How Do We Pick Tracks To Feature?

How Do We Pick Tracks To Feature?

Just submit your tracks.  We’ll take it from there
We are often asked how we choose what tracks to repost on our Facebook, Soundcloud, and Website.   We also receive hundreds of messages per week from artists who have submitted a track and want to know if we are going to repost them.  In fact, you may be reading this page because we sent you the link after asking us just that.  Let’s just start by saying that we love you guys and want you to keep submitting tracks, but the amount of love we have does not equal the amount of time we have.  We have way more love than time, and as such we cannot possibly respond to every message.  Please don’t hate us.

By the way, the process outlined below takes us a lot of time and effort.   We do this for you for free because we just love the music scene that much.  If you love it as much as we do and want to give back, we could use some help with the process below (and other stuff).   Please see our HELP WANTED page for info on what we are looking for.

Screen Shot 2013-05-17 at 9.02.36 AM

Ok yeah fine great,   but what’s the process?

The process for picking a track for repost is very democratic and occurs in two stages.    Think of it as a primary and secondary election.  We conduct a primary and secondary reviews of your track(s), and if you make it through both phases, you get a feature.  The beauty of a system like this is that no one person can push through a feature,  and no one person can block a feature.  Dub Nation is here to serve the music scene, and for that reason it is the people in that scene that govern our site.  For the people,  By the people..  Let’s take a quick look at those review phases,  shall we?


Primary review-   We have a handful of dedicated people that listen all the music submitted to us, and scour the soundcloud groups looking for new tracks/talent.  These folks are our primary screeners and they vote yes or no on a secondary review.  If a primary reviewer likes a track,  s/he needs to get one other primary reviewer to agree  and second the motion for secondary review.   Once that second approval is attained,  the track moves onto the next phase.  Each track is listened to by three primary reviewers.

Secondary review- Once a track is in secondary review, the larger Dub Nation crew will be asked to listen to the artists tracks and pick which, if any, they think would make a good feature. They listen to the tracks, looking for good things, and for bad.  Each track is assigned points for various things, and loses points for others.  When all is said and done, if your score is above a certain level, that particular reviewer will vote YES to a feature.  Each reviewer goes through the same process using the same criteria.  If a track gets 2/3 majority of YES votes, then the track goes to the web guys to draft a feature.

So that’s it.  It is a simple, yet effective process that ensures that all tracks receive a fair shot.


But wait,  What are these criteria that you judge tracks on?

Ahhh yes, the age old question (we think).  We think our criteria are pretty standard and pretty fair.  We understand that a lot of this is subjective, which is why we have multiple people checking out every track.  We wont bore you with how many points each of the below criteria receive, but here is the kind of stuff we look for (this is not a complete list).

  • Production Quality -
    • Does the track have that polished sound?
    • Is it well mastered?  
    • Is there a good progression of scenes?  
    • Are there good transitions between scenes.  
    • Is there a diversity in the sound (ie, not all the same bass sound/drum loop).
  • Musicality -
    • is the song consistent in its musical  key?   (this is so critical.  If you do not understand what it mean’s to be off-key,  chances are you are off-key.  Get a book or two on musical theory and get back to us when you’ve got this basic skill down cold).
    • Are there diverse musical elements?
    • Does the track maintain a sensible rhythm?  
    • Are there any sharp or out of place noises?  
    • Are there any musical clashes?
  • Creativity – is this an original mix or a remix?
    • If remixed,  is it significantly different from original?
    • Can remixer’s personal style be heard over the original song?
    • If original song, does the song rely heavily on samples (yes, we can tell) or is there a lot of original sound design?
  • Community response -
    • how did the song make the reviewers feel?

Now that we have spilled the beans,  we need to ask you a favor.   Please do not ask our staff what scores your track received or how many votes.  This puts the staff in an uncomfortable situation that nobody wants to be in.  Remember how we said no one person can push through or block a track from feature?  Yeah,  that.   We also do not share the scores and votes with all of the reviewers just so they can avoid those uncomfortable situations.

If you are chosen for a feature, we will let you know.  Due to the large number of submissions we receive, it could take some time before you are reviewed/contacted.  Please have patience with us.