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Apr 12, 2017

Disclaimer: I created SubmitHub. This article is not meant to defend it; rather, it is my attempt to identify some of its pros and cons with the hope that I can work toward improving them.

What is SubmitHub?

SubmitHub is a website that I started late in 2015 that makes it easy for musicians (or their representatives) to send their songs to blogs, record labels, radio stations, and/or a variety of channels (YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify).

The platform arranges these submissions in a neat and orderly manner so that those aforementioned blogs etc. can easily sift through them and make a decision about whether they want to share it or not. As of writing this article, roughly 1.3 million submissions have been sent in, of which ~86,000 have been approved for coverage (6.6%).

An important component of the website is "premium" credits (optional), whereby the submitter pays for a guarantee that the blog will listen and provide feedback within a certain time-frame. For the submitter, a guaranteed response is a huge improvement on standard email campaigns; on the other side of the coin, blogs have earned nearly $300,000 with this model.

Okay, so why does it suck?

SubmitHub sucks for submitters because:

  • With an overall 6.6% approval rate, chances of your song being rejected by an outlet are quite high. Sending your song to 100 blogs? Expect of them 93 to say no

  • Feedback doesn't always make sense. Sometimes it's vague; sometimes it seems completely wrong; sometimes it feels like they didn't really listen. On the flip side, sometimes it's too specific -- sharing technical or mixing details can be frustrating to someone who has more experience and understanding than the one providing the feedback

  • Getting negative feedback for a song you've worked long and hard on can be emotionally draining and deflating to the whole music-making process

  • Increased competition -- the playing field is completely level (eg, a bedroom producer has just as much chance as a band with a major label team and/or high-quality publicist doing the submission for them)

  • It's impersonal -- those listening to your music are generally focused on the song itself, rather than considering any personal relationship (bad for publicists who have built a career around their digital network)

SubmitHub sucks for bloggers/channels because:

  • The volume of submissions you're paying attention to can become overwhelming

  • The increased volume also means more time spent blogging

  • Having to come up with feedback when you don't like a song but aren't sure why can be frustrating -- it feels like saying something negative for the sake of saying something negative

  • On the subjective of negativity, constantly declining people's submissions can emotionally draining, and you might find the dismissive approach seeping into other areas of your life

  • Each piece of feedback needs to be unique, and the SubmitHub team will probably hound you if it's too repetitive

  • The compensation is minimal, working out to between $10 and $20 per hour, depending on how fast you sift through your submissions

Why use it, then?

SubmitHub is useful for submitters because:

  • It dramatically increases the odds that the person you're sending your music to actually listens and considers it

  • It significantly cuts down on the time spent identifying and reaching out to blogs

  • The feedback can be informative or identify larger issues that you may not have noticed

  • For many, it's the first time a 3rd party has listened to their music -- which means it's often the first time they get an honest reaction

  • Many blogs prefer to not take submissions any other way

  • For the few artists who are able to get "consensus" and achieve a ~20%+ approval rate, the reward can be plentiful: major labels and streaming editorial teams (Spotify, Apple Music) are closely watching the blogs for cues on who to share with their audience, and the knock-on effect can have a big impact on an artist's future

SubmitHub is useful for bloggers because:

  • It compensates them for the time they spend listening to new music; this helps cover server costs, web design, editorial staff, events, new computers, new headphones, etc.

  • It reduces the inconsistency and clutter of unsolicited emails. Many bloggers feel overwhelmed by how many email submissions they get, and SubmitHub allows them to clean that whole process up

  • Under the deluge of emails, many bloggers (myself included) stopped paying attention to small indie acts because the volume of submissions was too high. SubmitHub means that I'm once again paying attention to everything, which has led me to blog about hundreds of songs I would probably not have otherwise encountered

This list is a work in progress. I may add things along the way.

At the end of the day, SubmitHub is an experiment. I created it for two reasons: 1) to learn some new coding languages; 2) to help accommodate the overwhelming amount of submissions that I was receiving at Indie Shuffle on a daily basis via email. The idea clearly resonated with many other blogs.

While there are concerns that some blogs are primarily focused on the earnings, I do sincerely believe that the majority of those using SubmitHub in a "reviewer" capacity are doing so because it makes their passion to find the best new music easier; not because they're getting rich.

Feel free to reach out at any time with constructive feedback or suggestions for improvement. I cannot promise I'll agree, but I'll certainly listen :)

Jami Selikow

Jami Selikow

Jul 25, 2017

Updated 7/27/2017: Turns out, Arcade Fire are the kings of trolling. We reached out to Ben & Jerry's and they explained the following: "We're sorry but this is not a Ben & Jerry Flavor and we have no further information."

Arcade Fire, the highly acclaimed indie rock band, are working with the ice cream giants, Ben & Jerry's. It's all listed below. To start though, we'll lead with a wonderfully whimsical clue: "My Body is a Cone." There is a lot going on, we'll also shed light on Arcade Fire's involvement in all things Brooklyn Vegan and Yondr. 

Arcade Fire Ben & Jerry's 

Combine Ben & Jerry's with Arcade Fire? It's a combo that not many could turn down, nor really understand for that matter. The band has recently announced that at the end of August, Arcade Fire ice cream from Ben & Jerry's will be available. Just imagine Ben & Jerry's sweetness sprinkled with Arcade Fire's signature wit.

Arcade Fire ran a poll on Twitter to find a name for their Ben & Jerry's ice cream's flavor (all of this was in honor of National Ice Cream day...of course). 

The options

  • "Arcade Crunch"

  • "Peanut Butler & Kingsberry"

  • "Infinite Chocolate"

  • And the winner:

"My Body is a Cone"

That's right, a big pun on their single "My Body is a Cage," which you can listen to below...and eat a themed ice cream to.

Keep in mind, that these days everything is a meme and everyone is a troll, so it's highly unlikely we'll ever get to taste the flavor that involves 'fudge skeletons' and 'crunchy-bone pieces.' Then again, who knows, they did make cereal for "Creature Comforts," a track off their forthcoming album, Everything Now.

Arcade Fire Brooklyn Vegan 

Arcade Fire have an Everything Now release show taking place on July 27th at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn. It'll be live-streamed on Apple Music. There was controversy after Brooklyn Vegan revealed a message detailing a dress code for attendants:  

Our dress code is HIP & TRENDY as if you are going to a concert or night out with friends! The event is standing-room-only so please plan accordingly.
PLEASE DO NOT WEAR shorts, large logos, flip flops, tank tops, crop tops, baseball hats, solid white or red clothing. We reserve the right to deny entry to anyone dressed inappropriately.

Arcade Fire has disputed this, saying that if the 'dress code is "hip and trendy," band members will not be allowed through the door.' Win Butler, the band's frontman, said that the dress code, as well as phones being taken at the door (explained below) must 'be an Apple thing.' 




Included in the pre-show message, was the following notification: 

No cellphones, cameras or recording devices will be allowed at this show. Upon arrival, all phones and smart watches will be secured in Yondr pouches that will be unlocked at the end of the show. Guests maintain possession of their phones throughout the night, and if needed, may access their phones at designated Yondr unlocking stations in the lobby.

Yondr is a new development that allows show participants to keep possession of their phone, but removes their ability to use it. As people enter a venue utilizing Yondr, they place their phone in a bag which locks when entering certain zones.

Arcade Fire have hosted a secret show before where phones were taken away at the door, however, they're denying plans to do this at the Everything Now release show. To end off, let's all take a moment to allow Win's wise words to sink in:


Image Source: Arcade Fire Twitter

Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage

Arcade Fire - My Body is a Cage

Dylan Heneck

Dylan Heneck

Jul 27, 2017

What is the Mercury Prize? Well, if you're kind of dumb, like me, then you would have believed it involved science and the elements. Luckily, as an avid Indie Shuffle reader, the truth lies no further than a flicked scroll. 

What Is The Mercury Prize?

If it isn't blatantly obvious already, the Mercury Prize is a music award. Yeah, so? The Mercury Music Prize is annually awarded to the top rated album from Ireland and the United Kingdom. Hold on a second though, this has nothing to do with Brexit.

Receivers of the Mercury Prize include Alt-j, The xx, PJ Harvey, James Blake, Arctic Monkeys and 2016's winner, Skepta, to name a few. No literally, there are tons since the prize dates all the way back to 1992.

This years nominees are listed below and will be selected by a panel of music industry buffs. Personally, the judges that stood out include Marcus Mumford (Mumford & Sons), Jessie Ware (Jessie Ware), and Lianne La Havvas (Really? Does it need to be in brackets?).

Kate Tempest: Mercury Prize Nominee

A fan favorite no doubt, Kate Tempest's Let Them Eat Chaos, along with her inspiring live performances, have won her a spot amongst an elite crowd of British artists. Indie Shuffle had the pleasure of missing both of her performances at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, so you can imagine that this is a hard article to write.

Thank fuck for NPR's Tiny Desk:


Oh, and Glasto?:


Dinosaur: Mercury Prize Nominee

Dinosaur are total newcomers on Indie Shuffle's radar, which is cool though, we're all about new finds. If you're very into jazz, then this is good route to head down, musically. To be frank, even the Ed Sheeran album is listenable, so I doubt you'll find a bad album in the crop of nominees. That said, Dinosaur are our pick of lesser known artists in the pile.

Did You Just Mention Ed Sheeran?

Why yes, Ed Sheeran's record breaking % is on the list of top releases coming from the isles in 2017. No real surprise there. To have 16 singles in the UK Top 20 definitely warrants some recognition.

Hyundai Mercury Prize Shortlist

Last years panel is still reeling from not giving the Mercury Prize to David Bowie, lets see how they do this year. Here are your nominees:

Alt-J – Relaxer
Blossoms – Blossoms
Dinosaur – Together, As One
Ed Sheeran – %
Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being
J Hus – Common Sense
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
Sampha – Process
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
The Big Moon – Love in the Fourth Dimension
The xx – I See You

Kate Tempest - Lonely Daze

Kate Tempest - Lonely Daze

Sampha - (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano

Sampha - (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano

Alt-J - 3WW

Alt-J - 3WW

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