Hype Machine team fielded numerous complaints from blogs who felt that they had been “wronged,” and that their credit as “first” had been stolen by Hype Machine’s scanning practices.  And so, Hype Machine fixed it. Rather than giving all credit to the “first” blog, they randomized the blog that would be displayed as sharing the song. And so, everyone was happy again.

Except that they’d awoken a monster…

Premieres exist. So now what?

While you may think that blogs would have lost interest in premieres once Hype Machine changed their formula, quite the opposite happened, for two reasons:

  1. Blogs realized that by premiering a song, they could ensure that the artist shared their blog post as the go-to destination for listening to that song.

  2. Publicists realized that they would have a much easier time convincing a blog to share their client’s songs if the blog knew that they were getting the premiere, because premieres meant visitors.

And so, the vicious cycle began.

Today, publicists increasingly use the “premiere” as a tool to get those hard-to-convince blogs that they should share a song.  And those blogs use premieres as a tool to get more visitors to their site.  Except that it barely has an impact.

This has been the cycle for the last 3 years or so, to the point where it has become a standard.  Pretty much any emerging band or publicist who is in the know uses premieres as their kick-off point. And their strategy tends to be the same: stack the blogs by size.  Start big, and work your way down until one of them says yes.

Okay. That makes sense. What’s the big deal, then?

The problem with premieres is that they have changed the way we all blog about music.  Back in the day we would share a song because we actually liked it.  We would revel in the fact that we found it on our own, and we would be excited to show all of our fans.  Heck, that’s the very essence of music blogging!

Unfortunately, that's not how things work today. Any music blogger with decent traction knows that your email inbox is no longer sacred. At Indie Shuffle we were receiving roughly 300 submissions a day. It became so overwhelming that I instituted a “premieres only” policy -- you could only send me an email if it was a premiere request. Otherwise, I’d find out about your song through my own means, and didn't need an email about it. Even then I was still getting 50 premiere submissions a day, and I had become my own worst enemy.

It became a chore. And that sucked. I didn’t start music blogging because I wanted to read 50+ emails a day of people asking to get their music on Indie Shuffle. I started it because I enjoyed finding and listening to music.

And so, I’ve decided to do two things:

  1. I no longer accept email submissions -- I’ve made a new website called www.submithub.com where people can send us music.

  2. Indie Shuffle no longer does premieres. If we like a song, we’ll share it. But we’re no longer going to go through the hassle of premiering a song.

Right, that’s swell for you. But you’ve got 20+ great contributors at Indie Shuffle.  Why enforce your policy on them?

Coordinating premieres is a full-team effort.  First we need to figure out when the song gets published, which often gets muddled up given that I’m in South Africa, Hannah (our Editor In Chief) is in San Francisco, and the rest of our writers are scattered all over the world.

Then we need to make sure that when the song is published, it’s being set public by whoever sent it to us so that Hype Machine can scan it (they don’t scan private tracks).  Lastly, we need to chase down the artists / labels / publicists who don’t agree to our “terms” (which essentially say: if we premiere this song, you should announce it to your fan-base using our review).

The aforementioned tasks aren’t exactly hard (I hear you going "boo hoo"), but they’ve turned our passion for music blogging into a job.  And we’ve already got jobs.

For us, the whole point of blogging about music is because we’re passionate about it.  We don’t want to be sitting here scheduling things and sending a million emails back and forth.  And unfortunately for both Hannah and myself, when our awesome and amazing contributors are coordinating 2-3 premieres a day at the behest of publicists, it makes our lives a whole lot harder.

Top that off with the fact that the majority of the time the artists we premiere songs for don’t even share it properly, and you’ve got a) us putting in a lot of work; b) us getting no return for our efforts.

In conclusion…

Hannah and I have decided that for our future sanity, and for the integrity of Indie Shuffle, we are no longer accepting premiere pitches or coordinating pitches in general. Instead, we’ll stick to blogging about songs that we like. And we’re going to be autocratic dictators and force the whole Indie Shuffle team to adopt the same policy.

Blogging for Indie Shuffle is about finding good music and sharing that good music. It’s no longer about being “first” or trying to get as many visitors as we can.

What's next?

Will other blogs follow us?  Who knows.  I don’t really care, actually.  If they enjoy doing premieres, that’s cool -- for those of them still growing, it can actually have a big positive return.  Fortunately for them, they’re about to get a bunch more requests because we’re done.

In short, I'm stoked about a future where I blog about music because I want to -- not because someone else is asking me to.

Jami Selikow

Jami Selikow

Jul 20, 2017

Vampire Weekend, the much-loved band from New York, have been leaving fans guessing as to when their next album will arrive. So when we sniff even the tiniest scent of album-news on the winds, it gets pretty exciting. With that being said, Vampire Weekend may just be in studio...right now. But first:

Vampire Weekend New Album

On March 24th of this year, lead vocalist and guitarist Ezra Koenig posted a picture of a desktop folder labeled Mitsubishi Macchiato. In the caption, he explains how often he is asked about Vampire Weekend's new album. He also detailed their activities per year, and lastly, he informed fans about two songs they were working on and the possible title of the new album – Mitsubishi Macchiato.


Vampire Weekend In Studio

Today (July 20th) Ezra posted an Instagram story suggesting the band is in studio, giving fans a 24-hour window in which to hear the news. Thanks to Indie Shuffle, that window has been extended: 

Ezra Koenig's Instagram Story

What Does This Mean For An Album Release Date? 

Fans thought the band were in studio quite some time ago, lending hope to a 2017 release. While chances of this happening do exist, being in studio now makes a Spring 2018 release more likely. Although, we can't ignore the fact that Vampire Weekend could be in studio now for mixing and mastering rather than recording. A Reddit user has said that 'On his (Ezra's) Apple Music radio show from this past Sunday he mentioned that he let his co-host listen to 9 tracks from the new album, so they seem to be fairly far along.'

What To Expect On The New Album

Since the band's last album, Rostam Batmanglij (a former member) has left the band. While Ezra is the singer-songwriter who ensures Vampire Weekend creates hugely catchy tracks, Rostam was the producer-arranger that elevated each song. So with all this in mind, Vampire Weekend's new album will probably sound vastly different than what we've come to know and love.

Only time will tell, so while you wait, listen to some of their former tracks below. 

Image Source: Thomas Rx

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk

Vampire Weekend - Giving Up The Gun

Vampire Weekend - Giving Up The Gun

Vampire Weekend - Ya Hey

Vampire Weekend - Ya Hey

Jami Selikow

Jami Selikow

Jul 19, 2017

Chance, the Rapper has been gaining much attention for his heroic attempts to save SoundCloud. With the spotlight on him, people are becoming curious about his personal life. Questions such as 'Why does Chance wear a 3 hat?' or 'Is Chance, the Rapper married?' are being asked. Below, we'll answer those questions concerning whether Chance is married or not, as well as cover the goings-on between him and the music streaming platform, SoundCloud. 

Is Chance, the Rapper Married?

The American rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and philanthropist is, in fact, not married. He does, however, have a child with his girlfriend, Kirsten Corley. When accepting the Grammy for best new artist this year, he mentioned both Kristen and his daughter, Kensli, in his speech. So even though the two have been back and forth, to and from court, regarding custody matters, it appears that the two are solid. Perhaps it's the foundation of a family unit that enables Chance, the Rapper to raise his voice and confront matters that he believes in...as seen in his latest attempt to save SoundCloud. 

Chance, the Rapper SoundCloud

SoundCloud has been around for 9 years, providing the perfect platform for independent musicians to be discovered. Unfortunately, the tech company now only has enough money to last a few more months. With massive layoffs taking place in offices across the globe, it's not looking promising.

Chance, the Rapper, however believes that SoundCloud is 'here to stay.' He has announced that he has been talking to SoundCloud CEO, Alexander Ljung, and that he's working on a 'SoundCloud thing.'


Chance, the Rapper Ft. Young Thug

'The SoundCloud' thing that Chance was working on, was a track featuring Young Thug, that was solely released on SoundCloud. It's called "Big B's" and you can listen to it below. To date, it has received over 2 million plays. Will this save SoundCloud? It's unlikely, but only time will tell. 

Chance, the Rapper Without a Hat 

We broke down why Chance, the Rapper always wears a 3 hat here. So to end off, here's a picture of Chance without a hat. 


Image Source: Julio Enriquez

Chance the Rapper - Big B's (Ft. Young Thug)

Chance the Rapper - Big B's (Ft. Young Thug)

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