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Industry professionals’ tough ratings may be offset by better-than-average artists

Posted by Mike McCready | August 8th, 2013 | 2 Responses

Some users have recently written in regarding the integrity of the industry professional ratings on Music Xray. We especially hear from users when they get lower ratings than they are expecting based on past feedback they’ve received on their song.

The question users have is, “Are the professionals rating songs more harshly on Music Xray than they would elsewhere?”.

While we don’t have a definitive answer to that, our instinct would tell us they are. After all, it’s on Music Xray where they are actually thinking about the music from a commercial point of view. That doesn’t mean they’re benchmarking music against the Top 40 nor that they are always judging for mass appeal. It just means they are evaluating the commercial potential of the music and that may not be the perspective from which others were hearing the music previously.

By the same token, we would expect music submitted via Music Xray to be slightly above the mean in terms of quality and musicianship. After all, it requires a certain level of professionalism to invest in a pathway to success. Those who are unwilling to do so don’t frequent Music Xray.

Those two phenomena probably cancel each other out on the site. Tougher ratings criteria may be offset by a better-than-average user base.

As expected, the most frequent rating is “average”. Roughly 40% of songs receive a 3 star rating on at least one attribute, which is what we’d expect to see. While we can always make improvements to data collection and normalization, we’re pretty confident in the integrity of the data itself.

P.S. Even though Music Xray gives songs with high ratings more visibility to industry professionals, we observe many many songs with 2 star and 3 star ratings get selected for deals on the site. In judging the ratings you received on your song, be sure to pay attention to this portion (the one circled in red to the left) of the song’s Diagnostics.

Music Xray Sits Down On The Hot Seat

Posted by Mike McCready | July 14th, 2013 | 3 Responses

Music Xray is about transparency and we know there are some tough questions users and potential users want to know the answers to. So we thought we’d sit ourselves down in the hot seat and address these issues head on.

When people think of innovation they tend to think only of technology innovations, and Music Xray brings many technology innovations to the table. But Music Xray also innovates with its business model (who pays, who gets paid, and what for).

Business model innovation generates a lot of questions because it creates a way of doing business that is different from what has gone before. It can even feel counter-intuitive. We recognize that and we try to address these concerns transparently. In fact, Music Xray is the subject of a business school case study by Harvard sister school IESE, the highest ranked business school in the world outside the US. See it here.

Rather than create a long essay, this post seeks to level the harshest misunderstandings about Music Xray and answer them head-on. So, here we go…

The question:

Music Xray charges uninformed artists who have no chance of making it and preys upon their aspirations, taking money from them as often as possible.

The answer:

In fact, Music Xray saves artists time and money while providing them with a fast low-cost reality check.

Music Xray provides the artist with a real assessment of their potential and the likelihood they will be successful with their music upon the artist’s first $10 transaction. The company’s goal is to set the artist’s expectations and to never encourage continued submissions of the music if success isn’t likely. Music Xray achieves this with its product called Diagnostics (see here).

Furthermore, we are aware that many musicians who are just getting started do not know the quality of music and performance that is required to get a deal or be signed to a label. Of course, it varies widely. With Diagnostics, Music Xray provides an very quick and very cheap reality check. Artists typically spend months (if not years) trying to reach the ears of people who can give them the kind of honest feedback Music Xray can help them get for $10 in just a few days.

The question:

The musicians are the ones who can least afford to pay. Why do musicians pay and not the professionals?

The answer:

Musicians already pay much more than Music Xray charges in the pursuit of the same results Music Xray provides (see above about saving money). As tough as it may be to hear, the reality is that Music Xray’s model simply reflects the laws of supply and demand.

Musicians need something that is scarce: the attention of industry decision-makers. The industry has no shortage of sources for new music. The laws of supply and demand require the platform to work this way or it simply wouldn’t work at all.

To illustrate this, keep in mind that companies that make products often spend more money creating awareness and getting their products into the hands of their potential buyers than they do creating the product itself. In the music business the music is a product. The same rules apply. Only after a buyer identifies a great product does the stream of money reverse and flow toward the creator. But it is the responsibility of the creator to insure their music reaches the right ears so that business can begin.

The question:

Music Xray shares fees with the industry professionals, professionals who in many cases are also paid a salary to find songs and talent. This double dipping is unethical.

The answer:

It’s not double dipping. The professionals are doing work that goes beyond the scope of listening to the music.

The professionals’ collective efforts create a valuable and highly-filtered database of great music and that ultimately rewards the artists with the best music by enabling Music Xray to highlight the songs and acts that have been highly-rated by multiple professionals. It is primarily for this work that industry professionals are paid on Music Xray.

Remember, professionals have a choice of which music they pay attention to each day. By providing a small payment to them (or to their favorite charity) Music Xray insures the music gets heard and classified and that results in deals that often come about when the professionals search the filtered database they help create, not just when they listen to the music directly submitted to them.

The question:

There are bogus industry professionals on Music Xray.

The answer:

Industry professionals on Music Xray are on the site via invitation only or via approval after they apply for an account. We can’t vouch for the way each of them conducts their own business, the contract terms they offer, or their responsiveness once a relationship with an artist begins but we do investigate complaints. We have removed professionals from the site who are the subject of repeated complaints or the subject of one substantial and well-founded complaint.

Professionals and their companies must represent themselves truthfully and transparently and we strive to monitor this with the help of our you, our users.

All accounts are attended to by the professional or company listed.

We provide tools for community policing. You can leave ratings and comments on the profile page of each industry professional. We encourage our users to hold us to a high standard but to also recognize that one of the most effective way to police the site is to ask our users to help. Please don’t judge us by the shortcomings you detect. Judge us by how we react to them once they are brought to our attention.

The question:

All these sites are scams. It’s just pay to play.

The answer:

Music Xray does not allow accounts that simply take submission fees and then select every artist who applies. If you see something like that on the site, alert us and we’ll remove it. Occasionally, industry professionals make changes to their policies or to their Music Xray strategy after their account has been approved. We don’t always detect that the moment it happens but if our attention is called to it, we act.

Music Xray is a venture capital backed company. That means we have investors who protect their reputations and do not invest in companies that operate shady businesses. Music Xray offers our services in a way meant to be transparent, fair, clean, and completely legitimate.

Music Xray gets you to the table. What comes after that is up to your music.

Why Music Xray? A Level Playing Field for Musicians. 1500+ Industry Professionals. Transparency. No hype. Just useful data.

Posted by Mike McCready | June 8th, 2013 | No responses

Bring your best song on a CD to Music Xray Live at New Music Seminar in New York June 10-11

Posted by Mike McCready | May 29th, 2013 | 7 Responses

Musicians, songwriters, bands, & other music performing acts can bring their best song on a CD to Music Xray Live, an A&R listening room in The Gramercy Room at The New Yorker Hotel with live A&R reviews, feedback, and perhaps more at this year’s New Music Seminar in New York City June 10 – 11 at 10:30 AM.

A&R scouts from Atlantic, Republic, RCA, Virgin, Label Recruit, LOCAL VIBES, Glassnote, Razor & Tie, Robbins Entertainment, Island, and Columbia are all participating.

Learn how A&R’s think, how they react, how much of a song they listen to, what they listen for.

Learn how industry professionals leverage each others’ screening work, how great songs get discovered, and how to measure a song’s fan conversion costs.

Learn how A&R is changing, how the youngest scouting talent thinks about their jobs as A&R professionals. It’ll be the most informative session you attend all year.

Music Xray is offering all of our artist users who would like to attend New Music Seminar a 25% discount off registration rates.

That’s a savings of $100. Just enter code: NMSXRAY13 at
http://newmusicseminar.com/registration

New Music Seminar is a fantastic event, full of insightful panels, networking opportunities, and incredible live music.

Music Industry Searches for Week April 14th – April 20th, 2013

Posted by Mike McCready | April 22nd, 2013 | 2 Responses

Music Xray will begin publishing some fun facts about the characteristics of what some of the music industry searches for each week. It’s interesting to observe as both topical and musical characteristics evolve from week to week. It will look something like this. Would you find this interesting? If you have music that matches any of these queries, it might be a good time to get your music into Music Xray’s search engine. It’s free.

Learn about Music Xray’s music search engine here:

Music Xray to Beta test a new “Marketplace”

Posted by Mike McCready | April 12th, 2013 | No responses

Today Music Xray announces a quiet little initiative we’ve been working on and we’re calling it “Marketplace“.

As you know, part of our tagline is our pledge to offer resources to you, the musicians to help you continuously get better, regardless of your current skill level or career-stage.

What better resources than some of the industry’s most accomplished professionals? As long as we’ve got them engaged on the site (and since we sorta have their direct email addresses :), we thought we’d reach out and coerce them to offer you their services at steeply discounted prices.

Once they agreed, we promised not to release the data we’ve collelcted on their true personal music taste. So, you get the discounts and they avoid public shame. Let’s just say Wang Chung are a lot more popular than anyone would have expected.

Here are some from the first batch. Each opportunity has limited slots. Get ’em while they’re hot!

Why We Created Diagnostics & Why It’s A Required Purchase With Each Song’s First Submission

Posted by Mike McCready | March 31st, 2013 | 2 Responses

Some users have asked why we created Diagnostics and especially why we require the purchase of Diagnostics with the first submission of any song to an opportunity on Music Xray. These questions deserve a thoughtful and transparent answer so here it is…

Why Music Xray was incomplete before we introduced Diagnostics.

Let’s be honest with each other. We all know that the world is full of companies that promise to get your music to the ears of industry professionals. Many of them are a little sketchy. Not all of those companies start out taking advantage of the aspirations of musicians (some do) but it turns out this is a hard business and by not fulfilling their promises those companies have left plenty of jaded artists in their wake.

We got into this business to be a solution to that problem. We’re a venture-capital-backed company with reputable investors and some clever (and quite expensive) technology behind us. We’ve made significant investments in order to bring this service to market. Obviously, we’re here to build a real business that provides a valuable service. But not everyone knows that or realizes that upon first impression.

Frequently, artists approach Music Xray with a healthy dose of skepticism. After their first rejection or two, that skepticism is often cemented and artists go away frustrated, disappointed, and feeling like someone just pulled the wool over their eyes… again! Some even wonder if their song was actually heard by the professional they submitted to or if was all just one big sham.

Statistically speaking, artists are more likely to get a rejection the first few times they submit (that’s just the way the world works, both online and offline) so frequently, our service was more likely to create dissatisfaction than it was to create a happy user. No company should sell a service that is likely to leave its customers unhappy and skeptical and that’s what we were doing quite often. Additionally, many artists with excellent music and high potential would stop submitting after a couple rejections, just before they were statistically likely to get a deal!

That served no one.

Why was Diagnostics a solution?

We created Diagnostics as a way to add more transparency to the process. Upon your purchase of Diagnostics, the first thing that happens is your song is sent to 5 industry professionals who work in your song’s genre. Within the first few days after you buy Diagnostics, those 5 professionals hear and rate your track across several different criteria. Your song is also sent to a pool of potential fans, targeted for their taste in music.

If any of those professionals like your song enough to contact you and offer you a deal, they can. The fans can “fan you” and when they do, you get their contact info. And it’s important to keep in mind that if we were charging our lowest normal prices to get your song to 5 professionals and 20 potential fans, it would cost around $60, so at $10 Diagnostics is actually quite a bargain.

The initial feedback we get (and you get) from those professionals and fans enables us to benchmark your song and tell you how well your song is doing vs all the other songs on the site. It also enables us to tell you how many submissions were made by similar songs before they were selected for a deal on the site.

If your song isn’t getting good feedback and ratings, we basically tell you, “hey, you should think twice before spending more money on submissions. Maybe you should get some help improving your music or perhaps you should try another song.” If your ratings are high we tell you, “hey, even thought you may have been rejected a time or two, your song is good, it’s getting good ratings and it’s acquiring fans pretty readily. You should keep submitting.

Additionally, if your ratings are good, your song is very likely to be spotted by other industry professionals when they go in to the collective ratings section of the site and start browsing songs that were not submitted directly to them but that are receiving positive ratings.

Be sure you understand this about Diagnostics. If your song doesn’t have a lot of potential, Diagnostics tells you after you’ve spent only $10 and a few days waiting for the results. If it’s great, we’re showing it to 5 industry professionals and then to many more via collective ratings… for $10!

Our conclusion:

We understand that there are musicians out there who do not need this kind of service and guidance and maybe they don’t want it. But, we’ve been able to price it at $10 and even with that extra charge, paid once per song, Music Xray is still BY FAR the cheapest and least time consuming way to get your music a guaranteed listen and response from the professionals you submit to.

We don’t philosophically believe in charging more than we have to in order to provide a good service and we would NEVER just look for an excuse to charge more money. Companies should provide products and services at the lowest price possible that enables the business to operate. That’s what we do. In fact, you would probably be surprised if you knew how lean we operate. But we decided to simply refuse to sell a service that doesn’t provide and show the full value of Music Xray. We hope that after reading our explanation you understand why we did this and how it is meant to help.

Some more musician endorsements of Music Xray

Posted by Mike McCready | March 29th, 2013 | No responses

We are thrilled to share some more of these awesome recent musician endorsements with you:

Music Xray has been a great platform for showcasing our music. We’ve gotten our songs on various internet radio stations, our music has been reviewed and featured by a number of popular music blogs, and Music Xray has made it possible for us to book a few different gigs.”- Broken Fences

They say their “experience has been great. Music Xray has helped us bridge the gap between Canada and the United States which in turn has advanced our career. We have a small but growing following in LA based solely on the indie radio plays we received through the company.”- The Brilliancy

I found Music Xray years ago through a buddy of mine who had a family friend, that I believe was involved in starting it or something. I’ve hardly had any negative experiences, and I’ve been selected for some cool stuff and gotten to communicate with some great people – (legendary producer Ron Nevison and I had some brief correspondence over the fact that he produced my cousin, Bill Leverty’s band, Firehouse’s, amazing third album). I think Music Xray has the best opportunities for someone like me; whether it’s music placements for “New Girl” [TV show] or major label, and management roster considerations. Because of this, it’s also extremely addicting, and I go on massive sprees a lot submitting to tons of stuff..- Jim Ivins Band

Sites like Music Xray form a crucial part of the new music industry model where artists have the power to be truly independent and cut out the ‘middle-man’; you guys connect us directly with the opportunities that matter. The traditional way of doing things is no longer viable. Online A&R is a perfect description for what you do – and it clearly works! The new analytics are impressive and a really neat way to gauge the potential success for new songs.- Nick Balcombe

I hit Google pretty hard in January trying to put together a list of good ways to start pushing my music. I eventually wound up at Music Xray and haven’t looked back. My experience has been great – the Fan Match [product] has been, hands down, the best use of resources for me. Nothing has so quickly helped me establish a broader fan base and mailing list. Frankly, it seems too good to be true – but it’s not. I look forward to using it each month and the opportunities I’ve found are amazing. I may completely shift my focus away from Sonicbids and onto Music Xray from here on out. – Jeromy Darling

I’ve only been using Music Xray for 2 months now, and its been a wonderful experience. Not only is it amazing to have the ears of industry pros and Grammy-winning producers, but the replies are timely, professional and helpful. I’m thrilled with the service provided by Music Xray. Worth every ounce of effort and resources.. – Adam Avery

I think that this site is the BEST in giving Indie Artists the opportunity to be heard and signed by professionals in the music industry. One of my songs was selected by a communications company and so and I am looking forward to very successful 2012. I was also signed by Marie Braden and I expect to have a Great 2012 of success with her also. She is also promoting my music for various opportunities with the music professionals that she works with. In closing, I would like to thank everyone involved in promoting my music. You are all Awesome!!” –Rene Saucier

I’ve been a member of Taxi, off and on, since they opened their doors. Your business model is superior to their lazy “not right for this listing” typical response. I just got started with your service but I’m happy knowing that my submissions will at least be heard and considered by the people who made the request for the material. –Anthony Adams

Thank you MusicXray! My song “That Girl” has been selected for airplay in north Germany and international online streaming worldwide! I knew I had landed at the correct place right from the beginning. I thank you for your good work. You’re just amazing. –Henry Gaye

In the few months I’ve been a member, I have made several industry connections and signed contracts on two of my songs. What sets music xray apart is the ability to form and maintain relationships. I’ve had multiple people ask to keep my songs on their radar for future projects, even if they couldn’t be used for a current project. My experience with music xray has far exceeded that of other similar services where membership is required. Thanks! –Marissa DiBlasio

Once again, Music Xray helped with my career! I was able to have a meeting with with Viacom Media and I shared one of my songs and was asked for a EPK. I gave my Music Xray one. Viacom licensed ALL the songs plus the instrumental versions! The first song used was on the VH1 show MOBWIVES. Just this week, I had another song played on JERSEY SHORE! Thanks again for all you do! Can’t wait to report my next big success story as they have been coming in on a regular basis. –Cliff Audretch, Sr. Director A&R / Staff Producer – Show Dog (Universal Music Group).

I am the drummer for Eric Paul. Last year, through Music Xray, we were put in touch with a LA licencing firm who got us a song placement in the movie “Friends With Benefits”. The song “Paradise Dreaming (Frozen Miles)” was featured in the film four times. Soon after the film’s release Shaun White was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to promote FWB. The clip they showed had “Paradise Dreaming” playing in the background, and last week we released our sophomore album “Fifteen of Fame”. Can’t wait to see what the future holds. Thank you Music Xray for all you do for unknown artists. – Troy Mariman

I submitted my song “Southern Girl,” which I like to call a “tween country” song to a listing for Southern Soul Records, who were looking for songs that will be shopped to artists for the use of making a video. Knowing this song would probably fit a 12-15 y/o female looking to do a catchy pop-country song, I submitted, although at the time I did not know what kind of up and coming artists they had. Needless to say, 6 months later, up and coming 12 y/o artist Savanna Grace just dropped her first single and it’s “Southern Girl.” Thank YOU Music Xray. -Evan McGill

Just wanted to stop in here and say… Amen. You guys got this one right. As a struggling songwriter who has searched, what feels like, the entire internet for a source like this; I gotta say that this one tops the others by a long shot. The only other notable service like this would be Taxi… but sorry, I don’t have $300+ to spend all at once off a whim to just become a member. Music Xray lets me join in on the fun for free, and when I was well and ready, I paid a small fee for opportunities that perfectly suited my music and needs. Thank you guys for for this. -Kyle Berardinelli, Kyle Berardinelli

Backstage at The Voice private auditions in NYC – brought to you by Music Xray, SoundCloud, & The Jimmy Lloyd Songwriter Showcase

Posted by Mike McCready | March 28th, 2013 | No responses

Music Xray invited about a dozen musicians to have a live, private audition with the casting directors for NBC’s The Voice here in NYC last month. This is what a few of them had to say.

Backstage at private auditions for The Voice in NYC. February 19th, 2013 from www.jimmylloyd.com on Vimeo.

Communication to users who have opened an account on Music Xray but never uploaded music

Posted by Mike McCready | March 23rd, 2013 | 14 Responses