How to Pitch a Music Blog: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine is one of my favorite online music outlets, and possibly one of the most well-known. They cover a wide range of topics such as music, film, and lifestyles. It is a blog that is a combination of pop-culture, and underground. How can you reach Paste to get your music featured? Here are a few tips.
1. Top 10 Best Albums
Paste has a monthly featured called the Top 10 Best Albums where they review the best releases for a certain month. For example, the most recent was called “Top 10 Best Albums of March 2018.” Keep in mind that there are important factors that help maximize the chances of being featured in any blog. We like to call those the “main drivers” of an outlet. Think of these like a checklist of credentials you’ll more than likely need to have before being considered. The “Top 10” feature does have a large mix of genres, but if you get into the core of each journalist’s article, the main factors are bands with some hype or history behind their name. For example, the recent release from Lucy Dacus was featured, as was the newest studio album from Soccer Mommy. As you can imagine, these names have some weight, so newer bands might not want to funnel all of their attention and energy into this section. Once there’s more buzz behind your name, I would highly recommend reaching out about this feature.
2. Paste Studio Session
Bands who are touring or live in the New York area should look into a Paste Studio Session. This is a live session where a band or solo artist performs a few songs. Again, another great thing is that you don’t have to already be super famous to be featured. If you have the time to make it to NY, I would highly recommend reaching out to try and set something up. The intimate nuance really creates a great atmosphere and some really amazing content that you’ll be able to promote (and use for future pitches!).
3. Themed Playlists
Outside of being a celebrity, another way to get featured in Paste Magazine is through one of their themed playlists. There’s a little bit of a catch on this one, so keep that in mind. Knowing that Paste posts a “10 of the most Progressive Songs in Country Music” playlist is great. Think your band has some progressive country songs too? Even better! Here’s the asterisk. A lot of these playlists do feature more established musicians, and since you won’t know which playlist is going to be posted until it’s already there, some guesswork is involved. To anticipate, I highly recommend trying to think about major holidays or “National” days where your music could have the most impact. Several festive gift-giving seasons are right around the corner, so now would be a great time to send in your holiday themed playlist submissions. For example, if you have a song about Santa bringing a puppy on board for his annual worldwide trip, start sending your pitches well in advance of Christmas. As with everything, it’s important to do your research and make sure that your music is a good fit before reaching out.
4. Daily Dose
If you’re looking for single coverage or reviews, then the “Daily Dose” feature might be a great Paste option to look into. This is a daily column where the Paste staff selects a different song to feature. The genre criteria spans over a lot of different subcategories, leaving a lot of room to work with. The one big piece of criteria for consideration here is time. The Daily Dose features songs that are being released that day. So if your single is a few days or a few weeks old, I'd look at another option. Because this one is really time sensitive, I also highly recommend starting your pitches a few weeks in advance.
Keep in mind that it helps to have some momentum behind your band. Yes, they do cover unknown artists, but the main bulk leans toward those at the next step. If you’re still in the writing, recording, jamming in the garage phase, then you’ll still need a few more musical notches on your belt. But bands who have worked with notable producers, are on tour with other major groups, or already have some buzz in the blog world are great contenders.
5. Album Reviews
If you're looking for something a little more substantial than just a post about a single then the album review is the way to go. I have a lot of people put a full review on the top of their goal list, and while it is achievable, there are things to consider. The Paste review team get a lot of emails and requests every day, which can make it hard for your email to stand out. One of the best things you can do, like with the Daily Dose, is start early. Give journalists enough time to listen to and actually review your album - rather than sending your first pitch the week of release. I would also spend some time with the recent reviews to not only see what they're covering, but who is writing. As with a lot of blogs, reaching out to a freelance writer can be one of the best ways to get a foot in the door. If your music lines up with some of the recent things somebody has been posting, you should start building the relationship. Find them on Twitter and take the time to get to know who they are. Just as you wouldn't introduce yourself to a group of people by handing out your CD, you don't want to lead with your music online. Take the time to read the recent articles and comment on what really stuck with you. Then the conversation can naturally progress to your music as well.
There is a definite right and wrong way to reach out to press, just like there is a correct way to do any networking activity. As with everything in music, marketing, and promotion, just make sure you take a little extra time to do your research. A little goes a long way and shows the blogs that you’re paying attention to them, just like you’re asking them to pay attention to you.
Green Light Go: Do your research and give yourself enough time to pitch by starting early!
Sharing is Caring: Know a band who wants coverage in Paste? Feel free to share or tweet it. Comments and feedback always appreciated @p_corsi
Before you consider reaching out to a major music blog like Paste, you'll want to make sure your online presence is top- notch. After all, they have people coming to them with music everyday, so being media friendly is a good way to make you stand out at first glance. Use our free Media Audit checklist to make sure you are exposing yourself, and ultimately your music, in a positive way. Click the image below to download your checklist.