I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while, but have just been waiting for my emotions to regulate a bit more on the matter. 😅
I’m sure you’ve heard that getting “exposure” through Spotify playlists and music publications is vastly important for musicians these days…
What you may not have heard is that for independent musicians especially, one of the only ways to even be *considered* for this kind of feature is to apply directly via a platform called submithub.
Basically, you pay a few dollars to have a playlister or blogger listen to your song (the platform actually requires them to listen and respond X number of words to you in order for them to claim the payment), and then decide if they’d like to feature your work.
So…every time I release a song, I apply for features in like 30-60 playlists and publications.
When I released Bitter Roots (a song I am SO proud of), I got *literally* 57 rejections and ZERO placements.
I can’t even tell you what that 48 hour period was like for me just seeing rejection after rejection pop up in my inbox. I felt like I wanted to curl up in a dark corner and like…also probably throw up haha.
As I’ve gotten a little emotional distance, I’ve been able to see that so many of these “rejections” are really full of praise. I’d love to share a few of my favorite rejections with you…
THE HALLOWED WIDE
“Thanks for sending us your track. I absolutely loved the vocals, I think if Hozier were a woman, she’d sound like your track. This could be in a movie soundtrack, so cool. The mix and composition were on point. Unfortunately, it’s not the style I’m looking for my playlist. But keep going, you really have talent.” – The Phantom Machine
“The Hallowed Wide is a killer production with a haunting lead vocal. Emily Merrell’s voice is dynamic and evocative. The instrumentation is contemporary and gothic. The arrangement is well balanced pulling you from passages of intimacy to anthemic moments. Overall the vibe isnt a good fit for my playlist, but that doesn’t take away from the artistry on display here” – Music On The Moon
“Hello!! Thanks for submitting this one. Solid song, love the topline, the vocal delivery is amazing. The production is well managed this is smooth and airy. Mixing-wise this is clean and warm, nice job. However, this one is too cheerful and alt rock for us, it misses the dark sexy sound design we are looking for. Keep going ! Still loved it a lot !” – Rosenfeld
“Bitter Roots is a soulful modern pop track featuring an awesome lead vocal delivery that sits with passion and power on top the mix amidst the textured synth atmospherics, lush backing vocals, thumping bass low end, introspective yet imaginative lyricism, quick flowing arrangement, shuffling kit backbone and a clean mix/master. Props are due!” – Music On The Moon
“Hey there! Thank you for reaching out. It means a lot to us! Beautiful track here! Very professional production. Really catchy vocal melodies as well! Unfortunately, this is a little too far on the Pop side of things for our audience though. But you’ll 100% see success with this! Great work overall my friend! -Fields” – Ayzlynn + Rootnote Collective
“Hey Emily, another absolutely lovely song, we like the slick production and the expressive vocal performance, really immersive and gradually opening out into a great chorus. Again we really enjoyed the song, though it feels a more mainstream chilled pop vibe than has felt a fit for our more upbeat, alternative style playlists.” – CATBEAR
CLOSER TO YOU
“While listening to Closer To You I found myself simultaneously enjoying your sound whilst feeling its almost too contemporary for my throwback playlists. None the less appreciate the artistry here. Your vocal performance is sultry and soulful. Commands the listeners ears and sits right on top the mix. I like the drum machine sound. The harmonies that sit right behind the lead. The lyrics feel like a flow of introspection. A stream of personal consciousness. Rad synth pads. Ruminating tender arrangement. It’s a solid listen. I don’t have complaints or criticisms here in regards to the sound. It’s tight. Just not right for my playlists!” – Music On The Moon
“Hey Emily, this is such a lush track, gorgeous vocals and a really creative production. The style feels a bit more of a laid back chilled sound than has felt a fit for our current playlist styles, we loved listening, sorry its not a fit for us this time.” – CATBEAR
“Hey there. Thanks a lot for sharing. What a fantastic powerful voice you have! I’m really amazed. Catchy lyrics, interesting build up of the song and absolutely enjoyable music, however I feel this 80 vibe doesn’t fit well with what I’m looking for my current playlists at the moment. Sorry, hope you understand! All the best anyway!” – Playlister Lora Wey
“This is a nice track with some fine moments in the instrumental, nice synths and a certain crossover sound which we’re looking for. Just not totally taken by the vocalline melodic- and soundwise. A bit too ‘busy’ vocalline for our taste and a bit too much ‘Kate Bush’ vibe at times in it for what we’re looking for. A nice catchy chorus and overall still interesting and nice work tho! Thank you very much for sharing your record with us, much appreciated!” – Enroute Records
^^ a HUGE compliment tucked into this rejection #katebush haha
This phase of my life is teaching me so much about perspective. And I’m learning to follow my heart first and foremost.
If you feel like adding any of your own reviews to this bunch, I’m ready for ’em, for better or worse (but better definitely feels better haha)!
I appreciate you SO much and I CANNNNNNNNOT wait to introduce you to next month’s single. UGH! You are just going to lose it. It’s so freaking good.
Love love love!