money for old rope?

billboard discoveriesHeres a curious thing. For a mere $375, I am being offered an ‘impartial, objective review of my work, written in the same format – and to the same standard of professionalism and expertise – as a traditional Billboard review.’

What clients will not get is, ‘Publication or exposure in Billboard Magazine or Billboard.com. Reviews you receive from the Billboard Discoveries service are yours only: discretion over how they are shared or promoted is exclusively yours, and neither Billboard Discoveries nor Billboard will share them publicly or with any third party.’

Sonicbids, who have alerted me to this offer, go on to say, ‘These critiques can be a valuable tool for promotion to promoters, labels, and fans. Plus, it’s a great way to build up the “Press” section of your EPK. You’ll get a critique on all the songs in your Sonicbids Electronic Press Kit (about 150 words for “albums” and 130 words for singles) in the same quality and style of writing as standard Billboard reviews.’

Who would place any value on such a thing? Surely the ONLY credibility to be gained from a Billboard review is if it IS published. If you do get written about in Billboard, of course, you dont get charged. At least not yet.

These are desperate times indeed for the music business. Cynical manoeuvres like this are the crumbs that remain. To earn a crust they must stage song contests, talent shows, and conferences, or provide A&R services and tipsheets. The organisers would have you believe they are looking for undiscovered talent, the ‘next big thing’. What goes unnoticed is that they depend for their survival on the fees paid by the army of wannabes still unaccountably trying to buy into this sinking ship.

TAXI may indeed hook up songwriters & composers with artists, producers and music libraries. Their bread and butter though, is from the subscriptions of the thousands of artists who dont make it. Song contests proliferate because the entrance fees generate a lot of money. Almost without exception, winning songs are forgotten as quickly as yesterday’s weather. Artists hoping to gain exposure and generate business at music conferences would do much better donating the small fortunes they spend at these shindigs to charity.

Now Billboard have decided to tap into this sad source of income. $375!…to have a review written that definitely wont be published. You will have your own personal review within 9 weeks, but for a further $150 you can expedite matters and have it within 4 weeks.

Dont, please, dont get suckered into any of this nonsense. If you are a young musician, trying to make your way, heres what you CAN do. Work on your chosen path diligently. Learn to sing better, play better, and write better, by doing it, and doing it, and doing it again. Play for people whenever you can, and build your own fanbase. When you do need help, find people you like, who care about you, to work with. Do consistently good work, and make yourself and the people around you feel good. If you do these things, genuine music fans will be drawn to you and opportunities will arise.

And dont expect too much. Remember that in the tradition you are coming from, no one made any big money. The fact that a handful of artists and businessmen have earned fortunes in the last 100 years shouldnt concern you. Bear in mind why you started. Because you love it, right? If that is not the reason, then you are in the wrong line of work.

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