Sep 10, 2012 Uncategorized
– Anyone who has been around the indie music scene long enough to remember how it was before the internet, can probably remember those wonderful “demo shopping” services that helped part countless dollars from countless starving, but hopeful bands and songwriters. Basically, the scam worked by promising that their service could get your demo package onto the desks of big…
record company A&R people, for a small fee. What they were in reality was a super expensive remailing service. You paid a stupid amount of money, put together your package and mailed it to them. They got out the phone book, addressed it to the promised big company and sent it out. Contract fulfilled, good luck, sucker!
Almost all of these were eventually outed as scammers who had no more luck getting unsolicited material “on the desks of…” than anyone who sent it themselves. With the advent of the internet, these types of scams went the way of the dinosaurs, right? Well….no. They did become a little more sophisticated and perhaps a TOUCH more realistic in their bait and switch tactics, but look closely enough at their “services” and you’ll begin to recognize the same old song-shark formula. My favorite (right now) is the FREE opportunity game. Several sites that cater to indie artists, hungry to make ANY sort of impact with their music, unabashedly run these.
Here’s the new, updated version- they get you to put your music up at their site (for FREE!!!) and use the traffic yours and others music generates to sell advertising. This they use to expand the site, add storage and maintain it. Any profit goes directly into their pockets. I do not have a problem with this simple symbiotic relationship at this point. They’re doing the work to make the site attractive to music fans, easy to navigate and trafficed enough to provide the money necessary to keep it online, while artists are getting a forum and web presense to interest prospective fans in their music. Almost all of them also offer “premium” paid memberships which supposedly gives the artist an edge over the free pages (the only advantage I’ve ever seen, besides a few added bells and whistles, is a decidely blatant favoritism on the site’s “charts.” ANYWAY…..I have no problem with this, but here’s where it gets a bit….ummm…slimy. In an attempt to further squeeze a few bucks from musicians, a lot of these sites are reviving the old demo shopping scam under a new guise: “Opportunities!” Here’s how it works: they alert the artists that some big name so and so is looking for “Albanian-tinged, stoner polka with killer female yodeling” and it’s always for some really great sounding project like “A big Hollywood movie about sperm whales that become the first same sex couple to adopt a lonely rocket scientist from NASA.” JUST THE KIND OF MUSIC YOUR BAND WRITES AND PLAYS…. AND YOU LOVE SPERM WHALES!!!!! “Where do I sign up?” (says you…) Well my friend, you are in luck! It’s FREE to submit your BEST song so it will be guaranteed to be heard (ok….how about electronically delivered…) to the big so and so, who will make the final awesome decision! HOWEVER….ummm….while it’s REALLY and TRULY free…..ummm…it DOES require a “subscription” to some worthless but expensive service that these sites run, like an EPK (electronic Press Kit). EPK’s are great. They basically repeat all the same info you have on your own band homepage and countless other sites around the web, and cost you a hefty monthly charge to do so. Apparently, big name so and so’s have never learned to use google or find your info elsewhere (but don’t let that discourage you…they are SO interested in you that they’re waiting with bated breath to get your submission so they can rush right over to your AWESOME EPK and discover all about you before whisking you to fame and fortune! THANK GOD you shelled out that extra money every month!
What’s so interesting about this scam is artists seem oblivious to the fact that it is simply the old demo shopping scam in new clothes. Both promise nothing but delivery, and a one in a trillion chance that ANYONE’S song will be used… but the new scam makes you pay more than a one time fee, they get money for nothing, monthly. (and I won’t get into the question of perhaps there being collusion among certain opportunity offerers and a little thing called kickbacks).
I do admit a certain jealousy after observing how well it works though. Who doesn’t want a concept that fools people into parting with their hard earned cash for some sort of totally illusionary benefit? I like the concept so much that I’m here to announce that from this day forward ALL my CDs are totally FREE!!!! As long as you have subscribed to my OENR (Official Email Name Registry…don’t experience the horror of suddenly forgetting your email and 1st name (second name stored too..for slightly more money of course…) That’s right…for just 19.99 a month you’ll FINALLY have peace of mind AND a FREE CD!
Now THAT’S a great deal!