WHAT QUALIFIES A PROMOTER/COMPANY TO BE LISTED ON THIS SITE?
|*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
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
“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:
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:
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
And here’s the topper. This is what one of the participating bands wrote on their facebook band page:
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.
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
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!
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.
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
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:
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.