Mitch Notes - Legit or Scam?

I recently had an experience with - an online PR service for independent musicians. I don’t recall whether they found me or I found them. Regardless, they called me, and assured me that my music is good. But no specifics. I wanted to hear them say something about my music that set it apart. You know, something that would make a firm like this want to work with me. Ultimately I asked who with this company actually listened to any of my songs, which songs, and when; the reply was “Our screening department listens to all of the submissions we receive. Usually they'll put some notes on your file to give our sales reps some info on your work.” Hmmm. For $2.95 I got a 5-day trial “membership” – and sure enough, there was my CD art for Good Touch right there on the ArtistPR home page – along with dozens of others. Hmmm. ArtistPR makes these claims (among other things):


- Instant access to over 25,000 music industry contacts, including managers, agents, A&R reps, music magazines, radio stations and more.


- Reach thousands of music magazine editors, journalists and music directors at commercial and specialty radio shows for radio and press exposure.


- Connect with music supervisors who are looking for independent and unsigned artists to license music from and pay good money for it.


Hmmm. The promise, implied or explicit, is that they are going to help you make money in the music business. All you have to do is pay them $60/month. I decided to give them a shot, so I signed up with them for a month. After doing some research I changed my mind and cancelled, but got a call from "Mario" who convinced me to sign back up because they had "an ezine who wanted to do a review of my music but couldn't unless I was still a member." [More on that interview in a separate blog entry] That should have been enough warning, but I said, sure, sign me back up. Because I wanted to see where this would lead - I'll give them a chance, it’s worth $60 for me to find out what this company is all about. I decided to do my own research. Here's what I found:


Instant access to all these contacts? Well, they do have lists of people, companies, A&R reps, etc., with some phone numbers, some email addresses, some websites that you can access. Some of these even have brief comments (“accepts unsolicited material” “does not accept unsolicited material”) So that’s what that means – you have instant access to that list. That is not the same as having access to the people or companies on that list, nor is there any evidence that ArtistPR works with any of these people or companies, just lots of glowing statements regarding “our contacts.” Plus, see below regarding the accuracy of their lists.


Reach thousands of editors, journalists, etc. for radio and press exposure? Same as above, lists. Radio exposure? I’m already on Jango and Acoustic Radio, working on Pandora, and in discussions with some stations overseas. Press exposure? Interesting that in my conversation with “Mario” (who called to talk me out of cancelling my membership), I was told that people no longer mail out press releases ( he referred to it as "the manila monster"). Yet, in the members area of the website, under "Music Industry Contacts" it says, "Our advice is to mail off new material every few months to music supervisors who are open to hearing new, unsolicited material. This way, they will have your music "On File" and can refer to it any time opportunities arise with your genre." Ignoring the fact that very few music supervisors are "open to hearing new, unsolicited material" (because most of it is crap), this advice is the exact opposite of what I was told by Mario. When I asked why, the reply was, “Mario probably misspoke. People definitely still send out physical press kits, but since many music supervisors will accept electronic press kits now, this is a better route unless you have a large marketing budget to be able to cover the printing and postage costs.” Well, there you go. Guess it depends on who you ask.


Speaking of music supervisors, they have a list that you can access (instantly, of course), but many of these are individuals or companies in business for themselves; they create their own music (e.g., I asked ArtistPR, why would these people want to hear from unknown musicians? They did not answer this question.


I asked them, how many of your members have had their music placed, by you, with anyone on this list and received payment for the use of their work? "Patrick" (no last name given) of the ArtistPR Support Staff answered, "I can't give you an exact number on how many of our members have received payments for licensing their music, but since 2006 when we started the number is close to a thousand." Seems to me you might want to keep track of stuff like this, if this is your business. Just saying…


I mentioned that many of the links they provide are dead, such as,,, Others are not music supervisors at all; TLS Music Services is a licensing and clearance firm. Patrick replied, "As I'm sure you're aware, the music industry constantly has companies going out of business or changing their business model. We do our best to stay on top of our contact list and are constantly adding to it and updating it, but unfortunately we did recently have a database error that caused some data loss." My take on that: lists aren't very impressive when they contain outdated or erroneous information.


You want testimonials? The site has more than 2500 "members" listed, but testimonials from only 11 people. One of these, Dave Aron, is quoted as saying, "They have the contacts and ability to bring an artist or a project to the public with the grandeur that it deserves." So I asked them, could they provide an example of a specific artist or project brought to the public with such suitable grandeur? Patrick replied, "One of our most recent successes was for a heavy metal band, Mammothor, who after submitting a press release for their new album, secured an interview with HMP Magazine. Often times our contacts will reach out to our artists directly, when they contact us first we of course forward the correspondence to our artists." After some effort, I finally tracked down HMP Magazine (if in fact I found the right one), "Heavy Metal Pages" - a Polish online magazine. In Polish. You can find an English translation, again with some effort. This is not an example of bringing an artist to the public "with suitable grandeur."


I thought it curious that none of 11 people with testimonials on the website appear in the members list. One - Traci Michaelz, of Peppermint Creep - died in 2008 after a show in Fort Worth. I asked if they had any testimonials from current, living members? The reply was, "We recently released a complete redesign of our website and unfortunately weren't able to transfer over all of the old profiles. We haven't been on top of asking for new testimonials lately. Most of the ones we've received weren't really worthy of being posted on our website. Mostly just saying thanks for the great support, interview, or licensing deal." And yet, in the previous question, the Mammathor interview with the Polish ezine was cited as being an example of the suitable grandeur of their work. Hmmm…


The address for ArtistPR is listed as 7510 Sunset Blvd Suite 1200 Hollywood, CA 90046. In addition to this being the same address as another firm (, this is a mail store, not an office. I asked them what that was all about? The reply was, “Yes, we keep our overhead down by not having a physical office. All of our employees work remotely.” Okay, speaking as someone who has spent a lot of time working remotely, I can’t fault them for that. But, do a little math. With 2500 members at $60/month – that means these guys are raking in something like $150,000/month – that’s $1.8M/year – and they don't even carry the overhead of an office. The expense of the various websites is pocket change, the mail drop is cheap. Not bad work if you can get it. Their reply was, “The majority of our members are actually free members who have an EPK [electronic press kit] and access to our free resources and tools. For our new submissions and for our premium members we send out their links and contact info to our partners to generate leads for interviews, reviews, and licensing deals. We still recommend that our members utilize our contacts to send personalized emails. Our most successful members are ones who are able to put in some time and effort to reaching out to contacts, submitting press releases, and applying to our licensing deals.”


Okay, the majority of their members are “free members” (whatever that means). But their “most successful members” are the ones who do all the work themselves. Yes, they do provide a lot of information. For instance, 704 entries (as of 6/7/14) on the A&R page – now go back to the discussion on inaccuracies in the list of music supervisors. But, look at what they say about the inaccuracy of those things I researched in detail: "probably misspoke" "database error" "data loss" "can't give you an exact number" "weren't able to transfer" "haven't been on top of" etc. In other words, excuses.


I can’t have much confidence in this or any of the info they provide. The various lists they have put together can easily be done with any search engine. So let’s cut to the chase.


ArtistPR plays on the hopes of aspiring musicians; perhaps occasionally they do something worthy of being added to their list of "testimonials." Having done something (however dated) on behalf of little known (but long established) groups (like Doomfox, Peppermint Creeps, Jetboy) gives it a better veneer of authenticity and capability, even respectability. But there is no way they can work on behalf of 2500 people - they can give each one maybe a few minutes a month. About enough for a phone call or two, like I’ve had with them. I'm not saying their service isn't without some value. I am saying you have to question very seriously what that value is. For me, that value is not worth $60/month. So I cancelled again, and this time I will stay cancelled.


fred sights February 18, 2016 @05:08 pm

Thank you for the insite as wel as the information. I have been scamed also. It is because I believed that I needed to have a connection. This would help but after reading your review I know that I have to put in the time to get heard! Thanks again

John February 01, 2016 @03:54 pm

I used the service for one month. It was a complete waste of money and time. I wish I had conducted a little more research before giving them a dime. They don't really do anything for you. Nothing! And they kindly tell you that it is easy to cancel the service if you don't want it any longer; but the ability to do so via their website magically disappears after you pay your first monthly fee. As I later saw in the below referenced review, they will call you after you cancel and say that there are a few magazines interested in interviewing you. I actually GOT that call today. Disgusting! It's another layer to their scam. Here is more info:

Anfisa January 10, 2016 @12:33 pm

Thank you. It's helps a lot. What is your opinion about

PeterPanJr July 27, 2015 @06:25 am

Thanks man! for your article. helped me out a lot. everyone is looking for nice work and a little exposure i guess, but you got to just do it by yourself instead of depending on others. (that's more satisfying anyways :)

Liz Pope June 29, 2015 @03:55 pm

I got a call today from Kate. The reason she was calling me is to get featured on their artist Spotlight for a 10 day trial for 2.95. I have until a certain date to secure the spot. I'm not going to. I've done enough research on them to know its a true scam.

Jameal February 17, 2015 @02:13 pm

im canceling it right now

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March 2018:  Why join the union?  See Mitch Notes...

February 2018: 
Terry Mitchell has been accepted as a member of the Denver Musician's Association (AFM Local 20-623).