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Will Music Xray Stop Charging Submission Fees Anytime Soon?

Posted by Mike McCready | December 18th, 2014 | 5 Responses

Music Xray’s business model is counter-intuitive so we get asked a lot why submissions aren’t free. Some even go as far as to suggest that there is something improper about Music Xray charging submission fees. We’ve decided to address it in this blog post.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 4.22.33 PMIt’s important to understand that Music Xray provides a service.

We get artist’s music to the front of the line and we guarantee a listen and a response from the industry professional to whom the song was submitted.

Music Xray does NOT increase your chances of success unless you count enabling you to submit your music to all the right opportunities. In that sense, it does increase your odds because if your music isn’t being heard by the industry you’ve got no odds at all. But the music business is tough and highly competitive. Even the best music gets rejected more often than not. Music Xray doesn’t change that. We simply make sure that a particular musician’s music is, at the very least, considered for the opportunity in question.

Think of Music Xray like you would an airline. On a business trip, an airline gets paid to take you to your destination. The airline has no control over how your meetings go once you get there. The airline has no control over whether you’re good at business or not. The airline provided the service for which they get paid.

It’s the same with Music Xray. We have no control over the quality of your music. We have no control over how you conduct yourself once conversations with a music company begin. And frankly, it’s none of our business. In the scenario above, the businessperson must decide whether or not the airline trip is worthwhile. If it’s not, they shouldn’t buy the ticket.

Submission fees on Music Xray aren’t only about keeping the lights on in our office. The fees serve to protect the industry professionals from having to hear hours upon hours of substandard music. They also protect the serious artists from being drowned out by the non-serious.

Even if we were to modify our business model we would not do away with the submission fee component. It works as a filter. It puts many musicians in the position of either continuing to pay for rejection or to leave the site. That may be discouraging to a lot of musicians but the industry thanks us for it. It’s why they stick around and remain engaged on Music Xray.

It would not help the industry for Music Xray to keep thousands upon thousands of musicians on the site submitting subpar music. They would hate us for that.

We don’t want good musicians to get discouraged too early because all good music will see some rejection. But we don’t want musicians to over submit either. That’s why we provide recommended next steps in Diagnostics and we provide a graph that shows how long it took for similar songs to be picked up for a deal on the site. These tools are meant to help musicians evaluate and measure their engagement on Music Xray.

It’s tempting to blame the messenger

Occasionally, we get this criticism when a musician or their song is rejected by an industry professional to whom they’ve paid to submit. But getting upset with Music Xray at that point is akin to blaming the telephone company when someone calls with bad news. It’s important to remember that Music Xray can’t change the nature of the music business. The site is just a platform that gets you in the door. The chips fall where they may.

We hope this explanation helps.

Mike McCready is an entrepreneur at the crossroads of music and technology. He pioneered the introduction of Hit Song Science into the music industry and followed up with Music Xray, the company he co-founded and serves as CEO. His companies have been the subject of case studies at Harvard Business School, IESE and he frequently guest speaks at many of the top business schools around the world. He helps the music industry identify high potential songs and talent and helps musicians get deals, get fans, & get better: