Note: I have received a letter about this entry from A&R Unlimited’s lawyers. I have edited it and deleted or edited user comments where necessary in a spirit of cooperation. The entry below is my opinion only. Develop your own!
I was leaving the bike shop on Monday when my phone rang. The caller ID number read 13638. So, already I knew I was about to be pitched something silly.
I went ahead and picked it up, but I didn’t answer, I just listened. I heard an actual person moving around on the other end, so I said “hello?”
“Hello, is this Jim?”
I indicated that it was me. The person identified themselves as Paul from A&R Unlimited and said that he was interested in my songs.
Without pausing, he asked “Where are you with your career right now?”
I said “Paul, I’ve got to tell you, I’m skeptical.”
Paul was amazed and incredulous, presumably because, in his mind, I should already be mailing him my entire wallet by this point in the call.
I said “Paul, record companies don’t really work that way. There is no such thing as A&R like that”
He said “I assure you that there is, and they absolutely do!”
I decided that this was pointless to argue the point with Paul who was very polite, but ultimately selling something not worth my money. So I just happily yepped along with the remainder of his spiel and gave him my throwaway email account for him to send more info to.
So far, I haven’t gotten any emails from Paul.
I looked up their web site just to see if I I was right, and it is indeed some manner of “Pay us and we will get your music heard by key industry personnel” type site, like Sonicbids or whoever else.
Avoid these sites. If you want to be a successful artist, go out and earn a fan base one fan at a time with great material and a great show. There is no other way to do it. There are some great tools to use along the way like iTunes and YouTube and ReverbNation, but anyone asking for your money to promote you is selling you a shortcut, and there are none.
Let me repeat that. There are no shortcuts. None.
What I really want to know is how they got my number. They said they got it from Reverb Nation, but those guys are totally on the up and up with information privacy and that didn’t sound right to me.
I emailed Reverbnation anyway just to ask. I got a response from Neal Moody the next day. He pointed out that they didn’t even have my number, even if they wanted to share it.
Oh yeah! Good point, Neal!
I have no doubt that these people are talented, kind folks with the best of intentions, but that does not change the stark reality that paying someone to play your song for purportedly top industry personnel will never be any sort of replacement for going out and earning a fan base. This is particularly true in a climate when barely anyone gets signed any more.
I am still interested in how you and Paul got my cell phone number.
UPDATE: Credit where it’s due, Joann Gullo, chief proponent of A&R Unlimited, has shared her phone number and email address and offered to explain to anyone what they do and how they do business.
She also raises some pertinent questions about what a shame it is that I have enough time on my hands to actually help musicians instead of trying to get them to spend money frivolously.
I am offering anyone of you the opportunity to give me a call personally and go over what our company offers so you all truly understand what our mission is. 631 244 1624 or feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading Joann. I am still interested to know how you got my cell phone number to begin with. Personal information is not something to be thrown around lightly, in my opinion.
You very clearly agree, since I note that the above phone number and email address are the corporate contacts for your business, and not your personal info. Just sayin!