Monday, July 21, 2008

Inside Sonicbids: EPKs & Opportunities

From hypebot

Sonicbids_logoSonicbids is that rare Music 2.0 business that is not only more than 5 years old, but one that people are actually willing to pay for. At a time when everyone expects free, 150,000 musicians pay $5.95 a month or $50 to $100 a year to create a electronic press kit (EPK) on Sonicbids and use it to get gigs on their own or via the site's expansive list of opportunities.

Panos_panay_founder_of_sonicbids__2 But with all success comes criticism, and a few indie artists have been vocal critics of what they see as Sonicbids' pay to play offers. While maintaining a belief that paying a small fee to submit to, for example, play at Milwaukee Summerfest is a "filter", Soncbids CEO Panos Panay is working to make the process more transparent and the "opportunities" stronger.

"In the beginning, we did not do as good a job as we should have weeding out the gigs and other opportunities that did not present real value to the artist," admits Panay."...

"After an ongoing series of advisory panel meetings around the country and in Canada, we're changing that." Some of Sonicbids' offerings like showcasing at SXSW, CMJ or the NACA college booking conventions and submitting a song to international songwriting competitions always carried a price tag. Sonicbids simply streamlined the process by taking it electronic. Other Sonicbids opportunities were simply off limits for artists without insider contacts.

"We're very proud to provide the opportunity for an unknown artist to get their songs played during MTV's Video Music Awards or the $20,000 we spent so a few bands could tour China," says Panay. "Last year we spent $500,000 on gig sponsorships and Sonicbids members booked 60,000 gigs."

Beyond providing more "aspirational" gigs, the site will also offer some free sponsor supported opportunities later this year, and all offerings will come with more transparency. "The talent buyers providing the gigs are becoming more visible members of our community," says Panay, and each submission will soon come with a money back guarantee. "If you submit, you deserve a response," he states. "If you don’t get a response or your EPK is not reviewed, then you can get a site credit.”

"Our real product is not just the EPK, but rather our network and the opportunities we present for musicians to connect with gigs and people they could not reach on their own," concludes Panay.

1 comment:

Andy and Miranda - In Him said...

Hi Martin,
Thank you for this blog post! We are members of SonicBids, and have been since December of 2007. Although we've not yet gotten any gigs, we know that good things not only come to those who wait, but also to those who work and persisst.
It's a breath of fresh air to hear from the inside of SonicBids, when we've seen users of this great resource provide negative feedback on the internal forums.
Thank you again, and have a blessed week!

In Christ,
Andy and Miranda - In Him