#1
If you've ever used Sonic Bids, please read this and rethink what youre paying for..

(from a message board):

The CMJ Music Marathon, which takes place in NYC in October, may be rethinking their decision to use online submission site Sonicbids to do handle their band applications. To submit, a band had to pay a nonrefundable fee of $45. A major screwup by the site may just have shed some light on one of the organizations dirty little secrets.

Today, an email went out to a large number of bands telling them they were on "Standby" status, and to email the CMJ showcase director to let them know which days they might be able to play. About an hour later, the same bands received an email from CMJ Showcase Coordinator Robyn Baskin saying the following:

"There is a bug in Sonicbids system and the wrong email was sent out to many people. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. This is the email that you should have received:

It is with regret that we inform you we are unable to find a slot for you to perform at CMJ Music Marathon 2007.

Please realize that you made it through a number of rounds in the selection process and the music that you are making caught our attention for one reason or another. Unfortunately, the sheer number of applicants in relation to the number of clubs in NY makes it impossible for us to give every deserving band a slot at the festival, and while it may not be much consolation, we did try our best to accommodate as many acts as possible, including yours."

Fair enough. Standard rejection letter. However, Baskin made the regrettable error of listing the email addresses of all 675 bands that got the email, rather than putting them as blind carbon copy. Within minutes, the predictable and pathetic self promotional spam started coming in, from bands who apparently decided that other CMJ-denied bands are a good target market. But then it got interesting.

One emailer noted, in a less-than-friendly email to Baskin, that "Apart from the fact that we are now open to a bunch of spam, it has also brought to my attention that sonic bids has collected the $45 fee from at least 670 bands ($30,450) knowing full well that you could never accommodate all of the bands." Soon the folks at Shiny Little Records pointed out a little known statistic that comes with every Sonicbids account.

"Check your SonicBids account and see how many plays you received. Ours, attached, shows that there were NO plays of any of our music by anyone (CMJ was the only ap we submitted). $45 should at the very least mean that they get an intern to click play on your song once. How sloppy. Yes, I think a refund, apology, and full explanation are in order."

Soon it became apparent that there were a large number of bands who hadn't had their music even listened to. Now hey, anyone who doesn't know that Sonicbids is a sham hasn't been around the business very long, but it's a different story when you are forced to use the site to submit for a major industry festival. At $45 per band, it's hardly just a "cover our administrative costs" fee. It's a profit center, and as such, they owe proper consideration to every band who throws down the money, and at the minimum, three minutes to listen to the song they submitted.
#2
Get your music heard by music industry for FREE - Not a scam or spam!!

Hello Unsigned Artists/Bands/Musicians,

Dave here formerly of ApathetiQ/Never Hide.

I created a website by the name of youShowcase.com for musicians alike. I am now offering you an opportunity to present your music, photos, bios, videos, and more in press kit format to music executives worldwide. This service is FREE and is not considered SPAM or a SCAM. There are no hidden fees and youShowcase works on an advertising/CPC/R model. The artists/bands and music industry executives are real too.

You can sign up your project by going to the following site:

http://www.youshowcase.com (Registration takes under a minute to complete and clearance is granted right away).

youShowcase.com wants your feedback too! Please do not hesitate to e-mail us with comments or questions at the following address:

contact@youshowcase.com

You can also add us here: http://www.myspace.com/youshowcase (Help us spread the word to other artists/bands/musicians)!!!!

Thanks,
David P.
Principal, IT Director
youShowcase
#4
Quote by FuzzyBear
thb you should probably never pay someone to listen to your music or for the chance to play a gig, its basically always going to be a scam


isn't that the definition of a scam? Paying some one for THE CHANCE to win something or do something. Not paying to recieve a service, or a spot, but paying for the CHANCE to win a spot. I think venues requiring sonic bids accounts should be punched in the colon.
#5
It is really quite commonplace for a lot of events and stuff to have a submission fee. Festivals like CMJ and NXNE, etc. could get potentially tens of thousands of entries. I think a submission fee separates those that are serious from those that aren't. If I'm booking CMJ, I have enough crap to listen to as it is, even with the submission fee. I sure as hell don't want every crappy band in the universe wanting me to listen to their crappy demo.

And hey.... they have operating costs that aren't always apparent to the average person. The number of licences, deposits, insurance, permits, more insurance, etc. that are required to run a festival - even before the first band is booked - is really quite overwhelming. If a festival, and therefore, the hosting venues in turn, can make a decent profit, then good on 'em.

Many, and I dare say, most major industry festivals and the like have gone to taking submissions exclusively through sonic bids. There must be some reason why they would do that. Profit sharing? perhaps. Convenience? Probably. Scam? Not likely.


CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Jun 27, 2008,
#6
Sonicbids is a total scam. Our band was stupid enough to fall into it to. It didn’t take us long to figure out that they keep accepting submission money for events that the promoter has already CLOSED, they have never fixed their tracking service because they don’t want you to know that the promoter you just paid $50 to never even viewed your kit, and they have NO customer service. You never hear back or maybe after four months.

We found a MUCH better service that doesn’t have the BS, doesn’t look like a cartoon, understands the struggling musician and works FOR us, and has customer service reps online up to 20 hours a day, seven days a week. Even on holidays!

http://www.powerpresskits.com

myPPK Power Press Kits. NO per-use fees, no pay-to-play. Graphic themes are great and you can make your own theme for cheap. We STRONGLY recommend everyone who has been scammed by soncibids check out Power Press Kits.
#7
The thing is, SonicBids does not work for the musicians. They work as a collection resource for promoters.

As soon as you put it in that perspective, it all makes sense.

Unfortunately, they are a necessary evil at this point in time, as some very genuine opportunities - even high profile ones - accept submissions exclusively through them. I'm thinking NXNE, SXSW, CMJ conferences, etc. Big stuff. No SonicBids, no way of being considered. Well.... unless you are a big enough draw that the promoters willl come after you.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#8
It is all in how you use Sonic Bids. I agree that the pay to submit thing is bogus, but it probaly works for some bands. Though the ability to send your EPK out to several places at once is fantastic.

I recently sent out to over 30 Media places took oh say less then 1 minute. (This was for a friend as I have no music talent what soever.)

Rather then paying to submit get a list of places to send your EPK to i.e. Indie Venue Bible (there are several places to get this info other then IVB I merely think it is the best).
#9
But the thing is... a lot of these conferences and what-not have *always* had submission fees. They used to collect them themselves... now they collect them through Sonic Bids. Whatever.

The reason for submission fees, and I have some experience in this from 'the other side of the table' too, is to weed out the serious ones from the not-so-serious ones. The last thing any promoter wants to do is wade through a few hundred sh!t packages where most of the bands aren't ready, but thought they had nothing to lose by submitting. Problem is... I have my time to lose by them submitting, so that doesn't really make me happy. By having a set of professional and specific criteria, along with a submission fee, you'll get about 1/4 of the submissions you'd get otherwise (all relative, of course, to how steep the submission fee is), and you don't have to wade through the other 3/4 that are crap anyways.

Submission fees are not a sonic bids thing. Sonic Bids just facilitates what would be required anyways by the promoter.

Sure, you can have a standard whereby you refuse to pay to be considered for stuff, but you're the person who gets the opportunity to play at Joe's Bar and Grill, and the person who is serious enough to cough up a submission fee for a big industry event gets to play the annual CMJ conference, which will quite potentially lead to the opportunity to book a cross-country campus tour during September, along with a raft of media exposure in both print and radio media.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Sep 19, 2008,
#11
THE TRUTH ABOUT SONICBIDS:

From learning that festival rosters are frequently completed prior to submissions being closed, to reading of several cases in which artists' submission statuses have been changed to "not selected" for given opportunities despite no evidence of changes in their views or audio streams...

In 2009, Sonicbids shared $3 million earned from submission fees with music promoters. As per Sonicbids' "Promoter Terms of Service," in order to list a gig opportunity, one is required to pay a one time set-up fee of $50, agree to "accept/review" electronic press kit submissions (EPKs), "promote" his/her gig listing, and provide Sonicbids with a copy of their venue contract/licensing agreement to ensure the legitimacy of their event. Further, promoters who host CD comp opportunities are required to provide a copy of the comp once it is released, licensors must notify Sonicbids of songs placements, and those hosting prize pack giveaways are to confirm their goods were distributed to their winners.

Promoters are able to easily recoup the aforementioned one-time charge by having NO restrictions placed on them in terms of what they wish to charge interested artists. While there is an increasing move toward providing more "Musicians' Friend No-Cost Listings," in my experience, eligibility for these free submissions is often restricted to US residents, and the average going rate for submissions to major events (the ones that artists more than likely created their accounts in order to have access to) is between $10 and $50.

In terms of payment, Sonicbids processes all submission fees (and covers additional expenses created by the use of their technology), and takes a varying percentage of each fee, before paying out its promoters. Promoters can also earn additional funds via "The Sonicbids Affiliate Program" by driving traffic to the site, thereby potentially increasing artist signups.

Okay, okay, so all of this sounds well and good, and fairly correct policy-wise? Wrong! Here's where all of you need to pay attention. There is NO requirement on the part of promoters to provide Sonicbids with proof of a formal business license, references regarding their business history, or membership in an accredited business association like the Better Business Bureau. Moreover, you do not even have to have any past experience successfully working in the music industry – literally anyone can sign up. So long as you pay your fee and "appear" to abide by the terms of service (easily accomplished if you select a single Sonicbids artist per gig and provide them with a somewhat decent experience), you're good to go, as they say.


READ MORE HERE:
http://www.fsu.ca/interrobang_article.asp?storyID=6757&sectionID=2&issueID=168
#12
Sonic Bids = scam.

First off, they solicited me... not because they knew who I was, only because they seek out any and every artist they can in their effort to generate revenue.

To axemanchris' assertions defending any promoter from having to weed through piles of garbage in order to find some quality bands, I say this: If you're promoting an event and you don't even know who you want to participate, then you have no business pretending to be a promoter in the first place.

I don't pay to play, and I don't send out free promotional CD's to every solicitation I receive from supposed magazine editors and radio station managers. My stuff has been out there for over 20 years... if they don't know by now...

From my experiences, beware anyone who solicits you out of the blue while not knowing anything specific about you or your music.
Last edited by Terry Gorle at Jul 29, 2011,
#13
Quote by rockrgrl
There is NO requirement on the part of promoters to provide Sonicbids with proof of a formal business license, references regarding their business history, or membership in an accredited business association like the Better Business Bureau. Moreover, you do not even have to have any past experience successfully working in the music industry – literally anyone can sign up. So long as you pay your fee and "appear" to abide by the terms of service (easily accomplished if you select a single Sonicbids artist per gig and provide them with a somewhat decent experience), you're good to go, as they say.


So? You don't need any accreditation to hold a show.

Why is this a problem? You either want to play or you don't. If it was through any other service, or even direct through the promoter, have you ever asked to see their business licence? Have you ever checked them with the BBB? If a promoter has a bad track record, Sonic Bids or not, people will know.

I'm really not sure why you're fazed by this.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#14
Quote by Terry Gorle
Sonic Bids = scam.

First off, they solicited me... not because they knew who I was, only because they seek out any and every artist they can in their effort to generate revenue.


Solicited how? As in advertising? That's what businesses do.

Quote by Terry Gorle

To axemanchris' assertions defending any promoter from having to weed through piles of garbage in order to find some quality bands, I say this: If you're promoting an event and you don't even know who you want to participate, then you have no business pretending to be a promoter in the first place.


I see where you're going with this, and depending on what kind of event you are doing, I agree. However, things like Canadian Music Week.... imagine the hoopla if they just went with who they knew they wanted to participate and did not invite a call for submissions! That kind of political mis-step would sink that ship for that year, and maybe permanently.

Quote by Terry Gorle

I don't pay to play,


As a general rule, I don't either. Is a submission fee "paying to play?" Arguably. For events like CMW, NXNE, etc., they have *always* had submission fees. The only thing that has changed is who collects it.

Granted, when Finger Eleven and Die Mannequin play CMW, they are chosen by the organizers as "headline draws" and surely don't need to provide an application and submission fee. However, for everyone else, you have two choices - submit and maybe play, or don't submit and don't play. It has nothing to do with Sonic Bids. It was always that way before they went through Sonic Bids.

Quote by Terry Gorle

and I don't send out free promotional CD's to every solicitation I receive from supposed magazine editors and radio station managers.


This is rarely ever necessary, unless the radio station wants to use them as giveaways. When we got played on Y108, though, they did request a copy of the CD, and we gladly provided them with one at no cost. Campus radio, we took the initiative and provided them with copies, and they played them. If you want a print mag to review your album, you can bet that they're not going to buy one to review it. If you don't give them one, you don't get a review. Plain and simple.

However, for bookings and such.... on-line submission has been fine for practically everything.

Quote by Terry Gorle

From my experiences, beware anyone who solicits you out of the blue while not knowing anything specific about you or your music.


If they are offering something for nothing, yes. Like those so-called "labels" who solicit acts. Yeah, sure. But any business advertises. If a music-based businesses happens to get an ad in front of your face, they've been successful in their advertising campaign. They probably targeted you through some channel that identifies you as a musician. That's just smart. As a customer, you choose to buy or to not buy. It shouldn't be a worry.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#15
Quote by axemanchris
Solicited how? As in advertising? That's what businesses do.
-CT

In my case I received an email solicitation... looking genuine as if they specifically knew who they were contacting and why. I later discovered the "pay to play" aspect when researching them. Someone is either selling them lists, or they have people searching for band contact addresses.

Same old cliche... if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

But, I did make the mistake of hanging up on the head of Roadrunner Records one day almost 25 years ago... when someone with a thick New York accent called me out of the blue I thought it was a gag. When he called back and explained I realized I'd made a fool of myself. I was impressed he'd made the effort to hunt me down. I wasn't quite so quick to judge the next couple of times similar things happened.
Last edited by Terry Gorle at Jul 29, 2011,
#16
Quote by Terry Gorle
In my case I received an email solicitation... looking genuine as if they specifically knew who they were contacting and why. I later discovered the "pay to play" aspect when researching them. Someone is either selling them lists, or they have people searching for band contact addresses.


Okay, so some sort of targeted marketing. That's fine.

It's not really pay to play, though. Yeah, I know... it's a fine line. In this case, they are providing a service to the booking people. Submission fees have been the norm for many things, and that is not a Sonic Bids thing.


Quote by Terry Gorle

Same old cliche... if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.


But what's too good to be true about it? It's not like they're making any lofty promises or anything. They provide a service. They are clear about what that service is, how it is provided, and what it costs. There's nothing deceptive about it.

Quote by Terry Gorle


But, I did make the mistake of hanging up on the head of Roadrunner Records one day almost 25 years ago... when someone with a thick New York accent called me out of the blue I thought it was a gag. When he called back and explained I realized I'd made a fool of myself. I was impressed he'd made the effort to hunt me down. I wasn't quite so quick to judge the next couple of times similar things happened.


Good story!

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.