The Music Xray Blog
technology enhanced identification of high potential songs & talent

The Business School Case Studies on Music Xray

Posted by Mike McCready | November 18th, 2012 | 1 Response

The team behind Music Xray has been involved in making the music and talent discovery process for industry professionals more efficient, less risky, and more accurate for over a decade, with many years of experience in entrepreneurship and the music industry prior to that.

Music Xray co-founders Mike McCready and Tracie Reed led a music tech start-up called Polyphonic HMI in the early 2000’s and introduced a revolutionary hit prediction technology called Hit Song Science. The technology was credited with detecting the success potential of Norah Jones well before she was on anyone’s radar and helped determine the release order of singles by the then-struggling band, Maroon 5, among many other successes.

In 2005, Harvard Business School published a case study on the company’s challenge of introducing technology-based solutions within an industry that had long relied on golden ears and gut instinct alone to make million-dollar decisions. The case was called Polyphonic HMI – Mixing Music & Math. It remains one of the most popular case studies taught in business school marketing classes all over the world, including at Wharton, IESE, Kellogg, UCLA, Columbia, NYU’s Stern School of Business, The London School of Economics, INSEAD, and many others.

In early 2012, IESE, a sister school of Harvard Business School and the highest ranked business school in the world outside the United States published a follow-on case study called “Mike McCready and Music Xray: Business Model Innovation in the Music Industry“.

This case study has been taught at IESE and around the world at top business schools.

The reason Music Xray is worthy of this most recent study is that the company has taken a non-intuitive business model and made it part of the formula that makes the business effective. That is, by asking musicians to pay a few dollars to make a submission to the industry’s decision-makers, the artist is put in the position of having to filter themselves. They therefore submit only their best material to opportunities they feel they have a reasonable chance of securing. This system reduces the listening load on the industry professionals and also raises the quality of music professionals consistently hear on Music Xray.

That, combined with other tricks and technology-based tools that help professionals separate the wheat from the chaff make Music Xray the very best set of song and talent discovery for industry professionals that has ever been developed. In fact, Music Xray has practically a 0% attrition rate among industry pros. Once they begin using the platform, they tend to stay engaged.

Music Xray strives to be the very best in the field of first discovery for the music industry. That means a continuous dedication to excellence and to results that are far and away indispensable for the professionals in the industry who make their living by selected the best music and talent for their markets. It also makes the company a source of innovation that drives what’s being taught in the world’s top business classrooms.

Should musicians pay to submit music to the industry? That may be the wrong question.

Posted by Mike McCready | November 14th, 2012 | 8 Responses

It’s ironic we receive this question because Music Xray has created something musicians have been requesting forever, a level playing field, but that isn’t always immediately apparent. As soon as it becomes apparent, the real question follows.

The real question: Should musicians pay for the convenience of playing on a level field?

The answer to that question is probably “yes”, but it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. You can probably do for free what we charge you for. People have been doing it successfully the hard way for a long time. Just like you can get most places by walking. Why spend money on a car or an airline ticket? Because doing so saves you time and money. It’s the same with Music Xray.

How? You can spend all your time on LinkedIn networking with industry professionals, finding out where the opportunities are, finagling your way in, cashing in favors to get people to listen to your tracks, being the person following up, hoping you don’t become a nuisance, following up again and then maybe getting an answer. While you do that you have to feed yourself and pay rent. It can be time-consuming and cumbersome. What’s more, it doesn’t really increase your odds of getting a deal because the industry professional with whom you’re in touch won’t do a deal with you if they find music or talent elsewhere that fits better with their opportunity.

That’s where Music Xray comes in. We’ve harnessed new technologies and the Internet to build a set of tools that the industry is increasingly adopting to help identify high potential songs and talent. In our model, artists pay a small fee to make a submission. In exchange for that small fee, you essentially jump to the front of the line. Your song is heard by the industry professional on the other end and you receive a response within a limited timeframe. If the response is that your song or band has been selected, a relationship begins and Music Xray steps away. We do not take a cut of any deal that results from that introduction. If the response is that your song or band is placed on hold or rejected, you learn that too. After a few submissions, we even tell you how the professionals are rating your track in private, which may not be what they tell you to your face. That’s information you probably can’t get anywhere else at any price.

There’s nothing else to it.

It is what it seems.

Music Xray saves you time and money by finding the opportunities and ensuring the decision-makers behind the opportunities are available to anyone.

How can we do that when no one else can? We make the best tools that have ever been built for helping industry professionals manage their submissions, attract the type and quality of submissions they seek, identify high-potential tracks, leverage the ears of 1400 other industry professionals and much more. We make Music Xray a tool they can’t live without.

Isn’t paying to submit kind of like buying a lottery ticket?

A lottery is a game of chance in which winners are randomly drawn from a hat. A decision to license a song or sign a band is based on the music, the talent, the market appeal, and skill. Your submission is always going to have to compete against other songs and bands under consideration. The existence of Music Xray doesn’t alter that one way or another. Music Xray is simply able to guarantee that you and your music are among those that do receive consideration.

Click here if you’ve ever wondered how many submissions industry professionals receive.

How do you know Music Xray is real and not too good to be true?

We’re asked that a lot too.

But keep in mind that we’re not promising success to anyone. We only promise to get you into the conversation. We ensure that you and your music are considered. After that, it’s up to what you bring to the table.

Music Xray is backed by serious investors who only invest in real companies. Music Xray leads the industry in providing tools for song and talent discovery for professionals and backs it up with recent achievements and a number of industry endorsements.

Additionally, Harvard Business School did a case study on our founders’ previous company when they first began introducing technolog-based solutions to talent discovery for the industry. It was called Polyphonic HMI: Mixing music and math. IESE is a sister school of Harvard and this case study is a follow-on to the original case study. Both are currently taught at top business schools around the world like Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, UCLA, IESE, Columbia, and London School of Economics.

How many music submissions do professionals receive?

Posted by Mike McCready | November 14th, 2012 | 2 Responses

We hear that question a lot. The short answer is; as many as they have time to listen to before they must make a decision.

The important thing is for your band or your song to be among those that do get heard. You should never make your decision about whether or not to submit based on the fact that the professional on the other end is likely to hear hundreds or even thousands of other songs and bands before making a decision. That’s the way it has always been. Music Xray insures that you and / or your song is among those that get considered. On Music Xray, you get that guarantee. Where else can you get that guarantee? Nowhere.

The reason to make submissions through Music Xray as opposed to any other channel is because we save you tons of time by finding the opportunities for you. Then, we guarantee the decision maker listens and responds. That service is unheard of in the music business. How do we do it? Simple. We make sure the tools we provide to industry professionals to help them identify high potential songs and talent (or songs and talent that are appropriate for a specific opportunity) the best that have ever existed. Music Xray doesn’t waste their time. Music Xray becomes a tool industry professionals can’t live without. Here are some endorsements of Music Xray from the industry.

Why do musicians love Music Xray? Because if you don’t submit your song via Music Xray, you have to hunt down the industry professionals, network your way in, request the favor of them listening to your tracks, then you have to follow up and be that person pesteringly asking, “Have you listened yet? What did you think?”. And even if you do that, how many times per day can you do it before you’re spending all your time on LinkedIn? And even then, the person who hears your song is not hearing and considering less music. The odds of you getting that deal aren’t likely to be improved by doing it that way. In fact, you may just be making a nuisance of yourself and thereby reducing the probability of getting a deal.

As an increasing number of songs and acts are selected via Music Xray (14,000 in the past 18 months), there will be fewer opportunities available elsewhere.
So when you think about it, the odds of getting a deal elsewhere are probably decreasing. Remember, the Internet makes everything transparent and makes it possible for companies that screen songs and talent for commercial and exposure opportunities to do so much more efficiently. They will use the best technology and the best tools to help them do that. So, whether it’s Music Xray or another platform, this trend isn’t going away. The sooner you embrace it, the bigger advantage you will have. At Music Xray, we promise to keep it transparent and fair.

Music Xray, Now With BandPage Connect

Posted by Mike McCready | November 13th, 2012 | No responses

Today, Music Xray launches with BandPage Connect, enabling anyone with an artist account on Music Xray to easily and instantly connect their account with their BandPage profile. Doing so will make parts of your BandPage (and eventually all of it) visible on Music Xray so you can put your best foot forward with the industry professionals and fans who experience your music on Music Xray.

We’re proud and excited to be a part of this coordinated launch with BandPage which includes other sites you may use and enjoy like WordPress, Guitar Center, Midem Music Festival, PledgeMusic, Conduit Mobile, Earbits, StoryAmp, Tixie, Local Music Vibe, WeDemand and The Social Radio.

We work hard to help you get deals, get fans, & get better and by partnering with BandPage and thereby making Music Xray compatible with your other online tools, we’re able to serve you even better.

To connect your Music Xray account with your BandPage account, please log in to your account, go to “settings” where you will see the BandPage tab. After connecting your account, your photos and tour dates widgets will be visible on your tracks within Music Xray. We’ll increase this is the near future so you’ll be able to view most, if not all, your BandPage profile on Music Xray.

Some musician endorsements of Music Xray

Posted by Mike McCready | November 12th, 2012 | 1 Response

We are thrilled to share some 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

How we calculate your cost per acquired fan.

Posted by Mike McCready | October 31st, 2012 | 3 Responses

When you launch a new Fan Match campaign, you pay $1 for every three potential fans we target for you.

So, a campaign that costs $20 would target 60 potential fans.

If every potential fan we target becomes an actual fan of yours (meaning they agree to give their email address to you), the cost per fan would be $0.33 per fan. Right? You would acquire three fans for every dollar you spent, so about 33 cents per acquired fan.

But not 100% of the people who hear your track are likely to love it, statistically speaking. So, let’s be more realistic and say that instead you acquire 31 fans out of the 60 potential fans. That means each fan will have cost you $0.64. That’s still amazing considering how much fans are worth over the lifetime of your career if you know how to manage your fan relationships.

That’s the basic way we calculate the cost of your fans and we reflect that when we show you the results as seen below:

But now, let’s say you get a $3.00 tip from one of your new fans. That $3.00 means that instead of $20, your campaign only cost you $17. So, if you run a campaign targeting 60 potential fans and you get 39 actual fans out of it, and one of them gives you a $3.00 tip, your cost per actual fan becomes $0.43 ($17 divided by 39 fans = $0.43).

Below, we should you, 1. The number of fans acquired. 2. The amount you’ve received in tips from your new fans. 3. The cost per each fan you’ve acquired. 4. The email addresses of your new fans.

Lastly, if you get enough tips from your newly acquired fans, it is possible to actually offset the cost of your campaign completely or even make money acquiring fans.

It all depends on how much the potential fans like your music – and we target them based on their taste so if your music is good, you’ve got a good chance of getting good results. If your fans show up to one gig per year, maybe buy a T-shirt, and a CD, your fans should be worth many dollars per year. A Fan Match campaign makes sense as long as you can acquire fans for less than they are worth to you over the course of a year, or even over the life of your career.

We think we have the best fan acquisition tool on the market. Give it a shot!

How to calculate the number of potential fans we have for you and launch a Fan Match campaign

Posted by Mike McCready | October 30th, 2012 | 15 Responses

Musicians, in your weekly email digest, occasionally, you will notice that we do not have enough data to calculate the number of potential fans we have for you. Scroll down to see how to resolve this.

Step 1: Log in to your Music Xray account.

Step 2: Click this button in the weekly digest email.

or just upload some music if you don’t have any in your account yet and skip to step 3…

Or, go look at the tracks in your account that have an alert about missing data (as seen below).

Step 3: Click the red button. Also notice the button that says you are currently targeting zero fans.

Step 4: Follow the steps in the graphic below. PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE THIRD STEP! Then, save your changes.

Step 5: Wait 30 seconds and notice the change to the Target Fans button. That is the number of potential fans we have identified for you. Click that button.

Step 6: Notice, the campaign size automatically sets to the number of potential fans we’ve found for you. Adjust the slider or type in the box to increase or decrease the size of your campaign. Larger campaigns are welcome but will take a bit longer to complete while we go find more potential fans for you.

Step 7: After a day or two, go to “My Fan Match Campaigns” to begin following the progress of your campaign.

Step 8: Read the results of your campaign. 1. The number of fans acquired. 2. The amount you’ve received in tips from your new fans. 3. The cost per each fan you’ve acquired. 4. The email addresses of your new fans.

What do we mean by “cost of fan acquired? Click here to find out.

Step 9: Contact your new fans. Thank them for becoming your fan and for any tips you have received. Build and monetize the relationships just as you would any other fans you have.

Step 10: Run more Fan Match campaigns until you have at least 1000 true fans and / or as many as you can acquire for as long as it is cost effective.

How to read your new weekly email digest

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

Those with artist accounts on Music Xray will have noticed that there’s a new weekly digest email that tells you which opportunities are matched to your song, based on Music Xray’s S2O (song to opportunity) matching system. It’s also telling you how many fans we have matched to your songs.

This post tells you how to read the new email.

The first thing you will notice is the new layout.

At the footer of the email, you will notice the section about your ratings.

Occasionally, you will notice that we do not have enough data to calculate the number of potential fans we have for you. Click here for instructions on how to resolve this and see how many fans we have for each of your tracks.

Music Xray’s Refund Policy

Posted by Mike McCready | October 30th, 2012 | 1 Response

We want to take a moment to discuss Music Xray’s refund policy for submissions to industry professionals.

Refunds when your song isnt’s heard and you don’t get a response within 45 days?

YES! We refund musicians when we can’t live up to our end of the deal, which is getting your music heard by the industry professional to whom you submit music and getting you a response from said professional or their organization within 45 days or less.

Nevertheless, our goal is to always get you the result you paid for. If you request the refund and the professional has not yet responded to you, we will refund you and remove the song you submitted from the industry professional’s inbox. We do not issue a refund if the professional has already responded to you by the time you make the refund request (even if more than 45 days have passed) since the primary goal is to deliver the response. We do our best to hold the professionals to the 45 day timeframe. Repeat offenders are usually removed from the site.

That’s what we say we do. That’s what you pay us to get done for you. If we don’t do that, you are entitled to a refund.

Almost everything else we do for you is free. We match your song to opportunities for free. We tell you how many potential fans we have identified for you for free. We recruit industry professionals and their opportunities for free. We deliver your ratings from industry professionals for free. We list your music in our search engine that is used only by approved industry professionals for free. We store, host, and display your music for free. We give you your very own online tip jar for free. You only pay us to get your music to the ears of an industry professional.

Refunds when your song is on hold for a long time?

No. The industry professional has heard your song and has responded to you that they’d like to hold your song for further consideration. That is a response. While your song is on hold, you are free to continue seeking opportunities for your song. The industry professional does not have any rights over your song. Putting your song on hold is simply their way or not rejecting the song but also not yet selecting it. All you can do is be patient. Our system reminds the industry professional every 10 days or so that they have your song on hold. Things take time. Sometimes they never happen. You just have to continue moving forward and hope for the best. 

Refunds when things don’t go well with an industry professional?

Maybe but not usually. Only in rare circumstances. We get you to the table. What happens once you get there is beyond our control. If we wanted to control it and be responsible for the outcome we wouldn’t put you directly in touch. We’d submit the song, negotiate a deal and take a large cut of the deal. We don’t do that. That’s not our business. You pay us to get you to the table. Humans are humans. Sometimes they click and deals get done quickly. Other times people just don’t mesh. 

You would not believe the number of times we hear of deals going south because the industry professional just decided the artist is being too high maintanence, doesn’t understand how the business works and the industry professional just decided it was too much effort and stopped communicating.

We vet the professionals. We have high confidence their deals / opportunities are real. We are happy to investigate any shenanigans you feel may be occurring and we will refund at our discretion in those instances.

Refunds when your song is not selected?

No. Again, we have no control over what you’re presenting to the industry professional. We have no control over how you conduct yourself, your level of experience both as a musician as well as a business professional. We get you to the table. We insure your music is heard and considered. Due to this, deals get done all the time. In fact, many get done every day via the platform. We stand on our service of getting you heard. We don’t give refunds when your music or band is not selected and we do not charge you more when you get a big deal.

How we can help.

All that said, we have an excellent customer service team and we love to help you move things along with industry professionals and help you get the deals you’re seeking and to make the most out of your communication with them. Don’t hesitate to contact us at

How to enter music taste preference data (for fans on Music Xray)

Posted by Mike McCready | October 23rd, 2012 | 2 Responses

These are instructions for music fans on Music Xray who have set up their account and connected their Facebook account but are still not receiving music to hear. This is usually due to our inability to detect any activity in your facebook account that gives us clues as to your taste in music. The solution is for you to manually enter your favorite artists and bands in your Music Xray Fan Match profile.

Step 1. After you log in, edit your Fan Match profile and select some genres.

Step 2: Uncheck the box that says “Use facebook music listening preferences”.

Step 3: Enter the names of some of your favorite bands (begin to type and then select from the list).

Step 4: Click save. Check your email in the next 24 hours for alerts about new songs to hear. If you don’t receive any, contact and we’ll help you out.