OUR DISCLAIMER: There are so many companies springing up it's hard to keep track! These are the ones that have either contacted my band Girl Trouble, through spam myspace emails, or have contacted our friends from the "Musicians Against Pay-To-Play" myspace site. We still believe it's best to keep the harder facts on our own page. These companies have all contacted musicians first, we did the research below, and we're sharing our opinion.

Our band personally finds these companies totally unnecessary. But in the end, it is always up to you to make the call. Read through the whole thing or select the appropriate company. We always link wherever possible to prove we're not making this crap up! Keep rockin', Bon/Girl Trouble
(These sites change drastically, so bear in mind that some links etc, might not work. Remember, Google is your friend! Use it.).

The Battle of the Bands (BOTB) pay-to-play companies work in much the same way, although there is never a promise of payment after receiving hundreds of dollars from each band in pre-ticket sales. Their offer is that of Fame and Fortune, with promises of recording contracts, festivals in Europe, or national/international promotion and exposure. The BOTBs also use flattering spam email to lure new bands into thinking they will obtain a fast track to success by continuing to “battle” through many rounds of pay-to-play shows. This is comparable to the typical pyramid scheme where there must constantly be new entries to keep the BOTBs going. Pay-to-Play contests do not produce successful national acts. Much like any gambling scheme, the odds are always against the band.


We thank her for allowing us to share this. SCROLL DOWN TO THE 3rd SECTION ENTITLED:
Battle of the Bands Competitions and Online Independent Music Award Contests

The best info for all pay-to-play in the UK, including SURFACE UNSIGNED is THE ORGAN PAY-TO-PLAY FORUM



JAM SOLID PRODUCTIONS / 1K ENTERTAINMENT: Jam Solid Productions has got so many myspace sites!  Do you think they might be using them to spam bands? This company (UPDATE 2/10: THEY'VE CHANGED YET AGAIN, THIS TIME TO ACG GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT.) was formerly known as Rock Hard Entertainment, which was formerly known at Jam Solid, which was formerly known as 1K Entertainment hosted the "emergenza style" Rock Hard Talent Conquest - yes, that's "conquest" not "contest".  It appears that they run the "battle" style pay-to-play shows. Our friend Nick P. from the band The Kidney Snatchers, gives us a "heads-up" on the show he played:

"Hey guys, I'm in a band here in Cincinnati, Ohio. A few Months ago we played a show for someone called Jam Solid Productions, at the Mad Frog. Ever heard of Jam Solid? now that i have read all your info on pay to play shows, that show matched the criteria exactly. nothing worked out for us then. we played an awesome set, despite the set backs. but anyway, i would just like to say thank you for what your doing. you guys don't have to look out and warn other people about these scams, but you do any way. thanks. Peace, Nick P." Nick also followed up with this: they seem pretty oragnized and well set up for "con men" or whatever. I've already talked to a few bands that played with us on that particular show. One band was promised to go on "to the next round" but they havent heard anything since.

JAM SOLID UPDATE Sept 08: The Jam Solid Website has been deleted. We have been told that Jam Solid is going to TV Court with a band that felt rather cheated on "winning" one of the Jam Solid BOTBs. We can't wait! More as it develops.

UPDATE BOX 2-18-09: Jam Solid Productions has changed their company name to 1K Entertainment. They are now running the "1K Entertainment Battle of the Bands" in the New England area and cities like Minneapolis, St. Louis and Columbus. According to their press releases, they intend to reach 20 cities in the U.S during the next year. This company is still owned by Adam Graham of Cleveland, OH. There's been some small controversy as to whether I was in error by claiming Jam Solid was doing pay-to-play battles. I inteviewed several bands to make sure I am correct in listing this company. Here's what others had to say:

I got several email responses from bands who'd played these Battles. They all said they were pay-to-play, but I liked this explanation best from Evan P. who played in the band Water and Knife. Here's his take on the Jam Solid battles they played. This is reprinted with his permission (and by the way, this is very nicely written!). Thanks, Evan!:

Well, I couldn't remember exactly the name of the company we did those battle of the band things with, but thanks to my habit of archiving everything I can get my hands on, I still have some tickets from the two shows we played for them, which at the top read "Jam Solid Productions".

This is going to get a little lengthy, because of my acute attention to detail, though I suppose that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

They gave us 50 tickets to sell, and told us we had to sell a specific number of tickets, I think at least 15 or 20. When we got to the venue, we had to hand over all our ticket money, any unsold tickets, and pay for any tickets that may have gone missing. Whoever sold the most would get to choose where in the band lineup order they wanted to be, and whoever sold the second most got to choose after them, and so on. Both tickets (one for each night) listed eight bands, though I believe only seven played the second night.

So for the first "round," we actually sold all of our tickets, the very last ticket we paid for ourselves just so we could say we sold them all. At $8 a piece (more than the venue itself would ever charge for crappy bands like us), that's $400 we were just handing them at the back door. The other bands didn't sell as many tickets as us, but they were still raking in some serious dough for no effort at all.

I got a call a couple months later from a lady who said my band won the first round, and asked if we could make it to the finals. First of all, I had no idea whatsoever that there was going to be more than one round. Secondly, they took so long in contacting us that we'd already assumed they weren't going to because we lost.

In retrospect, I'm almost certain the only reason they picked us was because we sold the most tickets. If it really were judged based upon our performance, we should not have won, because that show was definitely our worst yet (we were rushed before our set, so we were out of tune, missing gear, and besides that, our bassist couldn't play bass). Granted, the other bands sucked too, but at least one or two of them played better than we did that night.

For the finals, we decided put less effort into selling tickets, so (after checking my records) we only sold 7. However, this time around, the tickets were $10 each. Though I had a lot of fun, we played almost as bad as the last time, we didn't expect to win (the bands at this show were significantly better than at the last), and our drummer and I decided we needed a new bassist.

I posted a bulletin I think like a week after the show, after I found your pay-to-play page, and the band that won the finals replied to it (in barely understandable writing) saying they received the promised $400 the night of the show (not much considering we brought in exactly that with the cheaper tickets).

In essence, Jam Solid is definitely pay-to-play.

So now that we've established that info from Evan, I wondered if 1K Entertainment was continuing the pay-to-play battles that Jam Solid was organizing. It didn't take long before I found out from a band that had been contacted by 1K Entertainment. Here's the initial spam email they will send you through myspace. This exchange is reprinted by permission of the Rochester, NY band Argus Eye (Rochester is a great town by the way!) and Tom helped us out. Thanks to Tom for this exchange: From: 1K Entertainment Rochester
Date: Dec 8, 2008 7:44 PM
Whats up!

This is Chelsea at 1K Entertainment...

I'm booking some great shows over the next couple months and I was hoping I could get you onto one of these lineups. If you're interested please send me a contact number for your band and I'll contact you to go over the details.

take care,

Chelsea Gustat
(number withheld)

After a couple of emails (including flattering ones from 1K) Tom from Argus Eye sent this last rather over-the-top reply: ----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Argus Eye
Date: Dec 11, 2008 9:58 AM


I'm giddy and excited that you like our music and message. I am really looking forward to the possiblity of playing at the California Brew Haus. I was wondering if you could give me some more details on the show. Do we have to sell tickets? How much will they be? How much will we be getting paid? Is it a battle of the bands type thing? How may other bands will we be competing against?


And just as was expected, the answer came back from 1K Entertainment:

"Hey T,
We do ask you guys to help out with promotion, and sell some pre-sale tickets, at 8 bucks each. It's a battle of the bands type of show with typically around 8 bands, and two rounds. The winner of the finals will win $1,000 cash. The battle of bands that we do helps us in finding bands we'd like to work with in the future, we book in over 20 cities across the United States, and we set up tours, festivals, ect., in addition to this project. I hope I can get you guys on board with us, and hopefully get you guys on a show here in the near future. Thanks for getting back with me, and keep up the good work.

Take care,
Chelsea Gustat
1K Entertainment

Well, this sounds pretty much like the Jam Solid template with a bigger prize. So you've got 8 bands doing two rounds of ticket-selling shows. Like I've been told by other bands, they probably sold close to the amount of the grand prize... and then ended up losing. You really have to do the math on these prizes...
BUT of course, the other big question on my mind was "What happened to the TV court date we read about on different blogs?" I finally went to the source and emailed the Raleigh, North Carolina band Cougar Magnum (the band named in the article). I asked them if they could put any light on this and if they were still scheduled to be on the Judge Mathis show (which I was really looking forward to). Here's what Cougar Magnum guitarist Brandon had to say (and again, this is printed with his permission). Thanks, Brandon!: From: COUGAR MAGNUM
Date: Sep 15, 2008 5:24 PM


Nice of you to email us. I like your myspace page.

Here's the story:

We played a Jam Solid Battle of the Bands, and killed it. We sold 5 times as many tickets as anyone else, played a solid set of solid rock and won first place. We got our cash as promised. Unfortunately, after 6 months of countless emails and calls we never got the rest of our prize package that included "20 hours of studio time, submissions to major labels, and a promo deal." Based on the going rate of things at the time in our area we calculated that Jam Solid and Adam Graham owe us somewhere in the ballpark of $1500.

We contacted many TV court shows. Judge Judy and Judge Greg Mathis and their staffs really wanted to do our story. Adam Graham, through telephone and email communication, expressed his willingness to appear in TV court on Judge Greg Mathis in Chicago for over a month until right up until it became time for it to get real and sign some documents when he bailed. We still have all our documents and everything. It's unfortunate because TV court shows pay for everyone's air fare, hotel room, a nice dinner, and ALL THE MONEY OWED.

Feel free to post wherever you see fit.

Have a good one.
-Brandon and COUGAR MAGNUM

Poop. I was really looking forward to that Judge Mathis show! Anyway, I think that answers a few questions. Thanks to everybody for their input!

And yet another blog about 1K Entertainment from Lorain, Ohio's Death to the Robot.

ACG GLOBAL NOW CONTINUES THE LIVE, LOUD AND LOCAL P2P FESTS. And be sure to notice the all-important Frequently Asked Questions. These two statements are the most interesting. "IS TICKET SELLING PAY TO PLAY? The answer is no. WHAT HAPPENS IF WE AGREE TO PLAY ONE OF YOUR SHOWS AND WE DON'T SELL ANY TICKETS? Well, you will still be able to play the event, however we probably won't ever book you again." They go on to admit that they'll need $125 from each band to cover the costs of their shows. And how is this NOT pay-to-play again?


SUPERNOVA:  Our friend JohnnyO from the band 3 Inch Max has alerted us to yet another pay-to-play Battle of the Bands.  This one is a Canadian company who are moving South to con bands into their lame Battles.  Same old scenario.  I'll give you the link to their FAQ page.  Like a few other battles they suggest you don't have to sell tickets, BUT how the hell are you gonna get any votes if you don't?  So why bother in the first place?  Here's the Ottawa, Ontario band Keyotone that can tell it best. Part one is called "Why Supernova is a Bad Idea" and the second part is simply entitled "Supernova = Shit" and explains how they didn't get their prize (more on that below).

Girl Trouble too got spammed by these guys to do a shit show at Studio 7. Our Supernova rep finally bailed but his email didn't. He emailed with this generic message:LOOKING FOR A GIG?
Hey Girl Trouble,

Just saw your band profile on Myspace and thought you’d want in on a chance to play a live show and win some prizes. My company books “battle” type shows across the US and Canada and we do about # of shows each month. We’ve had Sum 41, Gym Class Heroes, and Breaking Benjamin play our shows and we’re always on the lookout for the next big thing.

Check out SUPERNOVA. com for a list of upcoming events in your area that your band can get in on for free. You can also use the site to upload your music, promote yourselves and network with other bands and fans.

Interested? Want more info? Give me a shout anytime at 1-888-777-0767 x248

Kev RawkSo I wrote:
----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: ..Girl Trouble..
Date: Jun 3, 2008 2:54 PM

If we don't sell tickets do we still get to play? What's the ticket thing all about?

Girl TroubleSo Kev Rawk wrote:
The "ticket thing" is about 2 things. first, we use the ticket sales to pay off the venue, because most of our shows are all ages and the price to rent out a venue for an all ages show is much higher than a non-all ages show because the bar sales aren't as high.
second, we use ticket sales to determine the set list for a show. there's no point in putting a band that brings out 100 people on in the first slot, while the people eho play around 8-9pm only have 3 people watching them. We usually give the band with the most ticket sales first choice to a time slot, and then put the other bands that sold well around them. That way the bands who went through the trouble of bringing people out get to play for the largest crowd, and their fans can become your fans, and vice versa.
If a band doesn't sell any tickets, we sometimes still let them play, but they'll usually get a set time either at the very beginning or the very end of the show, and there usually isn't a big crowd to play at either of those times. Sometimes we just may have to take a band that didn't sell any tickets out of the show altogether, depending on many other bands are booked into the show.
basically, if a band puts effort into the show and sell some tickets they get much more out of the whole experience than a band that doesn't put any effort into it. We're here trying to help bands that won't usually be able to reach a large audience do just that, but there's only so much we can do, the band also has to put some work into it, because nothing comes for free with no effort.

take it easy

I think old Kev was getting kind of snotty. So I wrote:
----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: ..Girl Trouble..
Date: Jun 4, 2008 12:33 PM

Okay, so how much are these tickets, how many would we need to sell to get on the show and what percentage do we get back from selling them?

Girl Trouble

So Kev Rawk wrote:
tickets for our shows cost $10 for your fans, but we don't charge bands anything
we usually give bands about 60 tickets, and percentage of what has to be sold and what you get back depends on the type of show. For our battle of the bands shows we usually ask bands to try and sell around 30 tickets to qualify for the grand prize, and we don't usually give any money to the bands (unless there's special circumstances) because they/ you are competing for a prize. If it's a showcase show, there's no minimum sales required, but we give a percentage of ticket sales to the bands, and how much a band gets depends on how many tickets they sell to the show. money back for tickets usually goes:
1-29 tix sold = band gets $1per ticket
30-59 tix sold = band gets $2per ticket
60+ tix sold = band gets $3 per ticket
but we may be revamping all of this over the summer months to get bands more for shows later in the year.


UPDATE BOX 2-17-09: Supernova seems to be doing more in Canada, but still has a grip on the US. This year they are hosting pay-to-play shows called Band Wars 2009 (battles have gotten into out and out WAR I guess). They will be hosting shows in Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee and Seattle (at Studio Seven, the Northwest home of pay-to-play, where else?). To even be eligible for a first place prize (not to win but just to qualify), bands must sell a minimum of 30 tickets. Okay, I'm going to say it. I think these prizes are lame! Here's what you get. Supernova says it has a $1,500 value. I personally find that hard to believe. If you win you will receive.

* Professional mastering of one song at Scartown Studios* (that's in Canada and here's a little GT hint - try to be there for your mastering)
* Banner ad on designed by Supernova's team of designers (well, if you like the look of their website),
* Feature aritlce on (oh goody),
* Industry music critique (oh man, not the "Industry" buzzword again). And you're gonna sell 30 tickets and battle for that?!!!

*I've done about as much googling as I can stand and there doesn't seem to be any website for Scartown Studios. Here's some photos of a band that recorded there. Apparently It was known as Machinehead Studios (their website is deleted). Here's that studio on the actual Supernova page with bands asking about their recording time prize which gives you some idea about collecting on these prizes. People! Studios are easy to find. Get one in your city so you can develop a good working relationship with them.

HOLY SHIT, TIMES IS TOUGH! 6-30-09: The prizes are getting less valuable all the time. Now the 1st prize is a $500 "Value" (1 platinum Online Store Package, 25 T-shirts and 100 drop cards) and 2nd place is valued at $100 (100 full colour 11 x 17 posters). And you gave them $300 for that?


Unfortunately people have been experiencing a little difficulty winning those valuable prizes. Supernova has been having some trouble meeting their responsibilities for winners of their contests.

THE LITTLE PRIZES: The Graham, Washington band, Koz of Konfuzion, entered a Supernova Battle of the Bands in October, 2009. They sold 60 tickets (that's $600 handed to Supernova with no percentage back) and came in second. Keep in mind that 14 bands entered this contest and according to guitarist Chris Plogmann many of the bands were selling close to those amounts. The second place prize won by Koz of Konfuzion was 100 posters. To make matters worse, K of K was nice enough to lend their equipment out to the other bands who managed to damage it. After contacting Supernova repeatedly and seeing no sign of their posters they got local consumer affairs reporter, Jesse Jones, to feature their problem on his popular "Get Jesse" segment on Seattle's KING 5 news.


At the end of his report, Jesse says: "Supernova says it's also giving the band $500 to cover any damaged equipment". So problem solved! Well, yes and no. Koz of Konfuzion did get their posters...but as you might expect so far (and it's been a year now) that $500 for the damaged equipment never managed to show up. And really, do you need to go to that trouble to get the company to cough up with a few posters? Chris shared the story on our facebook page.

THE BIG PRIZES: In Spring 2010, Supernova's Band on the Run Licenced contest was announced. This would be the battle for one of the biggest prizes of all, an all-expenses paid trip to Mumbai India to play at Independence Rock (or I-Rock, aka the Woodstock of India - also note that Emergenza and Live and Unsigned were also sending bands). All bands were required to pony up $25 even before they got their tickets to sell for the battles. I personally received probably 4 or 5 emails from different local NW bands who'd obviously just formed but were convinced they could win that trip to play India (if they could just sell enough tickets). Now of course, after seeing the "Get Jesse" segment where Supernova had a tough time producing 100 posters for a second place winner who'd put $600 into their show, I was skeptical. A trip to India was a little more involved that printing some posters. Plus, as somebody that's been on tour, I know how tough it can be when things go wrong. Things going wrong in India could be more of a challenge than things going wrong in say, Rochester NY. Here's what Supernova promised:

ALL expenses paid trip to play at the Independence Rock Festival in India on August 15, 2010!

Return airfare for you and your band (up to 5 members) to Mumbai

3+ star hotel accommodations for 3 days
Spending money
A guaranteed timeslot Independence Rock to compete for $50,000 in prizes!

After I posted my concerns about a Supernova sponsored trip to India, I was actually contacted by one of the guys in charge of the Independence Rock festival. Even though I'm just one person with an opinion, he took time to assure me that the trips would not be sponsored by Supernova but by backers connected with Independence Rock. What a sweet deal for Supernova. All these bands can hand in that collected ticket money and they don't have to burden themselves with spending anything on the grand prize. The battles and online voting went on through May/July and finally two bands won, one from Canada and one from the U.S. Well, okay then. Looked like the winners would be getting some great trips. Hey, I'm happy for any band that gets a break.

Check out the other winners from across the globe below;

From the USA - Exposed, Stars At Night -
From Canada - Band On The Run, Stoned Moses -
From the UK - Live and Unsigned, Underline The Sky -
From Europe - Emergenza, Kid Galahad -
From Asia - Sutasi, Biuret -
From Australia - National Campus Band Comp, The Downstairs Mix-Up -   
From India - Independence Rock
(National finals one day before the Global finale)

Independence Rock was scheduled to take place in August but as I checked their facebook page around that time, I started to notice a lot of grumbling about the festival and if it was even going to take place. When there was no response from the organizers through the time the festival was to take place, it didn't look good. The date passed and still no one in charge was coughing up with the details of what was happening with the festival.

Finally on September 18, 2010, we get the real story. Independence Rock has been having some trouble with their backers. These are the same sponsors for all the international bands to play I-Rock. As the article read...

Had the sponsors not backed out, winners of the following music competitions would have shared the stage with the national final winner from India — Live and Unsigned (music competition held in UK), Sutasi (search for new, up and coming, contemporary Asian music talent), Emergenza (music festival that takes place in major European cities as well as in North America and Asia), National Campus Band Competition (NCBC is held in Australian campuses), Band On The Run (Canadian music fest) and Exposed (an American live battle of the bands competition).

So the trip is off. No matter who is at fault (and I'm sure there will be plenty of finger pointing) Supernova couldn't produce this prize either. We hope they'll try to make it up to the "winning" bands, but in my humble opinion it better be pretty good. The equivalent of an all-expense paid trip to play at the Woodstock of India is going to be tough to match!

OR JUST CHECK OUT THIS BLOG from the Edmonton Alberta band, The Old Wives. Brilliant!
And here's a facebook page with some specific details.


A FIGHT FOR FAME: Here's yet another battle that originally just made me laugh.  This was sent to me by the band  Flying Monkey Demons who got a spam email that they'd been selected to participate in a battle called A Fight For Fame, apparently somebody has finally realized that "Battle of the Bands" is slightly over-used and doesn't have such a good connotation anymore. So a spinning Anvil guitar case would spin at you but the only state that really worked was Arizona .  It looks like it only costs $50 to enter this one but it's the prize I'm "loving"!  UPDATE: Unfortunately the spinning anvil case is gone and so is the website. But you can still look at the promo video and this video for Overtone Media!

They've made a new website with a map of their target cities. Seattle!? Now who's laughing? Not me.

Part of the grand prize is getting was being signed to a three year contract with Soron Records!

Unfortunately Soron Records, at least by the deletion of their official website, seems to have closed up shop. Too bad because their website was amazing! Rod Stewart on their label!  Pretty big stuff!  Ooops, it's actually Bob Stewart, a Rod Stewart impersonator.  And then there's the incredible Bob E. Dymon, and his tribute to I don't know, Frank? Tony? Dean? Sammy? Anyway, the point was that as interesting as they are, it would have been hard to name a band that would have fit in with the Soron Records roster of stars.You also got a chance to a VIP trip to Vegas hosted by MyVegas Entertainment Group.

However Joe Vargas Chief Executive of My Vegas Entertainment Group has deleted his company myspace site and not renewed his domain name.

UPDATE 11-20-09: A Fight for Fame (AFFF) has been recently ramping up the battles in Oklahoma, Arizona and Las Vegas and they have big plans to take this national. AFFF is owned and operated by Matthew Lindsey and Dave Giglio (many photos here). (Here are crude screen captures below with links to the real photos.)

They appear to be a couple of fun loving party guys who like taking their own photos more than Bodog's Calvin Ayre, if that's humanly possible. This battle is run by the Overtone Media Group which also appears to be owned by Matt and Dave. "Overtone Media is an entertainment / marketing company specializing in the marketing and promotion of large scale arena and local size concerts." Wow, arena shows! The Matt Lindsey bio (obviously written by Matt himself, Dave hasn't written his yet) claims that he's had a huge amount of success as a Las Vegas DJ, national concert promoter, and band tour manager. He's even been a Bodog judge. See where I'm going with this? All these fabulous skills can only lead to one career: running national pay-to-play battles of the bands. The Fight For Fame has a new myspace site where you can read all the rules and listen to the corny radio-style promos. Also check for all the new reps on the top friends. Here's Overtone Media (based in Norman, Oklahoma) and here's Matt Lindsey.

Instead of just the $50 entry fee, they've now taking the pre-sale ticket route and according to a couple bands I talked to, it's $240 up front to buy the tickets (then you sell them for whatever you can get out of them). It other words, it basically costs $240 to enter the CHANGE YOUR MIND? Better not. A Fight for Fame will charge your band a $150 cancellation fee added to the $240 you owe for a grand total of $390. We've been told they like to threaten legal action.

The Matt Lindsey bio says of AFFF: Currently Mr. Lindsey and Overtone are focusing on A Fight for Fame, a national band competition scheduled to be in 40 cities by 2010. To date, A Fight for fame has visited 5 cities, booked over 300 bands, produced 150 concerts under the AFFF name, and has grossed over $500K.

SORON RECORDS: Okay, everything aside, this is the craziest change. You will notice that the Soron Records link in our original post reads "Thank you for visiting the Soron Records Group! Good luck with all your musical endeavors!" Too bad, because that was one wild site! Part of the old AFFF prize was a three year contract with Soron Records. Now the prize listing is just a generic "three year promotion/distribution/record deal". So here's what the change is as posted on the Fight For Fame myspace FAQ:

Q: Which label will represent us if we win?
A: We have partnered up with Copyryte Record Group (formerly Sororn) that will be working closely with you to help develop your sound, image, and brand. We will leave it up to them to explain all the details. Most of the details our outlined on our website, but feel free to email us if you have any specific questions.

Okay, are you ready? CHECK THIS OUT!!! Here is the new Copyryte Records myspace page. Copyryte Records and aparently the old Soron Label is owned by 69 year old Bill Holland of Portageville, MO. "Really, Overtone Media Group? This is who is going to work closely with bands to develop their sound and (gulp!) "image"? I'm sure Bill is a nice man, but really, if you ask me, that suit ain't screaming next big thing! How hipster/self-promotion guru, Matt and not-so-hipster Bill teamed up is a story that I don't have info on, but is probably really worth telling! "As the prestigious title holder of A Fight For Fame, you will be joining the Soron family which will take your career to the next step." Oh yeah!!!

UPDATE 12-18-09: It's tougher all the time to find out what you are really competing for. Is it a record contract? Is it a trip to Las Vegas? This contest has so many rounds but the prizes certainly aren't talked about much. Isn't that the goal of a contest? Check the complicated listing of some of the 85 bands that will be competing in all those rounds. I love it when the official post has typos! "Or is it the remarkable journey of getting your there?" Can't somebody proof read this stuff? And notice that Soron is still on the radar!

Oh yeah Overtone Media just got a new office too.


EXPOSURE MUSIC FESTIVAL: This is the same old story. This pay-to-play battle is run by a company called Concerts First and they've been doing these pay-to-play shows for several years. They used to have a bunch of myspace sites, now suddenly disappeared, but they are still hosting battles. The band who played this one sold 30 $12 tickets, a grand total of $360 for a twenty-minute set, out of 20 bands, playing early on back-lined equipment. Of course, none of that money came back to the band because they were competing for some stupid prize. They just hosted one at El Corazon in Seattle last month. "B.S." was how it was described by the band I talked to.

The partially working website is Concerts First. Of course they have a myspace site and a placeholder myspace site.

Somebody must be doing some research on this thing...


Hi there. My band, (name withheld), is one of the many participants in this year's Exposure Music Festival. We're playing on Saturday, May 10th (this Saturday!) at the famous Trocadero Theater on Philly.

As expected, we're required to sell 30 tickets at $15 a piece before we're even allowed to play (there are conflicting reports about this-I've heard two different things from "event officials", but I'm not showing up with less than 30 tickets sold.) 99% of my friends are in college and are busy with finals during this weekend, so I still have a bunch of tickets available for $15 (instead of $20 at the door.) Better yet, the higher-ups completely disregard any artistic or creative merit, instead setting the playing order based on how many tickets your band has sold. Obviously, I need to make some sales.

I wanted to see if there was a. any interest and b. anybody who'd be willing to shell out bills to see my band. Thing is, the event goes all day, appx. 11am-10pm, so $15 is more than worth it. In theory, it's supposed to be for fun, but there is a competition aspect (top three bands get free recording time and prizes), and after listening to most of the other bands, I think we have a legitimate shot of placing, if not winning. The judging rubric is absolutely silly (example-one of the categories is SONGWRITING. Judging is subjective enough, why judge bands on something that is completely devoid of objectivity?)but if we get a good time, I think we can do well.

I know this is a rambling post, but I need all the help I can get. If you're interested, feel free to send me a PM or e-mail me.
Thanks. If there are any requests for pre-ticket orders, I'd need them by appx. 5:00 on Thursday. Even if you can't contribute to the pre-sale fund, any assistance you can provide will be much appreciated. Thanks again.


ANTHEM INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL: I got the word about Athem International Music Festival from the bands 3 Inch Max and Hills of Elysium. From what I can tell this one follows the same pattern as most others. It's a Battle of the Bands where you "battle" through a series of shows: The Screen Test, The City Performances, the Regional Face-Offs, The Final Showdown (why do we always need to battle?!). They claim they are not pay-to-play but they contradict themselves in two sentences. Here's the proof...

"Most music festivals require you to sell the tickets while they collect the cash. Not IMF. Once you sell your 25th ticket, IMF will split all subsequent ticket sales. It's that easy, and that honest. And let's face it... if you can't get 25 people to come hear you play, you probably shouldn't be performing!"So...most music festivals require you to sell tickets, but not IMF? BUT once you SELL your 25th ticket they will split all subsequent ticket sales!? What, you didn't think anybody would read the two sentences together? Depending on the price of the ticket, you're probably going to be handing over $200-250 right off the bat. How is that NOT paying-to-play? After all that battling, the Grand Prize is a chance to launch your international music career and a world tour where the dates in Cape Town, South Africa have already been confirmed! Yeah, right. So far, they haven't firmed up any Seattle shows but there are plenty in other parts of the US, mostly on the East Coast. And don't you know it, they've got extra myspace sites so they can run their BOTBs.

"This is why you've been practicing air guitar since you were a kid. This is why you spent your college years playing every bar you know." ...Yeah, I've been practicing to do pay-to-play shows. Spare me.

UPDATE 2/20/09: I thought this one was dead in the water but not according to our our friends in the Ohio band SoBeIt. They had a myspace conversation with one rep that they've allowed us to share. You can read the whole thing below but it's the prize you get that really concerned all of us. According to their Anthem website you will win a trip to South Africa to play at the WADDA club. They used to have an incredible website but now all they have is a barely used facebook site. In 2009 when the prize was a gig at this club, there were no gigs listed! What kind of a prize is that!? Great. Have these guys fly you over to South Africa to play a club that doesn't have upcoming events. I think maybe you'll just be partying with the WADDA crowd, and I'm not saying that wouldn't be an interesting time, but... AND notice in this second email how they pull out the "charity" routine? So that's why bands must sell tickets? For Charity? Charity is great. Do a benefit. I also checked their proposed battle dates and couldn't find much evidence of the shows. These are scheduled at sports bars that don't list shows. In fact, unless it's karoke or something like that, it doesn't appear that bands typically play at some of them. TIP: Always do a google search of the shows these companies mention. If you can't find them, that's not a good sign. Here's the full emails and Kevin from SoBeIt lays it out better than I could.

From: International Music Festival
Date: Jan 6, 2009 3:06 PM


My name is Erica Johnson and I represent Anthem Entertainment. I am contacting you as I am very interested in having your band participate in the Cleveland market for Anthem’s International Music Festival (IMF).
You can find additional info on this festival at ..www. anthemIMF.

There are 50 markets in North America involved in this festival. There is NO entry fee to participate. This is a one of a kind opportunity for bands and I did want to extend an invitation to you to participate. The Cleveland market will take place at the Touch Supper Club on Thursday, January 15th and it will begin at 8pm. Bands will perform 20-30 minute sets (up to 10 bands performing). Bands are required to pre-sell 10 tickets ($10/piece) in order to participate.

The ultimate grand prize for the winning band in this festival will be three shows abroad in South Africa with all expenses paid (accommodations, airfare) and a daily per diem in foreign currency. The runner-up winner will also be offered the same opportunity and will be responsible solely for their airfare. Additional prizes include recording time for an EP for each of the six regional finalists, as well as a FREE offer to all participating bands to utilize the network of venues around the country to set up mini-tours, or out of state one-off shows, in which Anthem coordinates bands from one festival market playing in another festival market. All bands may utilize this opportunity to further their exposure and promotion at no cost at least 3 times.

If you are interested in signing up your band please feel free to contact me directly at and do not hesitate to ask any questions whatsoever. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you and hopefully having you participate in this festival.

number withheld

I have concerns about this show. First you say there is NO entry fee although bands must sell ten $10.00 tickets that sounds to me like a $100.00 entry fee. Next I check your myspace page the venue myspace page and nothing is listed about this show. I find it odd that you would contact me only one week before the show leaving know time to promote I see no promotion from the venue and I do not see any promotion from you. So how is this show going to attract any people? We love to play shows at new places in front of new people I have my doubts as to the amount of possible new fans that will be at this show. I also need to know who are the other bands playing this show? There are a few bands in the area we will not play with. I ask that you please excuse my concerns but you must ralize there is way to many so called promoters out there that are distroying the music scene And I will not work with anyone I do not trust. I do have many other questions so please feel free to call me so we can discuss everything in detail if you are truly interested in Sobeit playing this show.

Thank you for your time I hope to hear back from you soon.

Sobeit Management
Kevin Zolgus


Hi Kevin,

I am happy to answer all the questions you may have.

This festival has been going on for over a year now and it's in its last leg. Cleveland is one of the last dozen cities to be in the IMF and the date was just confirmed two days ago. I have been advertising on Craigslist, so many Cleveland bands have been in touch with me since mid-November.

I understand and honestly appreciate your perspective. When dealing with new acts, inexperienced acts, or in some cases wannabe acts, they need to have a vested interest. With that said, it is entirely reasonable to request that an act be responsible for a mere ten tickets. The musicians DO NOT have to purchase these themselves. Sometimes it does happen that way, which is fine, but those acts should be able to re-sell. There is also a revenue split with bands on tickets sold above that.

The IMF is essentially a not for profit endeavor. Net proceeds benefit
an African orphanage (CHOSA) that deals heavily with HIV/AIDS orphans. After the cost of the trip and operating expenses are recovered (and they are significant which is another reason why bands must be involved/ committed) net proceeds all go to charity.

The advance ticket sales are something that we entirely wish we could do without. The problem is that when dealing with some lower level or newer level of musicians, they won't work at all. They won't promote themselves and it's been proven time and time again-- unfortunately.

I appreciate your thoughts and I hope I have helped clear up any concerns. If you are interested in playing or have any further questions, please feel free to email me directly at Otherwise, please keep the IMF in mind the next time it comes around.

Erica Johnson

UPDATE 12/16/09: Please check out the board of advisors. I always like to look at who's running these things. This board of directors really ain't screaming entertainment if you ask me! They've got their first festival scheduled for tomorrow and I'll be damned if I can find what bands are playing this. Here's the schedule for the East Atlanta Icehouse.


BATTLE OF THE BANDS - NY / BAND AND VENUE: This tip comes to us from the Long Island, NY band John Wilkes Booth. This pay-to-play battle is run by "Band and Venue" who actually has a website that looks like it was probably created a few months ago. Part of your prize is a two week tour booked by Band and Venue! Wow, some prize! I've been on tour and the idea of a pay-to-play contest company booking a tour I'm doing scares the shit out of me. By the way the fact that you will be scored on "crowed" participation doesn't give me much encouragement . Here's the link to Battle of the Bands NY (Their blog about the 2009 BOTB Prizes and Details is not open to anyone...doesn't it seem like you'd want to share that information?) but here's the stats sent to us by JWB:

Grand Prize:
$2,000 Cash Prize
2 week tour booked by Band And Venue
Custom Made Guitar Picks by In Tune Guitar Picks
Silverfox Percussion Endorsement
Photo Session with Award Winning Benny Migs Photos

-Battle Rules-
This years battle will be held at: Mulcahy's (Centereach, NY)

25 Tickets (band is responsible for 20 tickets)
$10 tickets//$12 day of show//Fans: 18+ event with ID

Each round you will be scored by 3 Judges.

Our Judges will include: Universal Records A&R, Band And Venue Artist Relations rep, Aural Fix Magazine, and more...

You will be scored on: Stage Performance, Song Performance, Overall Performance, Crowed Participation, Ballet Votes, & Tickets Sold.

UPDATE 12-09: Here's the founder.


PROGRESSIVE MOTION/PMPresnts: This company is based in Denver, Colorado and is owned by Chris DeFebio. ROGRESSIVE MOTION Presents PROGRESSION BATTLE OF THE BANDS. Here's a great discussion on this company from the Denver, CO band Cryogen. There are so many bands signed up for this thing, it seems to be a pyramid scheme more than anything else. One of the bands said they competed against 40 bands and won...that's 40 bands selling tickets. This band won a tour. We'll check to see how it goes.

One of the clubs PMPresents uses is the Climax Lounge. Only their myspace site which hasn't been activated since 9/14/2006 remains (but hey, the Iron Sheik had a beer there!). It's was a great looking club with chain link fence decor but pretty damn small. A bunch of our friends played it in the 90s.

It looks like this club has been taken over by a company called "Nobody in Particular Presents" and probably just rents the club out to Progressive Motion. Their website doesn't list anything other than the address for The Climax. Here's all I'm saying: If I've done the research and it's almost impossible to find any evidence of a club at all (no real website, no calendar listings, abandoned myspace site) the advertising for these events has got to be pretty slim. So it falls onto the bands to sell tickets to make the thing pay off for the promoter.

UPDATE 12/18/09: PROGRESSIVE MOTION has deleted their myspace and other accounts:


HOLLYWOOD ROCK CONVENTION (Washington): - and your state/country too! - This is billed as an on-line competition. There's a ton of these myspaces in all different states/cities. This is close to the "song-vendor" companies that have been spamming all the songwriters (see the MISC page . And it's a brilliant idea because all they have to do is collect the money. There are no pesky shows to run. You submit your song for $35 for the chance to go to Hollywood. So okay, it's only 35 bucks. But of course the catch is that the more songs you submit, the better the odds are that you can win this fab trip to the Sunset Strip (the home of paying to play). The whole thing is run by a company called HOLLYWOOD MUSIC ON-LINE. If they can get several hundred bands in every area to start submitting songs, it seems like a pretty sweet deal...for them. Check out the registration and notice they take all major credit cards and PayPal. And here's the Washington myspace site, and you can check them out from there.

Hollywood Rock Convention

UPDATE 12/18/09: All the myspace sites are still there but the officical website has a tag that says "This web page is parked FREE courtesy of" and google gives you one of those Ning websites We'll keep this entry parked too.


ROCK SUMMIT: This one I got from a couple bands, Dragstrip Riot being one of them. It's hitting the mecca of pay-to-play in Seattle, Studio 7 but they are also hosting these shows in Albany NY and Virginia Beach, VA. It fits the regular mold, spam emails, too many bands, big promises that sound too good to be true (because they are) and tickets sold from the bands (Rock Summit claims they are selling them from Front Gate Tickets also but I can't get the link to work). From what I can make out this company was started by a Derrick Knight, a 21 year old from Florida, and his reputation is preceding him. Check out this message board where bands are already complaining. And this board contains one of my ultimate red flags: If the company CEO has time to start searching through these message boards and getting into internet fights with people...STEER CLEAR! And for a real testimonial, scroll down to the later entry from Bryan aka Stoney, posted on July 16, 2008.

Check out their myspace site (the real Rock Summit website is still "under construction") and don't forget to check out their little promo. Not too professional looking and what's with their official slogan "See ya there, captain"? I don't get it.

Remember to always do a little research to find out who's behind the curtin. Derrick Knight went from a high school kid booking local shows in Florida to doing a national pay-to-play battle of the bands. What the hell was he thinking?! This is Derrick's big interview about Rock Summit where a professional reporter even asks if Rock Summit is a scam! Guess you'd better cover all the hard hitting questions!

UPDATE 12/18/09 : The Rock Summit contest seems to be totally gone but that hasn't stopped Derrick Knight from trying to start up a new comany called Armopio. You can see the "launch" video on youtube. The website was functioning but is now "under construction". However, you can still see his trail of court appearances at the bottom of the Lokalloudness website. As for that National Rock Summit? They actually tried to pull off the big finals in Pensacola and from what I read, it didn't go too well. We hope this is finished but you never can tell.