Sonicbids - Your Stories

Sonicbids. Guido Mieth Getty Images

It's hard to avoid Sonicbids these days, but is that a good thing or a bad thing? I wasn't so sure myself, so I tossed the question to you, readers. The verdict? I got lots of responses  and lots of success stories. There was a little bit of grumbling about not getting gigs through the system, but at the end of the day, nothing that Sonicbids could really be held responsible for. Here are some of the more descriptive stories I received from people who have made Sonicbids work for them, as told in their own words.

Hyp of Triple Ave - California-based live hip-hop act:

I've been with Sonicbids since 2005 and I have to admit, I wasn't 100% sure at first. I can't say I was skeptical, just not sure. I probably didn't submit to as many opportunities as I should have, but I watched and observed and paid attention to exactly how the system works. One of the first things I figured out was that you shouldn't submit to every opportunity, just because you see your particular genre mentioned. My group would fall in the (progressive) Hip-Hop genre. We go by the name Triple Ave and we’re based in the Bay Area CA. With some choice opportunities from Sonicbids, we were able to press and launch our new album titled True Working Class Heroes. -More on this later. Initially, I noticed many of the "Hip-Hop opportunities" seemed to be a little overpriced and that is probably in part due to the increasing commercialism of the genre.

Fortunately for me, though, one of my first submissions was selected. It may not sound like much for a 2-year membership, but the story doesn’t end here. We also had a few "standby status" submissions as well.

I soon realized that follow up is the key! The Parlor Music Series opportunity in Berkeley, CA, turned out to be a sweet deal.

This is an intimate kind of venue that focuses on true artistry and welcomes acts that are more eclectic and represent the best aspects of their perspective genre. They pay well (depending on your draw), feed us (free pizza!) and we do this venue every year. The promoter is a very sweet, down to earth woman, who became a good friend. Again: all of this is due to follow up. The Levee Breaking Music series opportunity in Seattle, WA, turned out to be a similar situation. The promoter wanted to include our EP in his on-line and retail stores, but I wanted to give him something more current, so we agreed that our (then) upcoming album would be better. Ever since our initial contact, we have kept in touch. He eventually gave me the names and contacts for some gigs in his area. I followed up on these and landed 2 HOT gigs in Seattle. Big crowds, paid VERY well and we ended up playing at one of the spots again, some months later. With the release of our LP True Working Class Heroes he was finally able to put something current in 4 stores in Seattle as well as booking gigs for us to come promote the album.

Last and CERTAINLY not least, just by virtue of submitting to Canadian Music Week, I started to receive emails about different happenings in Canada. One of which turned out to be THE BEST opportunity ever. Roger's Wireless (a cell phone company in Canada) launched a website called Redpipe. As a promotion, they invited artists to set up a page on the website. How's this for an incentive: for the earliest artists to register, they offered to do a random name drawing with the 2nd prize being $1000CAD and the grand prize $8000CAD. Guess what name they pulled for the $8000CAD!?!?!? YES we won eight thousand dollars! This was the money we used to press our new CD and launch our west coast tour! Call it luck....but I call it something else: FOLLOW UP. It isn't enough to submit your EPK and hope for the best. You have to contact the promoter, work on developing some kind of rapport and that may very well lead to a relationship that's mutually beneficial to all parties concerned. Just like the mutual relationship we have with Sonicbids. I'm sold................Sonicbids does work when you work with Sonicbids!

Anders Graham of Clark - Swedish pop/rock band:

I first heard of Sonicbids via Sweden's version of ASCAP, called STIM. I registered the same day and I haven't regretted it once.

The internet itself is a great way to spread the word about yourself or your band but Sonicbids takes it to another level, in my opinion. They have many smart, easy and considerably cheap ways of getting your music out there and getting people to hear your work. If you are a musician or a band member who thinks it's enough to just write and perform your music, you're dead wrong. It's all about business and if you wanna make it, you have to be ready to sacrifice your time and money and just about everything else. My point is that I don't think it's relevant to discuss the fact that they're charging you for their services. I would if I created an idea as brilliant as Sonicbids makers did.

And, fortunately, there are as many tastes in music as there is genres, so, somewhere out there, there is someone who will like whatever kind of art you're doing. Sonicbids could most likely be the place where those talents are discovered. CLARK booked four gigs in Nashville via Sonicbids. We couldn't have done it without them. When we got to Nashville, we ended up doing 13 gigs in two weeks, but Sonicbids helped us in the first place. They later made us featured artist for a week which improved our viewings by hundreds each day.

We have also been accepted by several radio stations and magazines that we registered for, and we've had our albums reviewed etc. etc. That's priceless for an up and coming, hard working, unsigned band like CLARK. And one other great thing is that they care very much about us as artists. We get personal emails whenever we have questions and/or comments and they vary their spotlighted artists very much as well.

Derek Nicoletto of Telling on Trixie - New York based rock band:

We've used them successfully for years and have seen their presence at festivals and gigs around the country as well. We've gotten more than just gigs through them, we've also found licensing opportunities and even our business manager from the site.

They sort of pioneered the EPK concept, which is a total necessity for a band nowadays.

We've seen them evolve and grow with the needs of the market and the artists.

So, there you have - Sonicbids from the perspective of the people that have had the most success with them. Was all the feedback so glowing? Nope. The biggest concerns came in the form of questions about fees, which were submitted to Sonicbids - you can read the answers here.

My personal take on Sonicbids after receiving your questions and comments is that you largely get out of it what you put into it. It's a huge network, which means, yes, mistakes can be made. It also means you can easily get lost in the shuffle of Sonicbids as you can MySpace or any other large pool in which you're a small fish. I think Hyp of Triple Ave hit the nail on the head - it works if you work with it. It's not a magic bullet - it's just one more tool.

Many thanks to everyone who submitted their thoughts for this article - if you have something to add, please let me know.

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