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Paying for promotion?


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So... one of the guitarists in a band I am in brought something to the "table". I think its a scam, but he talked to the guy himself and seems to think it would be a good thing. It is $600.oo and here is the general of what it involves.


We give them a copy of a song, they put it on a CD with 19 other bands and distribute it to publishing companies, radio stations, and other places. It is also to help prevent teenage drunk driving. Actually here is a link to there Myspace page, Please look it over and let me know if you think this is a bad idea. I think it is but dont want to be overcritical and maybe miss something by being hasty. Also, I wonder why we cant just send our CD to promoters ourselves, Are they more likely to get looked at coming from these people?


Thank you for your time and input.








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So your guitar player wants to get you on a comp? Not really a big deal. It's a pretty standard promotional tool and comps like this have been floating around for years. The only thing that your band needs to be concerned about is that your copyright paperwork has been completed (providing that you're doing an original tune) and that you're affiliated with either ASCAP or BMI. Those are just protective measures. It sounds like the comp is more of a demo/charity piece and probably won't get sold, so the financial end of this seems rather insignificant.


But the benefit of a comp is that whoever is putting it together PROBABLY has better connections that your band does. This isn't meant to slight whoever handles the business for your band, but if one of the members is managing the band and hasn't really worked in the music business, then they probably aren't well acquainted with the in's and out's of things. It's one thing to get your band booked at a local club. It's another to get radio play at a station that's better than a college station. You can certainly send out your CD yourselves, but someone with some business connections might be able to actually get the thing heard.


The DIY thing can be great in some aspects. Controlling your recording and production process can be critical. But when it comes to the business of promoting and selling your band? Sometimes it's best to leave that to a professional.


***EDIT - *** I read this a bit more, and the money thing might be a little fishy. At $600 a band that might be steep. Have these guys told you how many copies they're pressing? And have they said what kind of promotion they're going to do? They need to deliver at that price. Especially when there are 20 bands on the comp, and if they're charging each band 6 bills, that comes to a total of $12K invested. Now if they press up 1,000 copies with decent packaging, that should run them about $1,500. Find out where all the money goes before you pull the trigger on this.

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It sounds like "the guy" has figured out a way to make money off of bands.


Radio stations (other than college radio) are only going to play what either the big record companies give them or what their focus groups tell them they should or some combination of the above. I sincerely doubt that one of those compilation cd's will ever do anyone any good.


Lots of money is involved in radio play and every few years there are various court cases about payola and then it gets swept under the rug again.

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I'd ask to see some proof that this is effective -- like, whether anyone listens to the CDs and plays them on the radio, or anyone gets gigs as a result.


I'm dubious that a shotgun approach like this works (and I work in promotions, although of a different nature)


Much cheaper and more effective for you to send your CDs directly to promoters and follow up personally.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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First of all, most radio stations pretty much ignore these comps, except for on their local "unsigned only" shows. Secondly, with 19 tracks to choose from, the chances of your tune getting play are slim to none, unless yours is the first track. Thirdly, $600 is too much to be put on a comp that will most likely never ever ever ever ever ever get any airplay at all.


Really good compilations are generally put out by labels. Fat Wreck Chords, for example, has been known to make comp discs featuring a whole slew of artists, and then they sell them at events like The Warped Tour or in stores for really low prices (like $3.00 or so.) The artists don't pay to be included.



"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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All I would say is be very careful. Try and maybe ask the guy for some of his past comps then contact the bands asking them if anything happened. Be careful you arent just paying this guys mortage or something.


For every aspiring band out there, there is an 'entrepreneur' who wants to exploit them.



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