Published April 15th 2016
Like many other artists, I’ve been trying all kinds of websites to promote myself in an attempt to get paid for the music that I love to make. In a series of blogs, I’ll be sharing with you how I’ve experienced some of these platforms. This series will feature ReverbNation, RadioAirplay.com/Jango, Music Clout, Coast 2 Coast, MusicXray and InMusik.
MusicXray is an online A&R platform that offers 3 different versions of itself. It offers a platform for music fans, musicians and industry people.
Their business model is simple. All their earnings come from the musician platforms. Musicians pay for having their music tested, among music fans, and for submitting music to opportunities to industry professionals. Music fans and industry people, registered on the site, get paid by the platform.
Of course, I’m not supposed to say it that way, because the industry person is supposed to be well tested by a selection process setup by the website, so only reliable A&Rs should be present on the platform, who are posting real opportunities and want to spend the money offered.
You just can’t help but be skeptical, which was exactly my opinion about this platform, for many years, before one of the A&Rs I knew, actually, started promoting the platform. So, knowing him and his reputation, I signed up to try this last year.
The Musician Platform
It’s free to sign up and create a profile. You can upload your music, but from that point any other services are paid for.
In order to submit music to opportunities, your song has to be offered to a test audience of 20 music fans. This costs $10. Music fans only get a few cents for listening to a few seconds of your song. You can use a tool called Hookblast to make sure they get to hear the hook in those seconds. Music fans can then like a song and, currently, they can allow you to see their e-mail address, which you can then use to make contact.
Popular hooks set in Hookblast are also used for a Podcast playlist offered to industry professionals.
Once your test audience has listened to the track, it’ll be passed on to a few industry professionals. Both the test audience and the professionals rate your song on 5 different levels. I’ve found it to be interesting feedback. I’ve had one song getalmost all of the 20 music fans to like the song and give high ratings, which then got crushed by the professionals. What do they know after all, ey?! 😉
An Industry Professional Could Really Cash In
Once you’ve passed the test audience, you can submit to opportunities, which range in fees from $5 to $50. This fee is set by the A&R professional.
MusicXray says the charges are a threshold to discourage people from posting to all opportunities. It should make sure no time gets wasted on people, who weren’t serious about submitting anyway, but my head is spinning, when I think that an A&R can listen to a song and provide feedback in like 5 minutes (especially when they choose not to personalize their feedback, but to use MusicXray’s presettings instead).
So, in short, as a professional, you could spend an hour declining all tracks and still collect, say $10 per 5 minutes, which is $120 per hour…. Assuming your opportunity attracts many submissions. That sounds like easy money to me.
Additionally to the A&R charges, are the costs for MusicXray. They charge $5 per submission.
MusicXray does have a lot of opportunities, major and indie. They try to automatically match your songs to opportunities, which you get notifications for, but that system still needs a lot of work
So, Is It Worth It?
I ended up spending over $200 in a couple of months on the platform as a musician, so in the end, I think Taxi is a cheaper alternative. You pay a few hundred dollars a year there, but get unlimited submissions. On Taxi, if you get one placement, you could already earn your investment back. At the rate I was going, MusicXray would be a money pit. Perhaps, if you are able to get lots of placements quickly, this platform could work in your favor.
I do have to say, that EVERY professional has responded on MusicXray. Thouh one took his time. Some have provided personalized feedback, which has been very helpful. I’ve even had one professional rate my song for free, because he just ran into it. I’ve not had any placements, but have had good feedback that’s given me an idea about what I need to work on.
There was one professional (a producer), who wanted to perhaps work with me later in last year, which never happened, because there’s no way for me as an artist to stay on someone’s radar on the platform. It’s not like they can follow you and see your updates about your new projects, so you can stay a person of interest to them. You can’t even respond to their feedback or tips. The only way you can respond is by publicly rating and commenting a professional.
It’s an interesting platform. I’m not totally put off by the site, but it’s not attracting to me either. I think it’s expensive and think it’s not sustainable as an upcoming writer or producer. I only try submitting to opportunities, when I can spare the cash really.
Music Fan Platform
In order to earn something on the platform as well, I’ve also signed up as a music fan last year. However, that doesn’t seem to work at all. I’ve gotten 2 requests to listen to music and both came in at night, while I was sleeping. You have to respond to these requests right away, because others will take your spot to review music in the meantime. So, if you would use this system, use it as a musician or industry professional, but it’s not a way to earn some cash on the side as a music fan.