The BBC Music Introducing Uploader works on a very simply principle. If you're an artist, you can upload your tracks and have them put in front of BBC radio producers from around the country. If a producer likes what they hear, they can broadcast it on the radio and suddenly that bedroom jam you made is getting the wider public tapping their toes.
As you might expect, the Uploader receives thousands of uploads each week - that's a lot of tracks for our producers to listen to (and a lot of competition for airtime). So what can you do to give yourself the advantage?
1. Nail your bio
Your music can say so much about you. Even so, it helps to have a little bit of supporting material on the side. This is because radio producers want something interesting they can say about your track when they play it. The fact is, if your Profile is bare they're less likely to feature your tracks.
So what makes a great bio? There's not a set formula, but the best ones tend have these things in common:
- they're well-written (and not obviously written hurriedly as an after-thought!)
- they say something unique about you and your music
- they don't tell your complete life story in painstaking detail (just the most interesting and relevant material)
Check over your bio and imagine it being read by a complete stranger who's never heard of you or your music before. Does it give off the right impression? Would it make someone want to listen to your tracks?
If you have them, it's also very useful to add links to your social media profiles/website/Youtube in the relevant fields. Plus it doesn't hurt to list some of the artists that influence your music.
2. Show us a picture
This one's simply a case of standing out from the crowd. Just remember that we receive a vast number of tracks each week, and artist images are displayed alongside each one. Anything you can do to catch a radio producer's eye or make the most of that crucial first impression is going to stand you in good stead.
What makes a good artist image? Well, as far as we're concerned, there are a few elements that we're after:
- High-ish quality: a clear, un-pixellated photo shot on a proper camera is preferable to a phone selfie, but make the most of what's available to you
- The correct size: the standard image size we use on BBC websites is 1920x1080px, so you should aim to upload something this size (or bigger). It's best to upload images in landscape orientation, with everything important in the middle of the image. Imagine drawing a perfect square around the middle of the image - does your whole band still fit in?
- Nothing explicit: surprise surprise! Images should be suitable for featuring on our websites
- Nothing with logos, etc.: a standalone image is going to work much better (and be relevant for longer) than your latest gig poster
3. Consider your song length
"There are only ever 60 minutes in an hour. A 60 minute radio programme can play 30 two minute songs, it can play 20 three minute songs, but it can only play 12 five minute songs.
"If you’re sending us a five minute song, it’s got to be so much better than all the other two minute songs in order for it to justify its place for us to drop two other artists to get you in there. If all the songs are equally good then the five minute one won’t get in. You’re raising the bar for yourself unnecessarily by having those three repeat choruses at the end and the long intro and the noodling solo in the middle.
"Cut to the chase. It’s not just true for radio; it’s true for blogs, for YouTube. We’ve all got small attention spans these days and it’s much better to have people reaching for the replay button rather than the next button."
4. Be selective with your tracks
This should be obvious, right? Melita Dennett from BBC Music Introducing: The South explains the importance of being selective:
"Hold back a moment. Is your music ready for a public hearing? Your mum and your best mates have told you it is great, but have you played it to a wider circle of acquaintances?
"Don't listen to what comes out of their mouths as they are probably very polite and will tell you, 'it's great'. Watch their reactions for signs of glazing over, staring at a fascinating bush out the window, stifling a snigger or idly picking the wallpaper.
"If they lose interest it is fair to assume that a producer who will be hearing dozens - if not hundreds - of new tunes a week, will lose interest too."
Tough words, but true.
For this reason, we limit the amount of tracks you can upload; we want quality over quantity.
5. Keep it clean
Picture this: your local show is planning the list of tracks they're going to play out on a Saturday evening and they've got a space left to fill. They come across your track and it sounds perfect. But wait! They've got to the second verse where you drop an f-bomb. They can't play out anything explicit on the radio, so they've only got a few options:
- Get in contact with you for a clean version
- Try to edit the song themselves to censor the swears
- Skip your track and find a suitable one from someone else
What do you think is the most likely outcome? If you said #3 you are correct.
You can make a great track that contains explicit language, but if you're uploading it to BBC Music Introducing make sure you send us a clean version.
6. Keep your Profile up-to-date
Once you've really honed your bio, added an unforgettable artist image and uploaded those killer tracks, make sure you return to your Profile from time to time to update the information. Maybe you've played an incredibly high-profile gig, maybe one of your tracks has gone viral on YouTube, or maybe you've had a change of image.
Make sure your Profile shows you and your music off in the best way it can.