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About IRC

Our mission is to connect talented musicians with music lovers around the world, and encourage and facilitate the creativity, education and vitality of the independent music movement. Nowadays, ‘indie rock,’ which has various meanings depending on who is asked, is increasingly seeping into the mainstream culture, while simultaneously maintaining, in large part, its own special identity because indie rock, as an umbrella classification, is incredibly flexible and wide-reaching, and able to incorporate, and create new, musical genres from garage rock and folk to pop and electronic, from psychedelic and new wave to punk and hip-hop, and many others, including an ever-expanding tree of sub-genres, whether it be math rock, blogcore, neo folk, or dream pop, to name just a few.

Looking to submit your music for review? Scroll below for the submission form.

As Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh) told the NME in May 2010, “it is very exciting time” for indie music. The summer prior, Jay-Z said that hip hop and rap artists should look for inspiration in the “indie rock movement,” which he has not only preached, but taken to heart.  So, while there are as many opinions on what exactly constitutes ‘indie,’ and every two years the proverbial declaration that ‘indie is dead,’ the movement, especially within the smaller label and totally DIY realms, is alive and thriving, and it will continue to evolve and yet stay the same in one of the ironic truisms that but which also means there is plenty of room for new artists creating fresh, exciting sounds, or telling deep, compelling stories, to bust out and create the songs that mark a time and place, that become the anthems of summer, We will continue to cover artists and bands- and the music they make – even in cases where a indie artist that we favorite, and our readers like as well, signs to a major label (MGMT, The Decemberists, Band of Horses, Modest Mouse). We wish they wouldn’t sign to the mega-corporate labels, but we won’t stop covering them just for that (even though we’re less enthusiastic about them when they do sign to a major label).

But, in the end, the bottom line is the music – is it good? It is original? Is it creative, memorable and enriching? Does the music add real value, and is the quality of music, and the talent of the musicians involved, good enough to warrant coverage on IRC. We could care less where a band is from, what they look like, how young or old they are, what their first language is and so on – all that matters is the music. Still, we lean towards providing a platform for DIY and small label artist and bands that rarely get noticed.

The Growing, Worldwide IRC Family, and Why We Are Different

With some half of a million visitors viewing our posts from around the world every month, and about three million page views, we are genuinely excited, and humbled, to be regarded as one of the most top indie music sites on the web, and an alternative to sites like Pitchfork, SPIN, BrooklynVegan, Gorilla vs. Bear, and so on. IRC is also one of the few sites that still publishes – as much as possible – MP3s of songs, which work for just about everyone on every platform. We’re not thrilled with the proliferation of SoundCloud because it doesn’t work with the built-in Yahoo Player, and often, people can’t download the MP3. We understand bands and labels have to make money, but we are also convinced that offering MP3s free to their fans, or potential new fans, has a very high return on investment, more so then if they don’t. However, some labels are not offering MP3s as much as they used to prior to 2012, and we know for a fact that it hurts the band and their image, their songs are less likely to go viral, and they’re less likely to sell albums and concert tickets. This is the most common complaint we hear.

What started out in 2006-2007 as a way to more easily share music with friends and family, eventually got the attention of more and more music-loving people as each month, and then each year, passed by, so that by May 2010, IRC doubled it’s daily traffic from just eight months prior with tens of thousands of people seeking the latest and greatest indie music, mixtapes and playlists, new releases, profiles and news featuring well-known, unsigned and DIY bands,  from California to New York, Paris to London, South Africa to Iceland, and everywhere in between. Music is the language of the world. The heartbeat of the planet. The common thread across the world that ties all people together, and which allows all people to express themselves in constructive and creative ways, break down barriers and share the common human experience that has been central to civilization for thousands of years. On this page:Music Submission Guidelines Writers, Photographers and Illustrators You Guys Rock! - Band & Artist Promotion & MarketingHelp Spread the Word! Submission Guidelines and Form - Please read carefully. Failure to follow submission requirements precisely will result in us not being able to review your submission, especially if you don’t include .mp3 links (not download links) as outlined below.

IRC has profiled independent musicians and bands from around the U.S. and the world since 2007. Those who have followed the submission guidelines exactly have done very well being featured on IRC, including getting record contracts, enormously growing their fan base, being picked up by other blogs and more. IRC is dedicated to also featuring the best new music from more well-known and popular artists and bands. Much of the terrific music we’ve heard over the years has been sent in to us directly by the artists and bands themselves, or recommended by friends, bloggers, and others. We want, and encourage, talented musicians to submit their music to IRC for review. Due to the enormous number of music submissions we receive each month, and the incredible amount of time it takes to sort through them all, it has become necessary to create submission guidelines to streamline the process.

Without these guidelines,  we simply could not accept any music submissions. Most important: In your submission form, make sure to include at least one (preferably two) .mp3 link(s) (i.e., http://linmod.mx/cosas/ericoy/ny.mp3) of your music. The music must be from the current or upcoming year. Do not add a link in the MP3 link box that points to a file-sharing site, music downloading service, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube, etc.  These are not .mp3 links (see below to learn how to make your own .mp3 files). This is the most common reason a submission is rejected, so if our emphasis on the .mp3 link is annoying, apologies, but we’re trying to help you. Because we receive so many submissions, we are forced to have requirements to make it faster and easier for us to review submissions.

Important: You must use the American date system when inputting the release date of your work. The proper format you should enter in the Release Date box is MM/DD/YYYY. For example, for August 5, 2012, you would enter – 8/5/2012. Any other format – such as Aug. 5, 2012, 05/08/2012 (the UK way), August 5th or even 08/05/2012 – means we will not see your submission when we search our database for date-based releases because when we search, for example, 8/5/2012, we’ll never see your submission if you write August 5, 2012, or any of the incorrect examples above. In today’s 140-character world in which anyone can get just about any information they want in an instant, a band without .mp3 links to send around is at a severe disadvantage because most people are simply not interested in investing their time in music that they cannot save to their MP3 player, smartphone or computer.

But a good band with great .mp3 links of their songs, will get the notice they deserve just by following this critical piece of advice. And it’s also important to keep those links alive for as long as possible because people can still hear your music a year or two years from now. We see it happen all the time where expired song links hurt a band’s promotional opportunities. If creating an MP3 link with your own website is difficult for you, and you don’t already have .mp3 links of your songs, see how to create .mp3 links with DropBox in just a few minutes by following a few easy steps as displayed below.


Click here to see the image above in a larger format

Once you have successfully created your .mp3 links with DropBox (the link should start with https://dl.dropbox.com/etc), fill out the submission form below, and make sure to include all of the information requested. Failure to be thorough could result in us not being able to feature your music. Do not write an entire biography in the bio box of the submission form (just a quick overview of the band – at most approximately 150 words); the same please with the favorite bands box – please do not list more than five to seven artists. Your bio must also be original and never have been printed elsewhere on the web. Failure to include a brief, original bio, or no bio at all, will likely result in us not reviewing your band because we have to know your 411. Something like “Five guys and a van, we love rock and playing our music,” or any other uninformative bio will result in our not reviewing your submission. This is all good practice for learning how to make it in the super competitive world of music production.

We are unable to provide information on when or if we have reviewed or will publish your music – we simply do not have those resources at our disposal. If we need additional information regarding your submission, we will contact you. Please keep in mind that we are currently backlogged by hundreds and hundreds of submissions, and are doing our best to get through and come up with ways to make it faster and easier in the future.

IMPORTANT: MP3 song links from SoundCloud, YouTube, Bandcamp or any other non-MP3 link as detailed in these guidelines WILL NOT be considered for review

– Too many bands are submitting these links instead of .mp3 formatted links (such as from Dropbox) and their submissions are *not* reviewed.

Writers, Photographers and Illustrators If you are a writer and would like to contribute album reviews, write up features about bands and artists or contribute your own concert and other photos, or illustrations, please contact us via Twitter or Facebook after joining our network (so that we can respond directly to you for more information). This is a perfect way for your work to get exposure to more than half of a million people from around the world each month. We can usually get you free tickets to shows and festivals as a writer, editor or photographer for IRC once you have established yourself – which is basically getting published a couple of times on IRC and demonstrating your reliability and skill.

You Guys Rock! We just want to say to thank you to everyone for sending your music, regularly visiting  and in general giving us the encouragement to keep doing something that is nothing less than a labor of love. I personally could only dream of this somehow becoming one of the biggest music and culture blogs covering the ‘indie scene’ – getting some funding to expand and offer more for indie rock fans, covering all the festivals and having bands come and do sessions and interviews. We’re working on that. Dreams drive the human spirit and keep hope alive. Help Spread the Word!

We appreciate your help in promoting the site on the web, sharing it with friends and whatever else you can think of. We don’t make any money doing this, so your volunteerism, if you will – like adding any post from IRC to Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Stumbleupon, MySpace and linking to IRC from your own site, etc, is appreciated greatly. You’re participation helps give us the juice needed to keep our faith that this endeavor is all that much more worthwhile. You can also help by adding links from IRC posts to your favorite social networking sites (like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, etc.) and signing up for the “Feed Me Indie” RSS feed and sharing the site with friends. Thanks to the thousands of you that enthusiastically support and encourage what we’ve been doing in sharing the best music we hear with so many people. It’s such a humbing honor.

If you’re linking to a specific page, please use anchor text like “Animal Collective” or “Best New Indie”, depending on what the content is. That helps everyone out a lot! We also encourage you to leave comments on posts, reTweet posts, share the playlists and mixtapes on your own web accounts and whatever else you can think of to let us know how we’re doing with the limitations we have (it would be awesome to have a staff like Pitchfork, SPIN, Rolling Stone and others have – maybe someday).

Band & Artist Promotion and Marketing Services

If you are looking for professional promotion and publicity for yourself or your band, including an expert that can help you get exposure you never dreamed of, including writing master press releases, electronic press kits (EPKs), developing websites and online profiles, employing social marketing, taking advantage of crowd-sourcing best practices, and search engine optimization techniques, and so on, in a customized way to promote your music to more music fans in the extremely competitive world of indie music, send fill out our quick contact form for Red Storm Publicity. This form (almost ready) is *not* for publicists or artists to send us information intended for Indie Rock Cafe; Red Storm is a separate entity. In the meantime, use the above form for music submissions (not to be used for submitting press releases) but write in the Location (City, State) box: NEED PUBLICITY.

As our client, our goal is to use our expertise in the music business, publicity, promotions, social media and web marketing to get you or your band more exposure online, to build your fan base, and help you or your band connect with the influential people in the music industry, such as agents, label representatives, bloggers and publishers of music sites and services. IRC on the Web and Top Links: Follow IRC on Twitter Add us on MySpace Become a fan on Facebook Get the feed and podstream Why MP3 Links Are Marketing Gold MP3 links are divine for a number of reasons: first, we don’t have to download, upload and host a MP3 file of song if we like it and want to share it with the publicand there’s no additional drain on our servers; second, a .mp3 link is more secure than an attached MP3 file; and finally, artists and labels who provide their own .mp3 links are able to see for themselves how many hits a particular song is getting when it is featured on IRC.

Bands, artists, or their PR reps, labels and promoters are realizing more and more that providing their own .mp3 links to send around to various bloggers is great because they are more likely to be blogged about, and .mp3 links provide vital statistics to the host of the MP3 link (those .mp3 links that play automatically when clicked on), which are gold nugs for artists and business folks to help tweak their strategy.

We are always excited to hear great music that we have never heard before and sharing it with hundreds of thousands of people. It never ceases to amaze us just how many really talented artists and bands there are “out there” who we’ve never heard of before, and probably would not have if they didn’t send us their music. If you are the really earnest type, you could explore IRC for hours – building your playlists along the way – and see evidence of this yourself. So many artists and bands that have submitted their music to us over the years have helped to make this a go-to place for new indie music not being covered anywhere else on the web. Additionally, we also serve up plenty of  the more well known and popular indie rock bands, songs and album releases.

Spread and show your love for indie and IRC!


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