And what is the Sonicbids ‘pay-to-play problem,’ exactly? In the wake of a $15 million acquisition, the accusations are that Sonicbids unfairly charges thousands of artists for the mere chance of getting a festival slot. Even if the chances of acceptance are essentially zero. “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,” Ditto Music Matt Parsons blasted, the start of a very heated debate.
Which brings us to BandWagon, a UK-based startup headed by Stan Mcleod that just secured deals to power submissions for Secret Garden Party and goNORTH. The difference is that artists only have to pay for more premium packages, not to submit. “It’s important to us that BandWagon pushes for more transparency in the live music industry,” Mcleod explained.
“The anti-pay-to-play agreement is just the start in our mission to promote a fairer live community.”
The startup is clearly at loggerheads with the Sonicbids approach, but does this alternative make business sense? “BandWagon is taking a firm stance on pay-to-play ‘initiatives’. Distancing itself from any company looking to profit from artists trying to get gigs, BandWagon will incorporate its own community agreement into its terms and conditions, disallowing any such activity on any of its gigs.