As a former struggling musician who saved up every time I had to buy guitar strings, I get that the term “starving artist” didn’t coin itself. So, that begs the question; why would I start a business that requires artists to pay for yet one more thing?
The truth is, we tried making the service completely free and figured we’d find one way or another to keep the lights on like so many web based businesses. But early on, we realized it wasn’t working. The industry professionals were overwhelmed, couldn’t keep up with their submissions and stopped logging in. Without the professionals on the site taking submissions all we had was another artist-facing website that couldn’t fulfill its promises.
I’d rather eat poo than be the operator of one of those sites!
We soon figured out that charging a small fee ($4) tended to keep the riff raff out. Those who were unwilling to invest a little bit of change in getting their music heard by industry decision-makers also seemed to be the ones jamming up the system for everyone else. Suddenly, the industry professionals were engaged again. Yes, they were getting fewer submissions but the quality of the submissions was higher. We then enabled the industry professionals to increase or decrease the fee as needed to regulate the inflow of submissions. If they were receiving too many songs, they could increase the fee to slow things down.
The fees are usually pretty reasonable. Not unlike the amount you’d spend sending a CD and presentation kit through the mail in the old days (and never hearing back or even knowing that it arrived). On Music Xray, in exchange for your coin you are guaranteed that the professional listens and provides feedback. Even in the case of rejection you are told why.
Our job here at Music Xray is to keep the industry professionals engaged and interested so that the doors of opportunity remain open and the business is more about how good you are and less about who you know. Charities
The fees collected on Music Xray keep our lights on and perhaps enable some of the professionals to afford an extra drink or two (and who wouldn’t buy someone a drink in exchange for some professional attention to their music?). None of the professionals sees Music Xray submission fees as a primary source of income. It’s extra pocket change at best and many of them funnel the money to various charities we have on the site like Save The Children Fund, Musicares, Songs of Love and others. I bet you didn’t know that.
This isn’t new. We’ve been enabling industry professionals to divert their money to charity for over a year. Honestly, not all of them send their money to charities. In fact, a lot don’t but we’re seeing increasing numbers of them do it. At some point we may display a badge on the profile pages of those that send their fees to charity. For now, we just quietly suggest it as an option and it seems to be working.
I just thought this was all worth explaining.