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Music Xray. There’s a good chance you’ve heard of it. Maybe you’ve thought about signing up for it. Maybe you even have some experience with them.
But in the music industry, it can be hard to know which opportunities to take advantage of. Sadly, at times, artists have been taken advantage of. Which means it’s always a good idea to do your homework before settling on anything.
In this hands-on review, we look at Music Xray and whether you can find paid music industry opportunities utilizing their opportunity database.
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What Is Music Xray?
Music Xray (also known as Music X Ray or Musicxray) is a place where talent buyers (industry professionals) can go to find music for their projects, and musicians can find opportunities for their music. Their tagline is “21st century A&R,” which seems appropriate, since A&R as we used to know it barely exists.
Much has been said about sync licensing and placements. Well, Music Xray is one place you can go to find opportunities to get your music into commercials, TV shows, films, video games, and other media. But you can find other opportunities on their site too (more on this later).
They claim to have over 2,000 opportunities across all musical styles and genres, automatic song to opportunity matching, selection prediction, and artist analytics.
Their goals are laid out in simple terms. Music Xray says they help musicians get deals and fans while improving their craft.
Meanwhile, they help industry find opportunity appropriate music and talent.
While they do not have a detailed history on their website, they have been long running, and as result, are well known among musicians and industry alike.
Right from their minimalistic homepage, you can view recently added opportunities as well as success stories and feedback.
How Much Does Music Xray Cost?
You can create a new account with Music Xray for free.
The cost of submissions, however, can vary from about $5 to $40 per submission. Some may cost more, while others may cost less.
The Music Xray Experience
As noted earlier, the Music Xray website seems sparse. While they have updated it somewhat through the years, it still has an outdated, industrial feel that doesn’t catch your attention. It also leaves you scratching your head as to what the site is for.
Well, we’ve already explained what it’s for, so we’ll leave that part alone.
Anyway, once you create your user account, you’ll be asked whether you are a music fan, artist/song owner, or industry professional. Naturally, we signed up as an artist, as that’s what we’re most interested in, but it’s good to know what’s available.
Once inside, the setup wizard will prompt you to take several steps. The first is to sync with SoundCloud so that you can connect your music. What this tells you right away is that if you’re planning to become a Music Xray power user, you should probably upload most of your music to SoundCloud.
Once connected to SoundCloud, you can choose which songs you’d like to import.
The next step is to upload your music. If your music is not on SoundCloud (or more accurately, it’s on your hard drive), you can upload additional music you’d like to submit to opportunities.
Onto step three. You will be asked whether you’d like to sign up for SMS notifications, because some opportunities are highly time sensitive. This is optional, as with all steps, so whether you want to sign up for instant updates is up to you.
Step four. Now you will be asked to connect to Facebook. We all know how much data Facebook has collected on its users. Well, Music Xray can use that data to automate data entry and social presence.
Next. You can add additional social profiles. You’ll be prompted for these URLs – SonicBids EPK, ReverbNation, MySpace, Bandcamp, Last.fm, YouTube, OurStage, Facebook fan page, and website.
I don’t think too many artists are using Myspace anymore, and you don’t hear much about Last.fm or OurStage these days either. Which tells you just how long Music Xray has been around.
Either way, you can add whatever links you have and move on.
After you add your social profiles, you’ll be asked to set your genres, upload cover art, add a brief description of your band, and whether you want your songs considered for future compilations.
Once you’ve completed setup, you can begin submitting your music to opportunities. You’ll also be presented with the options of visiting your dashboard, adding images and other info to your music, and creating a portfolio.
Let’s look at each of these sections.
Submit Your Music To Opportunities
This is probably where you’ll find yourself spending most of your time. Scanning the opportunities, picking ones that are relevant, and submitting your music to them.
They’ve kept this part of the site simple and usable. On the left sidebar, there’s a search box, a dropdown for sorting opportunities by relevance or recency, and opportunities organized by 1) categories, 2) recording quality, 3) opportunity type, 4) price range, 5) decision maker, 6) deal structure, 7) potential payout range, 8) industry response time, 9) industry community rating.
You can use these filters to find relevant and attractive opportunities, but keep in mind that the more attractive the opportunity, the greater the competition. If you’re just starting out, then be realistic and try to get a foot in the door before aiming too high.
On the right side of the screen, you can scan opportunities one by one. Most of them include an image of the company looking for music, a title for the project, a “new” tag (if the opportunity is new), submission price, payout, a detailed description, and a “Submit to this Opportunity” button.
Though the temptation might be to submit your music to everything, we suggest taking your time, choosing your opportunities, and submitting to only those that are highly relevant.
This is your “tracks” dashboard. Basically, you’ll be able to play and listen to your songs, see if there are any opportunity matches, target radio (where you can find radio submission opportunities), or get diagnostics on your tracks. A diagnostic report, by the way, costs $10 and is not worth it unless you’ve been using Music Xray for a while.
You can also update your information, music profile links, and portfolios from this section.
Adding images and other info also defaults to the “tracks dashboard.”
A portfolio is kind of a vanity page for organizing and presenting your music and links to relevant social media. You can create multiple portfolios, so if you need to organize your music in a specific way, or think it may be advantageous to do so, you can.
What Kind Of Opportunities Can I Find At Music Xray?
You can get a bit of an idea by looking at Music Xray’s homepage. If you'd like to see more, you can create a free account and go through setup.
We’ve organized some of the most sought-after opportunities below, but of course this could change with time:
- Top 3 categories: Sync Licensing: TV / Movies / Video Games (283 opportunities), Labels/Record Deals (251), Sync Licensing: Advertising (234).
- Recording quality: Fully mastered comes out on top at 1,227 entries.
- Opportunity type: Submission only (880 opportunities).
- Price range: Under $40 (1,127 opportunities).
- Final decision maker: Yes (1,109 opportunities).
- Deal structure: Negotiable or N/A at 302 opportunities.
- Potential payout range: Not Available at 398 opportunities.
- Industry pro response time: Within 45 days at 753 opportunities.
- Industry pro community rating: At least one star at 782 opportunities.
There are a few things to keep in mind.
One is there are many opportunities on the website, and not all of them are new. Although anyone with a listing is looking for music, it’s entirely possible their listings have been there a while, and they might even be reviewing the glut of submissions they’ve received. Meaning – even if you submit to those, your chances of being selected are quite slim.
Two is there are many opportunities. Even if the sync licensing in TV, movies, and video games category has the most, it’s worth checking other categories. There’s everything from exposure opportunities and radio playlisting to artist development and music blog listings on their site.
Three is that while some opportunities may seem more attractive than others, that doesn’t automatically make them a better fit for you. You are best choosing based on the relevance of the opportunity, something we talk about in more detail later.
To close out this section, we’ll share a few of the real opportunities (just the titles) listed on Music Xray:
- Huge Global Car Brand Seeks music for 2021 Spring Advertising
- Video Game Placement Opportunity – Multiple Genres Needed
- Looking for Serious Songwriters
- Netflix Production company looking for music for Teen SCI-FI, Police Procedural Drama and Family Comedy
- Beats needed for TV & Online Advertising Campaigns in South Korea
User Interface & Usability
Music Xray’s website design appears to be circa mid-2000s or early 2010s at best. It’s sparse, minimalist, and it even looks a little bit like a generic web portal instead of a genuine website. Which could leave you scratching your head upon arrival.
That said, it’s relatively easy to navigate, easy to use, and fast loading. These are all good qualities in a site you will be using often if you intend to land opportunities for your music.
Some of the site’s elements are a little mysterious, and may even leave you asking, “what is that for?” Most of it is commonsense, and it’s easily navigable, but not knowing how to use certain features or not knowing what they’re for can be a little frustrating.
Finding opportunities with Music Xray is simple. And that's one of the promises they live up to. Just because you can scan the opportunities and submit your music doesn’t guarantee success, but at least you can check in, see what’s available, and come up with a plan of attack based on what you know about the opportunities available.
If you were to ask us exactly what needs to be fixed to make Music Xray feel more like an opportunity portal, we’d be hard pressed to give insightful answers. More visual elements could certainly help, and an up-to-date design could benefit the site too.
We think it would be worth thinking about whether to remove their connection to relatively outdated social media sites like Myspace, Last.fm, or OurStage. This can leave a bad taste in one’s mouth, as it reeks of a site that hasn’t been maintained.
Then again, maybe Music Xray has a partnership with those sites, so it could be that they’re keeping their end of the bargain.
Music Xray certainly has it where it counts since their opportunity archive is up to date and easy to use. Filtering opportunities is easy, and if there’s something specific you’re looking for, you can find it relatively easily.
There’s no way we could give full marks for their user interface, design, or even usability. But it works, and we suspect that’s probably the point. They were looking to create something that works, not necessarily something that looks pretty.
Is Success Assured If I Sign Up With Music Xray?
Success is not guaranteed on any platform. That said, we know artists who’ve done well on Music Xray, so it’s never beyond the realm of possibility that you will find some success on Music Xray.
Here are a few tips to help you:
Only Submit To Relevant Opportunities
It might seem like spraying and praying is the best approach with opportunities, but that’s simply not the case.
For instance, if the opportunity is asking for top 40 songs, and you don’t have a top 40 song, there’s absolutely no point in submitting whatsoever. Best to save your money for something else.
Listen To Feedback
One of the advantages of using a site like Music Xray is that you can often get feedback on your music. This isn’t guaranteed, though.
But as you continue to submit, you will probably get some feedback and be able to adjust course to maximize the opportunity.
Of course, not all industry are looking for the same thing, so don’t assume whatever feedback you receive will applies to every situation.
If you want to succeed in sync licensing placements and other similar opportunities, you've got to be persistent!
You’ve got to:
- Scan the opportunities regularly (preferably daily)
- Make the type of music the industry is seeking right now
- Work fast – you won’t have an eternity to submit to every opportunity
- Submit often, knowing that your music may not be selected
- Take feedback into account and adjust accordingly
- Rinse and repeat
Can I Get Paid For Music Industry Opportunities Using Music Xray?
The answer is… maybe.
See, some artists and bands have had disappointing results.
As noted, you must be persistent if you want to succeed, but even then, $7 here, $20 there, another $35 here can kind of add up after a while and even wear on you.
Whether you want to pay for opportunities is ultimately up to you. Some people don't have a problem with it. Others feel they shouldn’t have to pay a submission fee (though it’s relatively common practice, even with music contests and competitions these days).
Basically, results vary.
Some songwriters, artists, and bands have landed opportunities with Music Xray. Others, after having used the platform, thought they were a little sketchy and gave up.
Music Xray Review, The Verdict
The very fact that Music Xray has endured through the years is testament to the fact that their service is legitimate. Which isn’t to say that they are the best of the best.
If you go looking for reviews, you will see both positive and negative. And that’s true of most products, services, and businesses regardless, but of course it’s entirely possible you’ve seen concerning testimonies regarding Music Xray.
What we can say is this. Some artists do well. Others do not. And there are many, many factors affecting outcome.
Everything from the quality of the music you make to how relevant it is to the opportunity all play a part in an artist’s success.
Whether to pay for opportunities is an individual decision and not one we can offer impartial guidance on.
But ultimately, we see no reason Music Xray can’t be part of your regular “rounds” as an artist, and if you’re on the lookout for opportunity, have got the goods, and aren’t afraid to submit, it’s not a bad site to keep on your radar.
So that's my Music Xray review, but what do you think? Have you used it? I'd love to hear your experiences in the comments.