Music Industry Interview: Jason Grishkoff – Founder of SubmitHub

Some of you have heard the name “SubmitHub” what feels like a few too many times in our email mailers and tweets. But honestly this is a service that has totally revolutionized the way we run our website (for the better). We’re now able to spend more time on the MUSIC and less time deleting mass emails that weren’t a good fit for us anyways.

A few months ago we were approached by Jason Grishkoff, of Indie Shuffle and now SubmitHub fame. Jason coded a program to solve the problem that many music industry bloggers have. I recently digitally “sat down” with him to ask about the product and get the inside scoop. If you’re a musicians promoting music, a PR firm promoting music, or a fellow blogger, definitely take heed to these fascinating comments.

1) How did you come to create SubmitHub?

I wanted to learn a couple new coding languages, and was exploring a platform called Meteor to do so (Node + Mongo + React). I flipped and flopped on what kind of project to take on, and ultimately settled on one that had a real-world application for Indie Shuffle: reducing the clutter of email submissions and bringing the focus back to the music.

2) How does it benefit bloggers?

The primary benefit is that, for many of us, it takes music blogging back to its roots. None of us signed up to sift through hundreds of unsolicited emails from people who want to “build a relationship”; for most of us, we got into it because we loved finding a diamond in the rough, and being one of the first to tell all of our friends about it. SubmitHub brings that mindset back to the forefront — and has the added extra benefit of compensating bloggers for their time spent 🙂

3) How does it help bands promote their music?

As alluded to in the prior question, music blogging over the last few years has become all about who you know and what techniques you can use to sift through the noise that clutters the average blogger’s inbox. Often times, that means hiring a publicist, which can get very pricey (we’re talking $1,000+ a month).

SubmitHub flips the model on its head and eliminates the middle man. Now, bands and small labels have direct access to the blogs, and for a fraction of the price (or free).

4) Is the site regionally limited? Can anyone sign up right now?

As a tastemaker on the site, the only limitation is being able to provide feedback in English. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to have been much of a barrier: we’ve got bloggers from Argentina, Chile, Scandinavia, Germany, South Africa and more. As a submitter, there are no restrictions 🙂

5) How much does it cost to use the site?

There are two ways to submit: standard credits (free), or premium credits (starting at $1 and going down). I’ve assembled a nice little breakdown here.

6) Do you do all of the coding, PR, and promotion work? Are you going to be expanding your team soon?

Yep, I do every single last drop. But what’s cool about the platform is that it promotes itself to some extent: the more the bloggers find it useful, the more they’ll request that people send them music via SubmitHub rather than anywhere else.

I do have plans to bring on a team member when I return to Cape Town — someone who’s helped me on Indie Shuffle in the past, and can hopefully support me as I try to expand the # of blogs using it.

7) Where is the site based?

The server is in New York, but static assets are served via Amazon Cloudfront (which means that when you visit the website, Amazon finds its closest data center and sends you the website files from there, instead of going all the way to New York). The company is incorporated in Delaware, but I call “home” Cape Town (in South Africa). I’m currently sitting in Orange County, California. Last week I was in San Diego, the week before that in LA; next week I’ll be in San Francisco, and then DC via Portland, before going home to Cape Town. That’s what you get for asking a vague question 🙂

8) What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who may want to develop their own innovative websites?

Just DO IT. The biggest pitfall I see with other startups is that they spend way too much time getting the product ready. It’s all about throwing out a minimum viable product (MVP), and watching it evolve from there. I launched the basic version of SubmitHub back in November, and it wasn’t until February that I introduced premium credits and started reaching out to other blogs. Had I been part of a “team” with venture funding or something, I’d probably have spent all my time trying to build the complete package, rather than just launching and iterating.

So yeah — don’t worry about building a complete product. Just built the core functionality, and see what happens.

9) What is the future of SubmitHub?

Immediate future: tailor it for SoundCloud and YouTube channels to have the easiest time ever using it (think copyright workflow). Slightly later future: open it up for record labels to receive submissions. More-distant future? Uhh… not sure. One step at a time!

10) What would you like our readers to know about your website?

SubmitHub is not a magic bullet — it’s just a (really effective) tool for reaching bloggers, and having them actively engage with your music. 90% of the time they’ll end up declining a song, so don’t be disheartened. That 10% can have a real solid impact.

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