Scam Alert: Atlantic Records Email Is Soliciting Musician Submissions for Money

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I often run into people working in corners of the music industry who just can’t understand why so many musicians’ guards are up so high. This scam Atlantic Records email is the latest reason why.

Musician scams, of course, have been going on for as long as I’ve been in music professionally (about 12 years). And probably much longer. In this case, a sham Atlantic Records email purporting to be the label itself is taking money from hard-working artists trying to make it.

How these scams work is, someone usually claiming to be “A&R”, finds musicians online (they used to use Myspace, now it’s ReverbNation and BandCamp and soon, no doubt, Instagram) and sends them an email stating they like their music and want them to submit for consideration. The most egregious offenders, as illustrated below, are the ones who don’t provide their name or company email address. Or give any indication that this is legitimate other than using a well-known company name (Atlantic Records in this case). Others will claim to be able to get you followers, streams, plays, views, Likes, you name it. And may be able to actually deliver – withholding the fact that the tactics they are against all companies’ Terms of Service. And may result in your accounts being deactivated or blocked.

But let’s focus on the scam at hand.

Someone claiming to be “Atlantic Records A&R” is requesting music for review.

Review for what? Well, this doesn’t say. Most would infer a potential record deal. Why anyone would want a record deal with Atlantic Records when they just signed the Cash Me Outside girl is beyond me. But that’s besides the point. People who fall for this scam are looking for quick fame and instant success. And don’t understand how the music industry actually works. But unfortunately, that is many, many musicians. If not most.

When there are “legitimate” submissions platforms that charge musicians to submit to “real” opportunities or for feedback or consideration, such as SubmitHub, Fluence, MusicXray, Sonicbids and ReverbNation, how is a musician supposed to know these other avenues are not legitimate?

And for the record, anyone who says that no “legitimate” company would use platforms that charge musicians for submission, I’d urge you to educate yourself a little more.

Glassnote Records has used MusicXray to accept submissions. The extremely popular blog IndieShuffle uses (and created) SubmitHub for submissions. A prominent KCRW DJ uses Fluence. “The World’s Largest Music Festival” Summerfest and the actual Atlantic Records uses ReverbNation for submission. Noise Pop Festival uses SonicBids. Music supervisors, production companies, wedding photographers and ad agencies use SongTradr to find music to use in TV, film, internet videos and commercials. And the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) charges musicians directly to submit to showcase (and charges to showcase if selected) at the conference. All of these require fees.

I can see why so many are confused.

This email (below), however, is an obvious scam no better than a Nigerian Price requesting your bank account numbers to deposit a “lump sum” into it.

Instead of asking for your bank account and promising money, these perpetrators are asking you to pay them $79 via a PayPal.me link for them to review your music for consideration. They state: “Legally we can not officially review any material until a payment is received which then makes it legal material.” Which is total BS. But it sounds official, I guess.

The email they are using is “aratlanticrecords@gmail.com” – which should setoff immediate red flags. Anyone actually employed by Atlantic Records would have an Atlantic Records email address like “asshole@atlanticrecords.com” or something like that. And if Atlantic Records (or any record label) A&R was actually interested in you, a human (using their own name) would say as much. They wouldn’t charge you to submit. They would send you an email (from their company email address) and ask you to meet, to send more music or for guest list spots to an upcoming show.

Someone at Atlantic should send an immediate cease and desist letter to this gmail address. And contact PayPal immediately requesting they remove this account.

It is giving them a very bad name.

Help me shut these predators down. Click this PayPal.Me link and click “Report This Page” at the bottom. It will open your Mail app to send an email directly to PayPal telling them to investigate this link. If enough people do it, they will shut this down.

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See the email in question below

No one at Atlantic Records returned a comment in time for publication.

20 Responses

  1. LAX

    I actually thought u had written a proper blog about why Reverbnation keep sending out emails saying “This huge record label is waiting for your demo.”
    And then charging submissions.
    But you didn’t, i’m guessing because they sponsor your useless blog.
    As far as scams go. YOU are the one charging people for advice with absolutely ZERO career to speak of.
    Remember when you tried to set up an industry mixer in LA where you would be the entertainment, and no one went.
    How about your “book tour” which from the photos looked like you creepily forcing your guitar out to a total of 3 people per night.
    Scam = Ari Shitstand.
    Come back with a modicum of a music career and maybe someone outside of your desperate musician readership will take you seriously.

    • Anonymous

      @LAX, are you saying ReverbNation is a scam? What about SubmitHub, Fluence, MusicXray, Sonicbids, and Songtradr?

  2. Adrock

    MusicXRay is just as big of a scam, if not worse. They split their submission fees with “A&R” reps that aren’t real… there is really only one true A&R company that actually does what they say they do, TAXI. They’ve been in this business for over 20 years, the fact you didn’t mention them in this article hints at a lack of connection with this industry and you are probably being paid by the others you mentioned to write this.

    • King

      Has anyone actually seen results with Taxi? Ive yet to hear of any real success stories. I personally know music x ray is full of shit…figured the same about taxi

  3. nocomment

    “No one at Atlantic Records returned a comment in time for publication.”

    Oh, I wonder why…you asshat.

    Why would a major company sink to dealing with, what has very sadly become, the national enquirer of the music industry?

  4. Paul Resnikoff

    I love how Ari has this die-hard group of haters. Why? It’s funny because his book is actually selling really well, plus he packs clubs (and book signings). He’s out there doing it and helping a lot of artists.

    Well maybe I just answered my own question.

    • LittleRaven

      I think you did answer it.

      I don’t get the hate. Ari is so friendly and generous with his time, how can you not like him? He is talented, wrote a dynamite book, and is a great mentor showing artists how there is not a single path you must take and that there is more than one kind of success in the music industry.

      These people probably also rag on Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. I guess envy brings out the ugly in some people…

  5. Eric John Kaiser, French Troubadour

    Thanks for the tip Ari. Very useful as always.
    You can also report the email address and file a complaint with the FBI (Internet Crime Center) at: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx (It takes 5 minutes)

    Keep up the good work!

  6. Snowden

    Anyone who actually works in music knows he is a fraud. And on that subject – Ari.
    Did u know that it’s quite easy to pinpoint who has bought fake Spotify plays?
    Interesting right? Unless you expect to believe that you have 1200 listeners in Edgerton, a town with a population of 5000?
    Will you be doing a blog on how to buy Spotify plays and followers for all of us?
    Or shall I do it. And use your cheating as a case study.

      • Perplexing

        Nice comment Ari.
        No one is angry here.
        Its easy to sit here and call out BS on everyone, or give quick soundbites to desperate musicians. But the truth is, you have not in any way made it in music. You haven’t written a hit, you don’t tour, you don’t have a fanbase. You have ZERO of the points you claim to write about.

        I’ve just looked up your Spotify page and its clear that you HAVE bought fake Spotify plays. Yet you write a blog on “streaming scams.”

  7. Nigerian Prince

    Don’t know why Ari is promoting sites like MusicXray, ReverbNation, Fluence, etc. Serious artistes/producers know that these are all scams designed to fleece the suckers. Even Taxi, mentioned in an earlier comment, is incredibly iffy. And songwriting contests? Pfft, don’t get me started. Look at the trends. When even big stars like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are having problems getting media attention, you think MusicXray or ReverbNation A&R “submissions” are going to give you your big break? Be smart, people.

  8. D James

    There is absolutely no easy way to get discovered. You have to be in it to win it, and by that I mean connecting with anyone who has a legitimate job in the music business, i.e. assistants, receptionists and managers etc. Good A&R’s get material from anyone they trust and that typically means people within the industry. Of course the other route is by building an audience, either online or via touring. I’ve been doing this a long time and let’s just say people get put on in some of the strangest ways…

  9. Verified Humanity

    These articles are a comedy routine at best. Streamify sells streams, straight up. Ari trying to game us into thinking its anything else is funny. Are even semi-vouching for these scammed out “A&R” services shows his full ignorance to the world in HD.

  10. Lynx

    I think all of the platforms Ari mentioned that charge for submissions for anything is akin to charging someone applying for a job to submit their resume. It should be illegal and at the very least all musicians should stop doing it. Refuse to pay to submit your music or epk.

  11. Dumb Blonde Rapper

    i received one today, the fee is actually now $179.00. People should seriously not play around with passionate artists like that! Not cool!! I would be more then happy to forward you the email with the new paypal info!

  12. Psychic Squirrel

    Okay, so I just spent hours thinking about this article and Ari’s approval of “pay-to-play” services like SongTradr. Taking SubmitHub as an example, when you see things from the bloggers’ perspectives instead of the musicians’, things start to make more sense. This article was helpful for me: https://hi54.blog/content/submithub-review-from-a-bloggers-perspective

    When you start to hear how bitter and jaded some musicians sound when talking about having to spend money to further their already broken careers (such is what being a musician is like), you can start to see a biased narrative taking hold. I have that narrative inside me, so I can see it.

    But, I’m still on the fence about these services.

  13. Truck Parker

    Correction: Songtradr USE to be legit. Now they are a well documented scam that verifiably steals your songs.

  14. Cho Colette

    I just received an email from atlanticrecords@email caliming they are Craig Kallman and saying I should send them $100 cash via Cash App Service Agency so they’ll put my track up to spotlight. I believe this is a scam, because they refused my requirement to send them a check to their NY address instead, saying oh no, we’ve partnered with this cash service, you should use it. Right..