In the overwhelming digital era, the world of music publicity marketing is no easy task. It revolves around a complex ecosystem of publishers, blogs, magazines, YouTube channels, podcasters, radio stations, streaning services, publicists, Facebook groups, fans, gig attendees, promoters, agents, bookers, managers, and a lot more more that contribute to expand the reach of fans and listeners. The current digital realm pressures artists to stay updated with all the solutions in order to be successful and be heard by the larger audience. Thankfully, for parts of this process, there are useful tools available to assist artists through their way to get their work out there. One of such platform is Musosoup, a great PR service that enables artists to submit their music and connect them to curators, who offer their engagement and publications in both paid and free manner. The whole process is designed to keep the power in artists’ hands. Sounds too good to be true? Well, let’s find out.
Curious about many aspects of the platform, we sat down with co-founder Chris Sharpe to dig deeper into the idea, explain “how it works”, and encourage you to sign-up!
Hey there Chris! Thanks so much for taking some time with us. How are you, how’s London?
Currently just about to come out of our 2nd Lockdown, still no gigs but at least music is online and we can now go up the pub again! No complaints.
Alright, so to start off, please give us a quick introduction of yourself. What is your background and how did you end up developing a marketing tool for artists and musicians?
This all was seeded from running bespoke PR, managing events for a venue in London and also running blogs, it was about trying to hit a balance between making affordable PR for artists and also being able to sustainably run a music blog and make it grow.
Ok, so let’s talk about the platform. What is Musosoup?
In a nutshell, we are a submissions platform that connects artists with curators such as blogs, playlists, station shows and podcasts.
What problems and limitations does it solve for both artists and music content publishers?
The platform makes the submission process so simple for artists, one submission, if approved, gets your music into our filtered library for 45 days, we then make sure this is available to our curators who can then login at their own pace, dig out the music they like thanks to our filter system and then get in touch or send coverage links.
The limitations for artists is we vet the music first so being a curated platform we don’t let everyone in, it’s important that we keep the quality high for our curators and equally, don’t have any musicians wasting their money when there’s a high chance they won’t get results.
How is it different from other similar platforms and networks?
Others like Submithub and Groover have done great for pioneering submission platforms, but to find the correct blog/curator takes a lot of time and submission costs money for listening time. There is a high % chance you will get rejected just because of the submission time frame (48hrs – 7 days) and the number of submissions happening. There is also no quality control in the music.
At Musosoup we vet all the music first to ensure connections are very likely to occur. There is still no guarantee for any of the artists joining but we do our best to build a fantastic library of music for the curators to choose from. As mentioned before the artists make one submission only so it’s super easy and fast to submit.
Can you explain the pricing for artists, so our readers could understand how it works in terms of the initial registration and operational fees they need to commit? What do bands need to pay for when they sign up?
As it stands we have 2 packages, the basic set up fee for 45 days is £15, this covers our staff costs and ensures we can grow the platform. These are outlined below but you can get the full details here.
– Coverage Package – Here you’ll only receive offers for coverage with no additional cost.
– Coverage+ Package – Here you’ll receive both offers with no cost and offers that have an optional cost for enhanced marketing & coverage.
What factors should artists consider to be effectively aligned with publishers that seek interesting content for their magazines through Musosoup?
Ensuring you have enough information to work with is essential, this can be a deciding factor if you are narrowed down between a bunch of artists. Just imagine if a blog likes 4 bands all equally the same, but they will only write about 2, most likely they will pick the ones with the better photos or better bio.
We do have a press generator that artists can use on signup which basically interviews them to help generate some information for the curators to work with. You can check that out here.
What would your dream version of this platform look like? Have you already identified the missing parts of the idea that could take the whole process to a whole new level in the near future?
I believe we have a solid base now with the functionality, we are happy with the way the platform and our team is growing and we do our best to listen to our curators and artists to build new features to suit their needs. Getting on more curators is key, this leads to more artists joining and more coverage happening in general.
What are the next steps towards expansion and what new options can we expect to see in the future? What future do you see for Musosoup?
We have some fun ideas in the pipeline but I can’t annoyingly leak those out just yet. We will be reskinning the platform visually soon and making it very mobile-friendly. For the future I feel we will be getting close very soon to being able to complete what a bespoke PR campaign can achieve but for a tiny % of the cost.
As an entrepreneur, what types of challenges have you encountered when working on this project, and were there any that caught you by surprise?
Actually getting in contact with curators and telling them about the product was very hard to start with, everyone has their own routines already and emailing them proves harder being they get millions of emails anyway, this has been a challenge but slowly as our team grows and word has now spread it’s becoming easier. What has caught us by surprise is the amount of returning artists we have with each release, it’s great to see it’s making a difference.
Have you learned some vital lessons about music industry from inventing and launching this project?
Yes, not everyone will believe in your project and people can be quite mean about it. We’ve quickly had to develop a tough skin, our main aim is to find a solution for both the artist and curator, we encourage conversations as long as they are constructive. We’re always developing and seeing how we can improve the overall experience for everyone.
How do you imagine new technologies and systems like Musosoup will change the way music-related content and digital experiences are created? How do you see the digital marketing adoption strategies evolving and being adopted for DIY / independent artists?
I think PR traditionally has not changed really in the last 8 years except with the birth of Submithub and few copycats. The pioneering of these platforms along with Spotify changing the release rhythms for bands has really started to give a need for the press to be more cost-effective, hobbiest bloggers also realize now there can be a revenue stream even if it’s just to cover the basic costs or even run your publication as a part-time job. This was unheard of before.
Which startups, new tools, apps, etc. in automation marketing, tech, and music industries are you keenly following? Can you share your top tools for artists worth checking out?
Few here for you.
What advice would you give to young bands and especially young artists on how to stay artistically motivated during Covid-19 era?
If you are making music the world is your oyster if you have the internet, gigging most of the time actually normally diverts your attention from the work you need to do online to make connections. I suggest to create a great brand, get some basic press to make yourself investible and hunt down a manager that is experienced in building a team around you as an artist. All of this you can do without gigging.
Chris, thanks so much for your time and all the insights you shared with us. Feel free to add your final words and anything else you feel we missed here, and take care! Good luck with Musosoup and let’s keep in touch! Cheers from Warsaw!
Thanks Karol, some really great questions here. I guess just come and give us a shot, we are growing all the time and as mentioned we are trying to make a change for the good in making PR affordable for artists and sustainable for curators for the new future in this music industry. Hopefully, we can share a pint soon as I visit Warsaw quite often when traveling to Poland to see my family.