4 Simple Ways to Increase Your Chances of Playing CMJ 2015 (From the CMJ Staff)

Posted by CMJ Showcase Staff on Mar 18, 2015 09:00 AM

cmjKate Miller-Heidke showcasing at CMJ 2014. (Photo by Maya Korn)

You'd be hard-pressed to find a bigger, better fall festival of the best indie bands, panels of industry elite, and tons of networking opportunities than New York City's CMJ Music Marathon. With events spread all over Manhattan and Brooklyn, an appearance at CMJ is a true callng card on any band's resume. Once you’ve decided that it's your turn to showcase, mark your calendar for October 13-17, make sure your EPK is up-to-date, and keep these four simple tips – straight from us, the CMJ staff  in mind to help improve your chances of getting selected.

1. Showcase your best material first

Make sure that you have your two best songs (at least) included in your EPK, and make sure they play correctly. When we're reviewing submissions, your music is the single most important criteria. Since we always listen to the first couple of songs, it's smart to have your strongest material in the first spots. Inevitably, we always encounter acts who either haven't uploaded any songs, or whose tracks are not playing properly. If we can't hear your music, we can't select you to perform!

2. Keep your bio and pitch relevant

This is the first thing we see when we're reviewing an application, and usually less is more. In addition to great music, we're looking for evidence that you have an audience who will come support your showcase, so a list of important gigs/tours, some choice press quotes, college radio play, etc. can be a lot more useful than a catalog of influences or a lengthy biographical anecdote.

3. Don't forget about stats

Make sure you include relevant data links like social media numbers, typical draws, number of releases, and a numerical representation of your streaming popularity. This is great information, since it tells us a bit more about your fanbase and can give us some confidence that you won't play to an empty room.

4. Live footage helps

Sometimes we dig a little deeper when we're on the fence about extending an invite and will seek out live performance footage. There's a spot in your EPK to include a video, so help your chances by including sample footage from a great show there.


Apply to play CMJ 2015 by April 3 and take advantage of special early pricing of only $35!


The CMJ Showcase Staff reviews all submissions for the CMJ Music Marathon, invites artists, books gigs, coordinates with showcase venues, and otherwise makes it all happen.

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Topics: cmj, festivals, Opportunities, Musician Success Guide


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