Submitting music to 5:4 for review

If you’d like to send me your music with a view to having it reviewed, please bear in mind the guidelines below. If they sound somewhat impatient and strict, it’s simply to ensure that your music can be listened to as swiftly as possible with an absolute minimum of fuss, for both you and me. That’s what counts, after all.

1. Whether to submit

Don’t just send out music to countless places indiscriminately. Do some preliminary investigation to ascertain whether 5:4 is a suitable place to be sending your work. Read my About page, and take a look at some recent articles to be certain. If your music is at some remove from the (admittedly very eclectic) range of music written about here, there’s a good chance it simply won’t pique my interest, and you’re better off sending it elsewhere. And if what you’re peddling falls even remotely within the genre that’s inaccurately come to be known as ‘Modern Classical’, close this page immediately and have a long, hard think about whether you shouldn’t in fact be pursuing something more worthwhile. There are too many composers as it is.

2. How to submit

In the first instance, get in touch via the Contact page (after this, email is of course fine). Make all messages as concise as possible, with an absolute minimum of hyperbolic PR voidwaffle. Stick to the basics:

  • artist(s)
  • album name
  • label (if applicable)
  • release date
  • where it can be purchased/acquired

By all means send a promotional one-sheet if you like – these tend to be very useful – but please don’t put all this info into the message itself.

Important: don’t expect – and certainly don’t solicit – a reply. Your email will have been received and it will not be ignored. Definitely don’t follow up asking whether i liked the album and if a review is going to happen. Never, ever do this. Bear in mind that i get sent a very large amount of music, and as 5:4 is written in what can laughingly be called my spare time, it can therefore take a while before i get a chance to listen.

Rest assured, if the music you sent gets me sufficiently excited, it will get written about at some point.

3. What to submit

This is extremely simple. Ideally, you should submit:

  • a physical CD, identical to what will be sold to the public, i.e. not a stripped-down version in a cheap plastic or cardboard wallet, or audio files in lieu of a physical version. Reviewing a release isn’t solely about the music, but also about the way it’s presented.

If your submission is either not available on a digital physical format (i.e. it’s only available on vinyl, cassette or wax cylinder for some inexplicable reason) or is download only, then digital audio files are perfectly acceptable. A download link should be sent via the Contact page. Your files must be:

  • lossless: i cannot stress this enough – don’t even bother sending lossy files as they’ll be deleted immediately. Preferable formats are ALAC and FLAC; avoid sending WAV unless absolutely necessary – in addition to being unnecessarily large, they can cause all manner of problems with tagging (see below);
  • tagged correctly: ensure that all the essential metadata – artist, album/track titles, etc. – are present and correct, otherwise i’ll have no idea what i’m actually listening to. Again, if this data is missing, your files will probably be deleted immediately;
  • accompanied by a high-resolution image of the cover artwork.

Right, with these three points in mind, what are you waiting for? Get in touch!