Life after submissions


February 21, 2024

After 22 years of witnessing the ever-evolving landscape of music curation, in early February 2024, I've made a decision: to stop accepting music submissions. Yes, most of you didn't even notice. Because it's only written on the "Submit music" page. And since not all of you are musicians seeking exposure, you may not be aware. Now you are, dear reader! And even if you think you won't care, trust me, you will, as I'm going to tell you how that decision is already impacting our relationship :)

I didn't know at that time if it was going to be temporary or permanent. I just wanted a trial phase. Now that I see all the beneficial effects it has on IMC already, it could become permanent...
This decision marked a pivotal moment for Indie Music Center, and I think it truly shows my commitment to independence and quality. Now, with a few weeks of hindsight, the initial results are already being felt. And they are incredible. Incredible enough for me to share them with you today.

1. Freedom:

With submissions no longer flooding my inboxes, and submission platforms no longer taking all my days, I now have the freedom to prioritize quality over quantity. Each piece of music featured on Indie Music Center undergoes rigorous selection, ensuring that only the finest tracks make it to my wonderful audience. 
Since I stopped taking music submissions, I have much more time to practice what Cal Newport calls "Deep Work" (a very good book that I highly recommend, by the way). Indeed, Deep Work can only be achieved when you're far from any source of distraction.

So, I've stopped using social media, I've stopped using Spotify, and I've stopped accepting submissions. This has freed up valuable time for me to now concentrate for hours on what is ultimately essential: writing. And trust me, you can't do that when you see a lot of submissions piling up in front of your eyes and you just tell yourself "oh wow, I have to stop writing now, because I still have XX submissions to check out before they expire".

I also bought some CDs. For the pleasure of being able to listen to music without being connected to a server, an algorithm, or someone spying on my online behavior. And damn, what a kick!
Now it's just pure freedom. No pressure anymore. And it also allows me to spend more time with wife, pets, garden, fresh air, and all those things that should have been my priority over the last few years.

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2. Focus on authenticity:

Gone are the days of sifting through countless submissions that don't quite resonate with my vision. Yes, I got a lot of rap or metal submissions. And it was tiring because it used to add to my mental load. By ending submissions, I'm now able to stay true to my authentic voice and share music that genuinely inspires me. And of course, I only listen to the kind of music I want to feature and I'm not "forced" to listen to rap or metal anymore because someone paid $0,50 for me to do it. And I don't feel like a modern slave anymore. The songs you will find on IMC will now be truly me. Without any interference from outside my mind.

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3. Strengthened connection with... you! My audience!

This is probably the most unexpected change and I really love it because it's the most enjoyable change. Stopping music submissions created a deeper connection with my audience, built on trust and shared passion, because now, I have time to chat with ALL my readers and fans. You could tell me I could have done it before. Well, I would have liked to, but no, I couldn't. My dear, dedicated fans were drowned in over thousands of DMs every week, most of which just included a Spotify link without even a hello. Now, these DMs are just going straight into the trash without being read and I have more room to chat with you. So if you're just a passionate human being, just like me, if you'd like to chat, feel free to reach out via Instagram!

If you're a musician, you can also reach out via Instagram to chat about music. But if you send me any Soundcloud, Spotify, YouTube, Dropbox, GoogleDrive link to one of your songs, you will break my trust and my neutrality. And all you're going to gain is that your song, no matter how great it is, won't be featured.

By eliminating the barrier between curator and listener that was there because of a lack of time, I've created a space where genuine interaction thrives. Whether it's through personalized recommendations or meaningful conversations, my community is at the heart of everything I do. Their support is truly amazing and I can't thank them enough.


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4. Empowerment and independence:

Ending submissions has empowered me to take control of my content and shape it according to my own unique vision. No longer bound by external pressures, I'm free to explore new creative avenues and push the boundaries of music discovery.

No longer relying on submission platforms is actually a real relief. Yes, indeed: I don't owe anything to anyone anymore. And in between, due to their increasing costs and overhead, submission platforms have decided to pay curators less.

So I think that instead of accepting to be squeezed even more, I prefer not to earn anything at all and have fun writing what I want about whom I want. Because that's what I want: to have fun and make you have fun!


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Conclusion:

One thing is clear: independence is now definitely the cornerstone of my platform and it makes me really proud, because I've been hesitating for years... Honestly? No regrets! What happened in between? I have no idea if it's related at all, but my audience has been multiplied by 30. Perhaps it's just a sign.

By prioritizing quality, authenticity, and community, I'm able to deliver an unparalleled listening experience for music lovers everywhere. Will this decision become permanent? I think so, because I'm returning to my full-time job next month, and no matter what happens, I could never go back and be overwhelmed by thousands of requests. I will offer you less music, but of much better quality.

Thank you for reading me and thank you for your trust over all these years.

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