Artists News Uncategorized

Why Do Submissions Have Variable Prices?

Posted by Mike McCready | August 11th, 2013 | 9 Responses

… and why is Diagnostics a required purchase for each submitted song?

Even though we love serving musicians, at its core, Music Xray is a site where over 1500 industry professionals combine their collective capacity to screen music. This helps them efficiently find the needles in the haystack.

In fact, by applying music-analyzing software and the collective screening efforts of 1500 industry professionals, Music Xray makes identifying high-potential (and opportunity-appropriate) music like finding a needle in a needlestack.

Previously, identifying that music has been a daunting task and social traction surrounding most music only surfaces a small number of obvious hits leaving most music with commercial value buried in web obscurity. Now, with over 1500 industry professionals pitching in to screen music daily, over 1,000 songs & acts per month are singled out for various types of deals.

The notion that content owners would pay a few dollars for a submission crystalized as we began to think about how to find the needles in such a large haystack. After all, today there are more than 11 hours of audio uploaded to SoundCloud every minute. Screening that much music is nearly impossible.

Song owner as first filter:

But when you place the song owners in the position of having to spend a few dollars in order to have a song considered by the industry, they must screen themselves. If one of their songs isn’t appropriate for the available deals or if they have low confidence in its ability to secure a deal at all, they decide not to submit it. This phenomena reduced the listening load on the professionals by enough to instantly make the impossible possible – and it cleared the field for the more serious bands, acts, & songwriters.

In other words, once much of the hay was removed from the haystack the needles became easier to find.

Our goal was to help the industry identify commercially valuable music quickly and efficiently. So, we needed a way to gather as much information as possible about a song quickly.

With Diagnostics, each song is sent to five industry professionals who actively work in the song’s genre. The professionals are chosen at random for each song from among a large pool of professionals who volunteer for first screening.

The results of Diagnostics enables Music Xray to draw the attention of other industry professionals to songs that are appropriate for a wide array of opportunities.

While remaining in competition with each other to identify valuable music for their needs, each professional essentially enters into a pact with all the other professionals on the site to listen to some new, unfiltered music each day (submitted by the song owners themselves) and rate the songs according to their attributes such as production, performance, and hit potential. If in the process of listening, they hear something they want to license or sign directly, they get first dibs.

Otherwise, the songs and their ratings go into a communal database where the professionals can see the collective ratings. With Diagnostics, each song is heard and rated by at least five industry professionals so when consensus around a song begins to form it can be identified through the site’s advanced music search engine (see image) or through alerts (like Google alerts) delivered to an industry professional when the site identifies a song that matches their alert criteria (e.g. energetic pop songs for a male performer with 120 to 130 beats per minute and high hit potential).

Diagnostics is like a GPS for a song:

Diagnostics additionally provides valuable information to the artist, letting them know quickly and cheaply if their song is likely to land a deal, how much effort it is likely to require, and where their song stands versus all other songs on the site competing for similar deals.

Other information is provided too, such as how much time has elapsed since an industry professional or potential fan has heard the song or how long it has been since any song was selected by any industry professional across the site.

All this information helps the artist know whether or not continued investment in the song is warranted. And by giving high-potential songs increased exposure to industry professionals Music Xray reduced the needed investment in a song before it is placed in a deal or the act is signed.

About Music Xray:

Since launching its online platform in January 2010, Music Xray has been helping the industry identify high-potential songs and talent through a combination of new technologies and crowd-sourcing techniques made possible by the Internet. The result is a rich database of information related to the characteristics and commercial potential of over 1.3 million songs by more than 130,000 bands & songwriters. More than 1500 invitation-only industry professionals contribute to the collective effort of filtering the vast sea of music created each year by musicians everywhere and to use the site to discover new music that matches current industry needs.

The site has been behind the selections of over 21,000 songs and acts including placements in major films, TV shows, advertisements, and webisodes. Songwriters and bands have singed major label deals, publishing agreements, management arrangements, and song placements with top artists.

See some success stories here.

Music Xray is backed by Digital Assets Deployment, True Global Ventures, & individual angel investors and is based in New York.

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: