Pay-to-promote schemes prey on aspiring amateurs

Although ultimately immeasurable, there are several million music artists worldwide with an online presence, each competing for attention. As many of those artists will know, there is a growing industry of companies that profit from unsigned, aspiring amateurs, some with noble, altruistic intentions and others making empty promises in order to exploit the hunger for musical success.

Sites like and offer deals to promote your music over others in return for a fee, but the effectiveness of these schemes is uncertain.

Like pay-to-play live schemes, more ethically questionable business models have been emerging around social networks of late. American site sells Twitter followers, Facebook friends and YouTube views for prices ranging from $87 (£60) to $197 (£135) approximately. operates a similar system, and also recruits socal media users who can earn by performing basic repetitive tasks.

Controversy surrounded the recent Australian company Chartfixer, which was offering guaranteed chart placement on iTunes for fees between $6000-$25000. As the company crowdsources downloaders, it is essentially a legal service, although such flagrant manipulation of charts has caused outrage.

The value of these shortcuts is questionable, and many in the music industry continue to emphasize the importance of an organically grown fanbase.

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