#1
Hey everyone, my band just got this message over myspace from Skratch magazine saying they liked one of our songs and they wanted to feature if on a Comp CD. The magazine is from OC california as far as I can tell and we're from Ohio. I'm not sure if this is a legit thing or not, it didn't seem like a chain mail thing, but it could be.

Does anyone have any experience with this orginization or any advice? Thanks a lot.
#2
Never heard of it before...Google/wikipedia that shiz, hopefully that'll help you out.

If it's from OC and you're from Ohio, though, that seems a smidge iffy.
#3
I post here the same response I posyed in the other forum, read on...

I get that there are MANY underhanded and shady companies out there doing scam jobs on the net, but let me tell you that we ARE legit and a VERY real entity. We have been around for OVER twelve years in the music scene and continue to be a solid supporter of it as we continue to grow and evolve with it. That being said, let me address some issues you may have on your mind, read on...

First, we never have tried to hide that there are fees involved with being a part of one of our comps. Exactly like all of you, we are D.I.Y., the fees we charge are to help cover the cost of production, pressing and distro. I think we agree in this day and age EVERYTHING has become more costly and because we DO NOT sell our CDs, we distribute and hand them out for FREE, we must be able to pay for the projects.

Second, we DO NOT spam bands with B.S. emails. We have a handful of band scouts that look for bands for us online and contact them directly. Every band contacted is contacted because a particular scout has seen something of interest in them. We do on occasion specifically look for certain types of bands that might fit a particular project but we always try to pair a band with a project that will gain a band the most exposure for being a part of our comps. For instance if a band is straight up metal, we would NEVER push them to be on a comp that is more leaning towards indie music or an indie band on a comp getting handed out at Taste of Chaos for example. Yes, from time to time we do get a scout or two that gets lazy and tries to skirt around doing their work. Nine times out of ten we do find out about this, it addressed and subsequently are dealt with accordingly.

Third, we are merely a promotional tool. We NEVER claim to be anything else. We press 5,000 CDs of each release, we distribute them at whatever festival we are gearing a particular comp towards, we mail 20 copies to every band involved on the comp (more if there is an overrun), and lastly we mail out CDs to mailing list of over 350+ record companies, management companies, booking agents, licensing companies and the like which we have dealt with over our 12 year history and are adding new companies to our list with every release.

Fourth, we are NOT a fly by night company. Skratch is somewhat of an institution having been in the music scene on an international level for over twelve years! If you are not aware, Skratch was a print publication for many years (up until last year to be exact) which has recently gone strictly online because of the rise in print costs, the decline of interest in physical printed reading materials and of course a decline in independent record labels, mom & pop record stores and independent retailers who were the bulk of not only our advertisers but also the people who supported us by allowing us to distribute the magazine through them.

Fifth, we have ALWAYS been a HUGE supporter of independent bands, record labels, and unsigned acts locally, nationally and internationally. We have interviewed/reviewed/written about COUNTLESS acts, giving press and coverage to bands that most magazines would not give the time of day to.

Lastly, we have many satisfied bands/acts who have worked with us over the years and have been happy with the results of having worked with us. The exposure that they have gained through working with us has helped bands build a bigger fan base by physically placing their music into the hands of music fans at shows across the U.S., bringing them to the attention of our readership and in some cases even brought them on the radar screen of record labels helping them to secure a deal. While we NEVER make ANY promises of the level of return on being on one of our comps, we do EVERYTHING in our power to ensure that people who work with us get the most they can out of their experience with working with us.

Yes, just like any business we deal with unsatisfied customers. Yes there are some unsatisfied people who put all their eggs into a basket and were expecting miracles nothing short of God from being a part of one of our comps, so of course they were let down. Being on one of our comps is kind of like advertising, you can NEVER guarantee what kind of response it's going to stir up, but you damn well know it will get more response than if no one saw it in the first place! There are also times in which bands that are unsatisfied with us , do contact us and of course we make every effort possible to come to an agreement to make things right. We NEVER want ANYONE we work with to be bummed or unsatisfied with our work. Mistakes do happen from time to time, we are human, but we NEVER will leave a band hanging that has stepped up to work with us and support us as that would be unjust!


Ok, so with all of that said, we leave it up to you to determine if you think we're legit. I have given you almost all the info I could think of to address the issue at hand and prove that we do not fit under this label as being shady. We invite you to contact us directly and speak with us should you have any further questions or would care to get some more info on what exactly it is we do here. We personally always try to give bands we speak with (whether they get on one of our comps or not) some nugget of knowledge or insight into what they are doing for the exact purpose of them NOT getting screwed much as I wish someone would have done for me when I was starting out in this business. It is an unscrupulous world we live in and full of parasites looking to feed off the unsuspecting and I for one try to do my part to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Sincerely,

Skratch Magazine
www.skratchmagazine.com
www.myspace.com/skratchmagazine
Last edited by Skratchmag at Sep 8, 2008,
#5
Skratchmag.
I take it then that you don't pay any of the band's royalties on the sales of these compilations, obviously because they are given away and no sales royalties are generated and they are used purely for promotional purposes. Which is fair enough, they give up a song and in return they get plenty of free publicity which generates gigs, recording sales and ultimately money.

So just out of interest, how exactly do you make your money from the deal?

Also, I notice that you spell your product's name slightly differently from the usual Scratch Magazine (with a 'K' instead of a 'C') which was the magazine about the art of creating hip-hop known as "The Blueprint of Hip-Hop" and which was also relaunched last year as 'XXL Presents Scratch.'
Is this the same magazine, a completely different business venture to the original 'Scratch Magazine' or an expanded continuation or 'sister magazine' of the original 'Scratch Magazine'?
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Sep 10, 2008,
#6
skratch mag is a bit iffy. im a 16 year old from australia, and ive gotten like 5 messages from scratch magazine. why would an american magazine want to make a compilation cd with songs from a little known australian band for distribution in mostly america?
#7
I've gotten Messages from Skratch. We're based in Montreal. They left us a phone number. They probably did to you. Call it, and see what they're about. But all in all, its a risk. You shouldn't sacrifice little publicity for the sake of losing a song.
#8
Of course, what you should do is give their phone number to /b/
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#9
To address some questions...

Spiderfizz, obviously several scouts have found interest in your music and therefore that is why you were hit up numerous times. You must got something there, all the best to you.

Rentacar, did you give us a call? If you did you would know that we do not retain ownership of ANY song we use. It is a non-exclusive deal, band retains FULL ownership, they only grant us permission to use the track for the pressing of the CD and to stream it on our site.

Lastly, if anyone has more questions about the comps and what we do, call us. Simple as that. (714) 639-5000.
#10
Oh and to Slackerbabbath, no we do not pay any royalties since we do not sell the comps. We make our money on web ads and traffic to our site from the buzz generated online and from our presence at shows and festivals handing out the CDs. Lastly, we are not affiliated in any way with Scratch magazine. They are a hip hop based mag and while from time to time we do cover some hip hop when there is a crossover, generally as a rule we are rooted in punk, ska, indie, emo, hardcore, psychobilly, rockabilly, metal, alternative, rock and anything else that happens to float our boat at the moment. For the record we also have been around way longer than Scratch which debuted in 2004 and folded in 2007, where as Skratch debuted in January of 1995.
#11
Quote by Skratchmag
Oh and to Slackerbabbath, no we do not pay any royalties since we do not sell the comps. We make our money on web ads and traffic to our site from the buzz generated online and from our presence at shows and festivals handing out the CDs. Lastly, we are not affiliated in any way with Scratch magazine. They are a hip hop based mag and while from time to time we do cover some hip hop when there is a crossover, generally as a rule we are rooted in punk, ska, indie, emo, hardcore, psychobilly, rockabilly, metal, alternative, rock and anything else that happens to float our boat at the moment. For the record we also have been around way longer than Scratch which debuted in 2004 and folded in 2007, where as Skratch debuted in January of 1995.

Cheers for that Skratch, I hope you didn't take any offence at me asking such personal business questions, but as you probably already know, if you want to determine if something is a rip off or not, you need to follow the money, and it's also useful to clear up any confusion between yourself and Scratch Magazine.

So how much do you charge a band for inclusion on one of your compilations?
#12
Hmmmm, no reply. Interesting.


Y'see, so far it kinda checks out OK, You get a song included on the CD and get lots of publicity for a fee that covers copying and printing costs and Skratchmag makes money from the advertising revenue that is generated from that.
But don't forget, lots of other bands on the same compilation will also be paying a fee. A large run of CDs with sleeves costs somewhere around 40p per copy.
So if they run off a thousand copies at 40p each for example, that would come to £400.
Now, if there are 15 bands on the same CD, all paying towards the cost of manufacture, for a run of 1000 it should work out at around £27 per band.
And the more you get printed, the cheaper it is. A Run of 20,000 for example works out at around 15p each, which works out at £3000 for the entire run, or, if there are 15 bands on the CD, £200 per band.

It all depends upon how many bands are on the CD, how many copies are being made and at what cost per CD and finaly how much it costs each band for inclusion.
Obviously if there are a thousand copies of a CD containing 15 bands being made, and if they charge each band £100 for inclusion, that comes to £1500. Less the cost of printing a thousand CDs, (£400)
That would give Skratchmag a profit of £1100, and they ain't even handed a single CD out to anyone yet.
Worst case scenario, Skratchmag could be a one person operation with a website who's making himself a lot of money without actualy promoting anyone.

Now, I'm not saying that Skratchmag is likely to be ripping anyone off, I'm just saying that the opportunity to rip someone off is there, (I have come across this run as a scam before, but I've also seen it done honourably and correctly too.) but without the figures, I really can't tell which it is, for all I know Skratchmag could be perfectly honourable people.
But at least you all know what you are looking out for now, so before you enter into something like this, remember, you need to find out;
How many copies are being made.
How much per copy it is costing to have them made.
How many bands are going to be on it.
How much money they want from you.
You also want a contact address and details of the company that is making the CDs for them.
Why? Because if you do get involved with them, you're gonna want to check that they are actualy spending your money on getting the CDs made.
It's also probably a good idea to ask for a copy of the CD too.

Hopefully, Skratchmag is simply too busy running a business to get back to us straight away and will eventualy get back to us with the figures.
Always give someone the benefit of doubt, but always carefully check someone out before parting with any money.

Slacker.
Last edited by SlackerBabbath at Sep 12, 2008,
#13
OK major bump required...
My band have just been offered the same thing, and out drummer has talked to someone on the phone about it.
Being based in the UK we have never heard of Skratch mag soo... :S
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#14
Well.. Read Slacker's posts above, and basically do what he says. Check how many copies being made and all that.

He is probably the one on the forums with most experience with... everything. From what i've seen. So his advice is probably the best you'll get on the World Wide Web.

But good luck.


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#15
Once again SB gives good advice.
All I will add, is that with any promotional deal, seriously consider the cost:benefit ratio.
A company can be legit, take your money, and live up to all contractual obligations, but you may not get much bang for you bucks.

Our company gets lots of advertising offers, but we're very careful with our money. When we do advertise, we do our best to make sure it will draw enough new customers to break even, or preferably net more than the ads cost. Same goes for bands. Use any money you have for promoting your band as wisely as possible. In some cases concentrating on expanding your local fan base will be your best bet.
#16
Thanks guys.
It really is just a case of using common sense and seriously checking out people who wish to do business with you. So many bands, especialy the younger ones, are so starry eyed that they'd throw their money at anyone with a smile and a promise, same goes for record companies too.

Many kids are so stoaked that someone in the 'industry' is showing them a bit of attention, they jump in with both feet and their eyes firmly shut. I know I did about 20 years ago when I signed a deal that turned out to be a couple of guys who were all about getting as much money as possible out of a young band for as long as they could without doing any actual work for them.
The signs were there in the contract, but everyone else in the band was so exited at the prospect of just being signed that I put my concerns to the back of my mind and went with the flow and we ended up losing a lot of money with nothing to show for it.

One of the varius scams they worked on us was the recording of our single. They took us to a really fancy studio, told us how much it would cost to record here and talked us into paying for it, they even talked the guitarist's dad into getting a bank loan to pay for it by telling him that it was a solid investment, that he'd have all his money back, plus more within a few months and that his boy was going to be a star... but as it actualy turned out, the real cost was half as much as the price given to us buy these guys (that gave them an instant profit of £1000) and then they did the same thing with the pressing and cover printing costs. This was back in the days of vinal, which was expensive to produce, but it wasn't that expensive, *ker-ching*, another £700 profit to them.
We ended up with 1000 singles that had cost us so much money to make, we couldn't sell them at a profit because no one would buy them at that price. Infact at the price we ended up selling them at, we made quite a loss.
Also, notice it was us selling them, which we were contractualy obliged to do apparently.
And that's pretty much how that working relationship went for about a year. We did all the work like getting gigs, promotion ect, ect, and they took a gross percentage of everything we made. And that 'gross' percentage was a real problem because we had to give them a percentage of any money made before we could pay for any costs, so we'd often end up with nothing while they took all the profits. We kept complaining and kept threatening to walk or split, but they just kept waving a contract in our faces and kept threatening legal action for breach or contract. We were kids and we were scared, one of the guitarist's dad had got a bank loan to pay for stuff that they told us we had to have immediately, such as the single, and we didn't want to look like we were letting him down, so it was ages before I actualy got my dad to take the contract to his solicitor who told him that the contract wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

We were free to just walk away from it any time we could, and we'd wasted a year of hard work, worry and a hell of a lot of money that didn't even belong to us for a whole year! We had a meeting, agreed to pay the guitarist's dad weekly instalments until the money was all payed back and split. The whole thing had been a massive source of stress on all of us for a year so we all just wanted our own space, then the guitarist started having arguments with his dad who wanted us to start paying double to get the bill payed off quicker (which we just couldn't afford to do) and then one day during an argument, the old guy had a heart attack and died.

So, I learned the hard way, you lot don't have to. The world of music has some real bastards in it who won't think twice about screwing you for all you've got, regardless of the consequences, and the consequences can sometimes be a hell of a lot bigger than you'd realise.
Check EVERYONE out that wants to do business with you, ask questions, do the maths, stay well away from 'gross' percentages, and always get a solicitor to check out any contract and explain it to you in laymens terms, then think very hard before signing or agreeing to anything, especialy if it involves you paying money to someone, because in this business, that's usualy the first thing that should set your alarm bells ringing. Take your time, and if they try to rush you, consider that another reason to set your alarm bells ringing.
If you smell a rat or even if you just have a niggly feeling, walk away from the deal.
#17
Quote by SlackerBabbath
Thanks guys.
It really is just a case of using common sense and seriously checking out people who wish to do business with you. So many bands, especialy the younger ones, are so starry eyed that they'd throw their money at anyone with a smile and a promise, same goes for record companies too.

Many kids are so stoaked that someone in the 'industry' is showing them a bit of attention, they jump in with both feet and their eyes firmly shut. I know I did about 20 years ago when I signed a deal that turned out to be a couple of guys who were all about getting as much money as possible out of a young band for as long as they could without doing any actual work for them.
The signs were there in the contract, but everyone else in the band was so exited at the prospect of just being signed that I put my concerns to the back of my mind and went with the flow and we ended up losing a lot of money with nothing to show for it.

One of the varius scams they worked on us was the recording of our single. They took us to a really fancy studio, told us how much it would cost to record here and talked us into paying for it, they even talked the guitarist's dad into getting a bank loan to pay for it by telling him that it was a solid investment, that he'd have all his money back, plus more within a few months and that his boy was going to be a star... but as it actualy turned out, the real cost was half as much as the price given to us buy these guys (that gave them an instant profit of £1000) and then they did the same thing with the pressing and cover printing costs. This was back in the days of vinal, which was expensive to produce, but it wasn't that expensive, *ker-ching*, another £700 profit to them.
We ended up with 1000 singles that had cost us so much money to make, we couldn't sell them at a profit because no one would buy them at that price. Infact at the price we ended up selling them at, we made quite a loss.
Also, notice it was us selling them, which we were contractualy obliged to do apparently.
And that's pretty much how that working relationship went for about a year. We did all the work like getting gigs, promotion ect, ect, and they took a gross percentage of everything we made. And that 'gross' percentage was a real problem because we had to give them a percentage of any money made before we could pay for any costs, so we'd often end up with nothing while they took all the profits. We kept complaining and kept threatening to walk or split, but they just kept waving a contract in our faces and kept threatening legal action for breach or contract. We were kids and we were scared, one of the guitarist's dad had got a bank loan to pay for stuff that they told us we had to have immediately, such as the single, and we didn't want to look like we were letting him down, so it was ages before I actualy got my dad to take the contract to his solicitor who told him that the contract wasn't worth the paper it was written on.

We were free to just walk away from it any time we could, and we'd wasted a year of hard work, worry and a hell of a lot of money that didn't even belong to us for a whole year! We had a meeting, agreed to pay the guitarist's dad weekly instalments until the money was all payed back and split. The whole thing had been a massive source of stress on all of us for a year so we all just wanted our own space, then the guitarist started having arguments with his dad who wanted us to start paying double to get the bill payed off quicker (which we just couldn't afford to do) and then one day during an argument, the old guy had a heart attack and died.

So, I learned the hard way, you lot don't have to. The world of music has some real bastards in it who won't think twice about screwing you for all you've got, regardless of the consequences, and the consequences can sometimes be a hell of a lot bigger than you'd realise.
Check EVERYONE out that wants to do business with you, ask questions, do the maths, stay well away from 'gross' percentages, and always get a solicitor to check out any contract and explain it to you in laymens terms, then think very hard before signing or agreeing to anything, especialy if it involves you paying money to someone, because in this business, that's usualy the first thing that should set your alarm bells ringing. Take your time, and if they try to rush you, consider that another reason to set your alarm bells ringing.
If you smell a rat or even if you just have a niggly feeling, walk away from the deal.


great post with a great deal of GREAT information!
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#19
so, my band was contacted about being on the cd, and after a few days of research and deliberation, we decided to do it. we did the 395$ package which included 2 songs on the cd, 200 download cards for us to sell and 100 cds for us to sell, so we have oppritunity to make like 700 (300 profit). even if it is a scam, we can still make money. once all is done, i will definitely post my overall feedback.

definitely look out for skratch vol. 52 compilation and look out for Dinosaur Farm
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#20
Okay... and for the big question.... look for Skratch Vol 52...... where? I have never in my life seen this magazine or compilation.

CT
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#22
Quote by axemanchris
Okay... and for the big question.... look for Skratch Vol 52...... where? I have never in my life seen this magazine or compilation.

CT

apparently they give them out at shows and mailers and stuff, but they have all of the compilations on the website. also, they send out copies of the compilations to record labels and such. we also get 100 cds to sell and 200 download cards, so even if it is BS, we can still make a profit
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#23
Quote by seizetheday1103
apparently they give them out at shows and mailers and stuff, but they have all of the compilations on the website. also, they send out copies of the compilations to record labels and such. we also get 100 cds to sell and 200 download cards, so even if it is BS, we can still make a profit


Actually if it was complete BS, you would just get ripped off.

Note that the TS and Scratchmag's initial reply were the only posts they made on this forum.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#24
Quote by Skratchmag
I post here the same response I posyed in the other forum, read on...

I get that there are MANY underhanded and shady companies out there doing scam jobs on the net, but let me tell you that we ARE legit and a VERY real entity. We have been around for OVER twelve years in the music scene and continue to be a solid supporter of it as we continue to grow and evolve with it. That being said, let me address some issues you may have on your mind, read on...

First, we never have tried to hide that there are fees involved with being a part of one of our comps. Exactly like all of you, we are D.I.Y., the fees we charge are to help cover the cost of production, pressing and distro. I think we agree in this day and age EVERYTHING has become more costly and because we DO NOT sell our CDs, we distribute and hand them out for FREE, we must be able to pay for the projects.

Sincerely,

Skratch Magazine
www.skratchmagazine.com
www.myspace.com/skratchmagazine


I can ALSO say Skratch really like CAPITAL LETTERS. In the fast-paced world of modern music there is simply NO PLACE for italics.



In all seriousness, they seem like perfectly legitimate business, and I appreciate a company that makes detailed and open responses.
But just like advertising a business; you have to think long and hard about the cost/benefit ratio.
If Skratch isn't widely available in your area, or doesn't attract the type of readership who might like your band, it's not worth spending more than a token sum of money on.

However, looking at seizetheday1103's post, you could consider approaching it as if it's a (very pricey) CD duplication deal.
Are there any examples of a typical Skratch compilation? If all sorts of different genres are lumped together it'd be very hard to sell the included CDs/downloads to fans, but if it's all broadly similar it might be more appealing.


All in all I think this is the kind of thing that could be of benefit to a popular and established touring-level band, but for a typical unsigned local band it won't do a damn thing.
#25
^ It seems like you didn't read Skratchmag's posts. The compilations are generally based around one genre that will suit the market they're distributed to. At least that's impression I was left with.
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#26
Quote by We'realltoBlame
^ It seems like you didn't read Skratchmag's posts. The compilations are generally based around one genre that will suit the market they're distributed to. At least that's impression I was left with.


from what ive seen, most of their compilations are MOSTLY one genre, but there are often a few random other-style bands on there, so, we'll see wat happens
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