HOW TO SUBMIT A RELEASE - A GUIDE OF BEST PRACTICE:
Test Tube values contributions and actually listens to every single one, too. Since a lot of musicians are interested in releasing with us, there are some restrictions imposed to ensure that releases meet minimum quality standards and can be made public within a reasonable timeframe. This document tries to describe the procedure of submitting contributions and what rules are applied during the progress which may finally result in a new Test Tube release, including its promotion.
1. Recording and production
Test Tube as a Netlabel doesn't have any recording facilities. Instead, it accepts and releases completely finished productions from artists. So, it's their responsability to record and produce the tracks themselves. You may like to ask friends for help or consider renting recording time in a studio (depending on the genre). By the time you have saved the result of your work to your hard disk, you have several options:
• submit a ZIP or RAR archive containing .WAV or .FLAC files via e-mail, FTP or webfile archiving services;
• burn those files as audio/data CD and send it to Test Tube's postal address;
• encode your uncompressed audio as MP3 and submit it via e-mail, FTP or webfile archiving services.
Don't get confused at this stage because we will discuss details in the following paragraphs. This list was only meant as a summary of how you can make yourself get noticed.
2. Technical requirements of submitted files
Since Test Tube is a well established label, visitors trust in receiving quality releases, thus you need to make sure that your files meet some minimum requirements in order to qualify as "Test Tube standard". They are:
• when saving your tracks to WAVE files, check your settings so that they at least conform to CD standard, which is 44100 Hz stereo with 16 bit depth. The files should have been normalised to at least -1.0 db (-0,1 db recommended) to avoid a high noise level and a reduced sound spectrum, which can negatively affect the sound quality;
• when encoding the MP3 files yourself, you should at least use 192kbit for constant bitrates with highest quality settings. Variable bitrates have a different approach so that limit doesn't apply here: In those cases the highest quality settings will take care of selecting the proper bitrate. Rule of thumb: Standard settings are hardly ever good enough for your work ;-)
If you're not familiar with using and/or tweaking MP3 encoders, you may prefer sending your .WAV, .FLAC files or audio CDs, then the Test Tube team itself will select the appropriate encoding method for your work. In case something needs improvement, Test Tube will contact you and suggest a solution for the problem, so there's no need to worry.
3. Further requirements to qualify for Test Tube
Test Tube likes to be able to contact you for work relevant notifications, therefore a working e-mail address would be of advantage. New releases are usually accompanied with short descriptions about the author and the music's characteristics. By providing us with relevant info regarding your project (like how it came into being or what people are involved) you can contribute to a more profound introduction of your work. Even have a website or personal page somewhere? Great, then you may like to include its address as well, then Test Tube can link to your site and you may receive some traffic from interested listeners (perhaps even executive production managers or talent scouts).
4. Optional components of your submission
You may have already noticed that Test Tube is also committed to providing artwork for releases, usually a front and back cover for printing purposes. If you do have an idea about your cover work and what it should be based upon, feel free to add an image (preferably a .JPG or .PNG file, but higher quality formats are also very welcome) as draft. Please note that Test Tube reserves the right to modify suggestions to adjust them to the label's "look and feel". At the same time, however, Test Tube appreciates the artist's opinion and is striving for solutions that make either side happy.
5. Where and how to submit releases
The postal address for CDs is:
Test Tube Netlabel
C/O Pedro Leitão
Estrada do Porto de Mós
Lote 2 / Casa Jana
Please ensure that you put enough stamps on your package, otherwise Test Tube cannot accept the contribution, because the project lacks the financial resources to take over these costs.
The most common and practical way is to upload your production via FTP. For this matter you'll need of course an application that understands this protocol. A Google search on "free FTP client" may quickly lead to a convenient solution in case you haven't got such a computer application at hand.
The details you must use for such a task are:
password: just hit return (and you're done)
In most cases your software will automatically do the right thing, therefore the login info is only needed in case a password prompt asks for it. The maximum allowed filesize is 5 gigabytes, which should be more than enough for several submissions in .WAV format.
Another possibility is - provided your e-mail service supports it - to send your contribution via e-mail using this address. The maximum filesize here is set to 1 gigabyte. Please note that even if your free e-mail account (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc...) offers several gigabytes of storage, the maximum filesize you can send may be limited to a few megabytes (rather the rule than the exception) so unless you run your own mailserver, you probably have to resort to the previous methods mentioned.
Alternatively you may try using free mail services specifically designed for sending large files like
Sendspace (max. 200 Mb) or YouSendIt (max. 100 Mb).
(NOTE: Test Tube isn't affiliated with these sites and therefore cannot assist you with the registration process or answer questions about their usage).
6. After the submission
After having received your contribution, the Test Tube team will invest some time in listening carefully to your music for evaluation. Things that will be taken into consideration are (in no particular order):
• Legal issues like copyright restrictions/violations;
• Sound and production quality;
• Composition and/or arrangement (if applicable);
• Outstanding unique features;
• Authenticity (if applicable).
Test Tube will notify the artist in case of both acceptance and rejection.
Please be advised that a rejection by the Test Tube team merely means that we couldn't find any access to the music. In no case would a rejection imply that your career as musician or your right to exist as a human being would be questioned. Other labels may find your music more appealing or - if the rejection was due to technical issues - a revised production may be finally accepted. As Test Tube keeps no internal blacklist of rejected musicians, you are encouraged to try again once you feel you have addressed the problems that led to your rejection.
7. Final words
The Test Tube team hopes you found this small guide helpful, but there still may be questions not covered here which are of concern to you. If that is the case, feel free to contact us using our e-mail address.
Thank you for your time.
In short, our contacts are:
Test Tube Netlabel
C/O Pedro Leitão
Estrada do Porto de Mós
Lote 2 / Casa Jana
electronic address: this one
Please be sure to have read our guide before submitting anything to Test Tube, in order to avoid any eventual lack of information that might prove essential to our work.
And you''d be helping us too. :)