This video explains how great music bubbles to the top and gets the attention of the industry on Music Xray. It begins with a brief history of how Music Xray evolved from a pay-to-submit site into a sophisticated filter for the industry and an indispensable tool for artists.
1. What most people think Music Xray is Vs. What Music Xray really is.
2. How to get the most of Music Xray without spending any money
3. How to get the most of Music Xray by spending the very least.
This video is about 25 minutes long but it is well worth your time. Those who watch it will have a competitive advantage over those who don’t.
In this video I’m going to tell you three things.
1st – I’m going to tell you what most people think Music Xray is vs what Music Xray actually is.
2nd – I’m going to tell you how to get the most from the site without spending any money.
and 3rd – I’m going to tell you how to get the maximum value from the site by spending the very least.
It’s about 20 minutes long. But when you’re finished watching it you’ll be able to master the use of Music Xray.
So here we go…
What Most think Music Xray is vs What it actually is.
Most people assume Music Xray is an artist services company that helps musicians get their music to the attention of the talent scouts and decision makers in the industry – and the truth is that although we provide that service better and less expensively than any other company ever has, we do not think of ourselves PRIMARILY as an artist services company. Music Xray is PRIMARILY an industry filter.
We do not measure our success by how many artists we help get deals and exposure. We measure our success by how widely adopted Music Xray is by industry professionals and by how many of those professionals regard Music Xray as an indispensable tool for finding new songs and talent.
Many assume that our big business idea, and central to our strategy, is to hype the artists up, sell them the dream of making it big, and to collect as many submission fees as we possibly can.
But that’s not what we do at all. That’s an important distinction.
The job of an artist services company would be to sell as much to musicians as possible. But the job of a filter is to filter in the good stuff and filter out the stuff that isn’t quite ready or not appropriate for the available opportunities.
So in that effort we’ve invested a lot of resources in providing musicians with fast feedback and even meticulously calculated Selection Prediction scores that while not perfect, are pretty accurate. Often, that feedback serves as an early reality check. And the submission fees on the site aren’t there so we can get rich. They serve as the first stage of a multi-stage filter which puts the musicians in the position of filtering themselves first. Those who get great feedback and are gaining traction are encouraged to continue on. Those who get a reality check often reconsider whether they should keep spending resources on that song.
So if our big business idea isn’t to just collect submissions fees, what is our business? I’ll get to that.
But the immediate effect of submissions fees for the industry is that the music that is less likely to succeed makes way for the music that more professionals are going to want to hear. That keeps the industry engaged and respecting Music Xray as a source of more consistently high potential music. It turn, that’s better for the deserving artists whose music needs to break through the noise. That said, we know the filter isn’t perfect so our system doesn’t ban any musicians. If someone is supremely confident in their song or talent despite less that positive initial feedback, they can keep submitting – but since it costs a little bit of money for each submission, if the feedback doesn’t improve they will more than likely eventually accept it’s not going to happen for that song and stop pushing it. So just to be clear, we create the right incentives but we don’t shut anyone out.
I’m going to come back to this topic later in the video when I talk about how to get the very most for the least amount spent, but first I want to tell you how you can get value from Music Xray without spending any money at all.
How to get the most of Music Xray without spending money
There are a number of free features on Music Xray that many musicians use to advance their careers, and we’re all in favor of that. As I said, we’re not trying to extract every penny we can from musicians – our primary service is to the industry – so if we can be helpful to musicians without a cost to you and without detriment to us, then that’s a win for everyone.
Free feature number 1: Song to opportunity matching.
You can open an account for free on Music Xray and you can upload as much of your music as you want for zero cost. Each song you upload gets analyzed by our music analysis software and it gets compared to reference tracks that many industry professionals upload. So for each song you upload, you get a notification immediately telling you which industry professionals on the site have uploaded songs as references that sound and feel like yours. It’s not always a perfect match but it’s pretty good, and sometimes professionals upload reference tracks that don’t sound anything like what they’ve described in their brief when you go look at their listing so it can be confusing sometimes, but this gives you a good idea whether there are professionals on the site looking for what you’ve got.
Ideally, you would make your submission to these professionals through Music Xray but hey, this is the digital world and you’re going to Google the professionals, look them up on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram. So go for it unless they specifically say they don’t want to be contacted via other channels in which case you might tick them off. But even if they say that, you might get lucky. Some have. But those channels are pretty clogged and don’t have a filter so it’s harder to get their attention. If you don’t, you can always come back here.
You find the initial opportunity matches in that first notification but we re-run the matches every couple weeks, so you can always come back and check your notifications in the future for your opportunity Digest or you can always click the Sonic Opportunity Match button next to each song on your track dashboard to see what the most recent matches are.
Keep in mind that not all professionals on the site have uploaded reference tracks, so another way of getting free value from Music Xray is to just browse the opportunity listings. You can filter them by genre, amount the opportunities pay to chosen artists, type of opportunity, and more. There are usually more than 2000 available opportunities at any one time.
The next free feature is Fan Matching. There are nearly a million music fans with accounts on Music Xray and we track their listening habits via their Facebook accounts, which in turn are often linked to the Spotify accounts, plus they list their favorite major acts for us.
When you enter the metadata for your song, we ask you to list three major acts that influenced that particular song. When you enter the names of the acts, try thinking of the acts whose fans you think would love your song. Don’t be afraid to choose an obscure act. If it’s in our database our software will be able to know which other acts those fans like too, so actually, the more specific you are, the better.
Then, go back to the Tracks dashboard and you will see the number of potential fans in our database who might be your fans if only they heard your music. Since the fans on Music Xray are pretty reflective of the market in general, the information you can get for free is simply knowing which of your songs is likely to have the largest potential audience – and that can be valuable data as you decide how to promote your song through other channels. I’ll come back to how you can target the specific potential fans in our database a little later in this video.
The next free service on Music Xray I want to tell you about is the free song page and the free portfolios.
When you upload your song, it’s always good to enter the song’s metadata – as much as you can including the lyrics, an artist bio, license information, a YouTube video link if you have one, an image, and more. You will see that each song has a permalink. Click that and it takes you to your song’s own page. You can use that URL to send your song to anyone – including the previously mentioned industry professionals if you can reach them through other channels.
Additionally, you can create portfolios of songs – as many portfolios as you want – each containing a different number or combination of songs. Then you can send the link to the portfolio to anyone and they can play the songs right from that link and visit each individual song page if they want. That’s all free. Use the heck out of it!!
The last free feature may be the best one because it can actually get your song in front of industry professionals right on the site. It goes back to the metadata. Enter as much of it as you can. Here’s why.
One of our killer features for industry professionals is called Needlestack Music Search. It’s primary purpose is to show industry professionals the songs and acts that are being heard and rated highly by many other professionals. But often, music supervisors and others are looking for songs that are pretty obscure and may not have been heard by many professionals or maybe not by ANY professionals. So how could they find your song even if it’s never been submitted to a single professional on the site?
– They can upload a reference track right in that moment. If it sounds like yours and there are few other songs in the database that match and that have been heard by other professionals, or if the songs in the database that sound similar have been heard and rated poorly, your song will come up among the top matches.
– A professional might be looking for a song that was influenced by one of the acts that you entered in your metadata. Again, if there are few others or those others were poorly rated, your song could come up on top of the search.
– They could be looking for any combination of things but also enter more specific criteria like a beats-per-minute range, or a male or female vocal – or no vocal at all…..
Priority in the search engine is usually given to songs that match the professional’s search criteria and that have also been heard by other professionals and rated highly, but if the search is narrow enough and it matches your song, the professionals can hear it and have the option to contact you.
And that’s another thing. I know our site tends to send out too many emails. We’re taking steps to reduce that and we’re also going to implement a way for us to send you a text message to your phone specifically for when professionals are trying to contact you, but even if you grow numb to our emails, be sure you pay attention if you ever get one from us that has the word “selected” or “new message” in the subject line. These may be among the most important to your career.
Next, I want to stress to you that if your song is of the kind that has a hook – or a most compelling part, use the hook brackets to mark it. There are a lot of reasons for this.
1st – professionals are well, professionals and they want to get right to what they are looking for. Not all of them want to go straight to the hook, and those who don’t will just start your song from the beginning and play it through. But many may just pass over your song if there are other songs where they don’t have to wait for the gold. Give them the option to start at the hook. By not giving them the option don’t think you’re going to necessarily get a full listen of the song. Often, if you don’t grab their attention in the first few seconds you have it, you won’t get the next few seconds. Bracketing your hook is a way to make sure you hook their attention.
2nd – some professionals are looking for great hook writers or even great hooks they can license from you. Give them that option. Don’t worry, if you don’t want to sell the hook you can always say no. But don’t let an offer go by that your would otherwise have gotten – even if the only value is to create a new contact or start a new relationship with a professional in the industry.
There are many musicians who have used Music Xray to build relationships and actually never got an offer on the site, but have gone on to write for major artists due to relationships they established here.
OK. Now I’m going talk about how you can spend the least on the site and get the most value.
1st – Get Diagnostics for a few of your best songs – without submitting them to any opportunities yet.
Diagnostics is a required purchase for any song you may eventually submit to an opportunity. It costs $10 and you CAN buy it simultaneously with a submission but the only time I’d recommend that is if the opportunity you want to submit to has a tight window and is going to close soon. Otherwise, it’s best to wait for your Diagnostics results.
We didn’t create Diagnostics to get an extra $10 out of you. We created it so that you can get some fast, inexpensive, real feedback – and there’s another purpose for it that I’ll come back to a little later. But for you, the purpose is to find out how competitive your song is going to be for the opportunities currently on the site.
When a song goes through Diagnostics, it gets sent to 5 industry professionals who work in your song’s genre. They listen and they rate your song on 5 criteria – composition, production, arrangement, performance, and hit potential. Hit potential doesn’t necessarily mean “hit song” – it means commercial success potential for the type of song it is. A jazz song played on the accordion could, in theory, have high hit potential when compared to other jazz songs played on the accordion vying for opportunities looking for that kind of music. I just want to be clear about what that criteria means.
In Diagnostics, the song is also distributed out to 20 potential fans – selected randomly from among those who are fans of the acts you entered in your metadata. They each give the song a thumbs up or a thumbs down. And by the way, if they give it a thumbs up you get their email address and often a link to their Facebook profile so you can see who your fans are. You’re acquiring the fans, so to speak.
Once we have compiled the data, we show you some really cool things.
– The average ratings you got from the 5 professionals.
– The number and percent of fans who heard the song and gave it a thumbs up. This is your fan conversion rate and you can compare several of your songs to see which ones convert the highest percentage of fans. If you’re debating which song is your single, this could give you strong clues. We also show you what the cost of acquiring a fan is on Music Xray. If you decide you’d like to acquire more fans, we will send each potential fan your song for 33 cents each. Based on the percentage of those who hear it vs those who give it a thumbs up, we can calculate the approximate cost of acquiring each fan. In the future we plan to add the ability to geo-target your fans and to target by age and gender too. And you can always see the number of potential fans that exist in our database as calculated by the acts you entered in your metadata. So once you have this information from Diagnostics you can decide if you want to target more fans or not – and if it’s worth it to you.
– and perhaps most importantly, we calculate a Selection Prediction score. What the score says is basically the following: If you submit this song to 20 appropriate opportunities on the site, you have a X percent chance of having it selected for one of those opportunities or of your song being offered something if found through Needlestack Music Search or other ways we call industry attention to songs.
Why 20 opportunities? Well, it’s not because we want to get 20 submission fees from you. It’s because we use Amazon’s Machine Learning platform to calculate the score. Amazon’s Machine Learning Platform is cloud computing and a little bit of artificial intelligence – kind of like IBM’s Watson, which you may have heard of. – And in order to be really confident in the accuracy of the score, it had to calculate the probability over 20 submissions. Any fewer and the software’s confidence in its accuracy dropped.
Now, a low score doesn’t mean success can’t happen for the song. It just means that it may take more submissions, or that there are fewer than 20 potential opportunities on the site for songs like yours. You have to decide what to do at this stage – but this information can guide you.
OK, and now to the elephant in the room – what if you don’t care about this information and you resent that you have to pay $10 for Diagnostics. Try to keep in mind that Diagnostics is an integral part of our filter and without it we can’t do our job of filtering. Back before we had Diagnostics, many musicians would come to the site and submit their song to one opportunity, have the song rejected and go away angry not understanding that even the best material is likely to be rejected at least a few times, and even songs with a 99% Selection Prediction Score today might have to submit 20 times before landing something, and even a few of them still need to be shown to more professionals. So back before we had Diagnostics, with that one submission we here at Music Xray hadn’t gathered enough information about the song to know if it was any good or not and the artist also wasn’t getting any truly relevant feedback – just that one professional didn’t think it was the right fit for them.
So we created Diagnostics to help us predict, as accurately as possibly, which songs and acts were most likely to be offered deals of one kind or another through the site. Sometimes we invest in those songs and acts in exchange for a 20% participation in the deals. We’ve recently changed our terms of service so that we can participate in deals if they occur not through a direct submission but rather through the song being found by the industry professionals due to some of our software magic.
So our job is NOT to collect as many submission fees as we can. It is to predict which songs and acts will get offers and then to find ways to add value – or to be a catalyst in getting that song a deal so Music Xray can participate in the upside.
And remember I said I’d come back to how our business works and how we aspire to make most of our money? That’s how.
So Diagnostics is a win for everyone.
– It discourages hundreds of songs from clogging the pipeline further and thereby clearing the way for yours – keeping the industry engaged.
– It helps us identify high-potential songs so we can help find opportunities for them, even when the artist doesn’t directly submit them to certain professionals.
– It helps gather enough information, industry feedback, and fan feedback about a song so that it will show up in relevant Needlestack Music Searches that professionals conduct
– It helps songs show up as trending among the professional community – and it’s basically drives Music Xray’s filter.
Finally, let’s talk about the submissions themselves.
The only way to guarantee any individual professional will hear any specific song is to submit it to them directly.
As I’ve mentioned throughout this video, we have a lot of software magic that does show songs to professionals which have not been directly submitted to them. But the only way to guarantee any particular song is heard by a specific professional for a specific opportunity is to make the submission. We have money-back guarantee that you will receive a listen and a response from the professional within 45 days, tops. Many are much faster, especially if they’re working on a tight window or deadline.
Also, after Diagnostics has completed and if the ratings are high, your song will trend among the industry community for a few weeks but eventually will start to give way to song with more recent activity in Needlestack Music Search. So one way to keep it current is to submit it directly to opportunities. The new professional will hear your song and probably provide their own rating for it whether they select it or not. The new rating counts as activity around your song.
The best way to know if your song is trending or not is to check out this chart on your Song Management Page. Each time a fan or a professional hears your song and reacts to it, it boosts the songs activity level and it’s trending potential. If the song is trending it’s being shown to more professionals who didn’t receive it as a direct submission.
Now here’s the thing… if you attempt to directly submit your song for a specific opportunity, and we have already shown your song to the professional behind that opportunity although you had not submitted it – we tell you. We don’t just take your money and let you make the submission anyway. Again… we’re not trying to nickel and dime you.
Now, when you make these direct submissions you may get a custom response. But more than likely you will simply get a notice telling you whether the song was selected, not selected, or placed on hold – and you may get a quick response the professional can choose from a list that matches their reason for not selecting the song if that’s the case. Remember, the professionals are not in the business of giving you detailed feedback about how you can improve your music. They’re here to find the music they can work with and to move on.
If you want detailed feedback, we do provide a way for you to get it from some professionals who want to offer it. And that’s where you will likely pay a little bit more – because in that case you actually are paying for the professional’s time and expertise. You will find professionals who offer this service under the categories “Professional Song Critique” and “Career Coaching” in our opportunity search engine.
OK, lastly… we recently added a way for you to target radio stations for consideration. It’s a small part of the service currently but we’re building it out. You can geo-target stations and you can also target them by genre and you can submit to multiple stations at once. When program directors hear your music they can decide to spin it on their station and they can tell you what date they will start to spin it so you can coordinate your own promotion efforts.
I think that about covers it. And look, as co-founder and CEO of the company, the message I really wanted to convey here is that we’re a company working hard to build something great for the entire ecosystem. We’re not perfect and Music Xray isn’t a silver bullet. But I think it really is one of the best tools ever built for musicians and industry professional alike. If you have questions to concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s an honor to serve you. If you’re still with me, thanks for taking the time to really understand Music Xray.
In the second half of last year we introduced Selection Prediction Scores as part of our service to musicians. That is, we tell musicians the probability their songs will be selected for an opportunity on Music Xray provided they submit them to at least 20 appropriate opportunities. We use a complex system of music analysis software, the crowdsourcing of industry professionals, and all the past history of songs that have been selected and rejected on the site, the number & type of all the available opportunities for each genre and we put all of that data into Amazon’s machine learning platform to make these predictions. In the real world our predictions have turned out to be over 90% accurate as has been evidenced in the beta trials of our Artist Investment Program.
Given how confident we are in our predictions, today we have launched another beta program we’re calling Music Xray’s Self-Accellerated Artist Investment Program. It’s a money-back guarantee on 20 submissions for qualifying songs.
To find out if your song qualifies, log in to your account. You will see a notification alerting you to which of your songs qualify and telling you how to find out if songs without Selection Prediction Scores can receive them.
This week we’ve seen another music discovery service acquired by one of the large music streaming services when Irish start-up Soundwave was acquired by Spotify. This is the second Spotify acquisition of a data analytics company it is using to help consumers find the best new music they are likely to love.
Recently, it seems like every big consumer-facing music streaming company has been shoring up its ability to stay ahead of consumer taste. Pandora acquired Next Big Sound, Apple acquired MusicMetric, and others are working on internal systems all in an effort to provide better discovery for listeners. Executives at the steaming services believe that it is key to their competitiveness to hook users into their service by helping them discover new music they love.
As thees capabilities improve, traditional music promotion by the music labels will become decreasingly effective. The streaming companies want to channel the best new music to their listeners regardless of whether the artists are signed to a label – although the big labels are employing various strategies to insure they aren’t outflanked – primarily shoring up their advantages in their licensing agreements with the streamers. Additionally, Universal Music hired Jay Frank in 2015 and appointed him Senior Vice President of Global Streaming Marketing, showing they understand that the ways to reach the ears of consumers is changing for everyone in the ecosystem.
This is of course all driven by market forces and consumer demand. But it signals that the labels, publishers and others in the ecosystem need to reinforce their early discovery efforts and capabilities if they want to stay ahead of the curve. After all, they only make money if they add value and they can only add value if they get in early enough to contribute to the music’s success.
This is why Music Xray has been building its own proprietary ecosystem for so long. We realized that you can only go so far with data generated out in the wild and it’s an arms race among those with access to the best data. When upstart musicians and their teams buy Facebook likes, YouTube streams, and other social markers they distort the field making it harder for legitimate players to stand out. By owning their own data analytics companies, Spotify and Pandora are essentially plugging in their own proprietary data they don’t necessarily share with others. But even so, they are using data generated by consumers which is so often influenced by factors that are hard to isolate and account for. Furthermore, there is little online activity surrounding songwriters and production teams who don’t have aspirations of making it as performers themselves. So much new material and talent continue to go undetected by many industry players.
As we’ve increased our ability to spot the successful music just before it lands its first industry deal, we’ve begun to make actual investments in the music – investments into music opportunities others can’t even begin to see. Together with our investment partner, Digital Daruma, we’re leveraging our predictive model and are starting to own revenue streams in the music itself.
Music Xray controls the quality of the data in our ecosystem and we use a combination of crowd-sourcing of industry ears, music analysis software, targeted fan reaction, and machine learning to make predictions in which we are 92% confident are accurate. You can hear a small fraction of the kind of music we’re uncovering by listening to our podcast each week.
Follow us here on the blog for updates over the next few weeks regarding the progress and status of our investment program and learn how we’re making it the focus of our business.
Music Industry Professional Guest Post from Pulse Records
Keeping track of all the music used in films and on television shows is a formidable task, but one that all P.R.O.’s (Performing Rights Organization) enthusiastically undertake to ensure its writers and publishers receive the royalties they are due. While each P.R.O. (U.S. and international) maintains vast computer databases logging the music registered by its publishers, composers, writers, etc., these databases cannot reflect all of the music used in new productions, nor can it guess how long music was used, how it was used or how many time it may have re-aired. Making sure all of the music used is amply compensated for is made feasible only by the use of cue sheets.
So what is a Cue Sheet? Cue sheets are entry logs that can be summarized as the written version of the music used in a production. When a show or movie is created, producers and their teams submit cue sheets to P.R.O.’s to track the use of music in films and TV. This can be done on a quarterly basis, semi-annually or even annually. Without cue sheets, it would be virtually impossible for composers and publishers to be compensated for their work. With upfront sync fees diminishing in respect to the compensation we saw in the 80’s, 90’s and even the early 00’s, it is vital that your royalties are being tracked, paid out on time and accurately. Therefore, your Metadata is paramount.
Who fills out a cue sheet? Completing a cue falls on the shoulders of the network staff, typically handled by a junior exec, junior admin or even interns. Beware: if they can’t readily find your information via metadata embedded in your master recordings or even online via P.R.O. databases or the ISWC database, they may just skip it or move along to another project with the intention to return to the daunting task of research. Things slip through the cracks and human error also factors into the equation no matter how righteous the intentions may be to accurately complete the cue sheet. However, never let anyone’s time crunch, lack of attention to detail or malaise for dreaded paperwork infringe upon your right to be accurately compensated. With the rise of independent producers and cable operations, the filing of accurate cue sheets has become even more crucial to tracking the use of music in film and television productions. These newcomers to the industry are sometimes unfamiliar with, or unaware of, the legal and professional responsibilities involved in using the music of composers and publishers whose rights are represented by performing rights societies.
Series/Film Title AKA
Episode Title AKA
Production Company Information
Performing rights society
Key acronyms are: ISWC No., CAE No (s), Publisher CAE, ISRC etc.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure your cue sheets are completed as accurately as possible:
Be upfront if you share publishing/writers when submitting or pitching; it helps editors and producers know what cuts and splits will come. If there is more than one composer for an individual piece of music, or if the writer and publisher split their royalties other than on a 50/50 basis, this must also be indicated on the cue sheet, and these become important factors in P.R.O. payment calculations
Have your information/metadata available via email when you and/or your representative submits music to editors and music supervisors. Being thorough is never unappreciated. Help producers do their work, which is to produce, don’t give them an additional task of tracking your information down.
Checking in with networks/production companies to make sure that the cue sheets have been prepared and filed is good insurance for receiving accurate compensation for your compositions.
Pulse Records places and pitches music internationally. We want to ensure that you are educated, prepared and fully versed on how the industry works from the inside out. Since music royalty infrastructure and language are standardized from the US to overseas, if done correctly, royalties earned from licensing can pay your bills and the bills of future generations to come. Music is an asset, treat it as such and let it work for you. Although completing cue sheets are not the task of artists, publishers or admins, having your information organized, registered and accurate will greatly affect proper payment on your next royalty statement.
Music Xray is a clean, transparent platform where our primary mission is to create the filtering mechanisms designed to identify commercially viable, high potential songs and talent for the industry.
Our mission is not to maximize the amount of money generated from artists who pay to submit music. In fact, our system is designed to create as much of a competition among industry professionals for the top songs and talent as there is a competition among musicians to land the best deals. It’s en efficient system that operates transparently and reputably, backed by legitimate music tech investors. And we’ve been able to achieve the adoption of so much of the industry based on this dedication to running a clean site.
Recently, there have been a slew of website cropping up with questionable reputations whose mission appears to be to maximize submission fee revenue from musicians without providing transparency for the artists, or any objective measures of an artist’s chances of getting a deal. Additionally, these sites pitch themselves to industry professionals as a way to make extra cash. And while Music Xray shares submission fees with the industry professionals who host the opportunities, our primary purpose is to help those professionals find the best music. If, as a professional, your goal on Music Xray is to make extra cash, you probably shouldn’t be on Music Xray.
The poor reputation of these other sites effects Music Xray and it makes the name brand companies reticent to have their brands listed on our site.
So effective immediately, we will be removing the profiles of industry professionals who also have profiles on certain other sites. It’s just too damaging to our reputation. We will of course offer a grace period to these professionals and we will contact them privately to notify them of this policy. But no further payouts will be made to those professionals for as long as their profile remains on the other sites – unless of course they provide evidence that their profile is on the offending sites against their will.
Additionally, there are legacy sites in this space, that have been around for years, but again those primary mission does not align with the transparent, efficient filtering system Music Xray is building. One of our challenges in the market has been to show musicians that Music Xray is different, and that our interests are aligned with the professionals and the musicians alike. There truly has not been anything like Music Xray.
We have invested much time, energy, money, and focus on insuring that Music Xray is not confused with these legacy sites and while we would not remove an industry professional from Music Xray for having their profiles on some of these other sites that we know to be legitimate, having those profiles there still creates confusion in the market, causing Music Xray to need to spend more resources to differentiate ourselves in the eyes of the musician community.
So also effective immediately, we will reduce by 30% the compensation offered to industry professionals on Music Xray who choose to not remain exclusive.
It’s important that I make the point that this is not an attempt by us to limit industry professionals in any way. It is simply the policy that makes most sense for our company to both preserve the top brands and most reputable players in the business who are genuinely interested in finding top songs and talent. Those are really the only type of professionals for whom Music Xray is meant.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can clarify this policy for you or if you’d like to discuss any aspect I may not have covered here.
As always, Music Xray is committed to being the very best at what we do and to maintaining the highest levels of trust and transparency in the ecosystem.
Music Xray’s primary job is to find the needles in the haystack. A needle is any song or act deserving of being selected for any opportunity throughout the industry. Diagnostics insures we gather the information to enable us to do our best.
What is Diagnostics? Diagnostics is a one-time per song purchase that costs $10 and must be purchased for each song that is submitted directly to any opportunity or any industry professional on the site. Once Diagnostics has been purchased for a song it becomes “Diagnostics Exempt” and may be submitted to an unlimited number of opportunities without ever being required to purchase Diagnostics again.
Diagnostics serves two purposes:
1. It tells you where your music stands compared to other music that may be competing for similar opportunities. It generates recommended next steps based on the industry and fan reaction. And perhaps most importantly, it shows you the likelihood your music will be selected for an opportunity via the site, assuming you employ a best-practices submission strategy.
2. It tells the industry where your music stands and how to find it. Because Diagnostics enables us to gather enough information about your music to make it easily searchable for industry professionals in our industry-only search & discovery engine called Needlestack. This increases the chances your music has of being discovered by industry professionals who conduct searches for music with specific characteristics, such as high production quality, interesting hooks, mood, topic, etc.
We cover both purposes in detail below.
Purpose 1: To tell you where your music stands…
See the key for each item below the graphic:
A. The number of professionals who have heard and rated this song (at least 5 professionals rate the song upon your first submission – serious professionals from among our over 1500 professional users currently seeking songs and talent, so if the song blows one of them away, a deal or relationship may ensue and often does).
B. The average of the ratings received from industry professionals.
C. Where the song stands among all other songs that have been rated on Music Xray (hundreds of thousands).
D. The percentage of potential fans who after hearing the song for the first time became a direct fan (which provides that fan’s email address and Facebook profile link to the musician). As part of your first transaction with us, we send the song to a pool of 20 potential fans we’ve identified based on the fan’s music taste. We have a pool of tens of thousands of fans (and growing fast) who have signed up on Music Xray to discover new bands and songs.
E. Typically, we target potential fans from that pool for you (when there’s a match between the song and the fan’s taste profile) for $0.33 per fan. If 100% of those fans convert to direct fans of yours, the cost per acquired fan would be $0.33, but at a 35% conversion rate, that cost is $0.92 per acquired fan. A 35% conversion rate is not bad at all! The cost reflected here is what real contactable fans will likely cost you if you were to continue targeting fans on Music Xray. It’s up to you to decide what is acceptable to pay per acquired fan, based on your ability to monetize their fan base.
F. Based on the information in A. B. C. D. & E., we tell you the likelihood your song will be selected for an opportunity on the site. To reach this result, Music Xray uses machine learning algorithms and statistical probability calculations. It also requires the artist to employ a “best practices submission strategy”. To learn what that is and how we calculate the results, click here.
G. Based on the information in A. B. C. D. & E., we provide recommended next steps for submissions to opportunities and the industry professionals behind them. If the results are not encouraging, we recommend not to submit the song to further opportunities and sometimes we recommend you get song help improving the song. We make many top industry professionals on the site available to offer song critiques and career coaching.
H. Based on the information in A. B. C. D. & E., we provide recommended next steps for fan acquisition. If the data is not encouraging, we often recommend not continuing using the song to acquire fans.
I. This is the song activity chart that tells you what is happening with your song on the site at any time. Did you acquire a new fan? Was your song heard by an industry professional? Was your song displayed in a search result etc.
Purpose 2: To make your music searchable for the industry…
Music Xray offers industry professionals access to a sophisticated search engine called Needlestack Music Search.
Every day professionals use this search engine to find the best new music on the site. They usually do this by first seeking certain characteristics such as mood or a certain lyric phrase, or bpm – which are things you enter as meta data for your song. But then they filter for quality, so they look for songs that at least a few industry professionals have heard and that obtain good ratings on things like composition, productions, and hit potential. Each professional can decide which attributes are important and adjust the filters accordingly to find they songs that match their criteria.
Most professionals set the filters in Needlestack to display only the songs that have been heard by at least 5 industry professionals.
In other words, if your song hasn’t been heard by at least 5 professionals, it is unlikely to be found. That’s why Diagnostics obtains 5 industry ratings immediately for your song, upon your first transaction on the site. And this is showing results. About half the deals between artists and the industry on Music Xray occur due to Needlestack music search.
Below is an image of Needlestack. Notice the search criteria settings. This particular search is showing:
All the energetic pop songs sung by females with a BPM range between 10 and 300 that in the past month have been heard by at least 5 industry professionals and that have received average ratings of at least 4 out of 5 stars on all criteria (composition, production, arrangement, performance, and hit potential.
Show me all the energetic pop songs sung by females with a BPM range between 10 and 300 that have been heard by at least 5 industry professionals in the past week and that get an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars on all criteria.
According to Wikipedia, Stuart Epps is a British record producer and audio engineer.
Since 1967, he has worked with many artists, including: Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Twisted Sister, Bill Wyman, Kiki Dee, George Harrison, Robbie Williams, Mark Owen, Paul Weller, Cliff Richard, Bad Company, Barry White and Chris Rea.
He has contributed to many records and has been associated with many popular hard rock records by such bands as Twisted Sister, Wishbone Ash, Bad Company, Vandenberg, The Firm, Jagged Edge UK and Shooting Star.
Besides his work with Led Zeppelin, Epps has been involved in other projects with their guitarist Jimmy Page as well as on many occasions with Rolling Stone member Bill Wyman.
He now dedicates his time to producing Independent artists and nurturing new talent.
It’s understood that musicians compete on Music Xray for industry opportunities, but it’s not quite as intuitive to understand how industry professionals on Music Xray compete for the top songs and talent.
While all industry professionals can use Music Xray’s advanced search tools to find songs and talent for their opportunities, the only way to guarantee they will hear and consider a particular song is to submit it directly to them. That is also the industry’s preferred method of discovering music – they want it to come right to their ears via their Music Xray inbox.
As a result, Music Xray gets a lot of requests from industry professionals to feature their opportunities more prominently on the site, or to feature the opportunity in one of our email blasts, or to promote it via our social media channels. So, I thought it was a good time to explain how we decide which opportunities get the most visibility on Music Xray and the decision making process around it.
When determining which opportunities to feature, we consider four things:
1. Attractiveness of the opportunity. Opportunities with higher dollar payouts get more visibility than opportunities with lower payouts.
2. Proximity to the decision maker. We give higher visibility to opportunities where the industry professional who lists the opportunity is the decision maker, works on the decision maker’s team directly, or has some involvement in the final decision. If the industry professional will be pitching the selected songs and acts to someone else for consideration, the opportunity will get less visibility.
3. Past success with Music Xray artists. Industry professionals who can point to past success stories with Music Xray musicians will receive higher visibility for their opportunity listings on Music Xray.
4. Submission fee price. All else being equal, we give more visibility to opportunities with lower submission fees.
Let’s say there are two nearly identical sync license opportunities listed on Music Xray. Let’s say both are looking for romantic love songs. Let’s say both are for big movies. Let’s say both have a $50,000 payout and let’s say both of the listing professionals are the final decision makers in the process. But opportunity A has a submission fee of $10 while opportunity B has a submission fee of $20.
Why is it better for Music Xray to give more visibility to opportunity A?
Keep in mind that Music Xray’s job is to be a filter for the industry. We help the industry find the needles in the haystack. But, we can only find the needles in the portion of the haystack we can access. With a $20 submission fee, fewer musicians will put their music into our system, meaning we might miss some great music. Or, perhaps the musician only had $20 to spend on Music Xray that week. From a filtering perspective, we would rather they be able to take two shots for that amount rather than one – and we’d prefer to have two songs come onto the platform rather than one.
Another way to look at it is that the industry professional with the $10 submission fee is essentially telling Music Xray that they are willing to do more screening at a lower cost than the professional with the $20 fee. All else being equal, both the musician and Music Xray are getting more value from the professional with the lower fee.
By creating an eco-system where competition on both sides is key, we’re able to keep costs low and efficiency high.
As a user, you of course can decide how many industry submissions to make and to whom. However, keep the following in mind:
If you have great music, don’t give up too soon!
Music Xray’s Selection Prediction Indicates a song’s likelihood of being selected for by the industry an opportunity on Music Xray. It is based on the assumption that a song will be submitted to at least 20 opportunities.
Even the best music gets rejected multiple times before sync deals are landed.
You know that, and if you don’t, check out the rejection letters at the bottom of this post.
While Music Xray can optimize your chances of having a song selected or landing a deal for your band, Music Xray doesn’t necessarily change the nature of the music business. More often than not, music is rejected. The music that gets selected was also initially rejected. It’s true in nearly every case. It is simply unreasonable to expect your song or band to land the deal you’re seeking without giving that song a reasonable chance.
Many musicians, with music that is deserving of a deal get frustrated too early. One or two labels and a couple of supervisors turn them down and they give up. And while we would love to provide you with a prediction score based on only 5 to 6 submissions – the fact is only a small amount of music gets selected after so few industry professionals hearing it. In order to provide any predictive accuracy, our system assumes the song will be shown to at least 20 professionals. To understand more about how we come up with the predictions, click here.
Twenty submisions may seem like a lot, but it’s important to put it into perspective. Never before in the history of the music business could anyone get their music in front of 20 real opportunities for anywhere close to the cost on Music Xray – both in terms of time and money. Even the methods that to you may feel free (like networking on Facebook & LinkedIn to find the opportunities) is very costly those methods don’t get all the other added benefits of Music Xray. Click here for some more perspective on that. Click here to understand some of the full benefits of Music Xray.
Click here to understand the traditional costs of getting your music heard.
Music Xray is a music industry filter, and by helping the industry identify the needles in the haystack we’re providing the best service possible to emerging artists, songwriters, producers, and musicians in general. Because we focus on being the best filter, Music Xray has many many MANY times the industry engagement of all the other sites that claim to do for musicians what Music Xray does.
So use negative feedback, ratings and Selection Prediction scores to make adjustments to your music and your submissions strategy. But if the reaction is positive, don’t give up too soon.
A rejection letter sent to Madonna
A rejection letter sent to Paul Hewson (aka Bono of U2).