Is sonicbids past it’s days of usefulness? I say yes, and here’s why.
I have been weeding out things in my musical life lately that just don’t work for me. My electronic press kit with Sonicbids was one of these things. I’ve been with them for about 3 years, 2 of those at $5.95 and 1 year @ 10.95 for a supersonic account (wow do I feel stupid). So that’s a little over $275. That’s no small change to a person who does music for a living. I even had sonicbids set up as my website for about 6 months. This got me up to #3 on the most viewed sonicbids EPK’s on their website, just under John Gorka. Still in 3 years, I didn’t get even one tiny piece of work from them. Perhaps I should first explain how sonicbids works, for those of you who may not know.
As an artist, you pay a certain fee to sonicbids each month to set up an Electronic Press Kit. I remember the days of printing out photos and press and endless hole punching getting together press kits to send out. It was hell and very costly to do, so when I started with sonicbids I thought it was a genius idea. Then sonicbids brings in promoters (who are not charged for membership but are charged a one time $50 fee from the money they collect from their listings) The promoters can list opportunities, they might be music showcases like SXSW, or perhaps the chance to be a part of a monthly podcast. I know some great promoters who have used sonicbids….including Dave Cool who did the documentary “What Is Indie???”. I think sonicbids worked very well for him and he was able to get some great indie artists for the film.
Here’s my problem with this model. Sonicbids seems to make a lot of money for itself, but as an artist, you are totally screwed. Not looking so good for a business that is supposed to be a service for musicians. In my opinion, sonicbids EPKs do less for you than a good website and some widgets from reverbnation would. In turn, you pay a fee to have an epk, you pay a fee to apply for opportunities, and sonicbids gets paid AGAIN from the promoters themselves. They boast getting artists 36,000 gigs since September of 2007, Don’t you think these numbers seem a bit low? When over 35,000 artists sold a CD on CDbaby just in July of 2007, and over 21,000 received a PAYMENT that month. I can’t believe it took me so long to realise I was being cheated.
So over the course of my time there I applied for 10 opportunities. That’s not very many really…but then I was not a very heavy sonicbids user. Out of those 10 opportunities which cost me $119 to apply for….I was not selected for 5. Now here’s the part that really chaps my ass and is the reason I’m taking the time to write this blog. I am still on standby (waiting to hear) for 3 opportunities, two of which are over a year old, and there’s been no status update on 2 other things I applied for.
Here’s what they are and the dates I applied.
Music, the sound of independents. (Radio Show)- Applied May 17th, 2007
Indie Music Fund-Applied May 25th, 2007
Waiting for update
New Music Showcase Television Show-Season 3-Applied December 4th, 2007
GuitarTam Music, Placement in Film, Television and New Media (Afraid of the Dark)-Applied May 5th, 2008
GuitarTam Music, Placement in Film, Television and New Media ( Wake Up and Lose You) May 5th, 2008
The last two things I can still give the benefit of the doubt as they’re more recent. But don’t you think I should have heard something by now from the other three?? A bit dubious eh? And doesn’t sonicbids have someone to chase up these people who have created opportunities and then not updated? It’s like a contest that no one ever wins. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel cheated.
I must also add here that I do know people who have gotten work through sonicbids. My buddy Rob Szabo was a winner in the Mountain Stage New Song Contest the same year as Ingrid Michaelson. I’ve known dozens of people who got a showcases at SXSW. But don’t you think they could have done this without paying $6-11/month to sonicbids? I say yes. Spend your money on something that will help drive your career. Chase up your own opportunities. Get your stuff up on cdbaby. Get a reverbnation account. Perhaps it won’t take me so long next time to get a clue. [edit…if you want to know more including reading an email detailing the service and fees from Panos Panay..the owner of Sonicbids…click here.]