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Tom's Website of the Week - Sonicbids.com

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Tom Robinson - 6 Music | 13:59 UK time, Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Sonicbids.jpg

When promoters, publishers, managers and broadcasters want to find out about an artist, there are five basic facts we like to know: who you are, what you look like, what you sound like, where you're playing and how to contact you.

But, as anyone who's spent any time online knows, most artists are extraordinarily bad at conveying this fundamental information in a clear and accessible manner.

Enter Sonicbids.com - which allows artists to create an Electronic Press Kit and send it to the key people people who book, license or broadcast music anywhere in the world.

You can update your EPK on Sonicbids anytime with your latest songs, press buzz and tour dates and use it to connect with people either within the Sonicbids network or outside it. Promoters on the other hand can find talent for local street fairs, international music festivals, songwriting contests, licensing opportunities, radio and more besides.

Since we live in a world where bills have to be paid, the site also offers corporate brands and indie bands a chance to get into bed with each other. OK, so sponsorship and endorsement aren't for everyone, but Sonicbids holds open the possibilty for those that do want it.

So that's why I chose Sonicbids.com as this week's Website of the Week on BBC Introducing - Fresh on the Net.

Links

http://www.sonicbids.com/


Tom Robinson presents BBC Introducing - Fresh on the Net on BBC 6 Music.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I like the idea of SonicBids. What I HATE about it is that the artists have to pay a $6 a month subscription fee and then also an application fee for EVERY festival/event they want to be considered for. This fee usually is between $5 - $20 per festival but be higher as this is decided by the festivals. However, the festivals and promotors pay nothing. So if hundreds of artists apply, they make a nice bit of cash for doing very little in return. Officially all bands that don't get chosen are supposed to receive feedback about why they were not chosen but in reality this is really not happening.

    SonicBids says the idea behind charging the artists is to make sure they only apply for festivals they think they really stand a chance of getting.

    If my band wants to apply to 30 festivals, which given the large number of festivals in the UK is really not that much, they can easily be $450+ out of pocket.

    I have nothing against a subscription fee for SonicBids but I fail to see why the artists are asked to fork out so much money to apply to play somewhere. Many times I have sent a festival all the details they need in a perfect press kit, only to be told: thanks but we only listen to bands that apply via SonicBids. They are building a monopoly that makes it more, not less, difficult for independent artists to get their foot in the door at festivals.

  • Comment number 2.

    yeh i completely agree with this.
    There is loads of stuff going around on the internet, questioning how many artists that apply through sonicbids actually get any noteworthy gigs/festival spots.
    i would say it's more beneficial and cost worthy for a band to set up a good website/myspace page/blog where they can displays images/press clippings/music etc without having to pay a subscription fee and then additional fees each time they wish to apply for something.

  • Comment number 3.

    Exactly. If you can not create & supply a good press pack, you are clearly not ready for 'the big time' and you deserve it if promotors & festivals don't look at your stuff twice. Surely that in itself is enough incentive to do it right? So promotors don't *have* to look through rubbish press packs at all: just throw them away. In fact, because SonicBids makes all press packs look similar, it seems even harder to me to determine if a band has spent time & effort on their press efforts.

  • Comment number 4.

    All fair points well made. Let's hope anyone reading my recommendation for SonicBids above will also read through all these comments.

    Mary in particular is absolutely right. By far the most cost-effective way for a band to promote themselves online is with a website containing: factual biog, clear photos, audio of their very best tracks, a list of gigs and a contact email. As I say, these are the five bases every band website ought to cover and if you have the commonsense and know-how to do so, you probably don't need Sonicbids

    But that's also my point. The vast majority of bands very obviously don't. You wouldn't believe the weeping and gnashing of teeth here at BBC Introducing each time we find some brilliant track online that we'd like to play and can't find out a damn thing about who made it. All too often the only way to contact the artist is via a MySpace account they haven't even checked for the past three weeks.

    The most creative musicians often lead chaotic lives at manic pace, stretched between playing, rehearsing, recording, listening to new music, hustling for gigs and doing crap day jobs to pay the bills. Some of them also excel at marketing and business communications. Most of them don't.

    For those artists - and there's a great many of them - the process of assembling a Sonicbids EPK painlessly helps them gather and focus all the neccessry information for getting their music to a wider audience. And - at less than four quid a month for the basic service - I reckon that's pretty good value.

  • Comment number 5.

    A bit late to the party with this one. I, along with most of my DIY/ indie scene friends, am highly suspicious of Sonicbids- the reason being it does really smack of a money-making scheme to me. As a band with a regularly updated myspace including all gig and contact info, as well as a press kit we send to festivals / promoters ourselves, it's incredibly frustrating to then get a reply saying they are ONLY accepting artist applications through Sonicbids. Someone mentioned a monopoly - well that certainly feels like the case. Why should acts who ARE more than capable of setting up their own EPK be forced to sign up to Sonicbids regardless, simply because an increasing number of gig bookers won't consider anyone who applies independently of them? You have to wonder why SO many of the major festivals are exclusively using Sonicbids. Profit sharing, anyone...? No, £4 a month is not a great deal, but $10-25 every single time you want to apply for a gig or festival, paid by every one of the 1000s of acts applying for those coveted 1 or 2 slots? That's a LOT of money they're making for... what, exactly? A small fortune, paid by emerging artists whose tiny income can ill afford to be stretched even further by the false hope that Sonicbids seemingly trades in.

    Unfortunately it seems that more and more opportunities are being reserved for exclusive paid-for application through Sonicbids alone- so, do we take a stand against them or instead figure that we just have to take it- cough the money up and join them, or we have even less of getting any decent festival slots.

    At least you guys don't charge us for playing us - gawd bless BBC Introducing (thanks Tom!)

 

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