Sonicbids. Tokens. Nice save. (nerd blog)

Don’t get me wrong. I still have issues with Sonicbids. The biggest one being that (yes, to belabor the point) THEY BLOODY WELL OWN ARTISTDATA AND THEY STILL WON’T IMPORT GIG DATES TO THEIR SITE! Yeah….ridiculous. 

But, that’s not what I’m on about today. I’m on about the new “tokens”. If you are a Sonicbids member you get tokens to submit to a certain number of opportunities for no added fee (apart from your membership) as spelled out in a blog by founder and CEO Panos Panay. Now, here’s something positive that Sonicbids is doing for artists. Whether or not it keeps members from flocking to other services that don’t charge membership fees to submit to opportunities remains to be seen. But, I do think its smart that they limited the amount of tokens per artist so that the people offering opportunities do not get inundated with submissions from some who shouldn’t be submitting to the opportunity in the first place. As a performer, you have to be selective about how you use the tokens. And, if you don’t use them, you lose them.

Now, there’s still the matter of whether opportunities are legit… 

I mean, I’ve submitted to some only to find out that event organizers do not have their act together. My advice is to thoroughly research the opportunity before you submit. Checking the ratings and comments on Sonicbids is not enough because, I believe, promoters are not exactly background checked. Though, I could be wrong about that. In any case, go to the organizers website, google the event or opportunity and, if you don’t belong to an online music community, seek one out so that you can ask questions of fellow members. We need to help each other out here. Here are some of the organizations I belong to. Yes, it means I have a lot of email but, it also means I have someone to turn to for answers which saves me time, money and grief. 

Folk Alliance

Americana Music Association

Grammy365 (in my opinion, not the easiest site to navigate for info)

And for the ladies: (only one member of your group needs to be female for membership but anyone can sign up for the newsletter)


There are more out there. Post links in the comments if you belong to a helpful forum. 


 – Laura Marie

Next up:

Helpful Tools for Indie Artists

The info I gave to Elite members of the GoGirls at Folk Alliance International 2011. 


10 thoughts on “Sonicbids. Tokens. Nice save. (nerd blog)

  1. It remains to be seen how well this will work. As a promoter, getting inundated with bogus submissions happens to often. This will only increase it. I firmly believe that ReverbNation’s platform is better all around for both the artist and the promoter.Thank you for the GoGirls love! You rock, Laura.

  2. What the heck? I thought I posted a reply. Well, here it is:Thank you, Madalyn, for weighing in and giving us the promoters perspective. I’m really interested to know how much either service (Sonicbids and Reverbnation) actually research the opportunities. Reverbnation’s opportunities seem more legit but they haven’t been offering the service as long as Sonicbids has. In any case, I appreciate not feeling like I’m throwing my money out the window. 🙂

  3. Laura,Its really difficult to compare our opportunities to SonicBids – even for us! I am unaware of their vetting process. But I can explain ours…Our system for vetting festivals was crafted with the same ‘Artist First’ approach that guides our entire company. Specifically, we DO NOT take a cut of the submission fees that opportunity providers may charge. This is different than SonicBids, and its critical to creating an environment where we can act in the best interest of the Artist.So what? Big deal, you don’t take a cut. How does that impact the way you treat Artists?Good question. Imagine what it does to the vetting process. We are not financially dependent on the submission fees charged by an opportunity provider. As a result, we actually prefer that the opportunities charge nothing to the artist, or at least less. After all, with us they get to keep 100% of their fee instead of giving up to 50% of it to other platforms. Importantly, it isn’t always possible for them to go free or charge less (usually b/c they have an agreement with other platforms that they won’t offer it for less elsewhere), but we have attempted to create an environment where prices can come down significantly, and we are encouraging them to do so.Without the financial incentive of sharing the submission fee, the primary criteria we use to determine if we should promote an opportunity is ‘Will our Artist community, in the aggregate, be better off receiving this opportunity or not?’. We think that this approach makes us different, and hopefully raises the quality of the opportunities we provide.I really like the idea of tokens, don’t get me wrong. SonicBids is trying to be more artist-friendly by having a relevant brand underwrite the submission fee, and this could be good for Artists, in which case we are very supportive (we want all artists to be treated better, regardless of which services they use). But it would be great to ask them what Guitar Center (owns Musicians’ Friend) is getting in return. It may be a good trade off, and worth it for the artist, but it may not be. I’d be curious to know if Musician’s Friend is receiving in exchange for underwriting opportunities:1. Advertising/Sponsorship of the SonicBids site2. Contact info/data about the Artists who use SB3. Messaging (emails or other) out to SB users.If you could find out “what’s in it for Musician’s Friend” (a very reputable company, by the way), that would be helpful to all artists in general and our community as well. Like I said, we are not at all bashers of Soncibids’ new model. It could really be great for Artists. But its still unclear to us what the Artists are exchanging for the money they aren’t paying anymore. Nothing in life is free, as they say.I hope this helps. Sorry that its a long novel,Jed CarlsonCo-Founder, COO,

  4. Jed, Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond. I will say that , though I am surprised to hear from you, your response does not surprise me. It’s in line with what I’ve believed about Reverbnation and the services you offer. By that, I mean it’s apparent that your intention is to put the artist first. I’ve noticed a philosophy of service that some companies and/or artists never seem to get. It really is all about intention. Let me explain for those reading along. We all want to make money. But, bottom line, the only way to be successful is to be of service to someone. It has been my experience and observation that making service to others your highest intention will bring about the most success. If making money is your highest intention, success is temporary and, in short, you end up sacrificing the loyalty of your customer base. Simply put, money is not something that binds people in lasting relationships. It doesn’t last. And, to be successful in todays world where news and information spreads in the blink of an eye, good and lasting relationships are key. So, when I hear a business owner not only proclaim but show their commitment to service, I take notice. I take notice and I want to encourage it by giving them my business. Before I get off my soap box, let me give you another example. The food industry. How many times has a product or restaurant chain come along with great food. Then, when they realize they need to maximize profits, they start using cheaper ingredients. They figure they have you hooked to the brand anyway so, why not. Wrong. Unless they have so much MSG in the food that you actually are addicted to it, you are likely to move along or eventually figure out that the food is doing you no favors. Maybe this example only works for foodies…I’m not trying to implicate Sonicbids here. I just have no way of judging their intention but by the quality of the services they offer and how they respond to issues with them. And, you raise an interesting question, Jed. I would like to know what Guitar Center is getting out of the deal. If they are getting ad space, good for them! But, I don’t want my information given without at least being notified. Don’t get me wrong, I would be okay with a few email ads if it meant I didn’t have to pay for submissions but, I’d still like to know about it. You might like to know for other reasons. Which brings me to my curiosity as to why the competition is so fierce between Reverbnation and Sonicbids. Not that their shouldn’t be competition, just that there seems to be bad blood. I actually got a response from Sonicbids about a customer service issue that said (in so many words), "It’s Reverbnation’s fault". I was irritated at both companies because it amounted to a greater inconvenience for me but, honestly, it turned me off on Sonicbids more. Whether or not Reverbnation was ultimately to blame, Reverbnation wasn’t the one I was having the problem with and blaming someone else instead of addressing the issue was downright annoying. Now, I won’t disclose the nature of the complaint but, I use this to make a point. If companies want to win over artists, they truly do have to show that they are in it for the artists and not to beat another company or win at all costs. In some cases, this means cooperating with the "competition" on some issues. I would really love Sonicbids to enter the discussion too. I don’t want them to feel like they need to defend themselves. They’ve done a lot to help give indie artists great opportunities. But, it would help to know where they stand on these points. Thanks again for being part of the discussion, Jed!

  5. What I love about ReverbNation is they sincerely work hard to help the indie artist. It’s not about the bottom line. Yes, when that happens everything changes. I used to be a huge advocate for Sonicbids back in the day. I won’t go into details. They lost my interest and lost my trust. They know why. I could get on my soap box but why bother. ReverbNation has never failed me whether it’s taking care of me at and my needs or helping any of our indie artists. They are on top of it! I’m extremely happy with their submission platform for our "Invasion of the GoGirls" during SXSW weekend event. It has surpassed my experience with the Sonicbids platform, hands down! I’m happy to tell everyone that too.Jed, I really enjoyed reading your objective point of view on this subject. Laura, kudos to you for not being afraid to write about these important topics that affect us all.

  6. I’ve been planning on canceling my SonicBids account and possibly switching over to ReverbNation’s press kit. Thanks for reminding me. I did actually have modest success with a couple of promoters that were doing online things, but really not enough to be worth the cost of the SonicBids membership.ReverbNation has done a great job with widgets and a decent job with their website. I do feel that they have musicians’ interests at heart, at least for now.

  7. Marie, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Reverbnation’s widgets are pretty awesome and they, at least by my understanding, were the first to make integration with Facebook pages really work for musicians. Cutting edge stuff every time I turn around and I love that. By far, the most important thing to me is that their services, or the services of any…um..service, integrate well with others that musicians are using. I think they should go with the flow and go where the musicians go instead of trying to make the musicians use them exclusively.

  8. Laura,I’m sorry to hear that there is a perception of bad blood between RN and Sonicbids. We certainly don’t feel any animosity toward SB. Our feeling is that opportunity providers should work with as many networks as they want in order to reach the Artists they want to reach. So we have no problem with opportunity providers working with SonicBids, Hello Music, BroadJam, Music XRay, or anyone else while they are working with us. Again, this comes back to aligning our business model with the Artists’ interests. Since we don’t take a % of the submission fees, we have little incentive to seek out exclusivity with the opportunity providers and we certainly have no incentive to push for higher and higher submission fees (quite the opposite). I’m really curious about what on earth SonicBids could be saying is ‘ReverbNation’s fault’. We don’t have a business relationship of any kind with them, so I can’t imagine what you could be asking them that would result in a comment that involved us in any way. I’d really like to learn more about this. If you aren’t comfortable discussing it in public, I’d be happy to continue the conversation over email.Jed CarlsonCo-Founder, COO

  9. <html><body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"><div>It’s wonderful to know where you stand with regard to other companies. The complaint I had was not an opportunity submission issue and I would like to continue the discussion apart from this thread. The conversation I had with their customer service person never sat well with me and caused me to question their integrity. I nearly left their service because of it but chose to wait it out because they assured me new and great changes were coming. And, though I still maintain a relationship with them, I can’t say that they have my loyalty as a customer.</div><div><br></div><div>Please send the best way to correspond with you directly to info (@) <a href=""></a&gt; and thanks again for your input. I’ve heard from several people who have been impressed with your response.</div><div><br></div><div></div><blockquote type="cite"><div> <div style="width: 600px; font-size: 12px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 18px;" class="PosterousEmail"></div></div></body></html>

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