TPM 65 | Music Influencers


Getting featured by music influencers and curators is one way to get known in the music industry. How exactly can you do it? Jason Grishkoff started music blogging way back in 2008 which already covered a lot of different artists. He was constantly barraged by artist’s emails. Being overwhelmed with numerous submissions made him give up. By 2015, he started freelance jobs where he made websites and coding for other music blogs. That’s where the idea of developing the SubmitHub platform came. It makes it incredibly easy to send music to influencers. To grow your business, you have to understand key strategies in getting featured by music influencers and curators. Learn more about the current struggle Jason is facing competing with other famous platforms.

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Strategies In Getting Featured By Music Influencers And Curators With Jason Grishkoff

I am so excited to have you all here and to be talking with Jason Grishkoff of SubmitHub. I’m excited to be talking with him because I’ve been using SubmitHub. It was 2018 when I was looking in my account to see when I first started to take some submissions for women of substance to add different levels of artists to our roster. We take submissions directly and from SubmitHub and Broadjam, and all these places. I have found that SubmitHub is such a great place to meet a lot of artists that I wouldn’t have normally met.

I’ve been recommending it to my Rock Your Next Release students for several years because it is a great place to get some placements, especially when you’re releasing music. We’re going to talk about all the ways that SubmitHub can help you as an artist. Before we do that, I would love to hear from you, Jason. What made you start SubmitHub? How did it get off the ground? What was your idea for starting it?

I started a music blog in 2008 called Indie Shuffle. It’s still around. We’ve been running for several years now. What I did every day was find new songs and share them on the internet. This predates obviously Spotify but it even predated SoundCloud. For a while, music blogs, including Indie Shuffle, were the “it” crowd. We were the ones who could make or break an artist.

Many of the acts that we’re headlining festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza were all discovered through this collective energy of music blogs and one website in particular called Hype Machine. It did a good job of trying to aggregate all of the content that music blogs throughout the world were covering. Synthesizing that into a chop so that people who did ANR or book shows could go onto the Hype Machine and see that these are the most blogged artists this week, this month or this year.

Through that, a lot of names that you are probably quite familiar with across many genres, Chance the Rapper, Lord, Passion Pit, the list goes on and on, all these bands from 2005 to 2015 that made a name through music blogging. One of the cool things about that was being a music blogger. Even if you were small or all the way up to Pitchfork, you had some credibility, and people wanted your attention. That came with some hooks like free shows. We went to South by Southwest. We’d get press passes to Coachella or Bonnaroo.

All these music festivals would give us passes for free. People are spending $300 on a ticket. They’d be like, “No, we want Indie Shuffle here. How many of you are coming? Do you need a photographer? Send us the articles you’re going to write.” It was cool being a music blog. There were a lot of hooks but one of the downsides was that as this popularity grew, artists, publicists, and record labels became aware that the way in was to get as many music blogs as you could to write about your content.

It meant that as a music blogger, you would open up your inbox in the morning and probably have 100, 200, sometimes 300 emails un-targeted. Originally, it was a lot of very targeted emails, “I love your blog. We sound similar to this band that you’ve been covering and do this,” but after time as an artist, there were all these businesses selling spreadsheets. Here’s an email list of 2,000 music bloggers. People would copy and paste, put them all on a BCC, send it out and hope for the best. We would get Death Metal songs and Afro House samples, whatever. The stuff that we didn’t typically cover, and it also wouldn’t be genuinely targeted towards us.

I’m familiar with that because having a female-based first radio station and show, I would get all these mailers. I’m like, “Do you pay attention to them?” Even the name of us, “No, you don’t. You’re sending out to everyone.”

You can’t blame them. It was a daunting thing. You’re a musician. You make music. You’ve gone through so much to get to where you are. You’ve learned how to play instruments, how to record and mix it, maybe even made a CD, vinyl, a T-shirt or played live. By the way, you have to market as well. You look into hiring a publicist but that’s $2,000 for a month. You go, “Screw it, $20 spreadsheet. Everyone, here’s my MP3 file. Here’s my link to a Google Drive, or a SoundCloud, Spotify,” whatever.

As a music blogger, you got this constant barrage and couldn’t tell what was and wasn’t genuine. I totally gave up. I made submissions at and funneled every email there. We never looked at it. You had this weird patch from 2012 to 2015, where most music blogs were in a similar situation. They were overwhelmed by submissions. They started to ignore them. We all started regurgitating the same content. A lot of the same artists were getting covered. There was very little new music discovery, especially from the Hype Machine blogs.

Every day, find new songs and share them on the internet. Click To Tweet

There were tons of little blogs out there still doing it. For those of us who had some name behind us and got into these spreadsheets, we suddenly started regurgitating the same stuff. We’d lost track of the little artists. Lots of things were going on the side. You had the demise of SoundCloud, the rise of Spotify and Apple Music coming out, and all of these things.

You had Google pushing music blogs and actual content down in favor of YouTube videos. You also had advertising and the digital space fall apart. Most music blogs by the time 2015 had come around were starting to lose visitors to services like Spotify. They weren’t getting the search traffic that they used to get because if anyone’s searched for a song on Google headline was a giant YouTube image.

They weren’t making much money anymore. A lot of music blogs started giving up. I know one that was popular called the Music Ninja. At one point, he had quit everything he was doing to take his music blog full-time and worked for a couple of years. He had the pack it in and went back to work. That wasn’t an unusual situation.

We were all very lucky, I suppose, to have had an opportunity to even dabble with the idea of being a full-time music blogger. That is the context and history that leads up to the creation of SubmitHub. In 2015, I had quit my day job at Google. In 2013, I was working at Google, which was a pretty cushy job. In 2013, I quit becoming a full-time blogger. By the time 2015 rolled around, things weren’t working out as well. I was faced with the choice of either trying something else or going back to Google and begging for a job. I did a lot of freelancing where I was building websites for other music blogs. I knew how to code these players.

Indie Shuffles got one when you hit play, and then you can navigate around the site, and it doesn’t stop, which might sound like “duh” to people these days. Indie Shuffle was the second music website to have those. The first one was the Hype Machine. SoundCloud didn’t get it until 2012 the ability to navigate the website while the music still plays. It was a pretty crazy internet thing to do. I knew how to do it. People would hire me to do that. I didn’t enjoy coding for other people.

I don’t think many coding freelancers do but I did learn a heck of a lot in that process. I’m a self-taught coder and that year or so of freelancing for people, switching from my website, and trying to make it for others, leveled my game up quite a lot. In 2015, I decided, “Let’s do this one last chance. I’m going to try to solve this problem Indie Shuffle has with the 300 submissions a day,” and create a simple website where people fill in the artist’s name, song title, put in the link. I’m going to use my magic code so that no matter what type of link they use, whether it’s SoundCloud, YouTube, MP3 or Spotify, it all comes into my feed the same way. I was solving this problem.

I wonder how you could bring all those different feeds.

It’s magic. It all comes together in a nice, consistent, well-organized be that looks a lot like your SoundCloud stream mind. What’s happening on the backend is artists can choose their preferred methods of submission. As a blogger, it suddenly became easy to start sifting through your submissions. If you liked it, you did a thumbs up. If you didn’t like it, you did a thumb down. The person who sent you the song got notified. Within a couple of months, I had signed up about ten other music blogs with who I had networked and made friends over the years.

They had all had a similar situation. I needed something like this. Very quickly, we had artists saying, “You gave me a thumb down. Why? Can you tell me?” I said, “I’ll tell you for a dollar.” The rest is history. The idea took off. In some circles, it’s still quite controversial. There are a lot of people who don’t like the idea that you are paying music to be considered for a feature.

You’re not in those circles here because I’ve been a curator since 2007. I understand the time consumption that it takes to go through music. 

TPM 65 | Music Influencers

Music Influencers: One of the cool things about that was being a music blogger. Even if you were small or all the way up to Pitchfork, you had some credibility and people wanted your attention.


My counterexample, which I’ve heard before is, do you know how much time it takes to make music? Why should you get paid and the artists don’t? The reality is a supply and demand thing. There’s an over-saturation of music and a limited number of curators. When you’re opening up your inbox and getting 200 submissions, what are you going to do? That’s awesome.

As a curator, we have marketing and website costs and all of that stuff. We have time, and I get where the artists are coming from. I’m an artist. I always tell artists this, “If you want these curated places to continue to exist, you have to support them in some way because they are also a business.” I definitely to throw that in because I’m sure you do get those haters who are like, “How can you charge for this?” I get them as well. Musicians need to be realistic and realize that it is a supply and demand thing. If you want to be in a place that’s well-curated instead of a dumping ground for everyone, you do have to invest a little bit.

Yeah, it’s tough. Every corner you turn, you have to buy your instrument’s recording software and do it. Finally, it all gets done. You realize there were 60,000 other songs released that day on Spotify, and it can be a bit deflating. Without independent curators, all you’re left with is the big corporate guys to decide who makes it and who doesn’t.

Increasingly, it’s going that direction, regardless of whether these Indies exist. Spotify is a great example where years ago, they championed independent playlisters and would feature them on their homepage. That Spotify only had about 10 or 20 editorial playlists. Now, they’ve got thousands. They pop them up nonstop to fill any search term that they see as catching on.

They’ve even made one for Indie Shuffle to try and overtake our playlist because they noticed that Indie Shuffle’s playlists were getting some traction. “We’ll call out playlist Indie Shuffle. We’re number one in the search results for this.” You even find that independent playlists on Spotify have to run their own advertising to keep their playlist engaged essentially. Everything’s gone the way that the corporate behemoths. It’s important, too, in many ways to keep these independent voices alive, whoever they are, which is something we’re conscious of. Hopefully, we can help contribute towards it but it’s tough.

You started with most bloggers, so how did that evolve? I know you’ve got people that are Instagram influencers that are doing shout-outs, TikTok, and all kinds of stuff. How did that evolve between when you first started and now? I’m a podcaster. There are all kinds of different influencers on the platform.

I remember in my mid-twenties, reading articles floating around on rolling stone or somewhere that said that you stopped discovering your music in your 30s. You start to fall back to your favorites. Very few people continue to discover actively beyond their 30s. Curators, I’m sure, are a slightly different crowd here. I won’t assume your age.

I definitely get that. I’m very much like ’80s music. That’s when I grew up but you have to be proactive in discovering new music. You will easily fall back on the things that bring up memories for your life.

The Average Joe is not going to be with music. They might be proactive and whatever other hobby they have building cars, watching Netflix, whatever someone’s hobby is. With that realization comes an awareness that music blogs are losing their attraction. They had an older audience. There’s a different group that grew up with music books. I started to think about where people discover the most music in their lives. It’s definitely the late teens and early twenties. It’s a time when you are trying to establish your own identity figure out who you are. Music is an important part of that.

That’s often when you start to see, at least when I was growing up, the emo, the hardcore, and the punk kids. The early twenties are a time of discovering and expressing yourself. Music discovery is an essential part of that. I’ve found it important to keep an eye on where that demographic is discovering music. As long as we can keep doing that, I think we can stay relevant. SubmitHub was still about music blogs. I think you’d have a lot of people questioning the relevance of that.

There's an over-saturation of music and a limited number of curators. Click To Tweet

What that meant was, by the time 2017 rolled around, we started to feature Spotify playlisters. I know it doesn’t seem like that long ago, and Spotify playlisting was not that big of a deal. Spotify playlisting is where it is in many artists’ minds. That one’s an uphill battle. We can chat about it more but it goes without saying, now that the younger demographic from 18 to 25 are engaging with music on TikTok and Instagram, whether they’re falling in love with and continuing to listen to that music is hard to say but that’s where they engage with it.

You create an Instagram story or TikTok video, and you’ve got to attach a song. Many of the users are consuming music in small soundbites but they are still using and discovering it. We’ve been putting a ton of effort into the influencer side of submissions to try and create something valuable for artists because you’re not going to go viral. What will you get out of it? That’s been our big struggle. I think we’re at a good place now but that is to answer your question. The thought process goes into how we shape where others can be featured on SubmitHub.

It’s smart to watch the trends of Gen Z and what they’re doing. I’m not saying that Gen Z doesn’t like certain genres, but there are certain genres that maybe aren’t going to stand out for them, say adult contemporary, maybe bluegrass or something like that. That’s a little bit older genre, classical or things like that.

What you’re finding as SubmitHub gets older but there’s a broader and broader spectrum of influence of curators, influencers, labels on there to cover all of these niches, we even have things like flamenco and salsa. Those are genres on SubmitHub but we started with five genres, and now we’re at about 160.

I haven’t been in SubmitHub for a while. I went in there and was like, “See these new 35 genres that you can choose from.” They’re super-specific.

It’s getting more and more granular as time goes on. By the end of 2022, it’s going to be even more granular in terms of how much choice artists have and how well they can target. We’ll see.

That’s probably the most genres I’ve seen of any curator platform like this., I don’t know if you’ve seen that website.

I’ve heard of it.

It’s an incredible website and is now owned by Spotify but it has every noise on it. They basically have every single genre that exists in this crazy spider web pattern. You can see all the links between them, click on any genre, and listen to that sound. If anyone is with us now, is a trip. It’ll take up ten minutes of your time at least, going through it and be like, “What is Time Funk?” That’s incredible, “New Zealand ’80s punk.” It’s got every noise on there and incredible. At 160 genres, we’ve got plenty of room to expand.

TPM 65 | Music Influencers

Music Influencers: Everything’s kind of gone the way of the corporate behemoths, so it’s important to in many ways, keep these independent voices alive, whoever they are.


That sounds like a cool site, especially if you’re not sure how to categorize yourself as a genre, although it sounds like you could go down a rabbit hole with that.

We’ll have people asking, “Why don’t you have New Zealand ’80s punk on it?” By the way, it’s retro New Zealand ’80s punk.

One thing I’ve noticed about SubmitHub is that you guys have a great system to make sure that curators are sharing what they say they’re going to share, getting all the information that they need or the copyrights all being covered. Did that develop over time? What have you found is the most important that curators and artists need to share with this relationship they’re developing?

It’s pretty smooth now, to be honest. It has developed over time. Copyrights, for example, I remember spending weeks coding that. The PDF generation was a nightmare. I’m sure I’d find it easy now, though. I’ve got so much more coding behind me. It evolved over time to meet the needs of the people who are there. When I originally built SubmitHub, it was for me. What would happen is that when someone approved something, for example, that was the end of the story. It was approved.

We didn’t get involved with what happens next. Increasingly, we found that as people were spending money on the website, they would come to us and say, “Why’s my song not shared yet?” We had one particularly bad case early on where I remember a guy approving 300 songs in a row, cashing out all the money, and then disappearing.

I thought, “Crap, that sucks. What poopy pants?” Ultimately, it’s my fault. At that point, I had the code this two-step system where you find a song you like, approve it and still have to go the next step of marking it as shared when it’s being shared. Things like that evolve over time. The copyright one was when we started signing up YouTube channels.

They need copyright approvals to upload songs to YouTube so that they don’t get strikes. I had to code that. For things like Spotify, if you’re a playlister and you find a song that you like, you can add it to Spotify directly through SubmitHub. It’s about finding that convenience, creating it for the users, and going from there. On the influencer side, it’s similar.

We signed up a bunch of influencers and had issues with them sharing content that didn’t have the right song attached or didn’t have a song attached at all. It was only three seconds long, it was from a different account or it was published five years ago. Over time you have to learn all these ways that people try to cheat the system and build safeguards into it essentially. Luckily, almost everything can be done with code. There are ways to check this.

On the influencer side, I can do all of that. How long is the share? I can check the duration before you get your credit for it. It is, in some ways, quite reactionary. I’m still very involved in day-to-day business in the chat rooms that we have. The chat rooms were created because it makes communication a lot easier when your song gets approved. You have a chat open directly between the curators. The whole idea of SubmitHub was that there’d be no emails.

I thought, “We’ve got a one-on-one chat, so let’s have a chat room.” There are bloggers and an artist chat room. I’m able to use those to connect with people and figure out where their pain points are or the opportunities for improvement would be. It’s a constant, somewhat reactionary process of building this product out. I have ideas of the direction that’s going, and I’m building those things. I’m not sure if you’ve heard the phrase, “Launch and iterate.” A lot of startups try to make their first product perfect. They try to think of everything and spend so much time working on it but they never actually launch.

There are competitors who are coming up and who are trying similar things. Click To Tweet

I’ve always been the opposite, where I’ll push out half-baked things, wait for feedback, and then keep going. Dylan, who submitted apps and play number one, likes to call it to launch and irritate. It does work. I’ll push these things out. Literally, within an hour, I get people saying, “This is broken or this doesn’t work.” I know many businesses would roll their eyes and be like, “Dude, you can’t push out a broken product like that and that your customers complain,” but it works well.

I always say like 70% perfect is perfect, and 100% is a failure because you waited too long. There’s always going to be something you have to change.

It changes. I’m very quick to push out half-baked products, and then develop them as they go and as I watch people interact with them. That’s been the process of SubmitHub for years. I’m still doing all the code and heavily involved with customer support. That helps me get an idea that I’ve read all the bad reviews that one’s always tough. Sometimes I go on Twitter. That’s always negative. I’m always in there. I know a lot of people don’t like seeing me show up.

There are even some people out there who create memes of me and do all sorts of weird stuff. People are weird on the internet, and that’s a fair game to them. The best comparison I can make from an artist’s perspective is that when you send a song in SubmitHub, and get 50 people who tell you that they don’t like your song for whatever random reason, it’s a bummer. I feel the same way an artist comes back and says, “That was a bleak experience. Fifty people told me my song sucked. They won’t be coming back.” I feel that same rejection right there. It’s a very similar feeling.

In some ways, I can relate to these artists. My job ultimately is to say, “How can we get value from those 50 rejections?” We’re working out on that more in 2022. You’re still going to get rejected but at least to have it come through the way you want it. Some people want you to be nice, and others want you to be opinionated and critical about the song. Often, I’ll see people complain that the feedback’s too vague or not nice enough. It’s one of those things where you can’t please everyone. I’m going to try to please everyone by capturing their preference beforehand.

Some people can’t handle it and want criticism. My rating level is something like 8 out of 10, probably because I don’t give enough information. You have a personal preference. I don’t like the style of this song, whatever it is. It’s my show, I can choose. There’s nothing wrong with the structure of the song or the production. I just didn’t dig it.

It can be difficult. You have to understand that the artist on the other side is going, “That sounds like copy-paste of feedback, and you’re taking my money.” It’s such a delicate balance. It’s one we learned about early on. A lot of it is expectation setting and telling artists upfront what to expect. You’re going to get rejected a lot. Your feedback might be vague, overly critical or this or that.

That expectation setting was something I had to learn early on. Within the first few months, I was always nice with my feedback. As I started letting on other bloggers, occasionally I get emails from artists going, “This is terrible or awful. Why would someone say that? I was crying all night.” I was like, “Damn, what have I created? The monster.”

There is a thing on the curator side like we are told, “If you accept too high of a percentage of songs, that reflects badly on you because you’re being too easy.” That’s a hard one on my side because it’s like, “I don’t like to reject artists.”

We don’t force a cap but we do strongly discourage it because if you’re sharing everything you get, it means you’re not curating any. It also means that you’re diluting your brand so much that the reality is people aren’t going to come to you for recommendations of music anymore. Typically, we do find that people who approve too much are bad news. This is another example of building something that you think works, and people find a loophole.

TPM 65 | Music Influencers

Music Influencers: It’s important to keep an eye on where that demographic is discovering music, as long as we can keep doing that. We can stay relevant.


There was a group of Spotify playlisters unrelated who didn’t know each other. Multiple people figured out that approving a song and using the SubmitHub system to automatically put it in a playlist with less work and writing feedback started to approve everything. There are many reasons behind every decision. Not everyone likes all of them but we’re trying to solve for thousands of curators. I would say anyone with a higher than 50% approval rate, depending on how many songs they receive daily, is probably not doing a good job of curating. It’s very likely to have an unengaged audience.

The moral of the story about all of this is that you care about the artists, and that’s why you’re trying to put all these systems into place. They’re not going to make everybody happy but this is why I send people to SubmitHub. I know of seeing in the background being a curator, there’s some tight constraints on things. You have figured out how to close as many loopholes as possible to protect the artists. I appreciate that.

We’re trying. The reality is that as an artist in 2022, and it’s next to impossible to break up. You do need to be careful going into SubmitHub, and understand what it is that you’re trying to get out of it. If you go in hoping to break out or get tens of thousands of plays, you’re probably going to walk away disappointed. There are many other reasons to use it, and that people do. I’ve had people come and say, “I want to get my song viral on TikTok. What will I do?”

I go, “The very fact that you’re asking this question is a strong indicator that you’re not going to go viral on TikTok. It’s difficult.” A large part of it is expectation setting, and we have to do that from our side. We need to balance things. Neither side is perfectly happy with the way it works. The curators would love to listen to songs, get paid, and not leave feedback. The artists would love to have everyone tell them that their song is awesome and get tons of fans. Trying to close that loop is difficult, and I don’t know if we ever will.

You’re getting as close as I’ve seen. I must say, having done many platforms.

There are competitors who are coming up and trying similar things. I do see many of them stumbling through the same blocks that we’ve gone through. We reject about 80% of the Spotify playlist who apply to join SubmitHub because they were sketchy. You’ll go and find those playlists on the other platforms. It’s hard to catch up. I would say the closest one now is going to be Groover. They’re a former SubmitHub blogger who decided to create a French version of SubmitHub, and it’s evolved too much more than that. They picked up $7 million of funding. They are rapidly expanding their team but they’re taking a very different approach to us in many ways.

We are a team of five and not planning on growing much. We might hire another employee soon but I think Groover is pushing 30 or 40 employees and are a fraction of the size of SubmitHub. They’re using that funding to grow their team. It’s a very different approach. When you are scaling like this, you got to use a little bit of automatic, and the code steps in there and helps. We’ve always been of the mindset that if there’s a problem we keep bumping into or something we keep having to do, let’s automate it through code. That’s what I do a lot of the time.

You said you’re in South Africa. One thing I have learned from SubmitHub is you guys have the international covered. A lot of other places I go, I’m mostly meeting people from the US and Canada. I’ve met people from Sweden, Netherlands, South Africa, all over the world at SubmitHub that I would not have found on other sites.

One thing that helps is that SubmitHub is available in fifteen languages. That helps a lot, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, French, much of it was translated by blogs themselves but I’ve got a new translation system that I use these days, which uses Google Translate because Google Translate has gotten good over the last few years. It’s funny. Groover’s main argument is that they are SubmitHub but with international curators.

I always find that a bit funny because we are quite a diverse group on there. We’ve seen a lot of growth in South America and Russia, particularly on the influencer side. Probably 50% of our influencers are made up of South America and Russia, which is a bit weird because most of our artists are coming from the US, UK, and Canada. Even on the other side, our biggest country is the US, and it’s about 40% of users are from the US and maybe under 10% from the UK. It almost follows population sizes in a weird way, definitely across the Western countries, at least.

We feel internally we can do a better job of creating campaigns then a new artist camp. Click To Tweet

The US is five times as big as the UK. We have five times as many visitors from the US as we do in the UK. I’m sure Groover has got a bigger presence in France because they are all French. It’s been interesting how diverse it is in its representation of countries but there is still a lot of diversity lacking. You’re probably quite familiar with this but in large part, most music bloggers historically, have been men, and most Spotify playlisters are men.

There is a demographic breakdown there. We have women on SubmitHub, and Indie Shuffle’s majority are female writers. A lot of the lone wolf Spotify people are dudes. There’s a lot more diversity to be had there but we’ve tried to steer clear of gender identification. A number of times, I’ve had people ask me, too, “Can you please flag whether a curator is male or female, or what their sexual orientation is.” I’ve stayed clear of it for now.

I still think it should be more about the music and what you’d like but there are some blogs out there that only focus on LGBTQ plus. We need to make sure that’s notified but I haven’t created a filter for it. Another one is religion comes up, where all your Christian bloggers tell me, “I only want to submit my music to Christian bloggers.” I did cave and have a couple of religious shamans.

There is no way for me to other than say in my information. We play music by female artists female-fronted bands. That’s our platform. Plenty of people doesn’t read. I still get stuff from guys. That’s up to them if they want to lose their money. In my opinion, if you’re not willing to read two lines to understand what the curator is about, you shouldn’t be submitting to them anyway.

It’s a difficult one to solve. Yours is an interesting one because one thing we’ve done on the influencer side is we noticed that a lot of people would land on there, get faced with a list of 1,000 influencers, and you don’t know who to click on, what they are or what the point is. “Tell me who I should send it to.” In December, we rolled out something called the budget submission, where on the influencer side, you can set your budget. Let’s say you want to spend 100 credits. You set your targeting. “I’m going to do TikTok videos from the US. I want to spend an average of 5 to 10 credits per share.” We take care of the rest in terms of deciding who that gets sent to.

It’s one of these automatic things but you set your budget, and we keep filling it until it hits your budget. That’s worked out quite well. It’s needed a bit of tweaking over time but we are now debating whether we should do something similar on the curator side. For people who don’t want to scroll through an endless list of 1,000 Spotify playlists, and they want to say, “I’ve got an indie rock song here it is. Here’s 200 credits, and I’ve got other stuff to do.”

Your case is going to be an interesting one to solve for. I don’t ask artists if they’re male or female. When you set a budget, I’m going to have to exclude you. I’m thinking out loud. It’s one of the only ways to solve it without asking you, “Do you only want female acts and asking them, are you female?” How do you act if it’s two females and two males in the band?

You get little splitting hairs but for me, if the female is the primary vocalist or most featured, or whatever, we have some songs where the woman is the singer and there’s a guy rapping occasionally, and that’s still fine.

These budgets submissions will be difficult. What we found on the influencer side is it’s about 50/50 on the influencer side but in a case like yours, you made me think of something I didn’t think of. We’re going to have to take a dump of all of our curators and read every single one of their bios to try and figure out what the corner cases are. I don’t want to send you a bunch of songs you don’t like anyway. You’ve got some inside perception into the stuff that goes on in my code-y head. That project will probably happen in the second half of 2022.

I’m guessing that the budget option will be good for promoters that submit their artists. I do see that plenty of PR people are doing this submitting for artists.

TPM 65 | Music Influencers

Music Influencers: Over time, you have to learn all these ways that people try to essentially cheat the system, and build safeguards into it. And luckily everything, almost everything can be done with code.


On average, we feel internally we can do a better job of creating campaigns than a new artist can. When you’re a new artist, and you join SubmitHub can be a bit daunting. There’s an overwhelming amount of information, and figuring out who to submit to can be a little difficult. Part of our thinking here is that with these budget ones, we can implement some of our own strategies that we think work to try and maximize the results that people get from it. When you’re choosing people to submit to, it’s often good to split them up into tiers of how generous they are with their approvals.

We would typically say if you’re going to send to 20 people, maybe focus 10 to 15 of them in that range of a 15% to 30% approval rate. What that means is that on those 10 to 15, your odds of getting approved are going to be pretty decent, and you’re going to get some coverage. Save a small portion of your credits for the long shots, the Indie Shuffles, the Hype Machine blogs, the guys who get so many submissions every day that they only pick 1 or 2 off. One of the big mistakes we would see is a new artist comes on. They get bright shining lights. There’s Stereo Fox in the AML and Alex Rainbow music. They go for these guys and don’t pay attention to the fact that they each have an average approval rate of 2%.

What they end up doing is they send twenty curators, all of them with an average percent below 5%. The odds of being rejected by all twenty of them is high. That’s an example of something we would do with these budgets submissions is we would spread it out a little bit so that you do get some coverage from small ones. It’s not going to move the needle as much but we’ll also throw some long shots in there. It’s betting on hosting. You got that one host that’s going to pay out well but they’re probably not going to win. You do a couple of those but you bet your money on the safe one as well.

It’s honestly like a money investing strategy. It’s similar.

We do find honest to do that. Oftentimes when I get these customer complaints about how terrible SubmitHub is, I observe that the people they chose to send to were the pickiest ones they could have. You go, “No.” That’s the type of stuff that will be useful. It’s not about industry-specific people but for the average artist, who doesn’t have all day to sit on here, sift through each curator and find out what the matches are. We can do a pretty decent job algorithmically.

That’ll be awesome when that rolls out. We’ve covered a ton. This has been so great. I’ve been thinking about asking you to come here for a while. I’m glad I reached out once I got back on SubmitHub after a while, and it reminded me how good the artists are that I hear on SubmitHub. I’m very impressed with the quality. Let them know how they can find you if they want to say good things or bad things on Twitter or wherever you guys are, as well as

You can email me at If you’ve made it this far into the show, first, thank you. Secondly, if you shoot me an email and you let me know what your username is, maybe I’ll send you some credits, too., check it out. We are on there, Women of Substance as well. We don’t take submissions all the time. We only do when we have space because we get direct submissions as well. You might go there, and we’re not taking submissions.

If they see that you’re not taking submissions, there will be a button for them to click to get a reminder or notification when you come back online.

I open them up when I have a few spots left in the show. I did that and shut it down after about 36 hours.

It’s a decent window but basically, what that means is that when you reactivate, we send out emails to people who have been waiting for you to come back. They have 36 hours to jump on and send to you.

It depends on how many thoughts I have left. It was the weekend, too. I was like, “Let me fill a few spots.” That’s what’s nice for me as a curator because I know I can go there and find some good quality stuff when I need it.

There’s also the popular list you could jump into. I don’t know if you’ve done that as well.

I occasionally have. It’s nice because you know that stuff has already been sifted through.

We pay you out of our pocket if you find the song you like.

We’ll have to check that out next time for sure when I need some stuff. You guys go to, check it out, email Jason, get your credits. Thanks so much for reading. Thank you, Jason, for all the info and for being super honest about everything, too.

That’s the way we roll.


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About Jason Grishkoff

TPM 65 | Music InfluencersJason was born and raised in South Africa, but got his schooling in the USA. In 2008 he started a music website called Indie Shuffle; in 2010 he started working for Google; and in 2013 he quit to travel the world as a full-time music blogger. That almost backfired fantastically, until late 2015 when inspiration hit and SubmitHub was born.

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