I’m a Music Industry CEO. And I Think Sonicbids Made Millions by Exploiting Struggling Artists…

Did Sonicbids make millions the wrong way? The following comes from Lee Parsons, cofounder and CEO of Ditto Music, a direct-to-fan service that competes with Tunecore, ReverbNation, and CD Baby.  It was first posted as a comment on Digital Music News.


quotationmarksI have never respected Sonicbids, both when I was an artist and now as a business owner.

As the new generation of music industry it is our job to help artists and break down barriers of entry. Sonicbids invented their own barrier between musician and promoter and got rich doing it.

Your $15 million exit is made up of the sweat of unsigned artists who gave you their last $30 in the hope of playing a show somewhere, that 10 years ago they would have applied for for free.

Whilst that 1% of paying artists got a gig, 99% of them never saw a return and have made you both millionaires.

I always hoped that you would evolve your model into something that truly benefited artists. Instead, all I can see is an exit to a similar company who are less involved with music and even more focused on profit. quotation-marks2


Lee Parsons

86 Responses

  1. balbers

    While I respect your comment and your viewpoint, allow me to play devil’s advocate-
    Let us not forget the adage (which may or may not be hyperbole) that 99% of the bands out there make horrible, awful music.
    Just because somebody is in a band and is paying some business to promote it or carry its mp3s or to try and book it on Saturday Night Live doesn’t mean that their music automatically transforms from shit to gold.
    Maybe Sonic Bids was actually doing their jobs all along, and it was the people to whom they were pitching artists who told them ‘thanks, but please peddle your talentless garage band to somebody else.’

    • davidsthubins

      To further play devil’s advocate. Let’s say 99% of people can’t afford a home of their own. What we do is extend credit to people who would otherwise not have access to the credit market. And it’s called subprime lending.
      I don’t disagree about quality of music, but don’t take musician’s money first. Just as banks should not lend money to those they know are unlikely to be able to pay it back.

      • butch

        Artists should be given opportunities for free and the company should get a cut if they make any money. It’s a rip-off to charge up front when so many won’t be able to get in.

      • R.P.

        Isn’t this the effects of our great society… capitalism?
        We want it until it screws 99% of the people out there and even then the 1% that control it can still manage to keep the wool over most people’s heads.
        Basically, try to see someone else’s point on one subject before deviating into another… never complain without a solution.

      • 2cents

        Well that’s pointless trolling for the sake of it.
        As with any distributor, stores have to take the music they are given – it’s in the contracts. So i fail to see how ANY distributor could take money for a service they can’t guarantee. Like Sonicbids.

  2. Lee Parsons
    Lee Parsons

    Surely then Sonic Bids should have set up a filter so that if music is truly bad they don’t send it out to venues?
    Problem is, if they had done that, 99% of the music they sent out wouldn’t have paid them and they wouldn’t be sitting on millions now.
    So they relentlessly market at the “useless” bands to make a fast buck.
    It’s a greedy system and Backstage, who aren’t even a music company, look even worse.
    I feel sorry for any artists who have bought into that system
    Lee Parsons

    • Bolderdasher

      Hey Lee,
      As a “CEO” I would have expected you to do at least the smallest bit of research or be informed on the business that you are commenting on. Sonicbids does not actively pitch music. Sonicbids is just a platform where artists and opportunities meet. The artists are the ones that peddle their own wares to the promoters and while a ton of artists don’t make music worth a damn none of them would admit it or even be aware of it. This is why a lot of bad artists don’t get selected on Sonicbids. Sonicbids does not curate for opportunities, they create opportunities.

      • 2cents

        Sonicbids do not ‘create oppurtunities’ they put up massive walls for all artists and charge artists for something we used to do ourselves. ‘A platform where artists and oppurtunities meet’? Who says things like that apart from employees?
        Can we all agree that ‘Pay To Play’ is morally wrong? Ok.
        Hows about ‘Pay To Apply’? That is what Sonicbids do.
        Sonicbids have never had respect within the artist community because they are money-grabbing sleazebags and Panos Panay just made a few million from struggling artists.

        • Visitor

          well, to end this discussion, unless panos wants to add his 5 cents:
          you can block the sun with one hand but you CANNOT block your hand with the sun.
          soncbids creates walls? then why is it so popular with the promoters?
          remember, the americans invented monopoly but THE ENGLISH invented CAPITALISM.
          so you help who you can by putting a service online and see if the market digs it. this is what sonicbids did and they are very popular!

          • Butch

            From ripping people off, just like the banks that ripped people off that wouldn’t qualify for loans usually but got gaurantees from the government to make the loans. Either business is shady and wrong for the end user. However, it’s always a buy beware economy.

    • Enrico

      “Sonicbids is just a platform where artists and opportunities meet”

      Holy cripe. That is some solid, meaningless ‘marketing speak’ right there! We used to refer to gigs as “where bands get discovered”. You might want to try that kind of realism some time. If you could even see it through your mod-hipster focus, that is.

    • Really?

      “Surely then Sonic Bids should have set up a filter so that if music is truly bad they don’t send it out to venues?”

      So, should one assume that Ditto Music screens the content they send to retailers and removes the bad music that won’t sell, refunding the money to the bad artists?

      Or are you comfortable taking money from artists who won’t sell enough to cover the distribution costs at Ditto?

      • David C
        David C

        Hey ‘Really’ who is on every blog with the same fake name. If you can’t see the difference between the two then please do some researching the modern music industry and get back to us

  3. Sounds about right...
    Sounds about right...

    Sonicbids approached me to take submissions for my label through their service. They asked that the label set the submission price at $3 to $5. I refused. Instead, we offered to review music and permanently post those reviews online for a fee of $45. They refused and said that no bands or artists would pay that much. They were clearly trying to merely scam people out of money. The value of a guaranteed-and-without-bias paid review when building a press-kit could be valuable for a band. What’s more is that EVERY band or submission would get reviewed with those reviews posted online. Sonicbids saw no value in that and did not want to go ahead with that offer. They thought $3 to $5 for the CHANCE to get heard was a better bet and easier take.
    At it’s core, the business was that of a middleman. The quality of that contact at this point is unknown.

    • hank alrich
      hank alrich

      So your own service isn’t a “service” at all, but a scam to get people to drop forty-five bucks for a review? Please. Give it up. You’re not even able to attach your name to your post. Perhaps you’re just too successful with that.
      No artist subscribing to Sonicbids need use their system for submission for gigs. Note that there are venues who only accept submissions via a management company/booking agent or Sonicbids, and quite a few of them are very worthy gigs, including some nice festivals.
      I have my own gripes about Sonicbids, but I understand the value of what Panos and his people did. Early on, before we could easily have a web presence, Sonicbids provided a platform for artists to get their artistic evidence up and running at fairly reasonable cost, at the time. Things have evolved and the service may well be much less useful now than it was at one time.

      May I never hear Parsons open one more self-serving rant with notice that he’s a “CEO”. BFD, buddy.

  4. ghettogandy

    SonicBids shot ArtistData dead upon acquisition, that’s my complaint with them. No more fine-tuning an invaluable system, no more wonderful customer support.
    They took something I gladly paid a monthly fee for, made it free, and left it to rot. Though still useful, without Brenden Mulligan involved it certainly hasn’t kept pace or improved. Which was foreseeable as that’s precisely the course SonicBids took over the years, in my humble opinion, aside from the one major overhaul of the interface that came years too late.
    I don’t say the above to disrespect anyone, really, but rather that if you got out with $15MM then cheers to that.

  5. Panos Panay, Sonicbids Founder
    Panos Panay, Sonicbids Founder

    This is Panos, founder of Sonicbids. First of all, I will say that I have great respect for any fellow founder that built any business, including, you Lee. It takes a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, belief, determination and doing what others won’t dare to do to grow a business. Kinda like being in a band. In 12 years of running Sonicbids I have never, ever criticized a fellow entrepreneur so I am a bit bummed at the tone of this post. But hey, controversy sells.

    Saying that we made “millions” off struggling musicians is a bit like saying that LinkedIn is making millions off of the underconnected, or that Monster is making millions off of the unemployed. Or that a barber is exploiting the unshaved or the undergroomed. To be honest, I am not sure I get the point. Our acquirer is not even a company that has anything to do with music.

    I started Sonicbids with my own money and credit card debt and built it slowly over 12 years. I did not take VC funding until 7 years after I started the company from my apartment and racked up well over $30K in credit card debt and went through almost all my savings. I know what it took to do it and the sacrifices that I made to make it happen, personal and professional. I also know that I never started a company because I wanted to make money. I started a company because I wanted to make a difference. And I won’t apologize to anyone for that.

    When I founded Sonicbids in 2000, there was barely any awareness of what an MP3 was. This was pre-Myspace, Twitter, iPhone, iTunes. Facebook, LinkedIn, Spotify, Pandora. This was pre-evertyhing. Heck AskJeeves was the dominant search engine at the time.

    In these 12 years over 750,000 independent gigs have been booked using Sonicbids. These are gigs by Icelandic pianists in China; Iranian female DJs in Spain; bands from The Faroe Islands that played Holland; indie bands on the Letterman show; unsigned bands that got to have their music in MTV reality shows and big 4 network commercials; South African bands touring the US for the first time; American bands going to Australia for the first time or Europe.

    Sonicbids has done more and accomplished more than I ever dreamt when I wrote my first business plan in what seems like a lifetime ago. We did, in fact change the music business for the better and yes, I remember the days when all the opportunities I listed above would not even care to book anyone that was not on a major label.

    Did we make money along the way? Of course – because I always believed that unless a business provides value it cannot ever create a sustainable model. Keeping a business running and growing for 12 years — especially THESE 12 years – takes lots and lots of focus, hard work, and above all value creation for customers. (I wonder how many of the internet darlings of today will be around 12 years from now?)

    I will tell you that it feels weird selling your business. At least to me. I struggled with lots of things, especially since I’ve done this for most of my professional life and because I love what I do – and love who I do it for and the business I get to practice it in. But, on the other hand I decided to merge Sonicbids because I believe that it will give even greater access to opportunities to bands everywhere and yes, after more than a decade going solo I felt that I needed additional resources to take Sonicbids to the next level. And if I really wanted to cash in and check out, trust me, I would be back in Cyprus chilling out on a beach and getting a damn good tan right now rather than bothering to respond to petty comments on bulletin boards or whatever.

    But hey, I care. And I’d rather be an idealist and a dreamer than a cynic any day.

    Sonicbids Founder

    • Central Scrutinizer
      Central Scrutinizer

      “Our acquirer is not even a company that has anything to do with music.”
      “But hey, I care. And I’d rather be an idealist and a dreamer than a cynic any day.”

      Maybe I missed something but these two statements seem to contradict

    • Exploitation

      Your model exploits those who have no chance of getting gigs. It’s actually worse than gambling because these terrible acts will never get lucky.
      Berklee grad taking care of his own.

      • hank alrich
        hank alrich

        Every musical artist I know who is a Sonicbids subscriber is a working musician, with gigs.
        Lot of petty bitching in this thread. Maybe more fiber in some diets would help.

    • Oneeyed

      take. the. cash. and run. never mind the empty and smug self-justification.
      i’ve never known a professional booking agents who needed help in booking – but many of them were more than happy to take the sonic bids cash. musicians who bought into this scam really ought to think harder.

    • Upset

      Your service is garbage – it is a constant financial drain that most artists only have to do submissions to major festivals. If the festival wants to charge for submissions, I find that distasteful but whatever, but charging a subscription fee to even get to those opportunities, and having loads of unpaid shows?
      I do way, way better just contacting promoters directly.
      You should be ashamed of how you made your money.

  6. @mattadownes

    “I know what it took to do it and the sacrifices that I made to make it happen, personal and professional. I also know that I never started a company because I wanted to make money. I started a company because I wanted to make a difference. And I won’t apologize to anyone for that.” – Panos

    A+ Truly admirable.

    I remember using Sonicbids for a baby band I was managing to apply to SXSW. In a few days they (SXSW) called us and started talking about bigger opportunities that could’ve been very lucrative had we been a little bit luckier. Its all what you make of it.

    Thanks Panos, best of luck in the future.

  7. The Ugly Truth
    The Ugly Truth

    Lee – it’s absolutely clear what your trying to do. Strum up more business and awareness for your little company at another persons expense. It’s business – I understand but your in business with the same model; charging a fee to aspiring artists for access to your music partners. There’s no guarantee your clients at Ditto are going to sell a penny as there is no guarantee SonicBids users will land a gig.
    All in all, there’s no sin in giving artists opportunities that they normally wouldn’t have.
    Paul, in complete honesty who makes Lee Parsons a credible person for music industry insight? At least Sonicbids innovated a platform that was non-existent online. Anyone can be a distributor of music. Be original and stop hating on other people’s hard work.

    • hank alrich
      hank alrich

      Nicely stated. What I have gotten from Parsons’ posts is a big warning about his attitude, enough to ignore his erstwhile service.

  8. Charles Alexander
    Charles Alexander

    God Bless Lee Parsons. I’ve been saying this for years…SonicBids was an exploitive business model that took advantage of hopeful musicians. Glad a significant person in music tech finally said it.
    SB certainly had a captured market.
    As a musician, it hurt me everytime I had to submit my work to a SB opp because it was the only option. The same goes for some of the artists and musicians I worked with and represent. Also shame to those who used SB just as a revenue stream with no real intent to present a legitimate opportunity for artists/musicians.

  9. davidhooper

    I know both Lee and Panos personally. From what I’ve experienced, both are passionate about musicians as well as the music business.
    Respect to Lee for putting his name on this rather than hiding behind an alias, like so many of the people responding to him.
    I thnk the real issue here isn’t Sonicbids, but more the way the music business itself is.
    When I was running a music conference (2NMC), we used Sonicbids to take showcase submissions for at least one of the four years. I hesitated the first year, when they approached us, because I like filters. I want people to work for submissions, because if they can’t get it enough together to send me a press kit in the mail, they’re probably not capable of doing what I need done, like showing up to play a gig.
    With that said, after being overwhelmed with 2000+ submissions that year, I gave Sonicbids a shot the next time around.
    In my opinion, something like Sonicbids has its place. It gave us an organized way to go through a ton of material. It’s not perfect, but if you’ve ever seen 2000 or more packages at one time, I know you can appreciate the things a platform like Sonicbids can provide, such as speed and the ability to search.
    Sonicbids, because they have a huge database of acts, also makes it easy to get the word out about an event. 2NMC would showcase as many as 400 acts each year. Getting the word out to that many good musicians is a lot of work and Sonicbids helped the process.
    Here is the problem, which I think is why people are pissed… It doesn’t have to do with Sonicbids directly, although they are an accessory to it (in the same way the US Mail would be, if you mailed submissions).
    The real issue is conferences (or promoters, or whatever else) that take money and submissions after the acts for an event have already been chosen. Or simply look at submissions as a revenue model, without even considering them.
    Promoters have a lot to consider — good music, draw, marketability, politics, etc. Because of this, most bookings for events, from my experience, are an “inside job” and many showcases are set up with a call from somebody who is connected, not a submission.
    As a musician, when you’re putting your heart and soul into what you’re doing, and your biggest desire in the world is to be heard by somebody who cares, this can be frustrating.
    I get it. There are a lot of realities to the music business that go beyond “art” though and the financial aspect is a big one. So having done a lot of events myself, I can’t fault promoters for thinking of the financial aspects of things. If they don’t, they’re not going to be in business very long.
    A submission fee shifts some of the financial responsibility the “promoter” of a show has to the artists involved. Why not?
    There is no doubt that Sonicbids plays up the “opportunity” of submitting music. Submission works two ways though and the artists who submit are as responsible for success as any of the promoters, assuming the promoter is legitimate.
    Personally, I think artists should pay to submit. Otherwise, what filter is there?
    I owned and ran an online record store, similar CD Baby, in 1996. I had an open policy on submissions, believing that the market would sort things out. I was swarmed with a bunch of stuff that could be described as “experimental” at best and crap at worst. One in particular that I remember is a big ass package full of “one-sided vinyl records.”
    Which probably has something to do with why you’ve heard of CD Baby and not my store!
    This kind of things happens to booking agents, managers, and record labels all the time. Some artists submit ANYTHING, hoping it has a shot. For example, if I’m looking for a “rock song with female vocals, in the style of Lita Ford” for a film project, they’ll send me jazz, hoping I can find a place SOMEWHERE. They shift their responsibility of filtering to me.
    Charging a fee to submit helps to solve this problem, which means I can better help those who actually have what I’m looking for.
    Sonicbids isn’t perfect, but they’re far from the old school “songshark” type operations, like C–bine or A–ricord.

    • Keith

      Excellent, David. I think you nailed it. I always wondered how many of these “opportunities” were legit? I mean, isn’t it fairly easy to create an “event” and take submissions and make money? How did Sonic Bids combat this, or was it a non-issue?

      • davidhooper

        As I understand it, Sonicbids does check out the promoters and events they get involved with. That is certainly in its best interests. Nothing would cripple the company faster than a bunch of shady people taking submissions.
        With that said, I’m sure there are people taking advantage of the system. But isn’t that part of it? Groupon has the same situation.

    • Promoters are equally to blame
      Promoters are equally to blame

      There is a saturation of bands, it’s true. But being desperate enough to pay out even more money than we already do is not a sign of musicianship. Why don’t Sonicbids refund you if you’re not chosen?
      I would happily pay a company with ethics. Sonicbids have always been after a quick buck and their strangle-hold contracts with festivals and gigs have created a wall that was not there before. And who made THEM gatekeepers of live shows?
      They did.
      Another issue not mentioned is the promoters that use Sonicbids. They seem quite happy for artists to be extorted for the sake of making their job 10% easier. If promoters cared about bands they wouldn’t use Sonicbids. Sonicbids = Payola. Nothing changes.

    • Suzanne Lainson
      Suzanne Lainson

      The real issue is conferences (or promoters, or whatever else) that take money and submissions after the acts for an event have already been chosen. Or simply look at submissions as a revenue model, without even considering them.
      “Promoters have a lot to consider — good music, draw, marketability, politics, etc. Because of this, most bookings for events, from my experience, are an ‘inside job’ and many showcases are set up with a call from somebody who is connected, not a submission.”

      That’s the impression I got, too. The promoters already knew which bands they wanted. They were using Sonicbids as a way to collect submission fees from bands that never had a chance. If the purpose was primarily to filter out bands, then those bands that wouldn’t get picked should have been discouraged from applying, thus saving their money.

      Whenever possible, I would send press kits directly to festival/event bookers because it was cheaper than paying a fee via Sonicbids. To do so just required the cost of the physical press kit and postage. Plus I had control over the format. I always found the Sonicbids EPK a bit limiting because I couldn’t feature what I wanted to feature.

      And there were times when the event promoter would say, “Yes, we want artist X, so just have artist X submit through Sonicbids.” In other words, we already knew artist X would get the slot, but we’d go through Sonicbids so Sonicbids would get the credit for the matchup.

  10. Randy Nichols
    Randy Nichols

    I’m glad to see people speaking out on the truth of Sonicbids. We need to shine a light on all companies that unfairly expolit artists aspirations with unrealistic promises and unnecessary fees. There are countless fake record labels, management companies and other firms charging large flat fees to any band willing to pay. While Sonicbids is a step above many of those predators they are still trolls who created a barrier between fan and promoter in exchnge for profiting on aspiration.
    I saw Panos on a panel at SXSW last year and he spoke of the profits that are generated (for promoter and Sonicbids) by the utilizing that barrier.
    It’s a free country and he has every right to do this but artists also need to be educated that 99% of the products geared towrds getting your act discovered are scams that take your dollar and a dream.

  11. Zach

    I didn’t get a single gig from Sonicbids, and I have never respected their business model. I signed up for it out of necessity in order to apply for NXNE and CMJ, and with the latter, I ended up getting in because I helped put together a showcase with someone. We initially got a rejection email, and then after sonicbids realized we had confirmed one, they magically changed their mind and sent us a “Congratulations, you’ve been accepted!” As if they had something to do with it/cared one way or another. Sonicbids doesn’t respect artists and has built an empire out of screwing bands out of money with promises and no returns.

  12. The real issue
    The real issue

    SonicBids is deserving of both criticism and praise.
    Praise for creating a marketplace for bands and promoters to connect. They charged a fee to have an EPK in order to access the opportunities. Nothing wrong with that. Lots of companies charge for access to their marketplace (eBay, Craigs list for job postings, Linked in to send an ‘in-mail’ to someone you want to talk to). It costs money to create and maintain a marketplace.
    Where they deserve criticism is on the part of the business model where they take 50% of the ad-hoc submission fees paid by the artist for any given opportunity. By doing so, Sonicbids was incentivized to INCREASE the ad-hoc submission fees charged to the artist for any given opportunity.
    By aligning their financial success with charging higher submission fees, SonicBids was not able to credibly position themselves as aligned with the Artists. Instead, Artists rightly felt as those Sonicbids was working against them instead of for them, creating a ‘my loss is your gain’ situation from which they apparently couldn’t recover.

  13. Suzanne Lainson
    Suzanne Lainson

    In a nutshell, my impression was that Sonicbids didn’t change which bands would get which gigs. What it did was generate money for the company and the promoters. But the bands that got gigs were going to get those gigs anyway the old fashion way: either contacting the bookers themselves or having someone else contact the bookers. It’s always been about talent, who you know, and your promotional skills.

    The Sonicbids success stories were going to be success stories without Sonicbids.

    Now, did Sonicbids help the bookers find talent? My impression is that it didn’t make a difference because the bookers continued to use more traditional filters to find bands: recommendations, sponsor requests, bands they already knew, etc.

    Did it make bookers money? Yes, I believe so. I knew event promoters who didn’t charge submission fees before Sonicbids who then started charging fees via Sonicbids. In other words, the system became a money raiser for them. Now, that isn’t necessary wrong, as long as everyone knows that’s what is happening: bands who are paying submission fees are subsidizing bands that get chosen.

  14. Some guy
    Some guy

    I was a manager of three different bands. One low level, two mid level that had regional tours. All of these bands booked multiple gigs from Sonic bids. Including the low level band which was bringing in great revenue doing weddings. It was unbelievable how much Sonicbids has given to these bands. My two cents.

    Thanks Sonicbids!

    • Suzanne Lainson
      Suzanne Lainson

      I was a manager of three different bands. One low level, two mid level that had regional tours. All of these bands booked multiple gigs from Sonic bids. Including the low level band which was bringing in great revenue doing weddings. It was unbelievable how much Sonicbids has given to these bands. My two cents.

      Did the gigs come about because you used Sonicbids as an EPK, because you found gigs via Sonicbids, and/or were you paying submission fees to get the gigs?

      As I mentioned before, I preferred to design my own booking materials (both in print and online) than to use the Sonicbids format, but if Sonicbids is one’s primary promotional material and you always point people to that, then yes, I imagine you can credit Sonicbids for getting you the gigs.

      I also created my own list of club and event bookers and contacted them directly. It was a lot of work to compile those lists and to contact people directly, but it did pay off.

      The artists I worked with did have a Sonicbids page because they got it for free, and they did use it occasionally for events that required submissions via Sonicbids, but as I mentioned before, those gigs that they got through Sonicbids were already confirmed verbally before sending in the submission.

  15. Jordan Owens
    Jordan Owens

    Shew, I got a load of reading in going and catching up with all these comments. Now I had originally read Lee’s post on the Snoicbids announcement, and agree with it virtually….but there is a whole lot to expand on here. There is way more to this than just barriers being made and such.

    As Panos pointed out, Sonicbids has been around for 12 years, changed the industry (probably for the better), and regardless of all the bashing people are giving it, has obviously done something right in the eyes of artists to stay in business so long and be worth so much.

    Now, I’m personally not a fan of Sonicbids, and maybe even most artists aren’t. Promoters and bookers seem to be the most people in line to benefit the most from the system, and do as David mentioned above, which is just use it as a revenue system outside of their real event. So in my eyes, Sonicbids didn’t necessarily shoot the gun, but it aided in picking it up and aiming it. Providing that we could agree that some folks do use it as a revenue model, we could then say that Sonicbids has failed to realize this and make changes to refine the way the whole system is ran.

    That is what made me say I actually agree with Lee. I’m not for a pay-up-front system. I think it should revolve around getting the gig/event for that artist, and then you take a portion of the profits. To me that would make it look more like you were doing real work to earn your money. That reason alone is why I have never even considered using Sonicbids with my own business and have went out of my way to go ahead and continually personally reaching out to people and making contacts with folks just through goodwill and passion of what I do. You do that, and things will work itself out, or you’ll realize it’s not what you really want to be doing.

    All this leads up to me saying that Sonicbids did do good in the beginning, but I think as time passed, and all those companies that Panos mentioned came to be, Sonicbids got a little sloppy and has obviously pissed off a few folks along the way. That can happen with any business, and well, being around for 12 years means you’re going to probably make a few folks mad no matter how good you are. So at the end of the day, I feel like they didn’t try and create the barrier, but the people who were benefitting the most from Sonicbids realized that there were opportunities to be made, and from that they made the barrier using Sonicbids as the middleman. Then people can look at Sonicbids as the bad guy, because those promoters and bookers aren’t who the artists were dealing with up-front.

    So I’m willing to not condemn Sonicbids even if I don’t agree with their model, and there is definitely more people to blame for the barrier that has been created, but I’ll never personally use the service. Either way, I don’t think people should jump to conclusions on their business model and immediately scream “THEY’RE TAKING MY MONEY!” because honestly, use some logic, they’ve been around 12 years. They wouldn’t be in business still if that was the case.

    On another note, people bashing Lee, or Ditto Music. Pull your head out of your behinds and do your own research just the same as what you were telling him. Lee founded a business that represents over 50k artists and labels as well (mine included). Ditto isn’t just some small company, and he wouldn’t be making some comment like this just to gather interest in his own company. I feel like after you can say you represent 50k some people, Ditto probably gets discovered well enough on its own.

    As for the folks trying to say Ditto runs the same exact business model as Sonicbids, I beg to differ. They’re in two totally different sides of the business to begin with, and secondly, even though you pay upfront to Ditto, you pay knowing exactly what you’re getting. There isn’t any “ifs/ands/ors/buts” attached to what you pay for with Ditto. There is with Sonicbids. If you’re paying to have your music distributed, then I still feel like at the end of the day, you have to go out and promote your music yourself, not expect Ditto to do it for you. You will sell your music well based on how well you sell yourself to fans, and your own live shows. Ditto just happens to give you a really easy and hassle-free way to get your music to where it is available for you to have the opportunity to make some good sells, there is never a promise that you actually will sell well.

    Of course Sonicbids never promises anything as well, which means people should realize that too before they go off blowing money left and right and then complaining about it later.


    Jordan Owens
    Sour Mash Recording Industries

    • Not the same?
      Not the same?

      Ditto Music: Pay them and they will deliver your music to retailers – but they cannot guarantee that those retailers will post it (although most of them will post it), nor that you will make any sales.
      Sonicbids: Pay them and they will deliver your EPK to a promoter – but they cannot guarantee that the promoter will give you a fair look (although most of them will review your EPK), nor that they will book you.

      Same or different? You decide…

      • Michael Joseph
        Michael Joseph

        Hi, I’m Mike, head of support at Ditto Music.

        Ditto Music are a distribution company, not a PR company, so of course we can’t guaruntee sales. We don’t pretend or make any suggestion that we can either. We provide services which gives artists some great tools to generate their own salesm, though. It isn’t really a distribution companies job to guaruntee or even actively push for sales. Especially one like Ditto, who don’t even charge comission, just an up front fee.

        The only store that we work with, who we can’t guaruntee will post a release is Beatport. Beatport are a boutique site who maintain the right to reject any content they don’t deem suitible for their catalogue. Ditto make it very clear on the site that we can arrange an application for beatport (with a very strong chance of success), but we can’t guaruntee it. You will notice that for this reason, beatport distribution is actually free of charge on Ditto.

        Otherwise, on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Rhapsody, etc, distribution is guarunteed. Of course there can be the rare occasion when a technical issue prevents a release from going on sale somewhere, but this is just a technical error, not a case of a store ‘rejecting’ content (in the same way a promotor would reject an artist for a gig on sonic bids). If this is the case (which i must stress again is very rare), we will fix the issue and get it live right away.

        Hope this clears a few things up!


  16. Jason Miles
    Jason Miles

    Being in the music business for 39 years I was surprised when a few years ago I was recommended to join sonic bids for a couple of my Live projects. I had amazing musicians and artists on these projects. Many recognizable names. What I got back from sonic bids was truly amazing as far as just the chutzpah of the offers. Two spots open at festivals all-expenses-paid you play for free etc etc. I said if you have a young band under these conditions there is no way you could make it. I could go on and on about other situations but I won’t. I’m not saying that Panos did anything illegal or anything else that was unscrupulous. I’m seeing that in this business of 21st-century music biz, Because of the unfiltered vibe of it and the gates being open to everybody, it’s almost impossible for the real talent to see its way through and sonic bids made a lot of money off of not the real talent. It is there to make. The music business is always sold dreams but these days with companies like sonic bids it’s impossible for that dream to happen
    Peace, Jason

  17. Saumon Sauvage
    Saumon Sauvage

    Lot of sour grapes on this forum. Committees will decide on artist selection in any case, whether electronically submitted or not. They always done so. In the past, the agents or labels sold the artist into these venues and the artist would still have to pay, but it came out of their earnings as a fee to their rep. What, if anything, has changed?
    So now you can pay on your own and have control over your press kit. I’m sorry, but I do not see how awful SonicBids is. It’s worked for me, moderately so, nothing incredible, but worth the savings over physical submissions. This is the primary benefit in my eyes.
    If you the artist don’t fit the event, if you don’t have the draw, if your marketing isn’t persuasive, if there is nothing in it for the event to hire you, you don’t get the job. It has almost nothing to do with the quality of your music.
    An analogy. TV and radio do not provide content to audiences. They exist to build audiences to sell to advertisers. The content is only secondarily important. They’ve got to make money somehow. The artist is a content provider, a vendor. If you see it that way, rather than as a prima donna artiste, it all makes perfect sense.

  18. Scott Ambrose Reilly
    Scott Ambrose Reilly

    I have met hundreds (if not thousands) of people in all facets of the music business (live, recorded, radio, distribution, etc, etc) over the last 25 years. I met Panos shortly after he started Sonicbids. Panos Panay is one of the most ethical and thoughtful of the bunch. Undisputable, his personal ethics are in the top end of the music business ethical scale no matter now you define it. Sonicbids is one of the most neutral business models around. I would be surprised if Panos had many thoughts about “how to exploit” artists or ever had a meeting with his teams about “how to exploit artists”. Sonicbids has no ability to exploit anyone without proactive effort from the so-called exploited. Sonicbids has no ability to lock up your rights, no ability to prevent your growth, no ability to hamper or tax your future, no ability to sideline your dreams. Sonicbids took an old inefficient physical model and digitized it. Visual a room with 5,000 CDs and press packets. Debating the ethics of the Sonicbids model and the ethics of Panos Panay’s successful growth and ethics of the recently announced deal is akin to complaining about your stubbed toe while legs are being amputated all around you. Do yourself a favor, prioritize and focus your outrage. Unless you have an unlimited suppy of outrage, in which case please carry on. It is entertaining to read.

  19. David C
    David C

    It’s a bit odd that the only people sticking up for sonic bids here have strange fictional names with no web address.
    i really don’t know anyone who has been overwhelmed by their service and 99% of people I speak to about sonic bids have nothing but gripes about it, including promoters.
    The last few comments appear dubious to say the least

    • Saumon Sauvage
      Saumon Sauvage

      This is my screen name, David C. I’m a musician with a stage name and am not going to reveal it. Tough luck, but nothing I have written is false and without anything more than your own unfounded suspicions, you ought to back off.

    • Scott Ambrose Reilly
      Scott Ambrose Reilly

      Scott Ambrose Reilly. Loud and clear. Google it, find me, debate me, tell us how Sonicbids harmed you. Or better yet find the business model that will work for you as an artist or as an business person and start building on it.

  20. Mitchell Fox
    Mitchell Fox

    I try not to spend an inordinate amount of time commenting on these sites….but the one thing that continues to just drive me crazy/angry is the relative lack of appreciation for the amount of time/energy/gumption it takes to get up every day and strap on your self-esteem and try to make something of your life/career. For those of you who continue to use hurtful, uninformed and self-absorbed comments on the relative lack of “quality” of the music being submitted through sites like SB as a basis for judgement thereof, y’all can go fuck yourselves. Who are you to take away the sheer joy and enthusiasm one might have for their “art” by throwing a cloak of hurtful criticism over anyone who may take the time and energy and money to make something of themselves whether as sheer creative license or for financial gain, or both. Believe me when I tell you, SB is not THEE only problem or THEE only solution. It’s just part of the process in which there are many, many opportunities to promote oneself and music. Just read Hoopers new book…..and stop complaining. Shut up and get back to work. I will now do the same.

  21. Tony van Veen
    Tony van Veen

    “Sonicbids invented their own barrier…”
    If Sonicbids has done anything it’s eliminate friction from the gig/showcase solicitation process.
    An artist used to have to research clubs, booking agents, showcase opportunities, etc., then go through the trouble of sending their own submissions. Not only does SB provide one location where a band can find thousands of opportunities, they even notify you proactively.
    This has opened up tons of new opportunities for artists.
    Yes, there’s a fee for some listings (though many more are free these days). But it cost money to mail a promo kit too in the old days. And ultimately, SB is not responsible for whether someone gets chosen or not. But… whenever you appear to be a filter you open yourself up to potshots from others.
    Finally, I concur with Scott Ambrose Reilly’s take on Panos: one of the most ethical guys in the biz.

  22. hippydog

    Saying Sonicbids “exploited” the artists is kinda like saying Yellowpages, ‘chamber of commerce’, or all agents exploits business people..
    Either you see the value or you don’t.
    The problem is whenever you “digitize” anything and remove the human factor the value of the product is hugely reduced, for the simple reason all normal barriers are removed and the “unwashed masses” are allowed in.. (IE: the barrier was already there, Sonicbids just simplified it, & monetized it)
    It most likely DID provide oppurtunities for those who normally would not have had them, but it also provided increased oppurtunities for the ethically challenged..

  23. Suzanne Lainson
    Suzanne Lainson

    For me, the situation is what is the best way to get gigs: on your own or through Sonicbids?
    I had good luck doing it on my own because the bands I worked with had talent, already had press coverage, already a track record getting gigs, etc. Sonicbids didn’t really bring anything to the mix other than being a place that some events required you to use, and those events weren’t ones you could get into without some inside connections.
    So based on my experience, I would say to bands, I don’t think Sonicbids is going to be the answer for you. You’ve got to do the work yourself anyway. Plus, the advantage of cultivating your own contacts is that you’re not competing with 1000s of other bands trying to get through to them.

    I don’t think my attitude should be considered a slam against Sonicbids. It’s more a matter of practical advice to bands. Using Sonicbids’ format, having to pay for submissions, and using the contact/opportunity list that 1000s of other bands are using means you are one of the masses. It might not be the most efficient way to get bookings.

    The real key is to be talking to promoters/bookers and asking them how they find bands. How many of them only use Sonicbids, and how many of them actually look at the EPKs of every band that submits? How many of them will say that they refuse to consider bands that don’t go through Sonicbids? And if that is the case, why?

    Remember when MySpace was the norm for people to check out your music? That often was the best link to give to people. I preferred it to Sonicbids because you could put everything on that one page: photos, music, press quotes, videos. It was fast. Sonicbids required that you click multiple links to find all that, which I didn’t like.

    I haven’t gotten the impression that Sonicbids became the alternative once MySpace began its decline. I know one band that I worked with now uses a combination of the band’s website, YouTube, ReverbNation, and Facebook.

  24. Constantine Roussos | .MUSIC
    Constantine Roussos | .MUSIC

    I am with Panos on this one. He has always been a straight shooter and has sweated blood for his company and his vision.
    That said, I have the utmost respect for all the digital music innovators, whether they are SonicBids, CDBaby, Reverbnation, TheOrchard, InGrooves, Tunecore, BFM Digital, Believe and others.
    I am one to attest that when it comes to shove they will all do what serves the music community as they have all done with supporting the .music Initiative as well as other activities benefiting the artist community. Utmost respect to all those companies and their leaders. Obviously they would not be in business if they did not create value.
    Common logic dictates that if an artist is not satisfied with a service they will put their money elsewhere. This is where competition and innovation is a healthy motivation. All of these companies have been driving the needle for innovation in the digital music space and applaud them for that.
    If Panos had an unethical company with subpar services then Sonicbids would not be around. In the age of transparency and word-of-mouth you bet that artists communicate with each other and make decisions about their future by comparing notes and selecting services that give them a chance to succeed. Exploitation is a very harsh word and it assumes artists have not done their homework. If they are struggling artists rest assured they do their homework in regards to where to invest their monies in.
    If I have a few cents of advice for you Lee it would be to let your product and service speak for itself. If it is truly great then it is a given that artists will learn about it and you will benefit from it. This is the beauty of entrepreneurship and running a company. We all strive for a better service to serve artists because having a sustainable, competitive advantage is the only motivating factor to have a long term play in this space.
    Constantine Roussos

    • Lee Parsons
      Lee Parsons

      You aren’t a musician or even involved in the music industry.

      You are a Harvard Grad with a tech site.

      How can you give a solid viewpoint into the value of Sonic Bids for musicians?
      Lee Parsons
      Ditto Music

      • hippydog

        Quote “You aren’t a musician or even involved in the music industry. You are a Harvard Grad with a tech site”
        Thats your rebuttal?

      • Bruce Warila
        Bruce Warila

        Enough is enough. Ripping into people like Panos and Constantine isn’t going to get you very far in life.
        You don’t need to be an artist to put your heart and sole into helping artsits. You just insulted every non-artist that cares about artists and this industry.
        When you get a bit older, you will regret writing this post and tossing around insults like the one above.
        I truly wish you the best of luck with your business.

        • Lee Parsons
          Lee Parsons

          Siding me against the whole tech industry, most of whom are friends, really distorts this whole discussion
          Contstantines comments were backhanded & disrespectful. I do not believe that he should be speaking for the best interest of musicians or understands the frustrations they have with Sonic Bids.
          Hundreds of artists that i know have paid Sonic Bids without receiving ANYTHING.
          So when i read Panos’ friends congratulate him for cashing out i gave my views. This was then spun into an article.
          Wether i lose business or friends at least i have stuck to my principles.
          I hope everyone here can say the same

          Lee Parsons
          Ditto Music

  25. Colleen D
    Colleen D

    I mostly appreciate Sonicbids, but rarely submit to gigs where a payment is required. That’s because my one big frustration with the format is that I wish that there was an equal requirement from the Promoter (say, a thoughtful, individual rejection or review) as there is upfront from the Artist ($$). Too many of our submissions lapsed into a nebulous void, and that’s where we started to feel ripped off.
    There should be a more detailed system for rating the promoters if one is required to pay them. And if they don’t meet up to expectations, the Artist should be at least partially refunded.

  26. Khalid

    Panos is one of the good guys. Anyone who’s met him knows this. It’s an expensive, thankless business being a struggling artist. At every step there is someone willing to take your money to help you ‘live the dream’. Sometimes you have to take those risks – an spend the money – and some pay off an some dont. Finger pointing at people and businesses that make money from artists could keep us up all night. I say well done to the Sonicbids team . (typos courtesy of a phone)

  27. Lee Parsons
    Lee Parsons

    Thank you for your response Panos, and everyone who put their real name to this debate

    I am sure you started out caring about artists. But as things progress, VC’s get involved, and artists become customer acquisitions. When they look at the spreadsheets of sign ups, do your VC’s understand how much $30 means to an artist?

    $30 can be the only spare money they have for a month. I have been there, and I know. They trust you with that money and there is no accountability from Sonic Bids.

    Do you make it clear how many applications you take per event? Do artists know how many slots are already decided through sponsors?
    Your model is not like Monster. Their submission process is free.
    You are like a recruiter who takes money upfront and never calls back.

    Here is an example:

    I am running an unofficial SXSW showcase this year. I am paying for it myself, including their travel. I have had 1,000 submissions. Your model wants me to charge all those artists a fee for applying. That is not something I need so why is it as necessary as getting a haircut? It would be revenue generated for you and me from those 999 failed artists. 

    I do not like bashing other companies. A tech site is hardly the target audience for my views. But I am a musician first and a businessman second. The Musicians i know are not happy with Sonic Bids and I am speaking for them.

    A publisher works in the next office to us. They listen to thousands of music submissions, mostly unsigned.
    They pick out the best one, pitch that to a brief, and then give a commission to the artist should the deal go through. No one pays upfront for anything.
    Your model may make it to 15 million, and you may be popular with the VC community, but their model is fair to musicians.

    Lee Parsons

    • Saumon Sauvage
      Saumon Sauvage

      I dislike, but use, the SonicBids platform occasionally because it takes advantage of cost-efficiencies in the delivery of information to end-users. It does indeed exploit the oversupply of musicians and the many, many wannabes without talent. But that is America and if those wannabes find a market, a paying audience will justify their work because, for whatever reason, they like it.
      But your point, Lee, if I understand you correctly, is a moral one, i.e, that the artist shouldn’t have to pay simply to be considered by potential employers. Now, that would be ideal. And, by extension, it would be ideal for all festivals, showcases and venues to compensate performers. So, how much do you compensate performers in the SXSW showcase you organize?

  28. Janet Hansen
    Janet Hansen

    In the scheme of things, I have never been thrilled with the Sonic Bids model. That said, they are acting as booking agent for the hundreds of artists looking for gigs. Artists would have to pay much more to the booking agent upon accepting a gig. The agent is a negotiator for the artist who doesn’t take no sitting down when things get iffy. In this scenario, there was no one to negotiate anything at all on the artists behalf. No one to discuss why the band is a good fit for the venue, why the fee is too low, no one to negotiate a time slot or headline credit.
    Artists are much better off going out and working with an established booking agent or seriously looking for someone and setting up a business agreement that works for both parties.
    Sonic Bids simply took advantage of the lack of booking agents available, and created a system. It created yet another barrier of distrust among artists with those of us who are working very hard to provide services to those who can benefit from them.
    The entire indie model is still evolving. How much money an artist spends on a service like Sonic Bids is up to their discretion if they spend the money at all. Artists need to think for themselves rather than do what everyone else is doing.
    When musicians enter a business model that established up front music and various other collaterals are free to fans, they cannot automatically assume everyone else in this business will go along for free too.

    • Suzanne Lainson
      Suzanne Lainson

      Artists are much better off going out and working with an established booking agent or seriously looking for someone and setting up a business agreement that works for both parties.

      Absolutely this is the case. Of course most bands can’t get booking agents, but in order to get to the point where booking agents will take them on, they have to do a lot of work themselves.

      As I have mentioned multiple times here, I helped some bands get gigs (I didn’t serve as their manager or their booking agent, but I understand marketing/PR/promotion well enough to know how to put together effective press kits that get results). It was a matter of putting in front of bookers the right info to convince them they should use these acts. My ideas of what to use to give these bands a foot in the door didn’t mesh with the Sonicbids format. Back when I was doing this, I preferred either creating my own standalone EPK, using a MySpace page that I tailored to my needs, or a physical press kit (because some people still wanted that). The one-size-fits-all Sonicbids format didn’t give me enough flexibiity, nor did I get the impression that the Sonicbids format was better than what I was using myself.
      Then, if you add submissions fees on top of that, you’re looking at a situation where you’re paying to be overlooked. Up-and-coming bands rarely have enough money to spend, so they have to choose wisely. And for the same reason, I was never wild about bands choosing to pay a radio promoter or a publicist. It’s money out, with no guarantee that you’ll get something in return. I always preferred to have them spend their money on touring, so that they would actually get in front of potential audiences. Not random touring, but strategic touring.

      What would be useful, if Sonicbids has never done this, is to provide stats for the site and for each opportunity. What percentage of submitting bands get gigs? How much do bands spend each year, on average, to submit for gigs? Even better, what percentage of submissions are being looked at by the promoters/bookers? Kickstarter has been pretty good with its numbers. Topspin provides case studies. If Soncbids provides numbers, I’ve missed those.

      • Suzanne Lainson
        Suzanne Lainson

        It just occurred to me I should elaborate on a thought in my last comment.

        Kickstarter wants to keep the numbers of its success stories high, so it does a bit of prescreening before it accepts projects. And that is a good thing. If there are red flags that the project will fail, Kickstarter isn’t going to take it on.

        A site like Sonicbids may have intentionally taken the opposite approach to build up its numbers. If you accept every band, then you can bill yourself as a comprehensive band site. However, by taking everyone, the percentages of success stories are much lower and you probably don’t want to publish those numbers.

        I think most bands would prefer the Kickstarter approach because it would give them more credibility to be able to say, “We made the Soncbids cut.” But Sonicbids has said in the past that it depends on submission fees as a prescreen. By asking bands to pay, this is to indicate that the bands are serious and to keep out the bands who would submit to everything. However, as we know in music, often those who pay-to-play are the least talented because they can’t get opportunities otherwise.

        On other note. On my last comment, I quoted someone and that is in italics. Below that is a paragraph in blue and that isn’t in italics. That’s not a quote. That’s part of my comment. Just wanted to clarify it.

  29. AWB28

    Well, here’s the truth. On the side of Sonicbids, nobody held a gun to the head of any musician to pay them and join. You can’t blame them for that part at least. If a musician was gullible enough to do so, that isn’t Sonicbids’ fault. On the other hand, if a musician/artist feels that Sonicbids, or similar sites, will be their ticket to work and success, they have a MUCH bigger problem than the $30 they wasted on joining that site. A MUCH bigger problem! As an A&R manager I see this every single day, multiple times a day. Artists/musicians who may be talented, but don’t have a clue how to market themselves. They’ll waste their time and money on sites like Sonicbids, Reverbnation and other similar ones expecting someone else to do the work and make them stars, rather than learning how to do it themselves or at least hiring a manager and publicist. Sorry guys, but those who do this get exactly what they deserve!

    • boohoobigwhinybabies

      The takeaway I’m getting from this sour grapes post and all the ‘evil exploiter’ comments is the difference between an ‘artist’ and a ‘professional musician’—apparently the former is infantile, incompetent and in dire need of protection from the harsh realities of commerce, while the latter is highly-motivated, self-educates, makes a plan, and acts on it. Sonicbids can be an interface, an intermediary, a part of the plan, not the whole plan. Artists need to buy a vowel and solve the puzzle, or stay in the garage. Either way, the whine factor is way out of control.

      How about we talk about the evil exploiters who run their company’s on intern labor in violation of federal law?

      • Peter C
        Peter C

        All I am taking away from it is lee had the kahunas to write his own name and state a problem. And everyone on the Sonic Bids camp, excluding Panos hides behind fake names and ridiculous statements.
        You can not say that an artist is naive so therefore deserves to be exploited. It proves the motives of your business model and is why people are upset

        • whatever

          I did not say artists ‘deserve to be exploited’. I am perplexed why we consider them so frail and coddle them like little children. If a ‘struggling artist’ chooses to commercialize their work, then they need to step up and be prepared to enter the business world. It’s a choice. Once we drop the art-bomb, it all gets fuzzy…

  30. Aaron Garner
    Aaron Garner

    I’ve been on Sonicbids for quite a while, got some work through it. It wasn’t life changing but I did connect with some people outside my regular contact circle.
    In this day and age of the EPK, I think a lot of people lost sight of the expense a regular old school promo pack would cost to assemble and ship (reproduce photos on photo paper, printingcosts, etc.)
    I do think some promoters took advantage of the way the sysytem is set up, or at the very least got lazy with the convenience it offers them, but hey, this is the music business..and that’s life. There are no guarentees. Keep track of your submissions and write the costs off as promo at tax time.
    At the end of the day, the old business adage applies: “The secret to being successful in business is to be a good middleman.” Sonicbids was selling “the dream” to a certain extent…but a lot of people want to believe in “the dream” even if they don’t have the goods, and they’re willing to pay for a shot at it.

    • Suzanne Lainson
      Suzanne Lainson

      In this day and age of the EPK, I think a lot of people lost sight of the expense a regular old school promo pack would cost to assemble and ship (reproduce photos on photo paper, printingcosts, etc.)

      I’ve done both. If it only costs you $5 to put together a custom print kit plus $5 to mail it (actually closer to $2) but you need to spend $10-$30 to pay a submission fee to use an electronic submission, the print kit is cheaper.

      Or if there is a submission fee in both cases, but the print kit gets you more attention than the EPK, then it might be worth it to do it that way.

      Or if you are comparing EPKs at various online sites, you might find one works better for you than others.

      I’ll come back to my point that I think transparency is probably the key here. These days more companies are providing info on how many people use their services and how many have had success with them. There are benchmarks. So if Sonicbids would break down what percentage of users get gigs via Sonicbids, and what is the acceptance rate among the bookers, that would go along way to clarify whether or not this is the right approach for bands. If a band understands that 2000 bands have submitted to a festival and only two have been chosen from the Sonicbids submissions, the bands might decide to formuate a different strategy. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with those low odds, but if there is a fee for every submission and the odds of getting selected are like a lottery, it might be better to use that money in a different fashion.

  31. Visitor

    This is a real and interesting debate. Worthy of a follow up story.
    Hosever, but please Paul do we have to see Parsons giant GQ poser photo again.

  32. Jordan Smith
    Jordan Smith

    I play no major part in this business, though I am a CEO of an indie label E.R.Records; and to the acts on my label I am as important as anyone in the business.
    I cannot speak for Lee, but I will give my two cents in his favour.
    At the heart of any vast argument is a fundemantal point. Lee’s point in my opinion is you can make a choice to run a healthy profitable business without selling your soul, without ripping people off. someone noted if sonicbuds were so bad, they would have no clients. Coca-cola was given the highest fine of any company in the US because they put tap water into bottles and sold it as premium water, people were outraged, but they continue to sell billions of litres of whatever they sell. Therefore your point is not valid.
    I have a band wanting to buy merch, in my contracts they can only do so through my label, they only had 300 pound to spare, and advised them, and bought 300 worth of items, the profit I made will not say but you couldn’t buy lunch with it. They are happy with a service and have paid my way, due to that business ethic I will never made 15 million, but I will have artists that swear by my name; and in turn recommend others to me.
    I ve never as artist or label owner heard a good word of sonic buds, and this tells me enough.
    I will not be attatching my GQ poster, because even bad business owners on’t deserve that horror.
    Jordan Smith
    Gladly Ditto Distributed
    CEO//E.R.Records Liverpool

  33. seasoned gunn

    My view is that emotionally unstable people with ‘stars in their eyes,’ whether musicians, painters, authors and or college students who write a check for admissions will always fall victim to the bottom feeder. Sonicbid is a classic bottom feeder; a filter fish that to survive must gather and eat the remains and or waste products of other creatures. It’s a scavenger; willing to eat anything that falls in its path.

    The energy an artist can spend reading and or researching an ‘opportunities’ like sonicbid is called procrastination. It is not the real leg-work of being an artist. Playing music and or writing books or painting is the real work. True art arises via attraction NOT promotion. Make great art and a wave of volatility will form around it. This is called a buzz. Since man first lived in a cave, this has always been the case. Buzz.

    Good rule of thumb is to treat anyone who asks you for upfront money like a customer. They want something from you, and it ain’t your art. It’s your money.

    Finally, once you have a buzz booking gigs and such is fairly easy. Just make contact directly with your prospect. They’ll already know who you are.

  34. Hulon Crayton

    Many of you raise valid points. There are many avenues for artists to contact music venues, but very few which allow direct contact between the parties. Quite simply, SonicBids has an intriguing platform providing one-on-one contact, albeit, there are alternatives for those whom are more budget conscious.

    Hulon E. Crayton II (Lonnie)
    Co-Founder of 825 Studios
    Founder of Premier Musique Group


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