Do you ever wonder how bands rack up so much support for their MySpace pages?
This is from Eliot Van Buskirk at Wired.
Labels, promoters and music reviewers often check a band’s MySpace page to see how many plays they have, as an easy way to tell whether anyone else is listening to the band. They may want to think twice about this.
A company called TuneBoom Pro claims it can artificially inflate MySpace play counts over a thirty day period for any artist, charging on a sliding scale:
$147 for 1K plays
$417 for 5K plays
$747 for 300K plays
Van Buskirk goes on to point out that there are other schemes that are available.
I’ve always considered things like MySpace numbers and charts to be of no substance. They are numbers that do not reflect record sales. Numbers that have nothing to do with commerce other than somebody making $147 for 1,000 plays.
Think about it this way, 1,000 plays on MySpace=1,000 audience “impressions”. 1 play on a radio station, in a big market can equal tens of thousands of audience impressions. “300K plays” can be equaled with a couple of spins on a real radio station. “300K plays” is not coming near the amount of audience impressions it takes to achieve a hit record. It’s not even close to close.
You could maybe make a case that what TuneBoom is doing, is some form of payola. If it is, it’s bush league stuff.
But, what I found interesting in Van Buskirk’s piece was this…
A TuneBoom Pro representative told Listening Post in an e-mail, “we have worked exclusively for the majors up until about a year ago when we offered our services to the independent artist and labels. We have also been involved in A&R and promo for the majors for many years and continue to do so.” This would appear to be confirmation that major labels have manipulated play counts on MySpace — a startling development, especially now that most of the major labels have become stakeholders in MySpace Music and could receive payments based on which of their artists are receiving the most attention.
The representative wrote, “Sorry we can not say more, as we are always very confidential,” refusing to give up the names of the major labels and artists the company claims have used the service.
Well, I wouldn’t call it a “startling development” to find out that the labels have been manipulating the MySpace numbers. If there is ever any type of “pay for spins” going on, who do you think has the means to really take advantage of it?
You know what? I don’t “get” MySpace. Way back, people told me that if you play music, you need a MySpace page. So, I got one and I have actually met a few people (other musicians trying to figure out a way to make a buck, for the most part) who I wouldn’t have otherwise. I don’t really concentrate much effort at MySpace because, the whole thing looks crappy, sounds crappy and is glitchy as hell. For the life of me, I can’t understand why I keep hearing that MySpace is the place to break a song or start a career. It doesn’t add up.
The labels, those guys are clutching at straws. They’ve got to get in bed with MySpace even if there isn’t a dollar at the end of the rainbow. And like I say, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to know they were in on baking the numbers even, if the numbers aren’t of any substance. They can’t be seen having lower fake numbers than the competition. That wouldn’t look right.
As an indie musician, I am inundated with offers to “promote” my music for a fee. None of it involves anybody actually getting off their ass to promote though. They are all schemes including; “put your song on a compilation”, “call me for a management consultation”, “we will submit your music to the powers that be”.
I’ll guarantee you this-the fees taken in by people who are offering “help” to independent musicians are far greater than the amount of money taken in from independent record sales.
What is funny, hilarious in the same way that laughing at a drunk is; that the labels themselves may be falling for the same scam.