One thousand fan connections in 24 hours

Posted by Mike McCready | August 30th, 2012 | No responses

In the first 24 hours after the roll-out of Fan Match, over 1,000 fans have been acquired by Music Xray artists! Here’s a look at a few successful campaigns. These are fans that artists can actually contact, add to their mailing lists, and even monetize immediately.

First, we have The Incredible Kicks. They’ve acquired 21 fans out of 31 people who have listened to their track. They have received a $10 tip from one of their new fans which brings the cost per fan acquired to $0.01.

And these campaigns for artist Billy Phillips are also very interesting. He has a campaign for two different songs and he can observe which song is more compelling to potential fans. One of his songs has been heard by eight potential fans and seven of them have jumped on board! That’s an astonishing percentage and not only speaks to the strength of the song among its intended audience but also speaks to how well we’re able to target potential fans based on their music taste. Strong songs are doing very well with Fan Match!

His other song isn’t doing quite as well. It’s been heard by 17 people and has helped him acquire eight new fans.

That’s still very good and paying $0.70 per acquired fan is excellent and very cost effective. If a fan isn’t worth a lot more to a musician over the course of their career, they’re doing something wrong.

Lastly, we’ll take a look at a campaign being run by a metal band called Teach her Treason. Their campaign has helped them acquire 23 new fans in the last 24 hours at a cost of just $0.30 per fan.

One of the interesting aspects of Fan Match is that the more compelling your music is to your target audience, the less it will cost you to acquire new fans. After you run your first campaign, you’ll know roughly how much each new fan will cost you through the platform. As long as you have a good strategy for monetizing your fan base in the future by selling them concert tickets, music, merchandise, and other items, your fans should be worth far more to you than they cost to acquire. If not, you may need to change who you are targeting or improve your music. It’s hard to argue with the results you get.

And that’s the point to all of Music Xray! It’s exactly the same when you submit your music to industry professionals via the site. You are choosing the professionals and the opportunities to whom you submit. Presumably, you are choosing professionals who are seeking your style and genre. You are carefully choosing your song and putting your best foot forward. You’re still going to be passed over more often than not. That’s just the nature of the business. But if you’re never being selected and if after five submissions you see the ratings you’re being given by the professionals are low, it’s a bit hard to deny that it must have something to do with your submission strategy or your music.

You see, Music Xray isn’t about pumping you up with false hope. It’s not about taking your money by charging membership fees and encouraging you to keep banging your head against the wall. Music Xray is about helping you advance your career and about providing you real feedback along the way. And when you’re not getting the results you are hoping for, we enable you to get in touch with real professionals who can give you serious song critiques and career coaching.

And we’re committed to providing these services in ever-improving ways. Music Xray is simply about helping you get deals, get fans, & get better!

A Fan Match example – A few hours after roll-out

Posted by Mike McCready | August 29th, 2012 | 1 Response

In order to get new fans you have to first get their attention. That has been getting increasingly difficult for emerging musicians. Potential fans have so many distractions. Many just never get around to clicking on the link to your music. What musicians need is a guaranteed way to get the attention of potential fans. That’s what Fan Match does.

Once you have their attention, it comes down to the music. We only send your music to people who are into your style and genre and we do some pretty sophisticated analysis of each potential fan’s music taste too. So, if your music is great, chances are you’ll turn the potential fans into actual fans. We make it easy for them to declare their interest in your music, provide you with their email address, and we even make it easy for them to tip you real money.

Lastly, we show you exactly how much it is costing you to acquire new fans. Sometimes, the costs are offset by the amount of tips you receive. In the example shown here, this band has had their song played for 7 potential fans. Five have become actual fans and one of them has tipped the band $3.00 (the cost of a beer in this example). That means the band has actually made $0.14 on their campaign so far – which is only 2% complete. That is, the campaign has not only not cost them anything. They have acquired 5 new fans and made a few cents.

If their campaign continues to perform this way, by the time their campaign is finished, 300 new people will have heard their song. 214 will have become fans. The band will have spent $100 to run the campaign and will have made $147.00 in tips.

Can you get similar results? It all depends upon your music. Run a Fan Match campaign and let the fans decide!

Revealing evidence: Independent musicians have few fans and can’t mobilize them.

Posted by Mike McCready | August 23rd, 2012 | No responses

I know. That’s not a hugely shocking headline. But, we thought you’d like some insight into what we’ve observed in the past few days.


Shortly after the launch of Music Xray’s new tip jar feature, over one thousand online tip jars were created and a flurry of tweets and Facebook posts were sent by musicians in efforts to drive fans to hear new tracks and consider leaving a tip. Exactly our intention!


The result?; pretty much what we already knew. Traffic driven by musicians to their tip jars was paltry by anyone’s measure. In the ensuing 24 hours, the tip jar that received the most traffic received fewer than 200 visits and the next most visited tip jar received fewer than 20.

We know this will improve dramatically in the coming days as musicians begin including a link to their tip jar in their newsletter and really begin engaging their fans in the most effective ways. But, in terms of social media and flash efforts, this speaks to two issues musicians face.


  1. A lack of fans.
  2. The inability to mobilize the fans they do have.


Fortunately, we’ll soon be launching Fan Match, a service to help musicians identify and acquire new fans.  In the meantime, keep pushing those tip jars. We love to see you compensated for your efforts and we are seeing tips occur and that’s very encouraging!

Introducing Music Xray’s new Tip Jar for Musicians

Posted by Mike McCready | August 17th, 2012 | 1 Response

As part of Music Xray’s new Fan Match service, every artist account will now have its very own tip jar. The tip jar will have it own URL so you can link to it from anywhere, tweet it, post it on Facebook, mail it… you name it – and you’ll be able to set it along side any one of your tracks when you send it to your fans to hear.


In other words, whenever you send a new song out to your fans, your tip jar can go right along beside it.


If fans decide to tip you, instead of simply choosing a dollar amount (which might result in 50 cent tips), there is a dropdown menu with fun little icons that represent items we musicians like to receive, and the typical cost of those items, including the average cost of a song submission to an industry professional via Music Xray.


Yes. Now your fans can help you offset the cost of forwarding your career! They can even set their tips to recur monthly!! We thought you’d like that!

You see? It’s a fun and nice way to encourage those who support to, well, show their support.


You can customize your tip jar as well by disabling items you don’t want to appear as tipping options. You can rename the cheeseburger to veggie burger if you’d like. It’s a fun little way of passing the hat online that we think can really make a difference each time you send a new song to your fan base. Hey, we all know how hard it is to make a living these days as a musician and we think your true fans will be more than happy to show you a little love in the form of an occasional tip.


It’s important for us to manage expectations, so we want to be up front with you that PayPal charges about 5% for transaction costs. You know, because they make it possible for people to tip with their credit and debit cards. Don’t worry, we’re working with them to keep costs to a minimum. It’s also not free to keep the lights on here at Music Xray and feed our developers who build this complex stuff. But, we’ve figured out a way whereby we also don’t have to take more than 5%. Hey, if PayPal can make it work with such a small margin, we figure we can too. Now, we know no one likes to give up 10% of their tips but it’s not a bad deal when you figure it provides you with a way to pass the hat (uh, make that “jar”) worldwide.


We’d love to know what you think so leave us some comments.  We’ll be launching it in a few days. Would you use it when introducing a new song or perhaps when circulating an old favorite to your fans?

Music Xray & Soundcloud Partnership Garners 2,176 Successes

Posted by Mike McCready | August 15th, 2012 | 2 Responses

A year ago, Music Xray and Soundcloud partnered to automatically match Soundcloud users’ tracks to real music industry opportunities. In that time, 2,176 Soundcloud musicians have been selected for opportunities on Music Xray. That’s 35.7% of the SoundCloud musicians who made submissions in that timeframe! That kind of success rate in unheard of!

Below is an infographic that highlights just 10 of those success stories. If you are a Soundcloud user and you would like your tracks automatically matched, just activate the Music Xray app in the Soundcloud App Gallery.

What to do if a friend wants to shop your music to the big decision-makers in Los Angeles

Posted by Mike McCready | August 14th, 2012 | 5 Responses

Isn’t this what independent musicians have been asking for since the dawn of the rock era? A level playing field? One that doesn’t depend upon who you know and who you can get access to? One that depends solely on talent, skill, and your artistic ability?

Let’s say you have a trusted friend who has all sorts of contacts in the music industry and knows of all sorts of opportunities. Suppose he tells you that he has some time to go to Los Angeles tomorrow on your behalf and get a bunch of decision makers to sit down and listen to your best track.

He can’t guarantee they will love what they hear but he can guarantee they will listen and that they will provide an answer one way or another whether or not they can license your music, sign your band, or perhaps keep it on file for future opportunities. You don’t have to spend weeks or months to find the opportunities or network your way in. Your friend has already done that. He’s also verified that the people he’s meeting with are legit and that the opportunities are real.


Holy crap! Right?

When I was growing up playing in bands I’d have given up anything for a friend like that!


On his list he has a Grammy nominated producer named Rob Epitome who is a hired ear for Cher, Rhianna, and Interscope Records. Your friend can also get your music to the desk Ernesto Elias at MTV. They license about 250 songs per week for their various shows. Then, he can drive over to Arthouse Entertainment, a company founded by renowned hit songwriter and former American Idol judge, Kara DioGuardi and who have been represented on the Billboard Top Ten albums chart with songs and productions on Bruno Mars (Doowops & Hooligans), Cee-Lo (The Lady Killer), Carrie Underwood (Play On), The Band Perry (The Band Perry), Britney Spears (Circus), Pink (Funhouse), Katy Perry (One of the Boys), Sugarland (Love on the Inside), Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus), and David Archuleta’s self-titled debut.


After that, your friend can take your music right into the office of Jeff Blue; you know, the guy responsible for signing Macy Gray, Daniel Powter, Linkin Park, and who just signed a band called w.e.r.m. to Universal Republic. He can then take your music in to the A&R department at Epic Records (Sony) and even to music supervisor Mike Turner, who is working on a new film staring Lindsey Lohan and he needs music.


Then, he can get your music to the music supervisor for Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Gossip Girl, and Vampire Diaries.


Lastly, he’s going to take your music into Grammy-winning producer Jeff Bova’s office to see what kind of feedback he can get on your music and what he might do to polish it up a bit (if needed) and maybe get a few contacts from him as to who else might be seeking tracks like yours.


Then, if there’s still time left in the day, he’ll get your music directly in front of the music supervisor for a Ford Edge commercial, The Cotton Commercials, Old Navy, American Eagle, CSI, Law And Order, and Grey’s Anatomy.


This isn’t going to cost you much; just your friend’s plane ticket (economy class) to Los Angeles. Let’s say he lives in Nebraska. He just checked. If he leaves tomorrow (Wednesday) and comes back on Friday, the cost of the trip will be $196.

You’ll need to pick up the $100 tab for a cheap motel and the $150 for the rental car. Then let’s say you feel bad for the guy and you want to give him $50 for fast food while he’s out there and even though the value of his contacts, researching the opportunities, and the fact that he has the clout to walk right into their offices and guarantee they will listen to your music is arguably worth many thousands of dollars and took your friend half his career to establish, you’re not going to have to pay him for that. The whole shebang will only cost you $446.00.

Additionally, you’re not going to have to be the guy following up to make sure your music was heard. You get to stay home and continue to make music with the peace of mind that your friend is going to do what he said.


That’s a pretty awesome deal! Right?


Hi. I’m your new friend. My name is Mike McCready and I’m the co-founder and CEO of Music Xray.

My point with the fiction I just painted is to demonstrate that the bargain-basement dreamworld, “never-gonna-happen” scenario above, still has a real out-of-pocket cost of $446.00. When you put that into perspective, Music Xray, which gets you the exact same result, is incredible value. You see, I used to be in your shoes. I grew up playing in garage bands in rural Nebraska and I didn’t have a friend who could or would do all that for me. That’s why my partners and I started this company and instead of those results costing you $446.00 (which as I pointed out is already insanely cheap), we’ll get all that done for you (every bit of it) for about $180. And you don’t even have to spend it all at once or even pay for any of the opportunities listed above that you’d prefer to skip. Do it at your own pace and pick and choose who you want to hear your music.


And the opportunities and contacts I mentioned above are a tiny fraction of those that are available to you on Music Xray. That’s not even anywhere close to exhausting our Los Angeles-based opportunities let alone those in New York or Nashville, or London…

Isn’t Music Xray what independent musicians have been asking for since the dawn of the rock era? A level playing field? One that doesn’t depend upon who you know and who you can get access to? One that depends solely on talent, skill, and your artistic ability?

Well, that reality is now here.

How do you like that?

How shysters take advantage of musicians

Posted by Mike McCready | August 10th, 2012 | 2 Responses

For every hour you’ve spent rehearsing in the garage striving to become the king or queen of your genre, someone else has spent thinking about how they can make some easy money from an unsuspecting non-business savvy artist who desires so strongly to be cured of their malady (e.g. musical obscurity) that they will purchase snake oil by the crate.

To those who can’t compose, play or sing, musicians can literally seem magical, mysterious, and they get placed on a pedestal. To achieve that status is considered the ultimate success. The adoration of a large fan base is a sign you’ve made it. At that point, you’re no longer beholden to anyone. Your career is your own. The by-product of that kind of success is money. It may not be primarily what you seek, but you know it will come and it’s what gives you the means to live the rock star lifestyle, which is the crown on your head that unmistakably communicates to everyone that you have made it. You are music royalty.


In short, the music business is aspirational in nature and because the music is so personal and so connected to the ego of its creator (after all, you created it out of thin air and it often reflects your essence, your deepest thoughts and your rawest emotions) that rejection can be excruciatingly painful. Acceptance, even adoration can be incredibly rewarding and addicting. In fact, the pain of rejection and the elation of acceptance are more extreme than in almost any other profession.


That reality is what makes musicians so vulnerable to being scammed. Unscrupulous people know that if they dangle the rewards you seek in front of you and make you feel like they can provide a pathway to success, you will do whatever it takes to achieve it. For every hour you’ve spent rehearsing in the garage striving to become the king or queen of your genre, someone else has spent thinking about how they can make some easy money from an unsuspecting non-business savvy artist who desires so strongly to be cured of their malady (e.g. musical obscurity) that they will purchase snake oil by the create and trade their destiny of becoming music royalty to instead become the palace fool.


Aspiring musicians attract scammers and shysters like war zones attract arms dealers. It’s where the money is.


This is such a frequent occurrence that many jaded musicians have wizened up. Anyone selling goods and services to musicians, especially non-traditional goods and services (i.e. not guitar strings or vocal training) are met with wary suspicion. Often to the point that a musician’s cynicism won’t allow him to separate a real value proposition from a valueless one.


The level playing field:


That is why Music Xray goes out of its way to not appeal to your emotions. Notice that we’re a little non-sensationalistic. We don’t tell you how great you are. We don’t hype you up and tell you we can make you the next global sensation. In fact, we can be a little bit on the dry side.


We appeal to your common sense. We don’t say things that sound good but that leave you with a nagging internal voice alerting you that something isn’t quite right. We talk about the business aspect of the music business. We work hard every day to weed out the shysters and scammers who might be out there to prey upon you. Then, we help you get your music in front of legitimate industry professionals and real music fans and frankly, we then let the chips fall where they may.


If they like you, you get a deal or a new fan. If they don’t like you or your music, you find out right away and potentially you get some good feedback in the process that helps you improve. The results you get on Music Xray tell you unequivocally whether you are good enough to make it happen and if you discover you aren’t, we give you access to real professionals who can help make adjustments so you can make improvements quickly. Via Music Xray, you can get the kind of feedback and training in far less time than it ever used to take in this business.


Music Xray gets paid for saving you weeks or months finding opportunities or potential fans who will give you a shot. We get paid so you don’t have to jump through hoops to get to a decision-maker.


But remember, rejection is part of the process. Even the best of the best get rejected multiple times before they make it, and that’s likely to happen to you too, even via Music Xray. But by being persistent, by eventually finding the right professional with the right opportunity and by using the feedback you receive to make adjustments to your music and your submission strategy, you will eventually find your way and the lessons you must learn will be far less expensive, far less treacherous, and happen in far less time than has ever before been possible. Scammers are still out there. You will still need to approach your relationships with industry professionals with caution and a healthy dose of business savvy. But our job is to reduce the time and money you spend developing your business and to reduce the likelihood you’ll be taken for a ride.

Follow Mike McCready on Twitter

Get deals. Get fans. Get Better.

Musicians compete for attention

Posted by Mike McCready | August 4th, 2012 | 6 Responses

Music Xray provides a way for you to consistently get the attention of professionals and music fans. What happens after you get their attention depends on your pitch, your music. Music Xray doesn’t care if your music is good or bad. The reaction you get from professionals and fans will provide you with an undeniable verdict.

Before you will pay someone any of your money you must first pay some of your attention. With so many things going on in your increasingly busy life, you have to make some choices. Who gets your attention?

I was walking along a busy sidewalk the other day when a young woman purposefully approached me, smile on her face and clipboard in hand. “Do you have a few seconds, sir?”

This happens to me a lot. It probably happens to you too if you frequent busy sidewalks in big cities. “No”, I replied. I didn’t miss a beat.  I didn’t even look back. I have no idea what petition she wanted me to sign. I assume she wanted a donation to one cause or another. The experience was like being spammed by a real live human, except in this analogy I didn’t even read the subject line.

I think most people who know me would say I’m a nice guy. I’m considerate and being from the Midwest, I avoid hurting people’s feelings. But as I’ve gotten busier and the world has gotten faster, there are just way too many things pulling at me for my attention. If I don’t make choices (even eliminating time for some niceties) distractions will overwhelm me.

Maybe this woman had a world-class proposition for me. Maybe whatever she wanted to say would have changed my life. I highly doubt it or I would have stopped. But maybe there’s a one-in-a-million chance.

I’ll never know. She failed to get my attention.

As a musician, your livelihood depends upon you getting the attention of industry professionals and potential fans. How you do that is up to you. But remember, you’re competing.

Music Xray provides a way for you to consistently get the attention of professionals and music fans. What happens after you get their attention depends on your pitch, your music. Music Xray doesn’t care if your music is good or bad. The reaction you get from professionals and fans will provide you with an undeniable verdict.


This is how we get you the attention of professionals.


This is how we get you the attention of music fans.


Follow me on Twitter.