Groover is a platform that connects independent artists and professionals in the music industry. Affordable and easy to use, the platform allows you to get in touch with the media outlets, labels, playlist curators, radios stations, managers of your choice to present your music to them, with guaranteed feedback.
We caught up with co-founder Dorian, who tells us about Groover, his mission to break down the barriers between independent artists and the music market, and his advice for using Groover, contacting media outlets, and finding a record label.
Can you present Groover (its history, its mission, its services etc.)?
Romain, Rafaël, Jonas and I (Dorian) met in California at the end of 2017. Jonas and Romain had released EPs and were trying to make them known. For my part, I had created the webzine Indeflagration in 2013 and I was receiving hundreds of emails every day from artists who wanted me to write about their music without me being able to even read their emails.
We had noticed that artists needed help and that today it is really difficult to stand out when there are more than 100,000 new songs released on Spotify every day. At the time we called over 200 musicians and music professionals and understood that the core issue came primarily from the promotion of their music, knowing that the barriers to production and distribution had already been lowered.
The co-founders of Groover (Credits: Laurie Bisceglia)
The artists told us that they were managing the creative part of their music and image rather well on their own, that they could call on their close circles of friends and relatives to help them out at the start, and easily distribute their music thanks to tools like iMusician.
From the start, our goal has been focused on helping artists stand out by going through influential channels, and guaranteeing that their song will be listened to and they will receive feedback. Eliminating the bottleneck challenge of getting their music heard for the first time.
It was obvious, something had to be done to make the relationship between artists and professionals as simple and direct as possible. That is how Groover was born.Groover helps artists get their music heard. Through an innovative web platform, Groover connects artists who want to promote their music with the best music curators and professionals seeking emerging talents. On www.groover.co, artists can send their music directly to a selection of blogs, playlist curators, record labels and pros of their choice, get feedback guaranteed, and coverage! More than 2 million pieces of feedback have been given by more than 2,000 active music curators and pros, 500k+ shares (reviews, playlist adds etc.) and 1,000+ signatures on record labels happened thanks to Groover.
Your service is available in French and English. Do you intend to invest in other markets? If so, which ones and why?
Groover started in France by trying to build a real community of artists and professionals in Paris and in other regions of the country. Given the success of this work, we began fairly quickly to extend the model in the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Italy, Canada, Germany and many more territories.Thanks to our local ambassadors spread across the world, we have been able to develop a strong list of professionals in both developed and emerging markets.
Our project with this platform has no borders and limits, it is a service that targets all independent musicians and professionals in the music industry looking for new ways to promote their music. We have this bias of trying to develop local communities step by step rather than having a very global approach. On the other hand, artists from over 160 countries are currently using Groover, it is a very useful tool for testing export markets!
Want to try Groover? iMusician users can enjoy a 15% discount on their first campaign. Sign up for Groover below and use the code GROOVERIMUSICIANVIP on your campaign summary just before submitting [explanation on how to use it here]
Tips for reaching out to the press
What are the most common positive/negative feedback given by the media outlets and professionals using Groover?
Our community of media outlets / radio stations / labels / music professionals are very satisfied with the tool. We measure it by regular surveys but above all by being very close to them and always available for their questions and comments. Many of the new features we regularly add to the product have come from recommendations from them! We are continuously listening to their inputs to improve the platform and the experience for both pros and artists.Groover allows curators to discover new artists that correspond better to their editorial choices and tastes rather than by email, while gaining an additional source of income. It’s important to note that most music related media outlets are run by enthusiasts who have no financial goal and for the most part have no source of income. Using Groover helps support their business.
View of the dashboard on the curators side on groover.co
The feedback we get is always a desire to make the platform even more efficient, especially when it comes to targeting the songs professionals receive, communicating with the artists and being able to retrieve the files and information in the right format. There are so many things that we are always improving week by week.
What makes an ideal pitch from an artist that would push a journalist to want to go further? (type of email, background, files to provide, that little something extra…)
Journalists, like most professionals in the music industry, receive a large number of suggestions of songs and albums to listen to. The idea is to capture their attention in the quickest time possible and to seduce them, to make them want to click on the listening link. Breaking this wall of first listening is the key! Journalists on Groover are genuinely eager to listen to new tracks and help artists promote their music.
Getting straight to the point: 2-3 paragraphs maximum, include the listening link, ideally a public link accessible by everyone (Soundcloud, Youtube) and the smartlink of your release if available, type in bold any important information, use a nice font, include a photo / the artwork of your release.
The little something extra → find out about the journalist you’re reaching out to. We sometimes forget that a journalist is a real person, who can be flattered that you know their work. Address them directly and mention why you are contacting them, why you want them to write about you.
Another important aspect - a press kit and/or a press release can be very useful, in particular to anchor your song in a visual universe and which represents you in an authentic way. Journalists need to have things to say about your music and the universe of your project. They will appreciate that you make their job easier.
Finally, try and work on your storytelling and send something very professional, it could potentially make all the difference.On Groover, artists have the possibility of writing a pitch of their track in order to present the universe of their musical project but they can also write personalized messages to each professional they contact. This is a very important point which makes it possible to specify the adequacy between the music and the professional they’re reaching out to.
Should we establish differentiated strategies based on our targeted professionals (written press, radio, web, local press, etc.)?
It is always important to present the information clearly and not to forget any important elements when reaching out to any professionals. Your goal should be to facilitate their task, save them time and eliminate the risk of them moving on if they do not have the information available. Very few of them will take the time to "run after" you to get the information and files they need.
If you contact a blog or magazine, always include the Youtube link of your video or Soundcloud listening link of the song, the cover linked to the release, a short pitch presenting the release at least and a press release if you have prepared one, a bio (even a short one) if possible.
If you contact a playlist curator, integrate the Spotify link to make it easier for them or the smartlink which allows access to your release on all platforms (if you have that).
If you contact a radio, a download link for the .mp3 and .wav files, ideally correctly tagged/named with the artwork linked to the release.
Some media outlets focus more on the distribution of the song. For example, online blogs are better at sharing your videos compared to the written press. However, that does not prevent you from highlighting your accomplishments when you contact the media so that they have an overview of your musical project. Try to present the information by formatting it (bold on important elements, use "bullet points" (dashes), add an image, etc.)
A final thought on this. If this is your first release or your project is still relatively small, it is better to start with small media outlets that are held by music enthusiasts or locals. You will be able to target the most influential media outlets and professionals as you go along, but building on the notoriety and legitimacy that you will acquire along the way.
Your work appearing in other media outlets reinforces your credibility as an artist and gives other journalists and professionals confidence about the seriousness of your project. Getting your music on your local FM radio will never be a guarantee for you to then go on to a bigger radio or a bigger media, but it may be enough to arouse the curiosity of more journalists and trigger them to listen to your work.
Can you tell us about an artist who significantly increased their notoriety thanks to promoting their work on Groover?
There are quite a few that have worked very well. Internationally, the Brazilian artist Reiner is a great example. Thanks to Groover he was able to reach media outlets and industry pros he could not have reached otherwise such as the biggest music journalists in Brazil like Pedro Antunes (Rolling Stone), Fabiane Pereira and his music also got shared on Teco Apple, a big MTV partner in the country.
In parallel, our artist accelerator Groover Obsessions, which we launched at the end of 2020, has been used for us to highlight and develop the musical projects of the most talented artists we’ve spotted on Groover. We currently have over 200 artists that we are working with.
Some of our Groover Obsessions highlights include:
- Alvin Chris: since his debut on Groover, he has released a first EP which accumulated over 2 million streams on the platforms. Alvin has also won numerous awards and was booked for loads of gigs across France. He also played at MaMA Festival & Main Square Festival.
- Metò, an indie folk artist from Quebec, got lots of media coverage in Quebec, featured in numerous Spotify Editorial playlists and had articles about his work on Arty Mag, Tourtoisie in France as well as getting his music on reputable radios such as France Inter, FIP, Radio NEO and around thirty other local radio stations.
- HNRY FLWR, who got booked on 2 gigs at SXSW thanks to Groover and considerably grew his monthly listeners on Spotify thanks to playlist inclusions, which supported his new album release
- Jadanaë, a young R&B & soul female artist whose releases have been featured in many Spotify editorial playlists including Equal France¨
- Thaïs, a singer and composer from Quebec, whose project has blossomed in France via Rolling Stone, Brain Magazine, Tsugi, Les Inrocks, Vogue and many more. She has also signed with one of Quebec’s best independent labels, Bravo Musique, owned by Coeur de Pirate.
What are the key components of a good press kit and what tips do you have for writing a good one?
To start with a good press kit requires a nice layout, one that’s easy and pleasant to read with interesting and relevant content. It should feature your biography, professional photos of you/your project, your music (with a preference of a Soundcloud or Youtube link so that everyone can listen), links to official/live videos (of good quality), the biggest press coverage obtained, some key moments of your project (upcoming or past concerts, awards won, etc.) and, finally, do not forget to add your contact details.
Do not hesitate to mention all the people who worked on the project, from the production to your entourage. In a nutshell, it’s best if you prioritize the facts from the most important to the least significant.
This is the basis of any press kit, but don’t hold back from letting your creativity speak. Feel free to make it stand out while remaining professional. Use your potential additional strengths, whether that's writing, design, photography to make a unique and striking press release.
Tips for finding a label
1. Is it necessary to be signed on a label to live from my music?
Not necessarily, but this question really depends on the personality of the artist and the style of music. Nowadays, many tools are accessible (and affordable) online for the creation and distribution of music as well as the promotion with Groover being part of them. A label is therefore not essential to break through. It’s becoming more common for independent artists to develop and monetize their fan base, get their music on the radio, integrate playlists and appear in the media, sell records, perform in concerts when possible.
For example, most of the artists we support at Groover Obsessions are well on their way to being able to make a full living from their musical projects and most of them don't have a label. Artists also have the possibility of creating their own structure to host productions, associations or companies, which will allow them to apply for subsidies from collective management organizations such as, in France, SACEM, SCPP, SPPF, ADAMI etc.¨
Although it’s quite a complicated process to obtain, getting sync opportunities - meaning your music featured in films, ads, video games - is also a very good way to make a living from your music. For this you can get help from a publisher or sync representative who will distribute your music as much as possible on different platforms.
2. What is the point of being signed to a label when doing everything independently online offers opportunities to perform, distribute and promote?
Although it is not a requirement as we mentioned, a label is above all one or more people who accompany you, save you time and give you support.
Nowadays, it is important to note that most independent labels intervene in a project when it’s at the post-production phase - meaning once the song is ready and often mixed. This is particularly due to the fact that artists have a lot more opportunities to create, record and produce their music independently than in the past.¨
For instance, signing a licensing agreement with a label is a way to be supported on a release strategy, distribution and promotion in order for the artist to to focus on creation and production. It’s also helpful to gain more visibility on a musical project and to allow it to go further, quicker. Indeed, a label is also a brand, which benefits from its roster of artists with whom it has worked in the past, and also from its network.
Finding the right label that wants to join your journey means having more time to create, having a team behind you that helps you with the marketing of your project, potentially having a larger budget to develop your musical project and opens the doors to new opportunities. It's all about the balance between the share of your future income that you will give to the label and the weight that you think they will be able to bring to multiply this income.
3. What advice do you have for artists looking for a label? How can they get noticed?
First of all, to find a label today you need to have a project already launched, whether in terms of the fan base or the quality of production. A record label representative must be able to immerse itself into your project, not only on a financial point of view. The branding and identity are very important and must really be complementary to your music for the project to be interesting for a label. It is always a very good sign if you have been approached directly.
You can also approach labels, but you have to make sure that you know their interests well by looking at the artists signed to them, their posts on social networks, etc. You can also make a list of labels that correspond to your genre of music and contact them according to the method requested (email, contact form, etc.) Your contacts with labels must be professional, concise and arouse curiosity.
Groover can be a very good ally to help you get in touch with labels, knowing that over 350 are available on Groover. By sending your track to the labels present on Groover, you are guaranteed to be listened to and guaranteed feedback within 7 days at least.
4. At what stage of my project should I start sending my music to labels?
There are no absolute rules and it depends on the activities of the label, but the chances of catching their attention will increase if your project is professional and your community is strong. It is often interesting to be able to look back at tracks that were previously released independently, to have your mixes finished, or to have already released several singles from the album you want to release with a label. If you demonstrate your professionalism and your ability to manage a lot of things alone, it will be one less risk for the label and one more argument in your favor.
For example, if you have just started making music seriously and you have not yet had articles in the press or performed live, it is certainly too early to send your project to labels. You have to remind yourself that each accomplishment you make is one more bonus for the label, which will see your potential there.
Groover allows artists to test their approach with labels by facilitating the first contact and ensuring rapid feedback. The feedback received provides an overview of the reality and allows us to see if certain labels are interested in a certain musical project.
One first contact can lead to a more extensive partnership even several months later. This is often what happens with artists who are discovered on the platform and who have signed with a label thanks to Groover. The process takes time, it can sometimes take place 6 months after the first contact, and for totally different tracks. This is what happened with Myoon who signed several months later with Inside Records, the label of Electro Posé.
5. I found a label! Do you have any advice for negotiating my contract (type of contract, advance, etc.)?
The first advice would be to take your time before signing anything. If you can, try to attract the interest of several labels to create competition and have more room for negotiation.
Does the label understand your project and your vision? Do you agree with the direction in which they want to take your musical project? Trust is the main factor.
A manager or even a lawyer specializing in music industry contracts can be a great help before signing with a label to help you make the right decisions.
Then, there are three types of label contracts:
- Artist contract: ideal for an artist developing a project. The label takes care of a lot of things, from production, artistic direction to marketing and distribution
- License agreement: ideal for self-produced artists. The label gives an advance for the production of the project but it is the artist who manages it.
- Distribution contract: ideal for artists already well surrounded wishing to remain independent. The production is still entirely the responsibility of the artist.
Separating the label and the publishing can be smart to not put all your eggs in the same basket. Spread your forces, don't put all your eggs in one basket, especially in case it goes badly with one partner.
As far as advances are concerned, they are helpful in making it possible for you to produce your music or to have a living while waiting to receive the royalties or they can be used to promote their music. It all comes down to negotiations. They depend a lot on the notoriety of the artist. You will rarely, if ever, be offered an advance on your first project!
An advance, by definition, must be repaid. Signing to a label therefore implies having the prospect of being "profitable". This is what labels will pay attention to before offering you a contract and once you have signed, it can be a source of pressure. That's why it's important to have a solid project, in which you have confidence that you can go all the way with. Being autonomous or independent will always give you an advantage in the artistic mastery of your project.
So take your time to avoid hastily signing a tricky contract that could slow you down. For more advice on label deals, you can check our detailed article on the topic.
6. Do you have a success story of an artist signed to a label via Groover?)?
Currently over 1,000 artists have signed with labels since Groover launched at the end of 2018…at least from what we know! A few nice success stories that we like mentioning are:
Parisian pop group Little Animal signed to Cookie Records after sending them their music on Groover. The label was immediately blown away by the track 'Dreams' and put the band in touch with a producer to record a new version! The track was then placed on a few editorial playlists and has overpassed 1 million streams on Spotify.
Rapper Dekay signed to Dig it!, a sub-label of Chinese Man Records, after uploading his music to Groover. The label was intrigued by his universe and wanted to work with Dekay for his next project. The interview of Dekay & Dig It! can be read on the blog.
On the Groover Blog, you can discover lots of other Success Stories of artists who have signed on to a label and gained visibility by sending their music to Groover.
Want to try Groover out? iMusician artists users can now enjoy a 15% discount. Sign up on Groover and use the code GROOVERIMUSICIANVIP [more explanations on how to apply the special discount here]
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