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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 songwriters & musicians pay Music Xray

Posted by Mike McCready | February 7th, 2013 | 4 Responses


Sometimes people want to understand why Music Xray’s business model works the way it does. We wanted to give you a thoughtful reply:

Is Music Xray a Scam? Is it Legit? What the heck is this thing?

Posted by Mike McCready | July 23rd, 2012 | 25 Responses



I’m going to delve into a topic we hear about from time to time. It’s when a potential user objects to using Music Xray because they suspect it’s a scam of some sort, or that Music Xray takes advantage of the aspirations of millions of musicians by charging them to take a shot at something they have almost no chance of achieving.

 

I could go on about all the obvious evidence to the contrary (and I will below this paragraph), but I want to start by saying that the only way you’re going to know with 100% certainty that Music Xray performs as advertised is to give it a try (for free, of course). When you open a free account as an artist, we give you a $4 credit, which enables you to get a free submission. There are many submission opportunities on the site that only cost $4. If you click here and scroll down you can see many of them. At the time of this writing, there appear to be about eighty opportunities of this type. When they say “free”, it means there is no submission fee and you only pay the transaction fee of $4. When you apply your $4 credit that we give you when you open the account, you pay nothing, so you can see for yourself if this thing really works. We’re also giving you a samplefree Fan Match campaign, so you can test our other service out too. If you decide you don’t like them, don’t use them again. No strings. No catches. Really.

 

So, now let’s address head-on the subject of Music Xray’s legitimacy.

 

Before Music Xray, getting to a decision maker in the music industry required knowing someone or gaining access to someone, usually through a painstaking networking process that could take weeks or months to pan out. When you did finally get your music into the hands of the decision maker, you frequently had to be the guy or gal following up, calling, asking, “Have you listened yet? What did you think?” Then, in the best of cases, you could only do that so often. It’s not like you had five opportunities like that lined up every day, right?

 

Sure, there were tip sheets but even after you sent in your CD, bio, pics, etc., you still rarely even received acknowledgement they had been received, let alone received a response in return. That process was also very expensive because while you did all that work, you had to pay rent and feed yourself, not to mention sacrifice time and energy you could have spent doing what you do best; make music.

 

So, Music Xray has created an online set of tools that A&R professionals, talent buyers, agents, managers, program directors, publishers, music supervisors, and music podcasters use to identify opportunity-appropriate and high potential songs and talent. Once we could demonstrate it was working, we achieved the engagement of a sizable part of the industry; then slowly, we opened the doors to independent musicians everywhere. If you’re just hearing about us, welcome. We’ve been here for a couple years, proving ourselves, getting ready for the big time.

 

Sure, Music Xray charges a few bucks and we don’t apologize for that. We get a result for you that, via any other means, costs you a lot more time and money. There’s no mystery to it. We are simply able to reduce the time and money it costs by combining some new technology with the efficiencies and capabilities of the Internet. We don’t create the opportunities. We don’t create the music. So, we don’t get paid when a deal between you and an industry professional gets done. Your deals are yours.

Our job is to find the opportunities and bring the industry professionals and decision makers to the table. To do that, we provide them with a compelling set of online tools that helps them do their job more effectively and efficiently – to the extent that professionals who are not using Music Xray are finding themselves at a professional disadvantage vs. those who are. We keep the industry professionals engaged with a great product. The platform we’ve built (and continue to build) is complex and expensive. So is keeping the lights on while providing a second-to-none user support team. Even so, we’re able to keep your costs very low. Due to Music Xray, you can pursue many more opportunities simultaneously and at a lower cost.

 

We have created a system for musicians via which getting to a decision maker is no longer about who-you-know. Isn’t a level playing field exactly what independent musicians had been demanding for decades? Doesn’t everyone want a sure-fire way of getting their music to the ears of the professionals who matter?

 

Being able to reach them immediately, at the click of a button, and for a few dollars sure beats the old way. If you don’t think so, don’t sweat it. You don’t have to stop doing it the old way in order to give Music Xray a try. One day, doing it the old way will seem as strange to people as an accountant in today’s world still using an abacus to calculate their clients’ taxes. Those guys either switched over to new technology or they were long ago outcompeted by accountants using calculators and computers.

 

If Music Xray doesn’t save you time and money, we’re doing it wrong. Our service is one that reduces inefficiency and creates transparency in an industry that historically has been murky and sometimes completely opaque. Industry professionals and musicians alike are finding Music Xray refreshing. Check for yourself. Do a live Twitter search for musicxray.

 

If you have questions about Music Xray’s business model, the submission fees, or just think you should never pay anyone to hear your music, click here.

 

If you have questions about what exactly happens when you submit a song via Music Xray click here.

 

Lastly, and only to drive the point home, you can see an extensive list of success stories here. Those success stories include major label signings, major motion picture placement, major and cable network television placement, contestants on The Voice who started at Music Xray and so on. Between 50 and 70 songs per day are selected for opportunities via Music Xray EACH DAY.

 

And if that’s still not enough to adequately answer the question, one can note some of our investors: They include Digital Assets Deployment, True Global Ventures / Dušan Stojanović / David Rose, Wharton Professor Josh Eliashberg, New York investor Hal Vogel and so on. Reputable investors examine companies carefully before investing. They do not invest in companies that are not providing true value or companies they fear may be exposed for operating less than 100% above board. If something like that were to happen, it would ruin their investment. In the meantime, the company would never reach profitability if it didn’t generate satisfied users who find value in the service. Reputable investors wouldn’t touch a company with a ten-foot pole if they suspected it of running a scam.

 

And that says nothing of the marquee brand name companies that work with Music Xray. MTV, RCA (Sony), Sire (Warner), Parlophone (EMI), The Voice, NBC’s Jimmy Lloyd Songwriting Showcase etc. These are not typically companies that would work with ill-reputed businesses. But they are companies that are forward-thinking and want to use the latest technologies to help them identify new songs and talent.

 

If you still have questions, get in touch with our team via support@musicxray.com and we’ll be happy to provide additional information. Bookmark this post and consider sharing it with fellow musicians. As a small company, we don’t have big PR budgets. Help us make sure all musicians know about a music tech company leveling the playing field by posting this to Facebook, Twitter, or just getting involved in our affiliate program and earning some money to offset your submission costs here on Music Xray.

 

Thanks,

 

Mike McCready

Co-founder & CEO

Music Xray