Portland bands have to pay a third party, Sonicbids, to apply for a slot at this year's MusicFestNW [this may have been the case last year too.] You'd think after the debacle with the CMJ conference where folks paid Sonicbids to enter the lottery and apparently no one from CMJ bothered to listen to the bands' submitted songs, that MusicFestNW would not make Portland's bands jump through such a ridiculous hoop… here's but one lament from the CMJ application process – “Apart from the fact that we are now open to a bunch of spam, it has also brought to my attention that Sonicbids has collected the $45 fee from at least 670 bands ($30,450) knowing full well that you could never accommodate all of the bands.” Here's the full story from GhostMedia.
And here's what I wrote about this year's SXSW conference and those companies who try and sell bands and musicians the snake oil. “One five minute trek through the trade show proved to me everything that I already know – the cornerstone of this conference and the business upon the back of which the music conference was originally founded, the recorded music industry, is being swept aside by a tsunami of technological advancement – that's not hyperbole by the way, no the hyperbole lies with the companies who are promising to be the saviors of the music business by helping you, the musician, make a living making music – if you are willing to take the snake oil that's being sold…
Let's call them the www.we-can-save-your-career.coms. Here's a list of just a few of the companies promising untold riches or something to bands and musicians (add .com to the end of each name here..) SongNumbers, Myxer, ArtistXite, BandFarm, mTraks, SonicBids (the one I dislike the most), Muzu, Gydget, ArtistForce (SonicBids part 2), aaahhh the list goes on and on.” Full post here. And Benjy who works for Sonicbids left his comments about SXSW here.
So the question is – will MusicFestNW be transparent about the number of available slots for local bands and musicians or not? If not you will never know how many bands have applied for however many limited slots are available. Sonicbids will continue taking applications regardless of the number of slots available – It's a lottery – good luck, someone's going to get rich… Here's the “opportunity” link. You have to become a member. MusicfestNW 2008/Sonicbids Combo Package: Cost $12.95 (US) Transparency is a major force on the internet so it's time for Sonicbids to open up the doors to the “opportunities” that they offer bands and musicians so they can make an educated decision before applying and paying good money. It's the right thing to do.