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.

http://neverpaytoplay.com/Afton/&NP2Pafton.htm

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: 

http://soyouwannabearockstar.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

 

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

CDBaby.org

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

And for the ladies:

GoGirlsMusic.com (only one member of your group needs to be female for membership but anyone can sign up for the newsletter)

Indiegrrl

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. 

 

Sonicbids Reinvents the Wheel (Nerd Alert Blog)

But seriously, if you haven’t heard, Sonicbids is catching up to what’s cool and hip these days so, I don’t want to give them too much crap about it. They’ve done an awesome thing here allowing their users to sync their Sonicbids account with Facebook and allowing calendar dates and status messages to be synced with Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and Pure Volume. That is, if you are one of the artists that still inputs all your data into Sonicbids in the first place. Which leads me to the biggest WTH? ever: They still don’t import your dates from ArtistData even though THEY OWN ARTISTDATA!!! AAAARG! (Ok, I’m done) And, it seems that the “calendar updates” only apply to Pure Volume and the rest (FB, Myspace, Twitter) get status updates whenever you post a show with day-of-show postings to Twitter only. All of these things you’ve likely set up through other avenues already (ArtistData and Reverbnation) so, the best thing I can say about this is that it’s a huge leap forward for those artists who, for some reason, have not tried any other service but Sonicbids. 

Now, about the Sonicbids/Facebook artist profile page. A few things can be confusing so, let me give you a heads up:

1) If you are going to use this feature, be sure you’ve logged into your Sonicbids account and under “content” unmarked the box that would allow people to download your audio files for free. Unless, you want to give your music away for free. Then, let ‘er rip!

and

2) There seem to be two customization pages. One is on Sonicbids and is self explanatory. Nothing complicated or fancy here. It is what it is and it’s easy enough to use. The second is when you go to the application on your Facebook edit page and sync it up. I only got there once and it asked me to upload a profile photo (as if it was re-creating my fan page from scratch) which, once uploaded, never changed anything. Meaning, I uploaded a new profile pic for nothing because there is no existing page that has it. It also invited me to share the page, invite friends, etc. etc. Once I navigated away from the page, I never found it again. Weird.

Bells and whistles:

You’ve got a custom banner, you can lock some content so that only people who like your page can see it (Note: this only locks them out of the Sonicbids tab, so, if you have your music, videos and pics on another tab, it doesn’t do much for you.), you have pics, videos, calendar (if you have that in the Sonicbids database) and a twitter stream. Plus, share and follow links. Comments are empty until someone comments directly on the Sonicbids/Facebook tab. Not bad. Not bad at all. Though, I can’t see a lot of people switching to this if they already make use of other apps unless they really, really want the “lock out until liked” feature. You can actually code that yourself with custom pages but most people don’t want to go to the trouble. 

 

Here is what it looked like when I used it: 

See it at work here!

Sonic

 

So, again, if you are a faithful and exclusive Sonicbids user, this is good news for you. If you want an easy way to “lock until like” your FB content, this is an option.

You be the judge. Let me know what you think.

 – LM

 

 

Myspace is killing me…

For so long…

For so long I said I wasn’t going to complain. 
I was going to refrain from making public complaints about the atrocity that Myspace has become. 

It is beyond ridiculous and gets worse with every passing moment. Where can I start? 

The endless spam emails. The “friendships” that consist of some band adding me without me knowing because I don’t have an option to approve or disapprove after so many connections, that band publicly thanking me for supporting their music or being a fan (still, no idea who they are) then endless posts with their music players or gig flyers regardless of where in world they happen to be in relation to me. The new layouts that make absolutely no sense. The new “news feed” that now brings the dreaded auto players and gig flyer posts right to your home page. Great.

Yup. I can’t even check my myspace mail (not that there is ever anything worth reading there) without having some unwanted music go off on my page. You know what that reminds me of? Those obnoxious people who drive around with their radio blaring so that you can’t hear yourself think. Closing your windows doesn’t help. Nothing helps. Until, you drive away. Just like Myspace. 

I’m not sure the people who run myspace even use it. You’d think that if they did, they would make it less annoying for users. Who is really using myspace these days? Clearly, a zillion musicians are on it promoting, promoting, promoting at a feverish pace, seemingly taking all their tips from some “how not to promote you music online” manifesto. 

But, yes, it is true. We must keep our Myspace profiles. As musicians, we need a page that music industry contacts recognize as a place to easily access our music. Music accessibility on Facebook is only as good as the app you choose but, you have to know which apps to choose, how to use them and how to direct people to them. And, just like our own websites, they aren’t uniform and searching beyond a few clicks can get tedious for contacts.So, for those reasons, Myspace is necessary. Increasingly frustrating but necessary. Does anyone read the bulletin board anymore?

If only there was some other site that offered free streaming music in a pretty much uniform format that music industry professionals could recognize as an easy place to hear the music of whatever artist they’re considering. 

Hmmmm:

Reverbnation – Not just the music but bios, show info, pics, fan info, etc. etc. and easily searchable too!!! Musicians have no excuse because the basic page is FREE!

Bandcamp – just the music but, again, free and free streaming. You are guaranteed to hear the tunes when you visit an artists Bandcamp page. 

Sonicbids – yeah, despite my recent beef with the ‘bids, their EPKs have all the standard stuff. Though, searching the website can prove problematic without a direct link to your press kit. 

All this to say that I’m going to keep my Myspace page. I’ll probably also keep bitching about it but I’ll likely keep the grumblings to myself until some new feature makes me blow a fuse. 

On that note, can anyone tell me what will happen if I connect my Facebook to my Myspace? I’ll try a lot of things just to share the experience with you but, the longer I can keep my Facebook page from becoming like my Myspace page, the better. 

 

Laura Marie