Pay to play? Watch out for this one (blog)

So, that’s what they mean by “token opportunity” …

Okay, so, does Sonicbids even bother to screen opportunities anymore? I just got an “opportunity” to pay to play in my inbox. One word: AFTON. If you are a musician who has spent any time promoting yourself via social networks, the name might be familiar. .

Out of morbid curiosity and to confirm my suspicions, I’ve actually talked to one of their reps on the phone. They want to “book you”, have you sell tickets at $10 a pop, (you have to prebuy the tickets to guarantee at least 10 if I remember correctly) but, they can’t tell you who else you will be playing with or in what order you’ll be playing. Um, so, tell your fans to pay $10 bucks to see you who knows when with who knows who. And, you get the grand prize of being able to get a few bucks per ticket sale. Yeah…sure. MEH! 

There’s plenty wrong with this deal and unsuspecting indies can certainly get hosed. Another has detailed the problem and I’ll direct you to them if you want to read more. I’ll just say, stay away from pay to play opportunities. You’re better than that. And, if you aren’t, you should be trying harder.

Here is another GREAT blog if you want to avoid scams in addition to some great ideas on how to survive the music world. Rose Cora Perry doesn’t hold back. She’s a great one to follow:






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. 


ArtistData changes

Just the facts

There’s a new version of ArtistData and it no longer provides CSV downloads for Reverbnation or Sonicbids. Sonicbids acquired ArtistData and, about the same time, removed CSV upload capability from their site. But, ArtistData can not update your Sonicbids calendar. You have to do it manually on the Sonicbids site. The new version of ArtistData has removed the Sonicbids CSV download (which was useless anyway since Sonicbids removed the capability) along with the Reverbnation CSV download so, now you have to enter the data manually on the Reverbnation calendar as well.

Just the opinion:

Three major players on the indie front and none of them work together? Well, I mean, two of them work together but they don’t work together on the calendar feature. Sadly, this is the feature that sold me on these services in the first place. And, maybe Reverbnation hasn’t played nice-nice. They haven’t been cooperative with ArtistData according to ArtistData. Ok, I’ll buy that. But, removing capability from the service draws a clear dividing line and it’s getting to the point where we’re going to have to compare and choose. I guess that’s what they want. 

I don’t know. ArtistData alone didn’t seem to be about the competition and fighting for position. That’s what made them easy to work with and stay with. In my opinion, anyway. ArtistData+Sonicbids …meh. Though, I’m still hanging in there. ArtistData still posts my upcoming gigs to Twitter with little interruption and I was with them first so…yeah. But, is that enough to keep the relationship going? And, does any service really want artists to ask themselves such questions? Probably not.  

Just so you know:

I’m a paying customer for both Reverbnation and Sonicbids. Someone has to try these things out for ya.  Which do you prefer?