You Can Now Pay Important People To Listen To Your Music

It’s always been one of the biggest difficulties for an independent musician: how to get their music heard by ‘important people.’ Influencers. Industry people. Celebrities. Bloggers. Radio DJs. Music supervisors. Promoters. Booking agents. Managers. Labels.

The issue has always been, these important people, let’s call them Influencers, get inundated with unsolicited music on a daily (hourly) basis. There’s no way these Influencers could possibly get to all of the music and the few they pull out of the pile to sample, usually suck. It only reinforces their policy of rejecting all unsolicited music.

But what if there was a financial incentive for these Influencers to listen to the music that came through the door?

Enter Fluence.

Fluence is a new service, co-founded by one of the co-founders of Topspin, Shamal Ranasinghe, and William White, CTO of Fluence and former employee of Yahoo! Music and AOL.

Fluence connects artists (they call them “promoters”) with “curators.” Why they chose “curators” and not “influencers” eludes me. Probably to encourage curation of the submitted songs. Or maybe they are energy curators. Or maybe because curator is a fancier word. But moving on.

Promoters can send a song or music video to a Curator as an “audition.” The Curator sets an hourly rate and earns the fraction of that rate based on the length of the song. So if a Curator’s rate is $500 an hour and a song is 3:00 long, that Curator would earn $25 (if she listened all the way through). Part of Fluence’s technology tracks how long the Curator listened to (or watched) the song (or video) and pays out accordingly.

Update: Promoters see cost per minute (NOT by hour). Curators set a cost per hour. This is very confusing and should be updated. Most Curators charge about $1-3 a minute. 

Promoters can browse Curators to find the Curator that makes the most sense for their style of music. A metal band should not submit to a Radio DJ with an acoustic program. Similarly, a singer/songwriter should not submit to a blogger who exclusively reviews EDM.

Every Curator’s profile explicitly lists what she is interested in and her places of expertise.

Curator’s are encouraged to leave feedback on the submitted song or video. Feedback can be anything from a single sentence, immediate reaction statement, to (my approach) a full-fledged song review with specific areas to improve. Promoters then rate the feedback on usefulness.

“While I was at Topspin, it was really hard to see these incredible artists who should be playing and selling to audiences 10 times what they had,” Shamal Ranasinghe, Co-founder, Fluence

I’m a new Curator on Fluence (as is fellow DMN writer Nina Ulloa) and have listened to and reviewed a couple songs to try the platform out. I spent much more time on my critiques (feedback) than I was paid for which is something that Fluence doesn’t make clear initially in their payment structure. The only way to actually be properly paid for the time spent is to jack the hourly rate up to a level that makes sense. If the song is 3 minutes long, I may listen 3-4 times and then spend 45 minutes writing the critique. I feel a little funny setting my rate as “$500 an hour” just to make the actual hour I spend on the song worth my time (working out to about $25). A clearer pricing structure would remove the hourly rate and just have Curators set a “cost per minute” – exactly what Promoters would see.

Fluence charges Promoters the Curator’s rate plus Fluence’s 20% cut. So if a Curator’s rate is $200 an hour, the Promoter would be charged $240 an hour (or rather that rate divided by the length of their song) and the Curator would be paid their full rate.

Update 11/22/14 – Most Curators charge about $1-3 a minute. 

Some artists located thousands of miles away from LA, NYC, Nashville or London are currently using Fluence to get industry professionals to give them guidance and honest feedback on new songs, demos or official tracks. Startups have used Fluence to get the word out about their product videos. Others are using Fluence to get ‘important people’ out to shows.

Jay Frank, band manager and Future Hit DNA blogger, used Fluence to submit music to influencers in cities on his bands’ tours. Frank mentioned that his showcases were packed and they received positive blog coverage and that “several music supervisors have expressed interest in placing the music as well. ”

Fluence is a valuable new platform that gives musicians a direct line to some of the most influential movers and shakers of the industry.

Are you killing it in your home town, but unable to gain traction amongst the greater industry? This is a way to reach the industry. This is something I would have loved when I was in Minneapolis selling out 800 cap clubs, but had zero ties to any industry people.

Ranasinghe highlighted a relationship made via Fluence between the producer/engineer/DJ Brian Hazard and a 15 year old, Nick O’Brien, living thousands of miles away. Hazard liked O’Brien’s work so much that he actually asked him to remix one of Hazard’s tracks for his upcoming record.

Fluence is still very new (officially launched in Beta on October 28th), but over 700 Curators are already on the platform.

Curators must be approved or invited by a fellow curator. They can request an invite here.

Curators can submit their material to other Curators as well – fostering a respectful community of fellow artists and influencers. I’ll probably try this with my new album.

Any artist/promoter can sign up here.

83 Responses

  1. Jdknider is a similar service that works great and is much more straight forward. I’ve used it quite a bit and my experience has been very positive. I’ve used it for 4-5 tracks and they are the pros have been very helpful and since the price is set upfront – they put in as much time as they think makes sense. A thorough review policy helps submitters know how the pros work – so you have a strong sense of their approach.

    Slightly different in that they focus on production rather than promotion, but the producers on the site are often very influential and have some big histories.

    Cool find – I’ll check out Fluence too.

    JD Knider

  2. yummy

    this is similar to the Facebook model where they slip advertising in your feed and pretend its news.

  3. GGG

    Is there any system set up to make sure these “influencers” are actually making any effort to give a shit? What’s the stop someone reviewing 20 songs a week with cookie-cutter advice and taking hundreds of dollars away from artists?

    • Ari Herstand

      Their reviews get rated by the artists/Promoters. Their ratings are publicly displayed. So, if a Curator has a shitty rating it’s a giant red flag not to submit to him.

      • axgrindr

        Right. So somebody pays an “influencer” $560 and later sees that they are a shitty influencer? Nice.
        Oh the magic of sites that depend on the bad experiences of others to actually show the worth of what the site is offering.

      • DarkMoney

        Oh sure, but who rates those reviews? Is it raters all the way down?

  4. Nina Ulloa

    As Ari stated, I do use Fluence. I use it to give feedback on the media people send. I use it as a critique/consultation platform, not a “pay me to write about you/give you visibility” one. There’s definitely a fine line, and it feels wrong to see blogs using this as their submission portal.

    The Fader posted an article about Fluence that I think hit the nail on the head:

      • Nina Ulloa

        no, my feedback isn’t worth $0.00. I haven’t written about anything that anyone’s sent me on any website, including my own blog.

        Cathedrals sent me their video on Fluence AFTER I had already written about their video on DMN. Not sure why they did that.

        i do other things besides write for DMN, which i think is the norm for writers in this industry. This is just one more thing, giving constructive feedback to people on their music. I’m still testing the whole thing out. Like I said, some aspects makes uncomfortable and I’m now leaning towards deleting my account because of that.

    • Alexander Forselius

      I think Fluence is the right way. I do think is far better than being flooded with unsoliciated emails from artists, because listening to unsociliated materials are wasting time because most of the stuff isn’t pretty serious. And I don’t think it bad to pay an influencer $7 – $25 for having an influencer to listen to my 5 min song, because it taking up their time from blogging. This is much better model than people sending bloggers lot of promo stuff straight into their email.

  5. Paul Resnikoff

    It’s tough to admit, but a lot of music we love is actually the result of happy accidents: the members accidentally meeting and starting a band, an accidental jam session or incident that leads to an amazing song, a series of accidents online that spill over into a mass online audience, an influential person getting ahold of the music through some accident and then deciding to push it (maybe after accidentally sharing it with someone at a party…)

    The flip side of this is that 99.9% of the time, great groups don’t have enough insanely-great accidents occur at the right time, and right place. Can Fluence fix that? This seems fraught with complications and hazards, but let’s give it a chance.

    • Name2

      Shorter Resnikoff:

      STFU and be thankful they’re getting a one-time set fee and not a permanent slice of your publishing.

    • DNog

      Or let’s not. What a fucking scam and even if by some chance, lets go high and say 5% of the people actually push a song or share it to some “next level” there is still 95% of people taking advantage of young impressionable musicians the same way a record label does with waving contracts in front of artsit. There isn’t even a standard for who can be an “Fluencer.” Oh your write a music blog? Okay you deserve to be paid for your advice.
      Oh you have a rating system? What’s that based off of? Absolutely open to any interpretation of advice. “You said my song isn’t the greatest?” “You didn’t hook me up with a connection?” Bad rating. I wouldn’t mind if it was a free service but money makes this such a shady thing.

    • Anonymous

      “a lot of music we love is actually the result of happy accidents: the members accidentally meeting and starting a band, an accidental jam session or incident that leads to an amazing song, a series of accidents online that spill over into a mass online audience, an influential person getting ahold of the music through some accident and then deciding to push it”

      Um, yes. Here’s how most of the music we love is made, though:

      A writer crawls out of bed, writes for 8 hours, falls asleep over the piano/guitar/sequencer, wakes up, no it was not a nightmare sorry bro, meets the singer, decides the song sucks, gets stoned, goes to bed.

      Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

      To be continued.

      • Remi Swierczek

        We just need Discovery Moment Monetization.

        Great tune can make cash for the author, the band, the Radio station, streaming service and PIMP Shazam.


        We have over $100B of goodwill that needs to be harvested. “Live harvesting” is good for just few who have critical mass and leaves a lot of good music un-monetized.

  6. Minneapolis Observer

    Taxi has been doing this for 30 years or so.

    And is this basically a review of a company Ari and Nina work for part-time, as “curator/contractors”?

    • Name2

      Yeah, you just have to read about halfway through to get to something akin to “disclosure”.

      (I wonder if they format their feedback to paying musicians like they format articles here at DMN?)

      • Nina Ulloa

        I can’t speak for Ari, but I’ve given feedback on 8 songs and have made $15. I wouldn’t call that “part time”.

        Do I use Fluence as a source for articles that I then get paid to write? No. Do I tell anyone I am going to write about them so that they’ll pay me $1.94 to listen to their song & write 3 sentences of feedback? No.

        Next complaint..

        Here’s more people you can speculate about:

        • Minneapolis Observer


          Wasn’t a complaint. It was just an honest question.

          Thanks for clarifying and answering.

        • axgrindr

          Nina, you supplying all this info saying that you work for this company just makes it worse.
          There are many sites that do this same “service”. Sites that have been around for years and years.
          Is this one special somehow because you and Ari have signed up as A&R reps with them?

          This really just looks like lame self promo to me.

  7. dude

    Im sorry but anyone that thinks its a good idea to pay $25 just to get a response (!) from some hack on this website is not ready for the big time because they will get robbed blind

    What a fucking scam, at least with payola you got guaranteed airplay

  8. Adam C Smith

    This is not the best idea i’ve ever seen…it’s among the worst.

    • Name2

      At least when Brian Epstein sold out the Beatles’ publishing, they got booked on TV shows for their trouble. What do Fluence suckers get for their $500?

  9. Anonymous

    “So you never know, its one of those things, its ephemeral, its transcendent, you never know when the source will hit you”

    You’re right of course, I’m just a bit tired of Paul’s ‘happy accidents’. They usually happen while you’re brushing your teeth after days of writing and only because your subconsciousness is slaving away 24/7. I don’t even know if there’s anything happy about them. The accident part is spot on, though.

    • Anonymous

      …and that comment reminds me of the shoe the Russians forgot to cut out of a photo when they removed Trotsky, or whoever it was…

  10. Willis

    So, you couldn’t pay important people to listen to your music before this? I seem to recall something call Payola that was payment for play – a similar thing. Cash has always greased the wheels.

    In looking at the profiles of people who are considered the experts to give feedback, I recognize a few names, but there is nobody that I would consider an expert, outside of telling you what they like and don’t like…and what does that really matter.

  11. shamal

    I’m a cofounder of Fluence and happy to answer any questions — shamal (at) If you’re interested in more information, you can read about the intention and purpose of Fluence here:

    We built Fluence to unlock the creative community’s capacity to help each other with feedback and promotional advice. People can connect on their own terms and use Fluence to filter what they receive by their specified interests. Some people do charge for their time to review media submitted to them, others donate their earnings to charity, but more than 70% of our usage is free as people engage with submitted media for no cost.

    • axgrindr

      This is different from all the sites that do the same thing in what way?
      Are you simply copying an existing business model or do you actually offer something new to composers (other than a way to take money out of their pocket that they cannot afford to give you)?

      Good Business Model
      Find people who need music from composers, pay the composer for that music.

      Bad Business Model
      Take money from composers to give them advice.

  12. GGG

    Let’s also be real here. 99% of the “artists” that use this site are going to be mediocre at best, horrible at worst.

  13. Sam Page

    With all due respect, I’m calling BULLSHIT on this. This is another way for so-called “industry insiders” to take advantage of desperate, fledgling artists. I blew a bunch of money on this sort of thing a few years ago before I got some street sense. And seriously, this just seems like an infomercial. Any more articles like this and I’ll stop paying attention to DMN.

    Sorry Ari, but you’ve lost credibility on this one. I suggest deleting this article.

  14. axgrindr

    There are so many companies out there that do this already. It’s all worthless.
    A composer should never pay for submissions or reviews, period.
    These types of business models are the bottom feeders of the music industry.

  15. Heron Demarco

    Fluence is a solid service. As with all services, the app will improve with time.
    I have fostered a number of relationships with music supervisors via Fluence.
    They’ve been helpful, and have provided me with many great opportunities.
    To each his own. Keep fighting the good fight guys!

  16. Heron Demarco

    Fluence is a solid service. As with all services, the app will improve with time.
    I have fostered a number of relationships with music supervisors via Fluence.
    They’ve been helpful, and have provided me with many great opportunities.
    To each his own. Keep fighting the good fight guys!

    • axgrindr

      “Fluence is a new service”

      It is a new service and you have already “fostered a number of relationships with music supervisors” via Fluence.

      That just doesn’t ring true to me, but ok.
      How much did you spend to “foster a number relationships”?
      Do you have to keep sending the music supervisors money to keep the relationships “fostered”?
      Do these fostered relationships actual create some kind of monetary benefit for you?

      I have nothing against this company or others that do the same thing.
      I do have something against people who go after the low hanging fruit of desperate composers in tough times with the only goal being to take money out of their pocket.
      To me, as a musician and music distributor, that whole concept really disgusts me.

      • Heron Demarco

        And here’s my proof. No there is no continued cost. Sorry if you tried similar services in the past and didn’t make the cut.

        /Users/errol.coombs/Desktop/Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 11.10.38 AM.png

        • axgrindr

          Your screengrab needs to be on the web to post it.

          I own a very successful music distribution company and have had meetings with other companies very similar to Fluence who wanted me to use their service because we attract so many composers to our websites.

          I did try the services from my end, having musicians pay me to review their music, and I couldn’t morally justify it. It just felt awful to me.

          I’m glad you’ve had some kind of success with them. Good on ya.
          You still shouldn’t have to pay for that though.

        • axgrindr

          Thanks for posting this Heron. They seem to generally like your 4 minute hip hop song.

          But in general this is what everyone will be paying $500 (or whatever) an hour for?

          I mean… wtf.

          • Heron Demarco

            Regardin the cost of $500, I’m not sure where you’re getting your information from. They both auditioned my song for 9 dollars. You don’t have 9 dollars to spare?

          • axgrindr

            I don’t need my music reviewed Heron.
            I review music for free for composers so that they can actually earn money. That is what a real music distribution company does.
            I am sorry that you had to spend that $9.00 a pop to get such general reviews but I guess there is a market for just about everything out there.
            Good luck with your career.

          • Justin Mayer / Plum Minnow

            its true, its a real scam money from dreamers business…

            $9 bucks here, whatever else there… All so someone who doesnt know or do music can offer a pointless blurb to add to some EPK or whatever nonsense some other d-bag somewhere else is requiring from them these days…

            Anyways, its time for the real dreamers to pay, those that are dreaming they can get away with what they are doing, stealing unfinished unreleased unpublished property and use in a multitude of ways to ultimately benefit in a multitude of ways including monetarily!!!

            Id love nothing more then to see all complicit parties rotting in jail fixing fucking license plates at $.01 an hour or whatever it is for at least 5 years, as in just one of the criminal codes punishments up here in the jurisdiction they broke tons of laws in… thieving scumbag criminals…


          • Heron Demarco

            Not a problem. I pay that much on guitar strings. It’s a sound investment. Word to the wise, you may want to do your research before making erroneous statements regarding a service’s rates.

            If I may add, the hypocrisy of musicians ideas regarding cost/payment, is being allowed to proliferate. It’s rather sad.

            The conflicting argument being :” As an indie musician, tools which help my career, should be available without cost. Yet I should be paid for my music”

            There are no free lunches, and altruism is a myth.

          • axgrindr

            I was just quoting what the actual article stated Heron…
            “So if a Curator’s rate is $500 an hour and a song is 3:00 long, that Curator would earn $25 (if she listened all the way through).”
            But thanks for your words to the wise.

            You have your opinion Heron and I respect that but in my opinion real composers should never pay to have their music submitted or reviewed.

          • Ari Herstand

            No one is charged $500. I used that as an example of a round number. Curator’s set an “hourly rate” which is divided by the length of the song. Most curators charge $1-3 a minute. So, yes, a 4 minute song typically costs $4-12. Make sense?

            Promoters don’t see the hourly rate – only what it will cost them for the length of the song they are submitting. This is very confusing and something Fluence should change in their backend.

  17. jon b

    Hard to believe this is not mentioned: Fluence 2.0 will require a flat fee making that version of the service known as Flatulence. As an aside, we accept demos from services like Taxi….I’ve never signed anyone from those referrals but that is mostly cause there are (unfortunately) a lot more variables in the calculus today cause of the difficulty of artist development/monetization.

  18. axgrindr

    You Can Now Pay Ari and Nina $500 To Listen To Your Music!


  19. Consultant

    I’m a consultant. I have over 40 years of professional experience in theatre arts, radio, television, and stage; the performance arts. My professional experiences include marketing, branding, promotion, and sales. I also have many years of academic and professional training on multiple instruments, acting, dance, and other related skills. My time is extremely limited, therefore it’s valuable. I consult on voice, stage presence, repertoire, performance skill, and promoting to media and event/show talent buyers. I review over 300 releases a year. My reviews have appeared in numerous radio industry trade mags, and online review sites.

    I have found that the more professionally oriented someone is, the less likely they are to quibble about paying professionals for their advice. In fact, the most professional of those I’ve known in my lifetime have continued to pay for continued education – by multiple means.

    The word mediocrity is thrown around casually. As a rock radio program and music director in the 80s and 90s, I sometimes missed a hit. Typically though, I sought out what others in the industry thought of a cut being considered for airplay at AOR .. pre AAA and New Rock. This was common. We used trades like R&R (Radio and Records), FMQB, and others to follow what our peers were adding. This is still common practice today in fact, with FMQB and CMJ playing the dominant trade roles.

    Music affects the heart, and sometimes does not impress the head. Case in point was my experiences with the Black Crowes first hit single, and Gary Moore’s in the 80s. I missed on the Black Crowes because I thought them mediocre, just as I though Axel Rose was a poseur. Some of my peers missed on Still Got the Blues from Gary Moore because the arrangement had strings in it. Without audience research to determine broad appeal, we often had to “guess” what the audience would like. So we followed the “advice” of our community of music and program directors in our region and nationally.

    A service such as this being offered will provide benefit to some and not others. Some, like evidenced among this discussion, will criticize it before they’ve even tasted. Sounds like my grandson telling me he won’t eat mushrooms (although he has when I disguise it).

    Not everyone benefits from the same thing – in the same way. I’ll call bullshit on calling bullshit. Today’s industry is like none other that’s ever existed in my lifetime. Music directors are inundated with HUNDREDS of submissions a year. Talent buyers are deluged with HUNDREDS of entries for shows that might only require a handful of acts. It is THESE people who need the information that comes from credible sources, as they seek to vet and filter out the noise. A submission from a guy like me goes a long way in their decision making process. And that has a price.

    I wish the owners and operators of this site considerable good in their endeavor. I’ve been a part of numerous review sites, none of which still exist today. Finding an angle that’s different and provides benefit is challenging in today’s entertainment business environment … good luck you guys.

    And to the naysayers. You’ve always been there and you always will be. To you I also wish good luck. Not everyone earns success using the same methods. Whatever yours is, use it to the max. It might pay off. When it does, share your success with the rest of us so that we can learn.

    Thank you

    • axgrindr

      Sorry Grandpa but this is nonsense.
      I am the owner of musicloops dot com and partnersinrhyme dot com
      I receive at least 5 composer submissions a day and I listen to every single one of them.
      But here’s the thing, I do it for free!!
      If the composer is not good the request is ignored, if the composer is good I sign him up and pay him money every month. We have over 160 composers and pay out thousands and thousands of dollars every month to to our composers.
      They pay us nothing!
      That is the way it should be.
      We should be here to make money for the composers. Not to pay “Fluencer” idiots who think they know what they are talking about and what sells. If they knew what they were talking about they wouldn’t need to be “Fluencing” dollars out of composer’s pockets.
      They would simply listen to them, believe in them and then help them be successful.

      • Consultant

        good for you axgrindr. that’s the kind of thing I like to see. you have developed a model that’s successful for you and many of those you work with. congratulations! that’s the kind of thing that makes me smile. don’t cut down others who are trying to build as well. their model might be just as accommodating …even if it doesn’t look, smell, or taste the same as yours. I congratulate you for your success. However, your’s is not the only viable model of business out there today 😉

        • axgrindr

          Yes, there are lots of business models and they all deserve their time in the sun.
          But this business model is an old and tired one that simply takes money from composer’s pockets.

          • Consultant

            And for some it will be a blessing. I’ve paid thousands of musicians in my career. There’s more than one way to the top. I still pay for advice to this day and I’m 60. In fact, looking at my books quickly, I paid out $5000 last year for professional advice 😉

            great convo you guys. have a great day. gotta flight to catch.

  20. Greg

    In the new music industry, a musician that thinks they need “Important people” to advance their career is just as stupid as a fat person who thinks that the
    only thing that will make them loose weight is if they hire a personal trainer. But the personal trainer costs 100 an hour and they “have no money.” So, they just stay fat. In reality, all they gotta do is go is cut down on the micky dees. Basically, musicians are dumb and lazy.

  21. Not sure who I is

    Why don’t musicians just learn how to do this shit themselves? All we need is an audience. Learn how to build an audience right

  22. Fader Nails It

    “You don’t need to take Journalistic Ethics 101 to know that accepting money from potential writing subjects is probably the biggest faux-pas that a writer can make…”

    – Fader (

    Consider the NYT or CNN (openly) doing this. Or a political party paying for people to vote a certain way. You really can’t expect money not to a) affect the outcome, and b) cheapen the result.

    What’s the best case scenario? “I got awesome reviews from a reviewer I paid!” It doesn’t matter that “it happens all the time.” Doesn’t make it acceptable.

    Who does this help? Well…just follow the money. And – sorry – it goes back to journalists like Ulina and Ari. Oddly, it hurts them, too, because then they get their reviews reviewed by the people they reviewed.

    Do you see the pressure put on them to softball their feedback? Lower ratings mean fewer submissions, and then they make less money.

    Guys: Why would you do that to yourself? You’ve forfeited objectivity by accepting (very little) money. And you’ve announced it on the site you presently write for.

    Moving forward, how are we, as readers, supposed to take you at your word?

    Meanwhile, you’ve compromised your writing career for a pittance and you won’t be involved in any IPO or acquisition, should the company scale.

    So who does Fluence help? Fluence.


  23. JR

    other than EDM, the ONLY part of the music business that is growing is the segment that feeds on the wanabees. With the bar to entry so low, even talented cats walking on a piano are considered musicians, it makes perfect sense that more and more “services” be offered to the growing horde of musicians, for a small fee of course.

    The kind of nonsense advice I have read coming from this service and others is a inane as one can get, “great track, could be a movie trailer” kind of bullsh*t.

    So now maybe you can beat Hans Zimmer…good luck with that. Payola 3.0 is more like it.

    The music business needs more investment in artists, not more ripping off of artists. As for the person who asked, can you spare 9$, that’s the whole point, most everyone can and that give rises to a business model. Give the money to feed the homeless or to a woman’s shelter, there at least you are helping people who need it.

  24. Heron Demarco

    A lot of anger, and cynicism on sites such as this these days. Good luck.

    • jw

      One could argue that the concept of a site like this is pretty cynical in & of itself.

  25. Anonymous

    why would you pay someone to listen to your music? your fans are the best feedback (and it’s free). and…they’ll actually pay you if the songs and live show are good. so-called curators is just another music industry ‘fad’. these type of people continue to prey on artists to make a buck. this service, and that Taxi service, just sounds like a ‘drop your demo in the cardboard box’ and we ‘Professionals’ will take the time to listen and critic. what a joke. once again, building a business off the backs of struggling artists trying to makes ends meet.

  26. Minneapolis Musician

    The fact is that today there is more music than people have time to listen to.

    How does some nice compliment from a paid reviewer actually get your music out there?

  27. JTVDigital

    People are allergic to new / innovation.
    I have a Fluence account as well, used it a couple of times and made 0.93$ – this is definitely not something I’m expecting making a fortune from.
    As long as you work in music industry, whatever your area of expertise is, you receive tons of unsolicited submissions, 90% being crap.
    In a digital age where anybody can send files or links, filters such as Fluence or Musicxray are more and more necessary to avoid being flooded with unsolicited material.
    It is also extremely useful for keeping solicited submissions organized and discover interesting music and artists.

  28. ja

    Oh, I’ve seen this before! Except it had a different name – Scam.

  29. Talent Buyer

    I am responsible for buying for four municipal festivals and another ten summer concert series. All in all I manage to book over 100 acts over a four month season. We receive well over 1000 submissions. How would any of your suggest we vet and filter those submissions, over 90% of which really are not good representations? What do you think is the best way for us in the business of putting people on stage or on radio or tv or movies to vet, filter, and finally decide who and how to do our job? What mechanisms do you prescribe? What services do you advocate for?

    • Minneapolis Musician

      That really is a good question.

      As a booker, you want a certain audience to enjoy the entertainment. That means that you need to match the artists to the specific audience tastes.

      A heavy metal band with great reviews from heavy metal lovers is not a good choice for Sunday afternoon family crowds. Obvious, of course,

      But you highlight a real issue: how do you separate the high gloss PR from bands who might actually give your audience a great time.

      Perhaps you can look for reviews from other events similar to the ones you booked, and see what bands, or type of entertainment, went over well.

    • GGG

      I’ve been a “gatekeeper” for many bookings, from internet radio to contests to festivals, etc, and vetting the submissions is always a pain in the ass. And there isn’t really a “best” way to do it.

      But if you don’t want to listen to all 1000 submissions, IMO, it’s better to lie and say “yea, I listened to everyone” then make everyone pay you money. I mean, it’s one thing to come out and say, “to help with production costs, it’s $15 to submit” or something. That at leasts puts the reasoning out there. But I’ve seen plenty that are just a cost to submit, and there’s not even any guarantee everything is listened to. SonicBids went to shit years ago for that exact reason; everyone started to see through the scam.

      Not to mention, I’ve been part of contests through sites where you HAVE to listen to everyone before you can approve or deny, but you can listen to literally 5 seconds of the music before you’re cleared. That contest was free so I didn’t feel too bad doing that to about 150 submissions, but if they had paid any money I would have been a total shithead.

      So if you get 1000 submissions, just go on first listen first serve basis. In other words, if you have 100 slots to fill, the first 100 bands you like, book them. If you’re afraid of missing a great band, then listen to the rest, that’s part of the job you undertook. Or at least just spell out why bands have to pay to submit.

    • jw

      Ethically, you should reserve the right to ignore submissions by not taking anyone’s money for it.

      You ought to be able to weed out a lot of those acts based on accompanying press materials (photos, etc), & then maybe have a couple of interns take a pass at weeding out a few more. If you can manage to cull it down to 500 acts that you actually want to listen to, & then you just listen to the first 10 seconds & then skip to 10 seconds of the chorus, that’s not a huge burden. You can easily cull that down to a hundred or two hundred acts you want to seriously consider. I mean 20 seconds x 500 bands = less than 3 hours of total listening. Which you can easily do in a day.

      Isn’t that the way it’s always been done? Why does there need to be a better way? I just really don’t understand this mentality of, “listening to music is so hard, I need to charge money for it.”

      I mean, just have interns listen to this stuff as it comes in, & send you a playlist of the top 50 submissions each week. And then spend an hour or so skimming through that mix each friday.

      This just doesn’t seem like a problem that requires some elaborate start-up, or any financial transactions taking place.

  30. Des

    LOL. is this a joke? Who the fck is so stupid to pay for this “service”? To listen songs? LOL! and for feedback? 😀 It will take you exactly KNOWHERE if anyone on this site listens your song.

  31. David Cavan Fraser

    “Important People?” Seriously?

    You know who the ONLY important people are in this industry? The paying fans & the artists. Everyone else is a middleman. In a shrinking industry the middlemen better figure out how to financially reward the artists and give massive value to the fan. Otherwise the middlemen are becoming unimportant and irrelevant.

    As an artist why the should I pay you to listen to my song? I can go directly to the fan and if they buy it there’s the marketplace validating my work. If not, well then I guess I need to re-tool what I’m creating or find a different market segment.

    You “important” guys realize that if you’re curating for PAYola instead of finding quality for your audience you’ll be quickly usurped by curators that honestly are looking for the good stuff.