Getting Your Music Covered, Here and Elsewhere


As we march towards the first year of Vermont Hip Hop having a Dot Com, a word about what gets covered here and why. This is a one man operation, so don’t expect any real policies or rules. This is just a mix of basic disclosure and friendly advice.

The distribution of the spotlight here is always going to be unequal and unfair. This is part of a larger pattern that you’re going to see a lot in your life. (If you’re curious, it’s called a Pareto Distribution, something Jesus addressed in Matthew 13:12.)

The best way to get coverage - here or anywhere - is to make waves. Now, when you’re just starting out and someone tells you “to get people talking about you, get people to talk about you,” well: that someone sounds like a real asshole. The problem is, they’re completely right.

There is no master list or super-index of Vermont hip hop artists here. If you’d like to be on a list — or do an awesome radio show — get in touch with Big Heavy World, a non-profit that does tremendous work for the 802 music scene.

VTHH is run like a news site because what you’re doing matters more than what you’ve done. The basic role of VTHH is getting 802 events, rappers and producers showing up on Google somewhere other than your own Facebook pages. This makes me, in effect, a volunteer publicist. With way too many clients.

For many of the artists covered here, this is the first “press” they’ve gotten anywhere. Hell, I’ve been doing this long enough to see my writing show up in a lot of your “bios” — which is nothing but flattering, I ain’t salty. Bear in mind, though, what I do in my free time will only take you so far…and it’s not far, bud.

Nobody is going to step in and manage your career for you, because that is not what record labels do anymore. They invest only in winners; they invest in artists who already sell albums, tickets and merch. You will need to start winning on your own. You will not be able to fake it.

So, take control of your basic assets and get them organized. You need high-res, quality photography. You need professionally mixed and mastered singles, EPs and albums. You need great-looking music videos. You need an email list, you need to put up real numbers online, and you need a good one sheet / artist bio.

If you do even half of that, you’ll find it gets a lot easier to be taken seriously. You will get coverage, you will get booked for shows. You will sleep better and feel better, too.

For anyone interested in more advice, check out “Tips for the Band(s)” by Jordan Adams from Seven Days.

For everyone else: thank you for making songs, booking shows, doing murals, showing love, buying tickets, producing beats, helping out, showing up, learning to break, learning to mix, competing, collaborating and talking shit. If there wasn’t an actual scene to report on, none of this would be worth it. Cheers.

Justin Boland