Envato hard rejected my track, and it was the best thing for my AudioJungle portfolio

This story might sound familiar to you?

It was day 30 for me, at a time when newly submitted AudioJungle tracks were taking an average of 30 days to be reviewed. I had submitted a song, waited a month and was keeping an eye on my email because at any moment the approval note from Envato would show up in my inbox.

This email probably wouldn’t just be the standard boilerplate approval either. It would likely contain additional reviewer comments in the form of flowery praise.

Soon after that, I was certain my amazing new “Upbeat Corporate Inspiring Motivational Epic Happy” song would sell briskly and quickly end up on the Popular Items page. More sales would follow of course,

But that’s not what happened.

I received an email from Envato, as expected. But the subject line surprised me:

[AudioJungle] Your uploaded item Upbeat Corporate Inspiring Motivational Epic Happy rejected

Rejected? Seriously???

It’s never an easy pill to swallow, and judging by the number of forum threads that start with titles like “Another Rejection?” and “I Don’t Know Why My Item Was Rejected!” and “Can Somebody Please Explain Why Audiojungle Reviewers Don’t Realize How Incredible My Music Is?” hard rejection of new submissions is happening with greater frequency.

And here’s a shocker for you. That’s a good thing. (What???) You heard me.

After my initial disappointment passed (and following a fourth shot of bourbon) it was replaced by a somewhat begrudging understanding that the reviewer had done me a favor by keeping something out of my portfolio that wasn’t good enough to be there. The rejection wasn’t a personal insult. It was guidance.

There are more authors than ever at AudioJungle (and in the royalty free music business in general) and quality standards are going up. It will be harder and harder to get your submissions approved, and the only way to increase your odds is to hone your composing and mixing skills to always be improving and do your best work.

Which, again, is a good thing.

As an author, you want your music to be sold in a healthy marketplace with high quality work that is appealing to buyers. AudioJungle doesn’t grow its market share by being the best mediocre royalty free music source. The bar needs to be raised in order to attract more buyers. More buyers means more opportunity for you, provided you are producing the highest quality work.

AurusAudio certainly qualifies as an author who composes and produces high quality music. His “Uplifting and Inspiring Corporate” is currently the best selling track on the popular items page, and he has two more tracks on the page as well. He has also had his submissions hard rejected.

“A tough pill to swallow,” he told me. “It wasn’t a nice feeling knowing your hard work was not up to scratch.”

“A tough pill to swallow.”

AurusAudio also saw the rejection as an opportunity to learn and improve his craft.

“It’s easy to take rejections personally, but I’ve learned to view them in a different light – as a learning experience and a chance to sit back and reevaluate your work. There are a myriad of different reasons for the rejection of an item on the marketplace and I think it’s important to identify where exactly those weak spots are in your items.”

After two hard rejections, he reinvested his earnings into new sample libraries and gear and devoted himself to improving.

“I spent several months developing my composing, production and mixing skills, focusing on making every new release better than the last. The result is a dramatic improvement in the quality of my work since I began.”

“The result is a dramatic improvement in the quality of my work since I began.”

Another accomplished Elite Author, SunChannelMusic, has had submissions hard rejected, but those rejections haven’t kept him from selling thousands of tracks. In fact, they may have actually contributed to his success.

“Obviously hard rejections are frustrating at first because you like the tracks and have spent so much time making them. But you just have to remember that there’s nothing personal about rejections, and the reason tracks are rejected is because they likely won’t sell well. I use it as a learning tool to understand what AudioJungle believes, does and doesn’t do well in the marketplace.”

“The reason tracks are rejected is because they likely won’t sell well.”

“I had a couple tracks rejected that had distorted bass. Since there isn’t direct feedback provided for hard rejections, I could only correlate that these two tracks were rejected because the similar trait was distorted bass. Overall, it seems like distortion and saturation are tricky effects for AudioJungle as it has to be used with subtlety and without abrasiveness. Personally, I love both effects. But I understand that when you place songs as bed music, distortion can sound like clipping, which can distract from the voice over and the rest of the video.”

Even the best AudioJungle authors have experienced hard rejections, and perhaps they are as successful as they are because of how they chose to process the information.

AurusAudio rose to the challenge following his early rejections.

“I’ve come to realize that without high standards and heavy competition, there is no room to grow.”

SunChannelMusic has this advice for thinking long-term when it comes to building your portfolio:

“I would advise authors to strive to submit tracks that will nearly guarantee approval. While you may have a track that might just barely get accepted, that’s only the beginning of the life of your track on AudioJungle. Odds are, a track that just barely got accepted will sell only a handful of times, if that. Make tracks that are great so they not only get easily approved, but also go on to sell a lot and do well for you.”

Competition in the field of royalty free music will not decrease anytime soon, if ever. AudioJungle reviewers are charged with sorting through thousands of submissions daily, and are being more selective about what ends up on the website and what doesn’t.

Obviously, your first goal is to avoid rejection by submitting only your best work. But if you find a hard rejection email in your inbox, the mission isn’t to figure out what’s wrong with the reviewer. Use the forum to solicit feedback from other authors, and use the hard rejection and input from other community members to learn what you can improve about your work going forward.

Thanks to AurusAudio and SunChannelMusic for generously offering to participate in this post.

promosapien is a video producer, AudioJungle composer and a seven year member of the Envato Community.

Check out his AudioJungle profile