WHAT QUALIFIES A PROMOTER/COMPANY TO BE LISTED ON THIS SITE?
Pay-to-Play promoters that require (or expect) the musicians who play their shows to sell tickets or turn in a fee before they perform. Ticket selling (aka pre-sale) or turning in money directly before a musician plays is what qualifies a company or promoter to be listed on this website. The only question I ask: Did you turn in money when you played this show? If the answer is yes: It's pay-to-play.


IN-DEMAND RECORDS SHOWCASE
*Jan 2015: The problem in tracking pay-to-play agents/reps is the fact that they use more than one alias. This was a classic example. The names Bryan Pauley, Mike Cleveland, Michael Reverb and Paul Masterson were all entertwined. Drop down to see there is more to the story.
In-Demand Record Showcase (CB Entertainment)
In-Demand Website / Facebook page / CB Entertainment
Headquarters: Kent, OH
Owned by: Chris Bianchi (one of the acts on the In-Demand Records label is his, Forever In Terror)
In-Demand also manages the popular act, Challenger (lots of cute selfies but I can't find any live performance videos)
Are bands expected to sell tickets for the In-Demand Records showcase? YES

OUR FACEBOOK GROUP SOUNDS THE ALARM
We were alerted to this company on our Musicians Against Pay-To-Play Facebook group by Doug White who had gotten a spam email from Mike Cleveland @ CB Entertainment and wanted to know if it had anything to do with Gorilla Music. I knew the name “Mike Cleveland” which was a Facebook account often used by Bryan Pauley (former Gorilla Music rep and Madman Productions owner).


Above "Mike Cleveland" books in 2013 for Madman Productions

November, 2013: Doug gave us the email as it was written to him:

"How's it going guys? In Demand Records is putting together a label showcase on 12/29 @ El Corazon. If you are available to perform message me back and I'll get you some details. -Mike @ CB Entertainment."

Typical. El Corazon is a club located in Seattle. It had fame when it was the Off Ramp (one of the big clubs during the grunge days). It changed hands and became Graceland and then El Corazon. I’ve played that club many times (not as much recently) but while I’ve never personally seen pay-to-play shows there, they are unfortunately known for occasionally renting out dead nights to sketchy P2P promoters.

Another of our Facebook group members (who since has left the group) wrote us to say that he personally knew Chris Bianchi, the owner of In-Demand Records /CB Entertainment. He wanted to assure us all that this company had nothing to do with the El Corazon event and especially Gorilla Music. He also said that this show was “no doubt a bait and switch on the part of Mike Cleveland (or whatever his name is).”

CONTACT FROM THE OWNER
In the meantime I was personally contacted by Chris Bianchi to explain that we were all barking up the wrong tree. He assured me that In-Demand Records / CB Entertainment is in no way connected to Gorilla Music. He also wrote me:

“I'm very pissed off to see/hear that our name has negative light shed upon it due to this "Mike" person using that name as there is NO ONE named Mike working for our company. We DO have a man named Bryan Pauley working at the firm (he just joined us about a month ago) and he has since LEFT gorilla...” Mr. Bianchi went on to say, “We are an equal opportunity employer and he has never given us any reason to distrust his booking so far.”

He ended with:
“I'd hope you can help me clear this situation up and untarnish our companies names as again we are just some hard working music lovers who never are out to harm, cheat or scam anyone involved.”

How Mr Bianchi didn't know that his employee Bryan Pauley also had a Facebook account under the name "Mike Cleveland" seems strange (since it was easy to find out with a quick Facebook search, above) but...whatever. I never want to go off on a rant that I don’t have proof for. I want facts, not rumors. Yes, Doug White did get this In-Demand showcase email but that was all we’d really seen. I invited Chris Bianchi to join the group and write his own post to clear up the situation.

On November 16th Chris Bianchi posted this in our group:
“Hello all! My name is Chris and I own CB entertainment and also In-Demand Records.. I've reached out personally to a few of you and now can address the entire group. Just to clear the air my companies have absolutely NOTHING to do with Gorilla marketing or whatever they are called. Just because we are also from the same area (actually we are based in Kent) but more people know the name Cleveland I believe it got mis associated some how. We DO NOT support or put on "Pay To Play" events and never will. Our firm books multiple local and national acts all over the United States and we ARE a real label with real things happening. We ARE doing a legitimate showcase around a few areas to help build the name and also to search for some new talent to sign as we have just launched and are always looking for new talent as any label would. I have handled this issue with the clubs and made sure everything is straight and again I came here to personally address the issue as our name is very important to us. We worked very hard over the past 3+ years to establish a company with the motto of "For The Bands-By The Bands" you can always visit our social media page or websites to see if the shows being booked or info is true and correct before jumping to assumptions. FUCK GORILLA WE WANT OR HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEM. Thank you all. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me personally.”


After that explanation the subject was dropped, although a few of us remained skeptical. But hey, if this guy “doesn’t support or put on pay-to-play events and never will” maybe we were, as he put it, “jumping to assumptions." We gave him the benefit of the doubt and took him at his word.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
A few weeks after our facebook exchange I found the very event in question on the El Corazon website. It was exactly the same show Mike @ CB Entertainment was asking Doug White to play!

And here’s the topper. This is what one of the participating bands wrote on their facebook band page:


They MUST sell 20 tickets?!

In other words the explanation from Chris Bianchi was a pile of concocted crap. His company was hosting the pay-to-play showcase in Seattle from Ohio just like we suspected. The tickets were $9. This young band will need to fork over $180 to In-Demand Records so they can be evaluated for this golden opportunity. Oh, and In-Demand Records generously lets the band keep anything over 20 tickets. There were more of these events planned all over the US. While I now believe that In-Demand isn’t necessarily affiliated with Gorilla Music, they have obviously adopted Gorilla’s business model (and hired their former rep). Other than there being a $180 limit on what the band turns in, this is exactly the same style of show as Gorilla Music (expensive shows with too many unknown bands vying for a dubious career opportunity) and of course, it absolutely IS pay-to-play.

It's also interesting to see Bryan Pauley's Linkedin page which claims he is the co-owner of In-Demand Records. What a meteoric rise in the company! From Chris Bianchi's statement "We DO have a man named Bryan Pauley working at the firm (he just joined us about a month ago)" to a co-owner!


Bryan Pauley is a busy guy. He's also started another promotion company, The Lake Effect Group.


IN-DEMAND EVENTS
These days, you only need to go to band’s Facebook pages to see what’s happening with P2P shows. They’ll post photos of the tickets, tell how it’s going and sometimes even post photos of the event itself. There’s no better proof of pay-to-play when you can get it straight from the bands participating. These screen shots are all from public accessed pages.

EL CORAZON - SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 29, 2013
As previously discussed, the invitation to play this show was sent from Bryan Pauley, under the name Mike Cleveland. This is the poster listed on the El Corazon website.


The timeline (above, right) on one of the band’s Facebook pages tells the story. On November 18th they announce that they have been requested to play a showcase hosted by In-Demand Records. They will be audited by In-Demand Records for possible marketing (whatever that means). Sounds like an exciting opportunity! They MUST sell 20 $9 tickets (it costs $180 to play the In-Demand showcase).


The band announces that they’ve received the tickets and they must sell 20 (out of the 50 they are given) or they will not be allowed to play. By the way, just so we address this, apparently anybody can be sponsored by Rockstar Energy Drink!

Once they sell 20 tickets, they’ll be able to sell the rest for a profit! Also the ticket sales will determine their spot on the show. (Gee, who does that sound like?) In the post on Dec 8th, they admit they’ve got 50 of 50 tickets left.


The “Pack The House” In-Demand showcase was held on December 29th. I actually wrote to one of the bands. I wanted to know how it went, if there were any record execs there to evaluate them. The band told me that there were a few people there but it was by no means “packed”. They said that they did not run into anybody acting like they were there to sign bands or even give any advice. “We played, watched a couple of bands, and then left.” Some show!

The In-Demand pay-to-play showcase was obviously not a show to brag about. None of the other bands playing had much to say. Who did have something to say about it was Bryan Pauley and a couple of his cohorts who’d also been with him during the short Madman Productions run. Call me sadistic but I thought it was hilarious to see that these pay-to-play reps seemed to be getting a taste of what they’ve been dishing out. El Corazon ripped them off? Boo hoo. The show was on Sunday and the bitching started on Monday. These "reviews" popped up the day after the show on the El Corazon facebook page.


"These guys are scumbags" is the review from Bryan Pauley. The comment to that suggests someone needs to pay El Corazon a "visit". How about paying them a visit during the show you invited those eight bands to play? More reviews followed:

Most of these comments are made by facebook pages that have already been involved with other P2P events. Scott Timothy, (aka Scott Lumburgh) worked for Madman Productions before it stopped doing shows. "They'll strong arm you into paying." Who does that sound like? Funny to see these people all up in arms about being ripped off. FYI: You'll see the name Paul Masterson hosting the similar "Bay Area Unplugged" show below. By the way, El Corazon has had a very checkered past and I'm not sure how they run all their events now, but my band played there with X and the Blasters about a week before this show. The show was sold out (700 people), we got paid and while we were there the staff was friendly and proffessional. Okay, I'll agree that the bathrooms are pretty horrilbe but other than that, we didn't have a problem. And the only reason I'd boycott this club is because they rent it out to pay-to-play promoters. The fact these guys felt ripped off is actually a reason to like it.

BALTIMORE SOUNDSTAGE - BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 1, 2013


The band on the right says that this show is for label representation so they'll need all the support they can get.




It was a "great show"...playing to a couple of our friends. Remember that "great show" often means they played well and people liked it.

MOJOES - JOLIET, IL - DECEMBER 15, 2013

Eleven bands on this bill at $10 per ticket from the band.


Tickets, Tickets, Tickets...from the promoter to the bands, it's all about the tickets.



Two different bands play the In-Demand Showcase at Mojoes in Joliet, IL.

January 4, 2014 @ Small's in Hantranck, MI...Sell the tickets, play the show...

And the shows continue...Recently these shows have been listed only as "Pack The House" (or Pack the Pub or Pack the...yeah, I'm not going there!) hosted by Burn Energy. Burn Energy's CEO sent this interesting email to the band, The Resistance Panel, who shared it with everyone on the Musicians Against Pay To Play Facebook page:


"I spoke with the CEO of a record company that will remain nameless and he said that an unwillingness to ever sell tickets is a deal breaker as far as getting signed in today's industry." Wow! Really? I think we need to make T-shirts with that statement! Love the response from The Resistance Panel!

According to Paul Masterson, who invited The Resistance Panel to play this show, he's not Gorilla Music. But damn, he's certainly following their business model. Bands get 60 tickets to sell, after 30 (!) they keep the rest. That's $300 they need to turn in to play this show. Keep in mind that whoever is putting on these shows tries their best to not mention who is in charge.



Ten acts on the show, they all need to sell tickets and they can't tell their ticket purchaser what time they'll play. Who does that sound like? And this does not look like the exciting show that was described in the original spam invite!


Don't forget kids, "the CEO of a record company that will remain nameless said that an unwillingness to ever sell tickets is a deal breaker as far as getting signed in today's industry." Those are probably high powered record execs in attendence...

So it appears that the Lake Effect Group is still going. There is conflicting information on who owns it. According to Bryan Pauley's LinkedIn page, the Lake Effect Group is his.


But according to domain search sites, the company website is registered to Michael Thompson (with the curious email bryanmpauley@gmail.com). So who knows?


The only two things we can be sure of is that Michael Thompson (aka Paul Masterson) was sued by Gorilla


Thompson was sued for malicious interferring with Gorilla shows, misrepresenting himself, and breaking the confidentiality contract he'd signed. Gorilla makes all their employees sign a non-compete contract where no rep is allowed to run their own shows for two years.



Thompson hired lawyers at first to fight these charges, but then dropped the representation and from then on didn't respond to any of the lawsuit. As usual, Gorilla (aka Gorilla Store Ltd) won by default. And the judgement was for $17,000! Also notice how the defamation claim is denied.


The interesting thing here is that Gorilla hired a private company to trace some emails and they traced them right back to the Lake Effect Group.


AND...that the Lake Effect Group is still running pay-to-play shows.