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Why should artists pay to submit songs to music industry professionals on Music Xray? Is it some sort of scam?

By Mike on April 22, 2011 in Music Industry, Uncategorized

I have answered many of the comments below and will continue to answer them as time permits. You will see my answers interspersed among the comments. I appreciate the feedback and have posted this precisely to answer doubts and concerns.

Also, someone made a good point in the comments section that I should address here at the top. I did not write this post for the benefit of Music Xray. Music Xray is experiencing tremendous growth every month. I wrote it because I am passionate about understanding and communicating how the music industry is changing and how those changes effect everyone from business people to musicians.


In the past, artists were not required to pay to submit their music for professional consideration. Additionally, there have been numerous scams and shams where unscrupulous people have preyed upon the aspirations of emerging artists to take their money from them. I understand when I hear musicians say, “You shouldn’t have to pay people to consider your music”. And, “Music industry professionals already get paid by their companies to find talent.” Or, “Any professional that’s charging you to listen to your music is running a scam!” And, “Aren’t people supposed to pay me to hear my music and not the other way around?”

I was once a struggling musician who had to save up so I could buy guitar strings. I know the term starving artist didn’t coin itself. So, I’m sympathetic to the fact that making submission after submission can add up. I also understand when we’re asked, “Why can’t you get your revenue from the industry or from advertisers? Why do you have to charge the artists?” Furthermore, I fully “get” that there are plenty of analytic tools out there to help industry professionals see who is on the rise and up and coming. “Shouldn’t they be out there uncovering that information? With all the cool technology that’s available, why do they even have to take submissions anyway?”

Those are all valid points. So, I thought it would be good to have a webpage and/or a document where we can address these questions and discuss them openly with our users – the people we love and serve. First and foremost, we are here to make you, the musician the focal point of this organization.

Let’s start with the most basic question…


Why have submission fees at all? Why doesn’t Music Xray make its money with advertisements or sponsors?

A. We tried offering the submission service for free. It didn’t work.

As you know, the service is only valuable if the industry professionals on the receiving side are engaged and attending to their submissions. As you can imagine, when they open up a free submission drop box, some musicians submit every song they’ve ever recorded, whether the songs are appropriate or not for the opportunity. That creates an immediate problem of submission overload and after a day of that we couldn’t get any of the professionals to log back in and attend to their submissions.

In order to insure the industry professionals are there for you, we’ve built them a really awesome platform that helps them be more effective when conducting their A&R activities. Part of that requires a way for the professionals themselves to control the speed at which they receive submissions. A fee seemed to be the best way to do it because it offered an incentive for the professionals to give priority attention to their submissions from Music Xray artists over submissions they may receive via a plethora of other places and it also offered a way for Music Xray to keep it’s lights on.

So, we settled on a $4 “transaction fee” for most submissions and the professionals themselves can add an additional fee on top of the $4 if they desire. If they are getting too many submissions, they can increase the fee (which slows it down). If they are getting too few submissions, they can lower the fee.

On a case-by-case basis, we’ve been known to waive all fees and have an occasional 100% free submissions on the site as well. Just like in college, we’re still experimenting.


Where do all the fees go?

A. The fees are not really seen by the professionals as a revenue stream. At most, it’s beer money and who wouldn’t buy someone a beer to have their music considered for an opportunity? But that’s beside the point.

Some professionals’ companies won’t allow them to charge money because it looks bad for them to be taking submission fees when their company is paying them to find songs and talent. It’s easier for them to ignore a good practice than try to explain it as I’m doing here and instead they still decline to accept unsolicited material via other avenues. They make an exception for Music Xray. Nevertheless, they still need to use the fees as a tool to regulate submissions as explained above in Q1. So, we provide a number of charities on the site where they can automatically send their fees. Many of them do that. Charities include Save The Children Fund, Musicares, Song of Love Foundation, Oxfam and others.

Some of the industry professionals on the site who do not necessarily have opportunities for songs but instead are available to provide song critiques, career coaching and professional feedback do indeed charge higher fees for their engagement and they collect the money they earn (although some send it to charities as well). These professionals are on the site providing a service just like any other professional you might consult, be they an attorney, an accountant, a doctor or a dentist.

Music Xray makes it possible for independent musicians everywhere to reach and interact with hit songwriters, Grammy-winning producers and even some celebrity artists. They offer their time, attention and expertise and they deserve to be compensated fairly for that.


What value do artists get by paying fees to submit rather than finding a way to contact the professionals directly?

A. Music Xray provides value to musicians by saving you time and money. How?

First, Music Xray provides the direct, professional path.

If you go out on your own to find available opportunities and engage the people you should submit music to, you’ll find it’s hard work that takes time. It usually also costs money. Often, it feels like you’re asking for a favor when you request that they hear your music. Plus, shouldn’t you be spending your time making music and playing gigs? Can’t we do this faster and cheaper for you and help you reach more people than you can on your own? Just sayin’.

Second, we guarantee your music is heard.

You don’t even get that guarantee when you hand someone your CD in person. We suspend industry professionals’ accounts who do not attend to their submissions in a timely manner and we refund artists their submission fees.

Professionals love the tools Music Xray provides them. They like that we’ve streamlined the A&R process and that we enable them to efficiently tap into a vast pool of independent talent. They don’t want to have their accounts suspended. They don’t like to look bad on a public facing website as having voluntarily opened a drop box and then abandoned it. We have leverage on them that you, on your own never will.

Third, we guarantee you get feedback in a reasonable time period.

We’re able to achieve this for the same reasons as stated above. It’s just part of the rules professionals must follow if they want to use our site.

To build, operate, and manage a large community of industry professionals and musicians costs money that we pay to our team members. We have to have offices, telephones, computers and we travel a lot to conferences and events where we work for you.

However, just like with any company, if Music Xray isn’t providing value and isn’t getting results it doesn’t deserve to remain in business. But if it is, Music Xray should be paid for the value it provides.


  1. Brandon Kinross May 8, 2011 Reply

    I understand why Music Xray and sites like it, would want to charge a small connection fee. It helps pay for the site and keeps the quality of the submissions higher.
    Unfortunatly. I don’t agree for a second with ‘Industry Professionals’ charging ANY fee to listen to your music.

    First, “Industry Professional’ is a joke of a term these days. Not to offend anyone who has actual pull in the industry, because this isn’t directed towards you.

    Technology has bridged the gap between professional and amateur. As a result, the industry is looking for a product ‘ready to sell’. They rarely sign anyone off talent or potential anymore. They do very little work other than promotion and song placement.
    This means songwriters and artists are doing more themselves, to even be noticed by an industry professional, than ever before.

    So I have a question to the “Industry Professionals” :
    If I as a songwriter, put my time and money into a recording that is ‘ready to sell’. (ready for iTunes). What exactly do I need you for? lol. Promotion perhaps.

    Its quite sickening really. I don’t care about the piles of bad submissions one has to file through. Or the time it takes. Because when you compare it to the amount of work a songwriter/artists has to do these days, you should be lucky we even approach you to begin with. We do this because we love it, and you should be too.

    This does NOT make for a more quality pool of music to choose from. All it does is give those with money a better advantage, while making artists everywhere poorer.

    Keep on rockin in the free world,

  2. David May 8, 2011 Reply

    You are right Brandon. I do think promoting is 10x harder than performing/songwriting. The artistic is a huge pain in the ass; but we do it anyway. Why? Because it’s fun!!!

  3. Charlie May 8, 2011 Reply

    No artist should pay to have here music considered! That is just crazy! “We tried offering the submission service for free. It didn’t work”? I submit my music to Professorial licensing companies all the time for free! If they get a placement for me then we all get paid…if they don’t then no one gets paid. I’ve got my stuff to some high profile licensing companies one being Paul McCartney’s company MPL communications…..didn’t cost me a penny to submit. If you (MusicXray) are going to be in the business of Music or music licensing then you need to LISTEN to the music…not for a fee….but for free and hand pick the best of the crop then present those songs to your connection? and you make your money by working out a percentage share if you succeed in your end of the deal by getting a placement for your artist. Every professorial music licensing company I deal with and its about 15 of them all have a screening process….no fee! They listen to the music….charging a fee is not going to weed out shitty songs being sent it…only personal listening is. So in essence you are still going to be getting crappy songs if the person is willing to shell out the 4 bucks…..A submission fee is not deterrent that will stop clients from receiving garbage music….the only thing that will solve that issue is a good set of ears. Here is the problem that I see…if someone is willing to pay $4 and they submit the crappiest song ever written and recorded companies that charge a “submission fee” are obligated accept or to pass that crap on even though they know there is no chance in hell the song would get used….so what is the point? Anyone who pays to have their music listened to and considered is just wasting their money! We are in this business to make money…not put it out. I’m tired of hearing the claims “We get your stuff to the industry Professionals” Ha Ha Ha…..anyone in the business knows how those people obtain and seek the music they need…and its not coming from some cheese eating kid that paid a $4 submission fee to some company online.

  4. Shade May 8, 2011 Reply

    No matter how you spin it, I would never pay for any one to listen to my music. I have spent my time to put my work together and thousands of dallars investing in my career aquireing the right tools to get top results in my recordings. I don not beleive that it’s right to take money from an artist who is already in a financial crunch and give it to people who already have money and have their career on the way.

    Maybe we are starving artist for a reason, and maybe that will never change. But if you truly believe that the you are help the artist, I’m here to tell you that your not by requiring them to pay for submitting.

    Why don’t you implement a system where you have you team of great people review what the artists submit and garantee the industry professional and product that fits into what they are looking and request the fee from them for your reviewing the material submitted by the artist, that would help us as musicians. But that requires more work for your company, so I guess that would be a nogo!

    Here are somethings you should think about.

    Target audience: are they your industry professional or starving artist?

    Where should you direct your squeeze: from someone who may not be able to afford your service or from someone who can?.

    Has my service really made a difference in musicians livelihood, or made a profit for the better good on the industry pro?.

    Am I really listening to what my true audience is saying, or am I just ignoring them?

  5. Jimmy A. Bhraak May 8, 2011 Reply

    It’s extremely difficult to make a living in the music industry as one’s primary source of income however it can be done and ingenuity and creativity are a MUST! Not so much from the artist perspective in this response but from the busines side and money making perspective. Old days had major labels discover acts in venues primarily and between crowd reaction, fuull venues, consistent strong draw at the door combined with gut instinct…labels took the risk of signing. Artists and producing products via vinyl and to get the product fans bought the records at the store and this was an almost perfect way of generating and protecting revenue. If an artist didn’t sell, then they were released from the label and chalked up as a business write-off.

    Mp3s changed all the above and fans have come to expect to obtain their music for free so labels and artists have a very difficult challenge in maximizing sales of their work.

    With the advent of modern technology, artists can produce, distribute and promote their own work. There are over 13 million musical artists/band in the world today striving to make a living in music. The odds are long but when an artist hears of someone coming out of nowhere and becoming a star and ‘striking it rich’ then that motivates the rest to say ‘Hey why not me?’

    Entertainment/music promoters, agents, marketers, middlemen agencies to producers and labels are all aware of the number of bands and artists online with big dreams and they continually come up with clever methods to get their share of the pie from inspiring artists. It’s called music business.

    Even though $4 is not a whole lot per individual per submission…do the math of 13 million plus indie artists trying to make it and the potential revenue from submissions is staggering, that’s why there are several middleman companies and sites out there. If they didn’t make money with submission fees then there would be no such thing.
    To make submission fees go away, simply do not submit to any. There are plenty of free submission opportunities out there, find them and utilize them.

    Please remember that labels, agents etc will sign those artists who have already proven they are generating revenue as their risk is lower than an unknown.

    Sonic Bids was the first of these sites to make a lot of money with submission fees and that spawned many other competitors with the same business model.

    There are always new, young and naive artists who will pay the submission fees and that keeps the submission fee tactic alive. We all have the power to end submission fees by simply not paying them. :-)

    Bands post upload their music to Sonic Bids, Music X-Ray and similar companies. Those companies/sites could have their staff look, listen & screen artists who create a page on their site and if they truly believe an artist has money making potential, then they could offer a deal where if the artist makes money then sonic bids, music-xray et al get their cut from discovering and investing in an artist.
    They do not do that because it’s labor intensive, more risk and mainly because their current model is passive, low risk and does indeed generate revenues.

    The best way for artists to get discovered and get to the next level is by producing their best quality product possible, promote themselves online with the many free platforms and most importantly… perform LIVE in their region and build a following and promote and sell their products at their gigs.
    Believe me, if an artist is drawing large crowds consistently at their shows and their iTunes, CD Baby etc sales are consitently strong then labels and agents WILL notice you and offer a contract so they can invest and make money too.

    In summary, work hard, do your best and put those $4 and up submission fees towards your gear and show promotions instead! Also remember if a company feels the need to publish their justification of submission fees than that ought to tell you something…think about it. :-)

  6. Michelle May 8, 2011 Reply

    I have absolutely no problem with the submission fees. At least on Music Xray, I have the opportunity to submit! There are a lot of sites out there, and believe me, we’ve tried a bunch of them. Some of them just want to spam you, to get you to buy gear through their site, and yet they never offer you opportunities, because THEY’VE decided that you don’t have what it takes. I appreciate Music Xray. It’s easy and straight-forward.

    If you don’t just randomly submit to every opportunity that is available, I think the cost is minimal. Be judicious in your submissions.

    I have no quarrel with Music Xray’s business model, and I’ve even said as much on my blog.

  7. Jelsa Palao May 8, 2011 Reply

    Hi… I’ve been singing and writing for many years. In fact, I taught songwriting for the Songwriters Resources and Services for five years and have partnered with other writers in teaching and doing workshops at many of the music forums around Los Angeles. I’ve had several songs recorded by other artists and have had some of my songs used on TV shows and movies as well. However, I STILL have to submit songs to industry professionals and am looking for a deal myself! I have been doing this for so many years now and I get weary of spending so much money producing the demos, producing the CD’s, buying equipment ( I now have a full studio in my house) and spending money for people to listen!! I want to get that one big one… you know what I mean? Yes I’ve made some money… but not the big one!! That’s what I want… but I have to wait each time I have some extra money now… I even worked day gigs so I can stay at home at night to produce these songs. I’m not getting any younger folks… Why cant’ the professionals let the professionals submit stuff without having to pay all the time??? Where’s the respect we deserve as well?? If I submit something really good, why can’t they let me submit other stuff to them without paying each time? They know I’m good and they know I’m a professional… so why not treat me that way??

  8. Rob May 8, 2011 Reply

    I agree with all the comments.

    In Australia our national broadcaster’s music channel has a band site (Unearthed) but everyone who has uploaded tracks to the site are automatically checked out by Australian festivals and A&R based on genre, hits (impressions), and word of mouth. It works too!

    Why don’t the opportunities just come because the ‘music professionals’ have checked out our MusicXray, MySpace, Reverbnation, whatever, profile?

    Submitting seems like you are paying them to do even less work.

    Worse still, it’s not like the submissions are filtered by aptitude or quality or anything other than whether they paid to submit. Who has had a submission fee rejected because they were the wrong genre or any other reason? They’ll take your money even if they know you’re completely wrong and the ‘opportunity’ will take one look and move on, another $20 in their pockets, thanks. So it isn’t the poor but incredible new band getting a break. It’s the band who might be terrible but have well paid day jobs wasting people’s time. How does that help anyone?

    It might be an experiment but in science you start with a good hypothesis. This just doesn’t make any sense.

    Also: If we are paying MusicXray to save us, musicians, time and we have our tracks and photos uploaded to our MusicXray account, then why do we have to upload them again for each submission?

  9. Brainsick May 8, 2011 Reply

    Fairly said. If there was no submission fee I would probably try with every song I’ve ever written and recorded. I agree with the guy who says that so called music professionals aren’t doing much for artists these days. And everyone wants to be a musician these days no matter if they have no talent. They convince themselves that they are good.

    So I say:

    1. Thank you MusicXray for charging submissions. I haven’t given you a dime since your beginning. And now I must ask myself ; do I really think my music is good? Cause if I can’t make myself give you couple of bucks than I don’t believe that my music is good enough.
  10. Ganksta C May 8, 2011 Reply


  11. James M. Lee May 8, 2011 Reply

    What I want on any Music site is for the public to hear my songs and my music. I am not that interested in having my music critiqued by individuals that claim to be music critics. I am not writing my music for music critics. I am writing it for my audience and for the public. Nor do I want to start writing songs just to please a person that is a music critic. I don’t want to fall into the trap of trying to please the critic’s idea, whether it is he or she, of how my songs are supposed to be composed. Basically, there is only good music and bad. How many changes in the song, how many chords are in a song, what type of chords, how long it is, whether or not to modulate, etc. etc. is up to the individual. The point is that if it is a bad song nothing will fix it. On the other hand if it is a good song—-well just pull out some of those old famous but poorly recorded Blues, Folk, or Country CDs, tapes or LPs (even a poor Beatles recording), and if you are like me, you can see that even a bad recording can’t hide a good song or a good rendition of that song.

  12. DaTraxman May 8, 2011 Reply

    1st and foremost i really thank the power of the universal holy creator thy The Most-High for given some of us gifts of divine purpose and all of us talents that has its season and prophecy.The issue is right on time Mike,and it has now become a even major thresh old that I believe will be the turning point in giving even more Independents business musicians,aspiring songwriters,composers, beat makers,producers etc a new Myspace which by the way only tapped out because of greed by its owners not because of the vision when you come to that understanding you can see that the majors are over this is DA-NEXT-LEVEL of new digital superstars and its not for sale when comes to some of our enlighten souls ,as a professional credited gifted being of many past efforts I will invest in my business before a pay a dime to get an industry so call professional to submit my creative works for a dumb-dumb contract which are them same deals that has the the majors loosing their stock and share holders money by the seconds right now don’t believe the hype(the internet changed the game and put those false willed scams to shame its about time now its the music and the fans the love it…. because of them same middle men,a&r fools that pimp out some of the most powerful gifted and talented signers and musicians of our past its not gonna happen Warner Bros just got sold for 3.5billon dollars ask Prince why he change his name so many times the pimp game is over amen.

  13. Musicmansell May 8, 2011 Reply

    I have actually spoken to Mike McCready of Music X-Ray, regarding this stuff, and he forgot one key element. When it comes to giving reviews to Artist, the site falls short like so many others out there. I submitted a song and was given the response “Good, but not exactly what we were looking for. Thanks for the submission”

    While this is nice and lets me know that someone supposedly listened to the song, it offers 0 value as far as critique and leaves me blindly shooting in the dark as to what exactly they are looking for. All this site need to do is take the time out to write brief messages that at least explain what exactly was wrong with the submission.

    Writing me back a critique like “Too Slow,” or “looking for more up tempo,” would not only take less time to type then the generic automated response I received, but it also offers me 10 times the value. At least now I know not to submit any more of my slow songs for that particular artist. That helps me save money and submit more effectively.

    This site fails to do that, and the fact he has to write a full page explaining himself is ridiculous, especially considering what he says at the very beginning of his article. “At most business schools, they will tell you it’s not considered a good sign if you have to “make the case” to your customers for why they should pay for your product or service. The value a company provides should be apparent.”

    Maybe he should take his own advice.

  14. Ian McGrady May 8, 2011 Reply

    If Music X-Ray really wants to differentiate itself from every other place on the planet who wants to take my money endlessly with little results, let’s take down the blinder and see what I’m paying for:

    Include stats:

    1) how many submissions are there so far?
    2) which ones have been listened to, and for how long by the other account holder?

    I know, it drives down revenue.

    But if there were, let’s say, 3 tiers: a-block, b-block, and c-block, artists could pay to have their tracks at least listened to in the first, second, or 3rd rounds. Right now it’s so blind, you have no idea what you’re actually paying for.

    Or even more exciting, artists could bid for the first position – and so on – and then you’ll really see who isn’t wasting the client’s time.

    Auto responder feedback for money, blows. Plain and simple, and there’s no reason for it. A field of checkboxes can be offered in regards to speed, vocal quality, etc. — a bit like Pandora scoring — so that the “other side” can rate the track according to the appropriateness of the submission.

    We need the feedback. We’ll pay for it.

    It would be great to have a statement from the “other side” about who’s doing the listening: an executive, an intern, or what, just so we know.

    A few warranties like that, and artist can at least feel connected to the process.

  15. Mike McCready May 8, 2011 Reply

    I’m going to answer almost everyone here in reverse order. Thank you for engaging in the conversation.

    @Musicmansell, don’t be silly. Feedback such as “this isn’t exactly what we’re looking for” is exactly that. It’s feedback. Each professional has the option to write you a longer critique if they want to, but when they are simply listening to a song, a brief sentence of any kind is probably far more than you would receive by sending in your music via any other way. If you want a critique, there are plenty of people on the site offering detailed critiques, career coaching and whatnot. They are listed here: https://admin.musicxray.com/artist/categories/3

    @DaTraxman… There will always be commercial opportunities for songs and acts. As long as there are commercial opportunities there will be someone making decisions regarding who gets selected and who does not. In order to be considered for them you will have to get your music to them. Period.

    @James M. Lee – Fair enough. There are plenty of opportunities on Music Xray that are not for critiques but rahter are real commercial and exposure opportunities. I tell musicians that they should go for those opportunities. However, if you are being consistently turned down, you might want to consider asking a professional for sone advice or at least some professionals opinions as to why that may be happening.

    @Brainsick Fair enough. When you feel you’re ready I’m sure you’ll take the plunge. It’s important to be honest with oneself but it’s also important to not over-think it and just got for it sometimes.

    @Rob – You don’t have to upload them again for each submission. You should see them in your account and just be able to select which one of your songs you want to submit. But to answer your other comment – How many artists just got discovered via their MySpace page? In the end, if you leave it up to you just getting discovered because you uploaded your music to some site, you’re taking all the control out of your own hands. You are not proactively moving your music and your career forward. Sure, you might save yourself a few buts but at what cost? Companies spend as much money marketing and selling their products as they do designing and manufacturing them. Musicians have to think of their own careers from this perspective from now on. That’s how things have changed for artists. Things have changed for everyone. Those are the changes that apply to artists.

    @Jelsa – You make a good point about through your merit getting on some sort of approved list for future submissions. That’s something I’m going to think more about and see how we might be able to make something like that work. Excellent thought!

    @Michelle – I appreciate that. It’s nice to hear that.

    @ Jimmy – You make some good points but the thing you are overlooking is that Music Xray is not a simple pay-to-submit site. Music Xray is an A&R platform that helps the industry professionals do their job better, with more certainty, less risk and more accuracy. Those that don’t use it will find themselves at a disadvantage competitively – especially if we keep getting better.

    @Shade – I hear you, but ultimately you will be out-competed in this business by artists who are willing to invest in themselves and getting themselves in front of the right people who have the opportunities and the ability to move your career to the next level. Don’t be out competed in the music industry – Here’s a post about that: http://www.mikemccready.com/2011/03/03/musicians-dont-be-out-competed-in-the-new-music-industry/

    @Charlie – The companies that you’re referring to (Music Libraries) are turing to Music Xray because they get to use our A&R tools. In addition to that, the opportunities that they typical submit your music to are also seeking music on Music Xray, making it harder for them to get your music considered via their own avenue. Lastly, your own efforts are probably better spent letting us get your music heard for far less time and money than it’s costing you to do it yourself. We’re not here to take advantage of artists for crying out loud. We’re here to save you time and money and to make A&R more about how good you are so you have to spend less time schmoozing, kissing butt and asking professional for favors. Again, check the link here about not being out-competed: http://www.mikemccready.com/2011/03/03/musicians-dont-be-out-competed-in-the-new-music-industry/

    @Brandon I actually think you make some good points but again, it comes back to supply and demand. There are far more acts and songs than there are opportunities for getting paid and promoted. You can go create your own fan base and I think that is time and money well spent. We’re going to roll out a product that will help artists go directly to fans as well… BUT, you need to commercial and exposure opportunities as well. Again: http://www.mikemccready.com/2011/03/03/musicians-dont-be-out-competed-in-the-new-music-industry/

  16. Mike McCready May 8, 2011 Reply

    @Ian – In the past 90 days over 1250 songs have been selected for opportunities on Music Xray. Selected. The songs are listened to by the people listed on the site. I do not know of any currently open dropboxes that are being screened by underlines. If you want full feedback, submit to someone offering critiques. Otherwise, you will get a short answer as to why they do not select your song. Obviously, if your song is selected you enter into a deeper conversation.

  17. Gordon May 8, 2011 Reply

    One way to prevent songwriters from submitting every song in their catalogue, is to limit the submissions of any one writer to 1 or 2 a month. Certainly there is technology that would keep track of that, and block any additional submissions.

    I submitted one song that cost me $14.00. Four dollars for Music Ray and $10 for the company. That’s ridiculous. Cut out the record company submission fee, limit the number of song submission per month, and if you still need to charge $4.00 for operating costs, okay.

    The truth is that today 90% of songs on a CD are “inside” songs, so to pay a record label to listen is absurd. If the head A&R person is too busy, let a well trained intern pre-screen.

  18. Paul May 8, 2011 Reply

    If you are an industry professional, your time is important and you should be paid for it! Well, so is mine! All the time I spend writing and recording and mixing and playing, not to mention the money invested……this makes the end result worth paying for! …..Don’t you think?

  19. Mike McCready May 8, 2011 Reply

    @Paul – I hear you. I really do, but just like any company that invests a lot to design and manufacture a killer product, they must spend at least as much marketing and selling it. As a musician, you have to do the same.

  20. Jeff May 8, 2011 Reply

    If you have the music industry connections then Music Xray is not for you. Technology has made it EASIER to make a living in the music industry. Having a product that is ‘ready to sell’ on iTunes is not the same as having a Gold or Platinum selling album. The dream of aspiring artists will always be alive and well.

    Having established connections is an important part of both successful and unsuccessful artists. What are the real cost of establishing these connections? Did you call, mail or travel to meet and establish these connections? Did you move for your music career? How many years did it take you to establish these connections? How successful/productive have these connections been? Artists should establish a budget, just like you should if not using Music Xray, for seeking opportunities and compare your cost/results using Music Xray to other methods. Does Music Xray offers a cheaper method of establishing these connections?

    The changes that have come about because of technology have made it easier for artists to make a living while also flooding the marketplace with crap. Just because you can record does not mean you should. Look at the segmentation of music today. Technology has allowed small numbers of people spread over a large area to congregate creating a market that does not exist otherwise.

    Getting your product on iTunes does not qualify your product as good, desirable or a hit. The effort and talent that goes into making a hit record is not the same as recording/producing your own release. What is it worth to you to have the CHANCE of working with an award winning and platinum selling producer, $14? What is your plan for getting your music into this person’s ears? What is feedback from such a person worth to you? I forgot, you don’t want to converse with them because their time and input is valuable.

    The dream of most artists is not to make a living in music but to be a Grammy winner, multi-platinum seller and a STAR! That dream is undeniably in the hands of a relatively few people. How will you get into their line of sight or sphere of influence? Music Xray does not mean you do not have to work hard. It is simply a way for the artist to get into the ears of people that can make things happen for them or get the ball rolling. If you haven’t done the hard work the people reviewing your submissions will see that and pass on you.

    Music Xray has a long way to go but I do not think it is the villain many make it out to be. Many of the opportunities on the site are junk but many others are quality offerings. It is up to the artists to be selective in their submissions and there is a learning curve here just like everywhere else. Music Xray needs to make this selectivity easier. The bottom line is that if other means are more successful for you then Misic Xray is not for you and if neither means are successful you may not be as good as you think you are.

  21. Mike McCready May 8, 2011 Reply

    @ Gordon I hear you too, but $14 is still about as much as it would cost to send a CD and your press kit through the mail and maybe never hear back. On Music Xray you definitely get heard.

  22. Rob May 8, 2011 Reply

    @ Mike

    I have complained about having to upload for every submission and both times I was told – “That’s just the way it works.” Has this been finally fixed?

    If you can’t be discovered just by uploading to some site, why are we supposed to upload to MusicXray? So we can upload again when we submit – oh yeah, you’ve fixed this. That is still not an argument to pay for submissions.

    Paying people to listen to your music seems more than a little pathetic. You’re so bad you have to pay someone to listen to it? If I was an A&R guy I’d want to be paid to listen to music from people who were so bad they had to pay for me to listen to them! Ha!

    You break because because there is a buzz for your band from recordings and shows. That hasn’t changed. It’s even more important these days. I’d said it was the only thing that mattered.

    I think I’ll stick with ReverbNation where uploading tracks means everyone can hear your music via Facebook, MySpace (meh), Twitter, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, etc. That’s a site you can upload to so people can hear your music!

    The fans are the buzz, because the fans recognize good music and good shows before the industry does, always have. And fans have no ulterior motive in listening to you. They either like you or they don’t and they’ll pay to hear your tracks, see your shows, buy your merch, if they do. No record company necessary.

  23. The blade May 8, 2011 Reply

    It’s all bull dinky!!!!

    Don’t start cy’n til it hurts!

  24. Mike McCready May 8, 2011 Reply

    @ Rob, yes, we fixed the upload thing quite some time back. If you log into your account and then go to submit, you should see your songs in a drop down menu and you can select the one you want to submit to the new opportunity.

    You aren’t likely to get a deal by just uploading your song to Music Xray either. You have to proactively submit it.

    As you know, the music industry has changed incredibly. Artist development isn’t being done by many companies anymore. One of these changes is that artists have to market and sell their material. It doesn’t work like it used to. We are now in an attention economy and no one will pay you money unless they’re first paying attention? The way you can get the attention of the people who can decide to give you a bigger shot is through Music Xray. I realize it’s not how it used to be and it seems like a negative development… but it’s not. Now you can reach almost anyone and it has so much more to do with talent and skill and it’s not about who you can reach. Music Xray has leveled the playing field. It costs a little money but you can submit to every opportunity on the site all together for probably a LOT less than it would cost you on your own to reach the same people and you can do it on Music Xray in a fraction of the time.

  25. Peter Clarke May 8, 2011 Reply

    I read this piece in the hope that it might convince me I was wrong in believing that submission fees are unjustified but alas, quite the reverse!

    Brandon’s observations about those poor overworked industry pros. having sooooo many submissions to wade through are SPOT ON. That’s their bloody job! They only have to listen, we work MUCH harder to create the stuff, and as Brandon also observes the only ones filtered out are those who can’t afford the fees (and multiple submissions soon add up) or the cantankerous buggers like me who just won’t pay because we’ve been scammed too many times before!

    ANYONE who pays for a ‘critique’ should be wearing sleeves that tie at the back!

    As for the industry dudes passing fees on to charities, do me a favour! If they’re too busy to listen to do their jobs they’re too busy to keep making donations to charity!

    PS I tried to post this before…..I would have been 3rd!…..but the site was down!

    And are the fees ‘beer money’ or keeping the lights on? They are either negligible or helping to pay website expenses….you can’t have it both ways guys!

    I’ll carry on using Music X Ray ONLY if I find an opportunity that has NO FEES WHATSOEVER. Frankly, Reverbnation has been much more help so far, landing one of our songs with a Nashville publisher.


  26. Peter Clarke May 8, 2011 Reply

    The PS came in the wrong place….sorry!

  27. If i should air my own view i would say it is pathetic to pay someone to listen to your music,first of all, music is an art that soothes the soul ,whatever category
    yours falls into is of no importance,because there is an audience out there waiting to hear you.
    I will never pay anybody to listen to my work! My music falls into “World” category because it is traditional African Percussions with songs..and we dont have any problems selling it because it is good, as we are bold of what we stand for.
    Viva la Musica!!
    The Talking Drums Orchestra
    Led by DDK

  28. Musicmansell May 8, 2011 Reply

    @ Mike – Perhaps you should go back and re read our email conversation where you agreed with me that it would be much more valuable to the artist and make your site appear much more reputable and would take less time and would be more helpful to write back a very brief statement as to WHY THE SONG DOESN’T FIT. I am not asking for feedback, I am saying, your site is not different from others when you accept money and simply spit back a generic thanks but not what we are looking for.

    The fact you are having to come on here and answer everyone individually in defense of your company should be sign enough that your model is not that great, and honestly, the public doesn’t seem to think so either.

    And please don’t refer to my comments as silly. These are legitimate complaints, which you and I have discussed previously and you agreed that the site could work on providing a better explanation to artist’s as to why their song doesn’t fit. Otherwise, how do they know what type of song to send in? Are they just suppose to keep blindly guessing and paying for every submission? If these points were silly, I don’t think there would be this many people complaining about the service you are trying to provide. Have you done the numbers? over 90% of the comments left in response to your blog are negative.

  29. Mike McCready May 8, 2011 Reply

    @Musicmansell – Those who are motivated to leave comments are generally those who take issue with the subject matter and believe me, I do take it very seriously. I am very aware that there are musicians out there who do not understand how the changes in the music business are effecting them and that’s why I write posts like this. Music Xray is doing very well and is experiencing tremendous and robust growth every month. As stated above, over 1250 songs were selected for opportunities on the site in the past 90 days alone. I believe that back when we corresponded, the industry professionals simply clicked a button that acknowledged they had listened to the song and musicians only heard anything back if there was interest in continuing the conversation. Since that time, we now require that at least one reason be given for declining a song. I’m not saying it’s perfect or that we shouldn’t be constantly revising that system to make improvements, but I do believe that this is a significant improvement over the previous experience and over any other site out there.

    I apologize if I seemed dismissive of your comments. I really do take all of this feedback seriously. We strive every day to make the site better. However, I will also want to be clear that writing this post was not at all necessary for the health and growth of Music Xray. I write it because I am passionate about helping musicians understand how their world is changing around them.

  30. Janet Cucinotti May 8, 2011 Reply

    I seldom leave comments but feel I must say something here. In my opinion Music Xray is actually providing an invaluable service. (I questioned the reasoning for fees directly before signing on.) To date Music Xray has SAVED me and my clients money. When I compare the overall costs of mailing product for consideration, with no guarantee it gets to the right person or that it is heard, I know that every submission has been heard by the direct, candid and personal feedback.

  31. Ross May 8, 2011 Reply

    I have never used this site before, and after reading this email today i will never use it. You don’t get anywhere by paying people to listen to to your track. your praying on the weak and venerable.

    I suggest that that people use sites like soundcloud to get in contact with people who may be interested in your music.

  32. Mike McCready May 8, 2011 Reply

    @Ross – I respect that and listen, I agree that you can go network and find people willing to listen to your music on your own. However, it’s just not true that “you don’t get anywhere by paying people to listen to your track”. Over 1250 songs have been selected for opportunities on Music Xray in the past 90 days alone. By not taking advantage of EVERY available path to opportunity you are making yourself vulnerable to being out-competed in this business by artists who do.

  33. Homegrown May 8, 2011 Reply

    My frustration which has happened 3 or 4 times already is that I`ve received msgs stating that my submission had been selected, I do a conversation with the industry person, they ask me to send my mp3 to their email account only never to hear back from them. When I follow up with them after a few weeks, still no response. I follow up again by clicking the transaction or interaction link on my profile dashboard only to be told that the opportunity is no longer available or has expired WTF ?? They (music xray and MIP) stole my money. They acknowledge that my submission had been selected and then they disappear never to be heard from again…probably laughing at my naive ass…

    why should i have any confidence that they are actually doing what they are supposed to? After reading most of the comments from other starving artists I feel even more deflated.

  34. Mike McCready May 8, 2011 Reply

    @ Homegrown while Music Xray only guarantees your music gets heard by the person you submit to, we do vet each opportunity as best we can. If this is happening however, we will remove that professional from the site and refund money. You can also leave negative feedback right on the pro’s page. Please send an email to support@musicxray.com

  35. Fernando May 8, 2011 Reply

    Over all, I tend to be optimistic about it all. Of course, I think everyone is aware there is a long path before we can come out with an ideal new model of business for the music industry. Nevertheless, I see MusicXray as a good starting point. Paying might be not the best way for getting your music heard by people who can luckily have some opportunity for you, but from this to saying that this is a robbery… I don’t like to think this way. I still don’t think you can do much without good connections today, and I’m with @Michelle when she says MusicXray at least opens doors I could never dream of reaching by my own.

    In my opinion it’s silly to think you’re a professional just because you can record a song with a good quality in a cheap homestudio nowadays and sell it on iTunes (because there are so many professional samples and FX simulators out there which can provide you a professional sonority which you could not dream getting off on your own – because you don’t know Acoustics, Sound Enginering and all it takes for getting that sound). Musicianship, artistry and the business itself is more than getting a good record and being able to sell it somewhere, and that’s why I believe music is still a corporate business, not individual. You can’t manage to do everything on your own if you realize how a huge structure and support it’s necessary to really make it work in a larger scale.

    The truth is that I never heard so many crap out there – musicians with well recorded bad music thinking they don’t go anywhere because the system is wrong. So, I still believe we need the so-called professionals – considering they are really serious people – and of course, being ourselves truly professionals. If I’m convinced I have good material, I don’t mind making some investment to put my song in places from which I can end getting some professional opportunity.

  36. alvin May 8, 2011 Reply

    Wow with that reponse david made this looks far from legit! We do it because it’s fun? GET THA FUCK OUTTA HERE

  37. Jarad Astin May 8, 2011 Reply

    I appreciate your willingness to take a beating – so here it is.

    "Industry professionals" like yourselves (yes, that's you, Music X-ray) are nothing but half-rate middlemen. End of story - there are a great many legit companies out there that can, and will, place well-produced, creative music. The unfortunate reality is that companies like yourselves are preying on the dreams of a great many "producers" who are so green they can't see that they are being scammed. Shame on you, Mike - as a successful artist you should know better.
    As for you claims about some of these monies going to charity and such, I challenge you to release that information. If it's true, at least some of the money is going to some good.

    I know it seems as thought companies like this are taking over. For instance, look at how Sonic Bids has closed off the festival market to up-and-comings. It’s become so pervasive that an anti-trust lawsuit is in order. The only reason these companies exist is because YOU ARE PAYING. Once you stop paying, and work on making real connections in the real music industry, they’ll be out of business. Every time someone pays these companies a dime to “review” your submission, you are not only hurting yourself, but the community at large – they are currently siphoning HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars from the industry every single year. For what? For this blog? For discussing the many ways that the business is changing? For telling you that you need to go through them to get to the music industry?
    If you feel as though you want to get a leg up, think about this: save up a grand or two, and find yourself a GOOD publicist. One with a proven track record in the industry. Put together a plan with that individual to push one or two tracks, whether it be through a viral video campaign/ etc. Maybe push for a Grammy nomination – this is another piece of clout that is easily bought (as long as there is some sort of talent involved). I have two colleagues who managed this – neither were doing any touring whatsoever, neither had a huge fan base or considerable notoriety at the time. Both paid for good PR. Huh. It has made considerable improvements in their careers.
    If you’re going to expend resources with regards to your music or songwriting, locate professionals who are actually making connections that matter and involve them in your business plan. Third party companies such as this operate by nickel and diming thousands of artists with these web submissions, and are NOT trying to put the focus on you as an individual. This is bad business, because let’s face it – YOU are the commodity to be bought and sold here. A good PR firm WILL put the focus on YOU as an individual, and are accountable in a real and tangible way.

    And just as a side note – I am NOT a publicist, just a producer who is sick and tired of these charlatans.

    Best of luck to you all, it’s a jungle out there.

  38. Clintone May 8, 2011 Reply

    Here’s some reasons why a competition / submission fee model such as Music Xray to a so called ‘industry professional’ will never work.
    1) When you open the gates to submissions there simple isn’t enough hours in the day to listen to every submission.
    2) There is no music business and more. These so called ‘industry professionals’ ARE in deed running a scam. They take the money and never sign anyone. Here is a recent submission statement I recieved.
    “Good candidate but regretfully it doesn’t make the final cut “….WTF is that?
    Sony records wants to sign a band that sounds like (band type) for a $40.00 submission fee. If 1000 bands submit that 40K! That’s a ton of beer money. I know people who work at Sony and they don’t even know who the ‘Sony’ guy is.
    BE YOUR OWN MUSIC INDUSTRY…I can hire a PR guy, radio guy, distribute world wide and purchase promotion etc. What would I need an ‘industry professional’ for???
    Sonic Bids started this years ago and I jumped on board, spent a bunch of money and NOTHING, now with Music Xray NOTHING but a lighter wallet. Don’t get me wrong. Music Xray has a great song presentation module and I use it for just that but as far as submitting for opportunities. NO MORE!!!

  39. Luanne Hunt May 8, 2011 Reply

    I like the concept behind MusicXray and they do provide many wonderful opportunities that quite frankly would be difficult to find elsewhere. I don’t mind paying a reasonable fee to submit because it does take the MIP’s time to listen to submissions, critique them and reply back.

    The other thing about charging is that it most likely deters a lot of people from sending in poor quality material that would just be a waste of an MIP’s time.

    As a performing artist, I think of what I do as a business and no business can become successful without promotion. And that costs money, whether it’s submitting to MIP’s, radio stations, etc.

    I use MusicXray mostly to get feedback from MIP’s with great credentials. It not only helps me improve my craft, but also provides quotes for my marketing materials (bios, press releases, etc.)

    Thanks MusicXray and keep up the good work!

    Luanne Hunt

  40. Paul Daniel Thomas May 8, 2011 Reply

    @ Mike: Kudos to you for allowing all this negativity to be posted, and to spending your valuable time actually reading it and responding to it. If you weren’t sincerely interested, you wouldn’t have started it in the first place.

    The music industry revolves around great songs. The talented songwriter is the center of it all. Without a great song, the well known rich and famous recording artists would not be rich or famous. And, when people talk about great music, well, that’s a matter of opinion. I personally would not buy any music by Garth Brooks, or Celine Dion, but obviously millions of others have a different opinion than me. And when someone needs music for film, or broadcast, or just to add quality to people they want to work with, well, they have an opinion too.

    I think it’s great that you have started MusicXray, and I do see it as a valuable tool to help market my music. To those who argue that it’s better to get your band on the road, and build a following, well, don’t be naive in thinking that everyone wants to do that. I’m 55 years old, and have been creating music since I was 14. I did my time in bands. But now I focus on creating good music and marketing it, as well as marketing music I created 20 years ago. Intellectual property is a very valuable asset. There actually are “music professionals” who need songs and can place them. Sometimes it’s just the “feel” of the song. Intuition.

    And with MusicXray, I’ll use careful discrimination in whether or not I want to pay for a submission. At least I’ll know I won’t have a lot of those who have commented here to compete with!

  41. Jeff May 9, 2011 Reply

    I’m waiting on all the naysayers to list their accomplishments like Music Xray does. List your hit single that you sold that didn’t cost you a dime to get heard. How about listing your song placement in a movie that fell into your lap because the right person tripped over your RevebNation page. So you are connected to great publishers, list what has come from those relationships. What song(s) have we heard that you wrote?

    Tell everyone how easy it is to make it in the music business and that you shouldn’t have to spend money establishing yourself and making connections. Making your product is the easy part. Name any industry that does not have to spend money to get its products in front of customers or investors. The music industry is the most over saturated industry out there because every John and Jane thinks they are a great artist and start up cost have been reduced to almost nothing.

    Music Xray and other companies like it do not filter the good from the bad. Those suggesting that as a business model should raise the money to start it up if you believe in it. All companies like Music Xray do is limit the submissions to those people that believe enough to invest in themselves and their craft. The MIPs still have to wade through a ton of crap. Contrary to popular belief it is not up to them to find you. It is up to you to get in front of them.

    I have nothing to do with Music Xray except that I have begun to use it to submit artists to opportunities. If you truly have a successful, easier, more cost effective way of doing this please share. The last thing anyone should want to do is reinvent the wheel. If all you have is hatred and bitterness because of your lack of success don’t waste your time.

  42. bandolino May 9, 2011 Reply

    Music Xray is just a business like any other, and re

  43. Ken Sutton May 9, 2011 Reply

    I want something to happen for me in music and in the entertainment world. the fee is just part of it. 99% of it is the work I put into it. most of the fee’s are for the people they have to hire to listen to the stuff. don’t you think they need to get paid for their time? I say Four ($4) is good.

  44. Jimmy A. Bhraak May 10, 2011 Reply

    @Mike McCready Well I do give you credit for responding to people here, much appreciated. You must remember, you are expecting artists to believe you are credible and truly connected to ‘ahem’ Industry Professionals, A&Rs, labels etc. It may or may be true you are legit however we artists are expected to take your word for your credibility based on your website, blogs, emails and pictues. None of us are in your offices seeing the actual process and behind the scenes therefor you hope we trust what you say so we will use your service. Once again, you may be legit but I have no way of truly knowing that for sure. I have no evidence a submitted song is truly reviewed by a real major label A&R or not. I do know you put a lot of effort into convincing everyone you are legit.

    Most of the companies with music x-ray opportunities are questionable to their level of impact. I.e. submit to an online radio station for airplay that has few listeners. Submit to a blog that hardly anyone reads, submit to a compilation that nobody hears or get a critique from someone you never heard of before.

    I always question if sonic bid, music xray and others truly do their homework and determine that an opportunity they post is truly viable and actually leads to tangible results. How do we know if your artist testimonies are real or simply staged. We do not know for sure either way.

    A classic example of a misleading opportunity is ‘MDR studio’ near Boston and their ‘songwriting contestm opportunity. MDR takes submission fees and then contacts each ‘winner’ who is anyone who submits to their opportunity and then gives each ‘winner’ 6 hours of free studio time when the ‘winner’ agrees to record a CD or other large studio project. So all MDR is doing is luring potential clients via a bogus contest.
    Another misleading opportunity is for band festivals or shows. The promoter gets the submission fee plus demands each band bring their own crowd (friends & family) to spend money to get in the door and to buy food and drinks.

    Like I said before and I footstomp this: If your music draws listeners and people like you and your music and you already draw fans at your shows, generate revenues from itunes, merch, shows etc then YOU WILL ne noticed and contacted by A&R’s, promoters, music directord, etc.

    I know this because it’s happened to me and my band and we do not submit to opportunities that charge a fee.

    My music get discovered on Reverb Nation, YouTube, Facebook G MySpace to name a few and we received FM radio airplay on indie and college radio around the world and all the airplay increased our itunes sales and our facebook, twiiter and email fanbase continues to grow daily and we NEVER pay any submission fees…we get discovered and people like some of our tunes.

    Reverb Nation referred my band to SONY/EMI label for review because reverb nation personnel found some potential in our music and made the refera without asking for a submission fee. SONY A&R listened to our songs and contaced me and said they are unable to use any of our material at this time. We were actually thrilled a huge company took the time to listen ad contact us and it just happened…we didn’t pay money for that…Reveb Nation referred us.

    Music xray should listen and screen artists and recommend the artists/material they think has potential to A&Rs and if selected, music xray is entitled to a finders fee or referral fee. I would have no problem paying music xray a fee if they found me and my band a revenue making opportunity. It would also increase music xrays credibility. Discover and refer artists music xray and you would surely be entitled to your revenue share for any/all artists on your site you refer and place that earn revenues….I strongly support that!

    The current ‘the artist/band shoots $4 darts in the dark’ and has no true process experience or evidence if a REAL A&R actually listened to music for real intent. We don’t see it or experience it so we don’t really know. The only thing artists who do submit money for opportunities is that music xray, sonic bids and others DO TAKE the money….that is real!

    Once again, create your best music possible and be true to yourself and style. Produce your music professionaly. Play as many gigs as possible and build your fan base in person and relate to your fans. Sell your merch at your shows. Utilize all free online media platforms for promotion but avoid spamming and overuse of such tools, but do use them wisely. There are many FREE opportunities that are legit on many sites….search, research and submit. My band has about a 25% acceptance rate for our many free submission
    opportunites and we’re happy with that number. What is your acceptance rate for the pay opportunities you submit to and do those opportunities increase your revenue stream?
    Rule #1 in the music biz: NEVER pay to play!
    …they pay you…if they like you and your music…. =)

  45. John May 11, 2011 Reply

    I’ve read through many of the posts here and thought I may as well throw my two cents in the bucket. I’m a Nashville songwriter/composer/producer who is looking for song placements just like everyone else on this board. I know folks who have had hundreds of placements in Film/TV, and they’re the ones we’re all competing with for the same licensing contracts and business opportunities.

    Even seasoned pros use services like Taxi which charge fees to screen music and match it up with potential clients and music supervisors. You generally don’t get rich with music licensing, and most pros who make their living doing this submit a lot of material to many companies hoping for placements. Some submissions are free and some aren’t. Some build bridges between you and music supervisors that you can continue to do business with on your own.

    You have to use good judgement when doing business with any licensing or promotion company. In places like Nashville pros compare notes, so if a licensing company is a scam the word gets out quickly. I’m not giving musicxray an endorsement right now, because any company I choose to do business with has to prove they’re legit. I’ll reserve my judgement on them until I try a submission or two.

    I wouldn’t object to reasonable submission fees for tangible results, but I have to caution those new to this business that there are many companies out there who drop names and sell dreams to pay their light bills, and many of these leaches have no intention of lifting a finger to help you. In Nashville there are many who make their living preying on the dreams of others. It’s disgusting.

    On the other hand, a $4 fee paid once or twice to test the water here at musicxray isn’t a tremendous risk. If an $8 investment is too steep for you to see if this company is legit then you need to get out of this business. If the songs are actually screened and they match you with a $800-$1500 synchronization contract plus performance royalties from your PRO (BMI,ASCAP,SESAC) then I guess the $4 was a good investment. If not, I guess you lost out on one Starbucks Grande Cafe Latte. ;o)

    It’s your decision who you should do business with, or how much you’re willing to invest in your future. Your best protection is to network with others who are doing the same thing to help weed out the scammers and scumbags. I’m not going to say right now if I think it’s a good idea to pay musicxray for submissions. If I decide to do business with them, I can assure you that everyone in my Nashville network will know if these folks are worth doing business with or not.

    Good luck!

  46. Jimmy A. Bhraak May 11, 2011 Reply

    @John- all valid points, thank you. I’ve had song placement success and radio play WITHOUT submitting $4 on up or any money for that matter just by being highly visible on reverbnation, youtube, myspace, soundclick and others and A&R’s noticed my visibilty and are curious to listen and some like some of my songs and after I was discovered I am offered revenue making deals that all add up and further increase my visibilty. So my point is it can be done using free platforms only.

    I suggest music xray staff listen to artists music uploaded on their site and push the artists/songs they feel have commercial potential to music xrays industry professional connections and then music xray receives a commission if they place a song for an artist.

    On the other hand, if major labels, major media distributors had staffed departments dedicate to song placement directly with artists, then I would have no problem paying a submission fee directly to SONY, Warner Brothers, A&M, Atlantic Records, etc A&Rs for them to screen my music as they are well established company’s and its going straight to the source. The middle man is what makes it questionable….unfortunately the scumbag scammer middlemen and women ruin it for those who might be legit.
    I will never pay a submission fee because 1. My music sells without it and 2. The scammers won’t go away if everyone pays…so I do my part. :-)

  47. John May 11, 2011 Reply

    Jimmy – everyone has a different path to follow to reach their goals in this business. We all have different talents to market, and what works for one does not necessarily work for another. If you can make money in music licensing with free platforms that’s great, but what some folks call “free” isn’t really free at all. We need to make this distinction.

    Some companies have free submissions but take half of the revenue generated by the licensing deals they broker, while others charge a yearly fee and take nothing from the deals. There are many variations to these “themes” out there, and it’s up to each of us to weigh the pros and cons of each company we consider doing business with.

    For those of us in music centers, A&R contacts, publishers, artists, and label folks are fairly accessible. If you’re pitching songs as a writer in places like Nashville, then good networking can open many doors. NSAI and your performing rights organization can also help make introductions and set up meetings with industry folks if they feel your work is strong enough.

    Film and TV placements are a little different since you need broadcast quality recordings with full clearances for all performers on the recording, and you also have to own both the song rights and the masters. The music supervisors have a lot of music to clear and don’t have time to deal with “issues” or those who are hard to deal with. They run through a list of prospects and will choose the songs that are cleared and ready to go. They’ll cross your song off the list in a heartbeat if you don’t know what you’re doing, and they’re not going to walk you through the process.

    For those without experience and who don’t have Film/TV contacts, these “middle men” (if legit) can help open a lot of doors. They work out the deals and have direct access, and some even have music supervisors screening the demos. I’m not saying musicxray has those direct connections, but I know other companies similar to this get a lot of REAL placements in TV/Film. They also broker lucrative advertising contracts along with other uses like video games, etc. Some of these pay well, and some pay spare change.

    The majors aren’t going to accept submissions from people they don’t know. They’re not going to expose themselves to legal issues, and quite honestly, they couldn’t care less about placements on Cable TV that might earn you a $250 sync fee and maybe about $1.47 in performance royalties.

    I think most folks don’t understand the licensing niche and what the legit “middle men” actually do. For the most part, these middle men act as publishers, but most don’t own exclusive rights to your songs or masters. Publishers have been a legit part of this industry forever, and so this middle man thing is nothing new. The good thing about the legit licensing companies is that they allow you to submit the same songs to as many companies as you’d like. Publishers have always had exclusive deals and own the publishing of your song. They lock it up for a set period of time and allow it collect dust on the shelf when it could be making revenue.

    Like I said before, we all have to decide what’s fair to pay for the services we receive from companies like this. Jimmy, I hope you never have to pay a submission fee, and make tons of money in the process.

  48. John R May 12, 2011 Reply

    First of all – Full credit to Mike McCready for having this open debate in the first place. Well done.

    I think Music X Ray is a genuine attempt at a new Internet ‘Tip Sheet’. I certainly want it to be the real thing because it has the potential to be very important and very useful.
    But – right now there are too many teething troubles – both technical and moral. i.e. I was recently going to submit an excellent song to a tip that seemed perfect – until I saw the $20 fee ! For ONE song ?
    No thank you. That would soon add up to a lot of cash. (Especially for the guy at the other end.)
    I subscribe to the SongLink Tip Sheet which gives me dozens of ‘free’ leads for £16 per month. (approx $26)
    If I’m paying $20 for one lead I’d want the artist to phone me and whisper sweet nothings in my ear !

    In its favour, musicxray doesn’t charge exhorbitant ‘membership’ fees like some. (Taxi for one.)
    But with prices like $20 per submission that saving would soon be lost – and then some.

    On the technical side it also leaves a lot to be desired.

    A) It is achingly slow.

    B) The S20 system that is supposed to match your songs to relevant leads seems to use a scattergun effect rather than a ‘sniper’. I constantly get inappropriate ‘leads.’ Especially ones for groups, singers and female bands. I am a (male) songwriter trying to place my songs. Full Stop.

    C) My uploaded songs have been ‘assigned’ Album Titles that have been plucked out of thin air. I certainly didn’t submit them. My songs are unsigned demos !

    D) Several of my songs have been attributed to famous artists. One being Celine Dion. I wish !

    E) Some so called leads turn out to be people after my money in return for reviewing my songs.
    No thanks. Been there – got the t shirt – learned that lesson.
    That’s not a lead – that’s a business opportunity for the other guy and should be seperated out to another part of the site.

    F) The same names crop up with every S20 email. (with submission fees of £97 & $47 a time !) Call me a cynic – I am – but that looks like a nice living.

    I’ve wasted a LOT of money over the years, changing from a thin skinned, naive beginner to thick skinned cynic, learning that this business is full of sharlatans who take your money for no return.
    (Beginners beware. Tread carefully and part with your money like it was your own blood.)

    Ultimately, I’m going to sit on the fence and watch how this one developes.
    It is still early days yet, and if musicxray can fine tune all the teething problems it should be worth waiting for.
    There are some good ideas in many of the previous posts – they should be cherry picked and implemented.

    Good luck. John.

    Past & Present Member of:

    MySpace; Reverb Nation; Broadjam; Crucial Music; Wearelistening; Music2Deal; Soundcloud. SongLink; SongQuarters; HitQuarters; Songwritersuniverse; Taxi;
    And others that took my money and no longer exist. (Tonos)

  49. John May 13, 2011 Reply

    Thank you John R and the rest of the current musicxray clients for sharing your experience with those of us considering doing business with these folks. Forums like this are the only real way to verify that a company like this performs as advertised.

  50. Mike McCready May 13, 2011 Reply

    Thank you all for taking the time to respond and participate on this forum.

    I knew when I wrote this post that I was going to take a few knocks. After all, I don’t need to preach to the choir. I need to engage the people who don’t buy it, don’t get it or don’t believe it. I have read all your comments carefully.

    First, let me acknowledge that Music Xray is far from perfect. Yes, we have a few tech glitches. We have a tech team working every day to make the site better. I also know tat at the end of the day, we have nothing to stand on but our credibility, our reputation and our integrity. To that end, if we ever detect any fraudulent behavior or any professional not truthfully representing themselves, we suspend their account, refund submission fees and do what we can to make it right. Again, we’re not perfect but we’re working really hard.

    Here’s what it comes down to. Since February 1st of this year, 1552 songs have been selected for opportunities via Music Xray. That is 1552 fewer opportunities being filled via other avenues such as music libraries or directly via musicians’ personal networking efforts. As the number of opportunities on Music Xray increases the number of opportunities available outside of Music Xray will decrease. As an increasing number of industry professionals realize that their colleagues who conduct their A&R efforts via Music Xray are out-competing them, they will also open drop boxes on Music Xray. As it stands, between 5 and 10 industry professionals join the site each day, as do many musicians.

    IESE, the number one ranked business school in the world outside the US just conducted a case study on Music Xray under the title “Music Xray, Innovation in Business Models” because we have found a way in which every party wins. Many of you have expressed anger that Music Xray charges you some money for something that you did not perceive that you were paying for previously. But how many hours, days, weeks and months do you spend networking and building the relationships you need to place your music and when you think about it, how much time and money is that costing you? As was stated in the comments, even the music libraries take 50% of your deals when you get them. That ends up costing you far more than Music Xray ever would if your music is genuinely good enough to get placed.

    Yes, there are some of you who have paid your dues and have built valuable networks. I know you will not be happy that Music Xray is creating a direct avenue to opportunity that essentially shortens that path for those coming up behind you. Yes, Music Xray decreases (but does not eliminate) the value of one of your competitive advantages. By paying your dues in blood, sweat and tears over the years you have earned your right of passage and it doesn’t seem fair that many musicians who are just starting out have placed 1552 songs in the past 100 days. But technology, the Internet and the upheaval of the music industry is changing everything and the sooner you embrace the changes the better off you’ll be. These changes are occurring no matter what.

    Music Xray is simply trying to help make sense of it all by creating a new, transparent ecosystem. As long as there are commercial and exposure opportunities for music and musicians, there will be decision makers to grant access.

    Musicians want direct, no non-sense access to industry professionals and opportunities. The industry professionals want to use the best A&R tools available and they want to be able to finance their projects with the musicians they find. I don’t know if you read our most recent announcement but now we’re giving them just that. By partnering with investors we are giving the professionals on Music Xray access to capital – which indirectly is capital for you. We’re putting our money where our mouth is and doing what we can to rebuild the industry that brings great music to the world. And we hope to be seen by musicians as a company that came in and did good. The post regarding that access to capital is here: http://www.mikemccready.com/2011/05/09/access-to-capital-introducing-the-first-music-investment-fund-on-music-xray/

    I know where not there yet but we’re working hard and we don’t mind you holding our feet to the fire. We will make mistakes but we’ll do our best to forge ahead.

  51. John May 14, 2011 Reply

    Mike M,

    Just the fact that you opened this forum up to concerns and have responded to many posts is a big positive for this company. No business model is perfect, and in time you’ll build trust and credibility if folks see positive results. Obviously, folks will be skeptical about the fees for submissions system, and the only way to really weigh the risk vs reward here is to try a few submissions with quality material that accurately fits the submission criteria and see what happens.

    The reality is that when someone makes the contacts for someone else to benefit from then they deserve to be compensated for their time and services. As long as the fees are reasonable for the opportunities being presented I don’t see a big problem with it. I probably wouldn’t use this as my primary platform for licensing, but I’d be willing to give it a try now and then if something really caught my eye and I thought I had a really good shot at a placement.

    I wish you and musicxray the best of luck!

    Take care,


  52. Hip Hop Songs June 5, 2011 Reply

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  53. Hip Hop Songs June 5, 2011 Reply

    Look and listen the first time your favorite Web site look and listen …
    Sites with an extensive selection of free music downloads are the dream of any serious pop music fan.
    Unfortunately, legal downloading of most mainstream pop music requires purchasing the song in question.
    Many of the top sites offering music for purchase will offer an occasional song for free download, or
    you may pay a monthly subscription for a wide access to music.
    However, there are a number of web sites that promote lesser known pop artists or classic pop recordings
    by allowing free downloads of hundreds or thousands of songs. These are five of ,…..the best of these sites.

  54. Earl June 10, 2011 Reply

    I would really like to believe in Music X Ray, that it’s intentions are good etc.
    I have even submitted to a handfull of opportunities.
    Can I make just one suggestion….get rid of the S20 garbage
    It is not believable and it throws serious doubts on the whole operation.
    As soon as I submitted to some opportunities I recieved e mails matching me to the most bizzare things.
    I was uploading a song the other night and realized that although i had put the information there, I had got the wrong file and didn’t actualy upload a song, and guess what, I immediatley recieved an e mail matching it to the same opportunities that I had just recieved for the last song!
    I smell snakeoil!
    Just a thought

  55. Pat Best October 29, 2011 Reply

    You pay your staff out of a successfully run business.
    You pay them because you’re able to get good placements.
    I quit submitting music to the “we get paid however small whether the composer does or not” business model.
    I think it cheapens the composing profession.
    I’ve had a couple of cable tv placements through music licensing companies that don’t charge a penny. They are doing quite well without my $5.There are a couple hundred licensing companies accepting submissions who are organized enough to handle it without charging composers.
    My feeling is if you’re successfully organized to licensing music, you don’t need my $4 or $5 to keep the lights on.
    That’s the cost of doing business and I surely won’t pay to have my music rejected. I can have that done for free too.

    • Mike McCready October 31, 2011 Reply

      Hi Pat. I hear you but think you’re just going to be out-competed in this space by musicians and music companies adopting new models.

  56. cobb cooking October 16, 2012 Reply

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  58. FHU Jóskowski Marcin November 27, 2012 Reply

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  59. Jorge Avila December 7, 2012 Reply

    I’ve been looking into music xrayfor my band BoundAlive but have yet to come to a decision. Still researching…maybe you can drop us an email Mike. Thank you.

  60. Market.Swap.Com December 9, 2012 Reply

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  61. rolasia March 30, 2013 Reply

    MusicClout a SCAM. I submitted to at least 200 submissions and have a HUGE major resume and not ONE thing has come back yet. So I just googled Music Clout Scam since that is what I think they are.

    I get always feedback and bookings from everyone and with over 200 submissions just finally got suspicions. MusicClout is a SCAM

  62. Ovaxeddyzex October 3, 2013 Reply

    Hello. And Bye.

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