Decide For Yourself: Does EDM.com’s Slingshot Feature Define Payola?

Image via EDM.com
Image via EDM.com

EDM.com controls a large and very important network of accounts on SoundCloud with more than 1.5 million followers. While they’re most known for Dubstep.NET, they’ve branched out in the past few years to create genre-specific channels for trap, trance, house, and drum & bass, and their play counts are unarguably some of the most consistent on SoundCloud. Their understanding of SoundCloud’s repost feature continues to grow their networks exponentially, and their policy of reposting content within their own networks ensures that their giant accounts get bigger and help grow smaller ones that they control. On the surface, it seems as if a group of guys living in Colorado are truly helping independent musicians succeed, and doing quite well at it when, in actuality, this isn’t quite the case.

I’ve known this team for quite some time, as I headed the launch of TrapMusic.NET in February of 2013 and spent months as the sole contributor. I ultimately decided to cut ties 10 months ago and dedicate my time fully to other ventures after walking this platform to tens of thousands of followers and millions of plays for numerous reasons, but the biggest factor for my departure was their “Slingshot” service, which is nothing more than an agreement between independent artists and small labels to pay for their networks to hit repost on records in exchange for money. Calling what would be known anywhere else as payola a “PR service,” these guys have effectively created a market for themselves that’s completely in-house, and any artist with a spare $3400 can get 10 records reposted to boast respectable numbers that are far from organic.

Mike Decide For Yourself: Does EDM.coms Slingshot Feature Define Payola?

If there were nothing to hide, I wouldn’t have anything to write about, but EDM.com doesn’t publicly offer their “Slingshot” service anywhere, an indicator that this service might not be ethical, and isn’t information that has appeared for consumption anywhere on their networks in the year that they’ve been clearing money by gaming SoundCloud’s new interface. Instead of being transparent about these so-called “promotional” fees, artists and labels that reach out for placement are emailed with the option for “promotion” in the form of posts and reposts, which has caused a flood of incredibly-average records with massive play numbers without coverage from credible news outlets. Artists can take those numbers and get booked by promoters that only know how to digest numbers, regardless of quality. I also wouldn’t have anything to write about if this repost feature didn’t directly violate SoundCloud’s Terms Of Service.

TOS Decide For Yourself: Does EDM.coms Slingshot Feature Define Payola?

We’ve sent several messages to SoundCloud to see if there was any reason why more than a dozen accounts were repeatedly and continuously allowed to violate their policies, and there was no response whatsoever once we gave a rundown of details. Though they reached out to confirm that this was a violation (as you can see above), all communication went black when we inquired deeper about EDM.com. The email we reached out to is the same one that has messaged us back within 24 hours with thumbs up on clearance nearly half a dozen times, yet this subject was repeatedly ignored. Funnily enough, this information unfolded months after I was gone via a public post in January by Alvi at Consequence Of Sound giving the EDM Network “Slingshot” fees that an artist had handed him, and we quietly watched as EDM.com responded on Twitter and quickly deleted this response saying that these fees were for “PR Services.”

Alvi Decide For Yourself: Does EDM.coms Slingshot Feature Define Payola?

Did I know about the fees while I was with the network? Sure. I controlled content on a site within the network. The prices spiked after I left and continued to rise.  Did I think that shitty records were going up simply because money was exchanging hands? Absolutely. I never earned a penny for the five million plus plays I got on the network, never asked an artist for a penny for any of the tracks that I uploaded, and didn’t really care what they were doing at all. Though I never received a cent for months of work through the .NET Networks, I was still able to post most of the tunes that I felt to be relevant, and this had a huge affect on organic success for a lot of incredible artists. I was told that SoundCloud was aware of this service, and that it was on the up and up.  As it turns out, this was absolutely incorrect.

Over the weekend, I asked three artists for a quote on why they use this service. One responded, one got shook, and one went back to the EDM.com team to let them know I was poking around.  They responded in kind by shooting out an email to their entire list of artists, called me a “disgruntled x-employee[sic],”  and called DoAndroidsDance “small.”  I’ve also never manipulated a quote in my life, but the notion is adorable, and I truly appreciate the free press:

EDM Network Email Decide For Yourself: Does EDM.coms Slingshot Feature Define Payola?

Artists that have gotten support from this network flooded me to let me know this email went out, and that alone is quite telling of how producers actually feel about the people representing their content and their culture. I’ve been sitting on all of this information for more than six months, and the motivation to move forward with exposing this brand was a remix contest hosted by EDM.com that an artist by the name of Dr. Fresch won. All would seem on the up and up, and it looks like a solid remix from an up-and-coming producer earned the opportunity to spin at Red Rocks until you realize that Fresch is PR & Artist Relations for The EDM Network, and that someone that works for the site that hosted a remix contest won a remix contest.

There are a few things that really aren’t up for debate here. One is that if you’re charging for preferential treatment on a platform that you control, that’s not PR—-it’s payola. Though the term has forever been associated with radio play, it’s defined asa secret or private payment in return for the promotion of a product, service, etc., through the abuse of one’s position, influence, or facilities.” We certainly have a secret payment that results in promotion of a product through the abuse of facilities. It’s against the law.  We’re not saying that it’s unethical practice within the dance music community.  We’re saying that violation can be enforced by the FCC.

Though YourEDM wrote a piece on payola shortly after their public break from The EDM Network, they didn’t explicitly spell out why that piece was written. They outlined that payola is illegal in the United States, called it “the rule and not the exception,” and said that “if you can’t get your work featured without having to pay for it, chances are your work isn’t that good,” which I agree with wholeheartedly. They also stated that “SoundCloud needs to tighten the terms of use to close loopholes that allow companies to disguise payola as PR,” and though they didn’t go as far as naming names, we’re pretty certain we know who they’re talking about.

The real issue here is that a lack of revenue streams, regulation, and ethics within the industry make these practices par for the course for anyone that actually wants to make money in music. Most bloggers aren’t getting checks for writing records up, and most of those that get paid aren’t making enough money to pay their bills. We’re fortunate enough to have a hands-off parent company that allows us to post whatever we want, and this really should be the standard for music.  I’ve praised Complex publicly and privately for what they’ve allowed us to do at DAD.

If this was the norm, this industry would be amazing. Sadly, greedy and unethical practices are far too common, particularly in dance music.  The standard for success is a consistent and obvious top-down effect on content, where someone in a position of power uses that power to pull strings in an effort to pull someone up and hand them some tools to become successful. We now have a system where most successful people are doing little more than holding the map to success and pulling themselves out of reach for the competition, and selling alliances instead of offering quality content.

I’m certianly not disgruntled. Complex treats me well, and I love my squad here at DAD. You know who should be disgruntled, though? Bloggers that are working hard to curate incredible content and aren’t getting paid while a platform is getting paid $500 every time they hit the “repost” button.  Artists that are making better records than those that are paying for placement and stealing their bookings.  PR firms that are losing employees and getting a fraction of the results while playing by the rules.  Fans of music that are being tricked into believing artists are bigger than they actually are, and the promoters that book these acts only to find out that the fan base isn’t real.  And they have every right to be upset.  I’m sure the EDM.com team is gearing to send shots of their own, and that’s fine.  I’ll be busy over here posting records that artists didn’t have to pay to get featured.

  • Ohwhatnow

    If you don’t think that Soundcloud already knows about this then you are crazy. If you don’t think that EDM.com and Soundcloud aren’t working together then you are just naive.

    Soundcloud has been trying to figure out how to make money with their service and EDM.com might have helped them realize a pretty good way on how to do that .

    • John Smith

      Soundcloud does make a substantial amount of money from their Pro and Unlimited subscriptions. :)

  • NAH

    thats messed up…

  • afroJACKED92

    STOP SNITCHING FAGGIT!!!!!

    • NAH

      u mad bro?

      • afroJACKED92

        nope this writer is just a fuckin pussy and im calling his bitch ass out. this blog fuckin sucks. shit all the blogs do because they post the exact same bullshit so it doesnt matter which one you go to (thats why im here even though it sucks balls).

        all this gay ass article is trying to do is shit on dubstep.net (their competition) which atleast puts out good music unlike these faggits.

        • RTT Sam

          you could at least learn how to properly spell “faggot”

  • LEViTATE

    really, ur the man nappy. someone needed to bring this to the forefront, and your the dude to do it. its bullshit how much mediocre content is brought to the forefront and its bullshit how it effects the scene and industry. i back this.

    • afroJACKED92

      GAYYYY get off his dick bro this article is fuckin bullshit and your a faggit for even supporting it

      • DopeCity

        LOL this is coming from a guy who’s name is AfroJACKED? Ease off the preworkouts bro.

  • JohnSmith

    This is the dumbest article I’ve ever read, reads like it’s from jealous and naive 15-year-old… Note to the writer….”payola” only refers to terrestrial radio; go take an intro to the music industry class somewhere. Entire article is pathetic.

    • Myuzak

      You sound like an angry Slingshot user tbh

  • eric

    You do realize the FCC has no jurisdiction over the internet right?

    • ericiswrong

      You do realize you just made that up and the FCC has the right to monitor the internet as an information service and just not as a common carrier service right?

      “In a Declaratory Ruling adopted today, the FCC concluded that cable modem service is properly classified as an interstate information service and is therefore subject to FCC jurisdiction”
      http://transition.fcc.gov/Bureaus/Cable/News_Releases/2002/nrcb0201.html

      • Eric

        You’re dumber than I thought. Go dig a little harder then come back to delete your comment when you realize you’re wrong. Glad your 5 minute google search made you more of an expert than a law school grad There is absolutely nothing the FCC could ever do about this, it’s a silly thought to even consider. They have 0, I repeat 0 jurisdiction to regulate anything even remotely close to what this uninformed writer suggested.

        • Billy

          His 5 minute google search made a counterargument that says you’re wrong. You, on the other hand, just reiterated your comment with 0 information to back it up. Uninformed writer?

          • billywoo

            Nothing more needs to be said, Eric is right…. can’t fight fact

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  • Thought on this

    I think part of the problem is blogs that post music don’t really give artist much of a reach and people “the fans” care more about gossip then good music. This article and other tmz style articles will probably get more views, social media shares, and comments then a great record on DAD. I think its great you guys post quality music on the regular but I just don’t think its reaching enough people so they pay for a repost to get their tracks heard and they can hopefully be discovered. I don’t think its that much different then when labels run ads or big artist post music that comes out on their label ie Sxrillex and Owsla, Aoki and Dim Mak etc…

  • Santos Torres

    personally, i think EDM.com are doing a great job with their network and these services arent forced upon those they’re working with. ive had plenty of tracks featured for free and i have no issue with them having an optional extra campaign available to those with the resources to do so

    i think edmtunes.com has a way more shocking approach, asking $15 per submission to their website to even be heard in the first place. now that’s sketchy.

    • Johnny

      And if the quality isn’t to their standards, they won’t repost. I’ve had to shell out another $15 after making adjustments and then they did.

      • http://www.facebook.com/djnonsequitur kelsey

        Yeah, if it’s not up to par, not only will they say so, but they’ll give you legit feedback as to what you could beef up to make it better.

  • http://www.facebook.com/djnonsequitur kelsey

    I’m kind of having a hard time differentiating this from, for instance, a sponsored track on Soundcloud. You’re paying for product placement. It’s like buying an ad. As per the definition of “payola” included in this article, I’m not really seeing where the abuse is. It’s a known fact that you can pay a blog $10 for a repost. It’s advertised plainly. This is the same thing on a larger scale.

  • Troyola

    I think one of the issues with the article is that the writer seems very condescending about him knowing what music is better than the others. That’s an opinion and the other company may have a different one.

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  • TRUTH

    Imagine a world in which Do Androids Dance cared as much about curating quality music as they did berating other blogs they’re competing against…

    • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

      i wrote this article and i liked your comment <3

      • Chris Taylor

        It’s a relevant topic. What do you expect edm.com to post this information? Lol

      • afroJACKED92

        yo ur a fuckin faggit bro for this article. this shit is straight dry snitching. u sound mad like a fuckin hater because their website is better than urs. jealousy is for bitches bro are u a bitch?

        • DEATHFACE

          damn, you just got told off by a 16 year old

          • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

            i’m also obviously a bitch i dunno why anyone is even asking

        • blueshift

          rekt

          • 2sense

            This dude said dry snitchin. Looool

  • Universal Music Group

    Please take this down

    • a$ap rocky

      Hahahahahahaha are you serious. Go fuck yourself UMG.

  • JB

    EDM.com is killing it and has been offering an honest product for some time now. If DAD had a product that they could capitalize on like that then they would in a heartbeat, instead they spend their time pointing fingers and acting like they keep their chin up when they’re brownnosing more than anyone in the blog industry

    • trap mom

      ^works for edm.com

  • RealTalk

    I think the funniest part about this is that The EDM Network posts way better music than I’ve ever seen on DAD…..

    Further, I’ve never seen a non-superstar or firmly established artist written up on DAD. On The EDM Network, I see this all the time and get to find content I would NEVER see on blogs like this. Artists who have only Facebook followings in the hundreds would never have a chance of being posted here. I bet I can dig up 15 I’ve seen in my SC feed from EDM Network channels in the past week alone. If you’re going to bring up supporting real artists and quality of content, you better take a long hard look in the mirror.

    Instead of slandering another blog, maybe you should spend the time it took to write this article researching great new music for your readers to listen to. Also, you do realize, as someone pointed out below that the FCC has 0 control over the internet… “We’re saying that violation can be enforced by the FCC.” If you’re going to trash a company publicly the least you could do is get your facts straight.

    • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

      “Artists who have only Facebook followings in the hundreds would never have a chance of being posted here.”

      http://doandroidsdance.com/features/50-under-5000/
      http://doandroidsdance.com/features/50-more-under-5000/
      http://doandroidsdance.com/features/50-under-5000-vol-3/

      We’re pretty varied in our coverage; we will post people who have millions of followers and some who don’t even top 1,000.

      • senthil

        your site has taken a turn for the shit in the past year, at least you’re as defensive as ever about the garbage you post

        • http://www.dancingastronaut.com/ Senthil Chidambaram

          ^ I didn’t write that.

      • RealTalk

        Cool, you found 3 out of what? Shamelessly defending what you and I both know is the truth…. Undiscovered or non-industry connected artists don’t stand a chance on blogs like this because your too busy writing garbage like this.

        • http://www.rockthedub.com/ khal

          So you didn’t even click the articles, I see. That’s 1500 artists who, at the time, had less than 5000 followers. Just one example. There are many more “undiscovered or non-industry connected artists” that we feature on the regular.

  • soundcloud.com/prplhed

    never knew much about DAD, much respect to y’all now

  • Dorian Dioptrics Abducted

    So i am going to step up to the defense of EDM.COM. As someone who has a professional relationship with them, they have been the most professional promotion network i have ever dealt with. They are consistently posting our releases, and not once have we given them any money for anything. The slingshot program was mentioned, but it was never pushed. It was more of a “Hey, just so you know, we are doing this slingshot program”. Who are we to stop them from creating optional revenue for a service they provide?

    As the head of 2 small labels ( Abducted Records and Abducted LTD ) i feel like my relationship with the EDM.com network is invaluable, and provides exposure to thousands of people we wouldn’t normally be able to be exposed too. Ive tried to establish relationships with so many networks that have just been unreliable, and several times beyond egotistical and arrogant. These guys are on top of it, and have been amazing at every step, as i said prior, with not a single dime ever spent with them.

    For whatever it means, they have my support. Its a shame you guys will be tainting the view of random readers with an extremely one sided story. Sucks to see music be such a battlefield, rather then us all just doing what we love

  • Zero – Sugar Crush

    you are one of the truest people I know, you see and support artists without thinking about the $ $ $, you’re awesome bro and DAD is one of the best music blog.
    fuck EDM.com .. because independent artists can not afford to self-promotion, all make music for the love, and no one can buy true love. There is not any money that can buy true love .. I’d rather have just 2,000 plays and 500 downloads made by REAL people in my music without a promotion like the edm.com … and using just my humble tools (soundcloud and facebook) than paying false “donations” for companies (like the EDM.COM) say that help artists.
    I love your work bro!

  • Liam “Taken” Neeson

    Good Job *writer*. Making a big deal over a company and a service that has nothing to do with you anymore. No artist was FORCED to participate. They CHOSE to. Everyone is hustling to get exposure. You don’t think companies that are owned by Guggenheim Partners benefit from GP’s ownership of Hollywood Reporter? How about 20th Century Fox and New York Post, which are both owned by News Corp. How about Beatport and Clear Channel? Accessing large audience bases is what it is about. Some people choose to hire a PR company so they can get ripped off $5k to $10k and have an intern “submit” their content to the blogs begging for pickups. Other’s get involved with companies that can actually make a difference to underground artists. But at the end of the day, no matter what, you will always go to sleep at night remembering that you are a little backstabber rat. We know who you are.

    • DopeCity

      hmm…that sounds like a threat. Shall I assume you work for EDM.com and are incredibly butthurt that your unethical dealings are coming to light?

  • bbdav

    Here is what got from them: http://i.imgur.com/vqcKMan.png?1

  • RageTracks.com

    We also require a track review fee, due to the amount of submissions. When we did it for free it was just too much to handle. Now the quality of submissions has increased.

    Furthermore, our site is free, our iPhone and Android app is free, we don’t put Google advertisements on our site, our servers cost money, not to mention the countless hours spent listening to music and writing articles, so as a music site, it’s necessary to generate income in order to stay online.

  • Artist

    Here is an artist quote for you: I have had several tracks posted on EDM network’s deep sounds network. from my personal experience, their personnel have very high quality control. they’ve turned down several tracks i’ve sent them, told me some weren’t appropriate for the channels i wanted to post on, etc. i’ve had a couple releases on the deep sounds network that have been very successful. i have seen many of the listeners i have reached through their network go on to like my artist page and listen to my future releases. nothing but positive experiences with the EDM Network here!

    • DopeCity

      Your bonus check’s in the mail. Good job.

  • Big Johnson
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  • Wolfkin

    Money always wins over creativity. Sad times. Music industry needs to be more transparent for sure.

  • EDM

    Let us break down this article.

    DJNappy: “EDM.com controls a large and very important network of accounts on SoundCloud with more than 1.5 million followers. ”

    EDM: “Large and very important” Thanks Nappy we appreciate that, although you did get your numbers off, it’s actually 2+ million and we should be over 4 mil by the end of this year (but who’s counting).


    DJNappy: “On the surface, it seems as if a group of guys living in Colorado are truly helping independent musicians succeed, and doing quite well at it when, in actuality, this isn’t quite the case.”

    EDM: Says the guy who writes and works for a mega ad conglomerate namely Complex Media, but let’s just overlook that.


    DJNappy: “PR service,” these guys have effectively created a market for themselves that’s completely in-house, and any artist with a spare $3400 can get 10 records reposted to boast respectable numbers that are far from organic.”

    EDM: Lets talk about this “Evil PR Service” called the SlingShot. The main challenge of running blogs and music promotion outlets, is that there is very little money to be made (unless of course you work for Complex).

    Hence after 3+ years of running the network, closing in on a billion plays and countless records sales, collabs and record deals generated for artists, we arrived at a cross roads. Do we keep doing this in a way that is completely unsustainable, or do we as a team develop something that the industry direly needs?

    Enter: Slingshot. When we developed the service, we based it on 3 fundamental principles: 1. We do not promote music we do not believe in (no other PR agency can boast the same). 2. We have to offer something that will generate VERY legitimate promotion for a fraction of the cost artists, labels, and managers are currently paying. 3. It cannot distract from our main focus which is to grow our free promotion initiatives.

    We are now 7 months into this exercise and I can honestly say that we have hit a homerun on all of the points above. We did 700 features last month, generated 66 million plays across 24 soundcloud accounts + affiliated websites, ..for free. And although we are still fighting to build the dream platform, at least we don’t have to do it while eating ramen noodles twice a day, every day anymore.


    DJNappy:”If there were nothing to hide, I wouldn’t have anything to write about, but EDM.com doesn’t publicly offer their “Slingshot” service anywhere, an indicator that this service might not be ethical, and isn’t information that has appeared for consumption anywhere on their networks in the year that they’ve been clearing money by gaming SoundCloud’s new interface.”

    EDM: http://theedmnetwork.com/ (click on Read More right where it says PR services). There are also the many actually accurate company emails and promo documents floating around the net that you can check out. It’s worth mentioning that if you had bothered to ask us for documentation (like real journalists do) you might have had an easier time finding some.

    ..also years of gaming SC? I am going to take “gaming” as a compliment to our intellect and good taste in music, and “years” as you just not knowing how a calendar works”


    DJNappy:”Artists can take those numbers and get booked by promoters that only know how to digest numbers, regardless of quality.”

    EDM: Oh the poor poor promoters who just book acts based on numbers and not talent. No seriously, I feel for them though.


    DJNappy:”I also wouldn’t have anything to write about if this repost feature didn’t directly violate SoundCloud’s Terms Of Service. We’ve sent several messages to SoundCloud to see if there was any reason why more than a dozen accounts were repeatedly and continuously allowed to violate their policies, and there was no response whatsoever once we gave a rundown of details.”

    EDM: Ok this is a little awkward. I feel like I am the guy who has to tell their friend that maybe the hot chick isn’t answering your text message because you are a creep, who obviously has “ulterior motives”. Keep emailing though, I am positive she will come around.


    DJNappy: “Did I know about the fees while I was with the network? Sure.”

    EDM: Of course you did. And I thank you for the PR clients you have referred since your leave from The EDM Network and am sad you will no longer do artists a favor by letting them know about us.


    DJNappy:” I’ve been sitting on all of this information for more than six months, and the motivation to move forward with exposing this brand was a remix contest hosted by EDM.com that an artist by the name of Dr. Fresch won.”

    EDM: Wait how did we get to talking about remix competitions? Are you sure you’re not disgruntled? This would be a controversy, if we had anything to do with picking the winner. The truth is, the artist in question and his team picked the winner, and Dr. Fresch happened to win because #1 he participated and #2 many many people including the people that mattered (The artist and his team) picked Dr. Fresch’s remix as the best track.


    DJNappy: “There are a few things that really aren’t up for debate here. One is that if you’re charging for preferential treatment on a platform that you control, that’s not PR—-it’s payola. Though the term has forever been associated with radio play, it’s defined as “a secret or private payment in return for the promotion of a product, service, etc., through the abuse of one’s position, influence, or facilities.”

    EDM: What’s the saying again? Never go full….?? .. According to the definition you posted and I quote “a secret or private payment”. We do a post every week on our site that features our campaigns called “Slingshots of the week” but it’s a secret though. Don’t let anyone know.


    DJNappy:”We’re saying that violation can be enforced by the FCC.”

    EDM: I am actually going to invite you to research what the FCC has done with what you call “Internet” payola. It’s #1, not prosecuted by the FFC and not against the law. But then again we just established that what we do isn’t payola, so why does it matter?


    DJNappy:”If this was the norm, this industry would be amazing. Sadly, greedy and unethical practices are far too common, particularly in dance music. ”

    EDM: If you think dance music is bad you should check out Pop and Hip-Hop. But by the quality of work and research that went into this article I am guessing you won’t.


    DJNappy:”We now have a system where most successful people are doing little more than holding the map to success and pulling themselves out of reach for the competition, and selling alliances instead of offering quality content.”

    EDM: You’re doing the drama thing again.


    DJNappy: “I’m certainly not disgruntled. Complex treats me well”

    We believe you bro. We can’t all be living off that corporate $$$, glad someone is.


    DJNappy: “PR firms that are losing employees and getting a fraction of the results while playing by the rules.”

    Oh you mean the same PR firms who take ALL the money artists currently invest in PR then rely on blogs to push all of their content without giving them a dime? Ya I feel bad for those guys. Maybe you should do a fundraiser perchance?

    We didn’t build this network to please promoters. Figuring out who to book is their problem. We didn’t build this network for PR agencies. If they are really that good at promoting artists I am sure they can find a way to promote themselves. And we certainly didn’t build this network for fans who are just worried about how much plays a certain track has, in order to judge if it’s good or not. Our fan base consists of people who trust us to present them with good music. That’s what we do, and our numbers prove it.

    We built this network for the artist. And the day you or any of our critics can claim that you are doing 66 million plays a month, while featuring the likes of Moby, Tommy Sunshine, Mat Zo, Adventure Club, Cerdic Gervais…… right alongside 600 small or unknown producers every single month, then maybe your claims will be taken more seriously.

    In the mean time you should read the rest of the comments on your article. Priceless.

    • Katie Jones

      #LikeABoss. Killed it.

    • ScrubberTheCat

      Damn.. At first I was like… ..Screw those jerks.. But then I read this reply and I was like ..Screw these jerks… #GettingCalledOutOnaShittyHitJob I actually have no idea how I ended up here but I want my life back.

    • Jilian K.

      I disagree with your fact based logic.

    • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

      you can call it whatever you want, guys. if you control placement then charge artists for placement, that’s not PR. it’s paid placement.

      • Anon

        How did your article go from it being illegal payola to simple paid placement? Doesn’t Complex fund this blog with paid placement? Seems like a slippery slope. I actually like most the articles you write so I am not going to bash. Just stating a point.

        • Walmer Convenience

          there is no paid placement in this blog

        • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

          no artist has ever handed any of us money to post their record on this site.

          • Manager

            You’re right, instead your blog has owners of the website who email artists promising help with promotion and posting a mix and have them make it and then when its time to pull the trigger your owner turns tail and never responds. Just saying, edm.com has never done that to any of the artists i have seen them work with…..just saying.

      • http://www.facebook.com/djnonsequitur kelsey

        I don’t get it…can’t you buy placement in a newspaper? Isn’t that why Superbowl ads cost more than ads during the nightly news? This seems like a basic facet of how advertising works.

        • Walmer Convenience

          that’s openly called advertising though

          • BK

            “Payola, in the music industry, is the illegal practice of payment or other inducement by record companies for the broadcast of recordings on music radio in which the song is presented as being part of the normal day’s broadcast. Under U.S. law, 47 U.S.C. § 317, a radio station can play a specific song in exchange for money, but this must be disclosed on the air as being sponsored airtime, and that play of the song should not be counted as a “regular airplay”.”

            If they’re going to do this, they must clearly indicate that the artist(s) payed money to be featured on their Soundcloud.

          • BKisadumbass

            You’re an idiot, this only applies to terrestrial radio, how many god damn times does someone have to repeat that here….

        • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

          let’s imagine football players often paid to be considered for the draft. that’s what we’re talking about here.

    • tommyt

      this is all well and good except for the part about the dr fresh remix, thats a total conflict of interest that he was even allowed to enter even though he works for EDM.com. seems unfair to others who entered the contest legitimately

  • EDM Network

    $$$$ ;)

  • Paul Scott

    Pathetic article trying to stir trouble.
    Nappy is probably shitting himself right now. Oh, the irony.

  • sheldon

    Ive known Sean Muir and Jason Muir from NRJ
    design since about the year 2000. They are the creators of Dubstep.net
    and what is now edm.com I was more hurt over everything by losing my
    friendship with Sean than anything else, I would have always had his back loved him as a friend.

    I was doing conceptual art and design behind closed doors for the
    company when it had 50 thousand likes on facebook and it had won some
    prestigious awards and had big names in music involved. They didn’t need
    to sell out and buy 300 thousand likes on facebook like a bunch of
    bitches but they did. Who does that? Seems like paying somebody to be your friend. In
    doing that you’re lying to every single artist you then promoted
    because your numbers are thin air.

    Later Sean offered me a
    partnership on my company and was quick to drop me and never speak to me
    again.Well it seem more people within the music industry are tired of
    you assholes just treating people how you like and are finally speaking
    up against your shady ways with interesting articles.

    I am not
    one of these blog sites trying to tarnish your reputation with words but
    my words hold weight. I know your empire is built on sand.I am a man
    who you stepped on and you tried to break, im standing here stronger
    than ever telling my story about how my friends sold their soul and
    tossed me aside like trash. Don’t fire warning shots my way over this
    unless they are from a gun. I am not about to hold hands and be civil if
    you have a problem with what ive said, come correct.

    • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

      if you only knew how the other side of the story sounded… this shit just made my jaw drop.

      • sheldon

        Of course, always 2 sides to the story but regardless of how my friendship with Sean ended the fact remains they bought hundreds of thousands of likes and used an imaginary fan base to lure in the rest. False advertising.I do find it funny how some followers say they don’t care the 1 million doesn’t exist as long as the other 1 million do.Logic

        I am not a disgruntled ex employee, the work i did there was for free because i was proud of what my friend had made and i honestly don’t think at the time they had money to pay me.Most of the work i did was just conceptual and some good some bad, I just wanted to help out.Sean is somebody i loved and respected as a designer, businessman and a friend.He definitely betrayed that trust and hurt me.

        So please, tell your story.

      • sheldon

        I’m honestly over all this dubstep.net drama. Ive had my say and made sure everybody from that “team” got a good look at it.If you want to pm me and continue this convo feel, free.Like i said if you are from that camp and want to retaliate, just be prepared to finish it.

  • Brent Thurman

    this article is extremely unprofessional & low class. i usually enjoy the articles here & I’m shocked you guys would stoop this low. congrats u lost respect from a loyal reader

  • Holier than thou-ght

    maybe all your writers who also manage people on the side and post about them should also disclose their “conflicts of interest” at the bottom of their articles. aka jake and jacuzzi. ya i’m not buying this whole “holier than thou” bs

    • Jake Is Jacuzzi’s Manager

      OH SHIT! Called out

    • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

      jake hasn’t posted about jacuzzi artist on our site since he started managing him. because it’s unethical. but we appreciate the love.

      • Holier than thou-ght

        Using your own logic, that would mean that any writer on this blog who posted about Jacuzzi should have included a disclaimer in their post. Please see the quote from your article (below). Thank you!

        “If there were nothing to hide, I wouldn’t have anything to write about, but EDM.com doesn’t publicly offer their “Slingshot” service anywhere, an indicator that this service might not be ethical, and isn’t information that has appeared for consumption anywhere on their networks”

        Just in case you don’t understand how I’m imputing the underlying principle behind your logic, it goes a little something like this:

        “If there were nothing to hide, I wouldn’t have anything to write about, but DoAndroidsDance doesn’t publicly offer [information pertaining to their writers conflicts of interest, based on personal financial interests in promoting a specific artist] anywhere, an indicator that this [action/omission] might not be ethical, and isn’t information that has appeared for consumption anywhere on their [site].”

        i.e. no article mentions this extreme conflict of interest.

        B.E.A – UTIFUL

  • War

    I just love how YourEDM copied the article straight from Do Androids Dance. At least, you got a blog that isn’t so “Small.” BLOG WARS

    • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

      we gave them permission to, and it was credited.

  • iamshanemorris

    First of all: My opinions do not reflect the opinions of Earmilk.com, any of the writers there OR any of my employees at Beautiful Majestic Dolphin. I’m speaking for myself here. With that said…

    EDM.com is doing something that makes many people in the music business squirm a little. ‘I can’t believe they would take money in order to promote an artist.’, or so goes the mentality. The cold reality is a little more linear: Lots of payola happens. At least EDM.com is being somewhat transparent about it.

    Could EDM.com have done a little better job of indicating promoted songs were promoted? Sure. (I like what Gawker Media does with their promoted posts. It says so right under the title.) They have a “Slingshot Section”, to be fair, but unless you really read into what “Slingshot” is, then you’re a little lost on nomenclature. I think that “Sponsored” would be a much better word, because it eliminates any confusion due to language.

    With that said: The men and women of every blogging website need to learn a valuable lesson here. This isn’t about paid posts, or disgruntled employees, or payola, or corruption, etc. To me, this looks like a cross section of complaints about music, exposure, and why some artists rise to the top, and why others don’t.

    A long time ago (dinosaurs, etc), I used to be with MySpace Music, and I remember how “important” playcounts were to some artists. They wore them with a badge of honor, a perverse symbol of false and empty accomplishment. If your song has plays, then it must be doing something right… right?

    This article aims squarely at Soundcloud, and playcounts, honestly. I mean, that’s what these screencaptures accomplish, right? They’re talking about “exposure”, playcounts, etc. Well, how about this for a moment: Those playcounts aren’t doing as much as you think they are.

    Back in 2005, when MySpace plays were an unassailable mark of your success, we (the MySpace Music people) knew how empty those numbers truly were. We KNEW that bands were selling themselves on playcounts, and basically encouraged the practice of driving plays up.

    Soundcloud knows they are a barometer of success. In this respect, they are “Le Grand K”. They are the master kilogram, but which everything is measured, and their value is based upon your belief that their metric has value.

    EDM.com knows artists care about those playcounts, and are also likely aware that those playcounts are worthless. Why? Because they depend on a volume game. They need as many artists paying into their system as possible. The funny thing is, the more people who pay in, the lower their true reach is. The irony of writing this article is that you’re actually giving credence to the artists who have already paid, because their dollars with translate to a bigger slice of that pie.

    The model itself that EDM.com is running, well… it’s fundamentally flawed. Their pie is only so big. The more they slice it, the smaller each piece gets. Truly, the only people actually losing here are artists.

    Additionally, EDM.com is only one outlet. Artists who really understand PR, and its needs, understand that a wide demographic swath across many websites is what you actually want, and need. Building relationships with writers who believe in your music, and want you to succeed for reasons outside money – that’s worth more than a one time paid placement fee.

    This is all about empty metrics, being repeated over and over, until they’re truly meaningless. It’s the Warhol-ization of music media metrics. You want Soundcloud playcounts. You want Facebook fans. You want Twitter followers. You want to be on Beatport charts. You want to get your songs on the biggest blogs.

    The question very few of you are asking is: How many fans do I really have? What is my ROI on each fan? If I had to tour right now, exactly how many people could I contact within 50 miles of City X?

    Don’t get mad at EDM.com or DaD for being part of the pay scheme. You’re here. DaD is serving ads right now, via Complex. We’re all part of it. (And if you head over to any of my articles on Earmilk, you’ll see the same ad network.) Is it wrong to turn a profit? Not at all.

    It’s just silly to sit here and debate Soundcloud playcounts, as if they actually have value. Until someone determines what that’s worth, (spoiler, you won’t) then there is nothing to discuss here but EDM producers and their managers trying to take every route to success they can.

    EDM.com created a shortcut, that has value, but it is hard to determine what that value is. I’d tend to argue that the real suckers here aren’t the fans – it’s the artists who paid EDM.com for exposure. Just look at their Souncloud page. They advertise, with pinned playlists, the songs tha thave reached certain playcounts. That’s… silly. Right? (I’m giggling.)

    Here’s a tip to all aspiring EDM producers out there: Write hit songs. If you have a hit, you’re not a slave to big oulets giving you a co-sign. Think about it: If you’re paying for plays, do you really have fans – or do the media outlets have fans?

  • FvckRealLife

    Extremely relevant Michael! We applaud your willingness to disclose the fraud here, a constant source of frustration for those of us trying to do it right in the community.

  • Cheezy

    really interesting article. i’m not advocating or rejecting the service but if they can do it and get away with it, good for them. It sucks that they’re in a powerful position and are starting to charge people, but look at it from their perspective. They built their name and now they’re leveraging it to make money. Payola has and always will exist. Pretty much every blog plays favorites and supports certain artists over others for one reason or another (completely aside from artistic talent), at least they’re giving more people a chance by charging instead of them relying on only connections…

  • derpaderp

    This is just a piss poor media manipulation tactic that DAD and EDM.com are using. Controversy drives traffic for both of their sites. It seems to be working and it might even help pay Nappy’s rent next month.

    Wait… by commenting on this, did I just add more cents to Nappy’s paycheck? Hmmm… you’re welcome.

    For all music bloggers who read this comment – stop giving your twisted opinions and hating unnecessarily and just go back to posting music. That is what it’s really about.

    I wonder how long it’ll be before DAD takes this down. Or you might just keep it. Whatever drives traffic, right?

    • Michael DjNappy Abernathy

      i get paid the same no matter what :-)

      if i cared about clicks i would be writing fluff pieces on superstars for them to share on their social media.

  • EDMAddict

    You have to give credit to the author. It takes 1 huge pair of balls to actually put your name next to such a shoddy and ill thought out article. Bravo.

  • freedzybaby

    Great article man, but I think you’re overestimating what PR people do for everyone except the biggest artists. A big reason most artists hire the professional is simply because he or she has connects that they dont. It’s tough to get blogs to even open a submission email, but having the publicist’s name will increase those odds.

    I dont see the difference here – you pay money -> you get more blog posts/soundcloud reposts -> you get exposed to more people -> you get bigger numbers. I think edm.com’s “inflated” numbers are just as organic as anyone else. I agree, the system shouldn’t be based on numbers, so our problem is much bigger than edm.com

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  • VINE: WhiiteTy$

    I’ve submitted to the trance section of the EDM Network and everything was going fine. They uploaded my song to their oundcloud and everything was great! But then I asked, “Hey. Why isn’t my song being uploaded to youtube?”
    They responded a week later saying they will upload it by Saturday so I waited till saturday and no upload. It’s been a month and my song still i not on youtube. I’m not sure I trust edm network unless I work through Monoverse, a producer, who gets things through there.