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Wednesday
Dec112013

An Honest Review of the All-New Sonicbids EPK System

Today, I was checking out a Sonicbids EPK that was emailed to me. Much to my surprise, the layout for a Sonicbids artist profile completely changed – there was no quick bio, music player on top, or a useful set of links (press, stage plot, etc.). Instead, I found a Pinterest-like layout with navigational tiles. I thought it was just some lame option that the artist chose, but decided to check using my own band’s profile.

This is what I found:

For some reason, not only did the layout completely change, it also reverted to our old press photos and songs.

Needless to say, I was quite upset – we carefully protect our brand and make sure that every site reflects our current album/line-up, has updated information, etc. Without warning, Sonicbids changed the layout on everyone.

LOGGING IN

I decided to log in to see if I could quickly address these issues, especially since Sonicbids is our main EPK.

First, my credentials didn’t work. The login changed form my username to an old email address (which I discovered after using the “lost password” feature). When I got into the account, I saw this message:

Like ReverbNation, Sonicbids wants to try and get you to use your Facebook to sign in and have each member of the band create their own individual profiles to manage the band page. Personally, I hate this kind of single sign-on service that hinges on a Facebook profile.

The new profile also asks for more information: address, your personal info, etc. The next major problem was the URL. For example, my band’s page has always been www.sonicbids.com/theslants

However, when I tried confirming this, it would not let me continue using the username. It kept saying it was taken (even though I was the one taking it) and wanted to for me to use something else, like sonicbids.com/theslants-1 or other variations.

After talking to a few different Sonicbids reps (using their new chat feature), I was finally able to get in to the new profile management system. This is what the new dashboard looks like:

I learned that all of my band’s photos were deleted, as was our stage plot, videos, and press. Somehow, they grabbed photos from 3 years ago and used that as our image. So, I had to re-build our profile by uploading most of our content again.

USING THE NEW DASHBOARD MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

Unfortunately, some of the tools are less intuitive. For example, if you want to change your band’s profile photo, it isn’t in the “Manage Files” or “Manage Photos” section (I would recommend a quick box that allows the user to update their main photo with uploaded content). Instead, you need to go to Band Profile > Profile Image. It isn’t rocket science, but the layout is a bit confusing and requires jumping around to multiple pages if you wan to make sure your entire EPK is complete.

The profile image is a square, 250×250 so be sure to keep that in mind when trying to edit your images.

It’s based on the old system, which means it reverted back to an older profile photo that needs to be deleted if you have changed it any time in the last few years.

I talked to Sonicbids and they said that they are currently working on migrating content over but it’s definitely a good idea for you to log in right away and check our profile because there are some massive changes – and for me, most of our content is completely missing – which may affect outstanding submissions. It’s extremely frustrating.

THE LOOK, THE FEEL

As a promoter, I find the new change horrid. As I mention before, I don’t like Pinterest-styled layouts. When I see a profile, I want to see a short bio, important information, and a player without the need to click through an artist’s profile. I haven’t logged into the promoter side of the house yet to see what submissions look like (since I don’t have an open Soncbids submission at this time). In the past, it was a consolidated version of the artist profile. A Sonicbids rep says that promoters do have access to the old EPK’s, but if anyone uses your URL, they will see the new one.

The “Happening Now” feature is just a collection of the most recent activity. So if you update all of your photos, your EPK will just be full of photos that can be expanded. If you have updated your profile photo, it will be listed there – but at a distorted, low res image. The audio will not play in the order of songs that you want listed, the music player is now at the bottom of the page (below the fold).

THE FINAL WORD

Apparently, they have been working for months on the system. Unfortunately, right now I find it to be extremely frustrating. They did not notify artists or promoters in advance. The layout is confusing and too busy. I understand the intent: to try and bring in current activity, give a fresh look, etc. But it falls flat on multiple levels and now I have to waste time completely rebuilding a profile that I spent the last five years building.

On top of that, I learned that they can’t find my promoter account at all,not the 1200+ EPK submission I reviewed, commented on, and saved over the years. Hopefully, those paid submissions get recovered somehow. After today’s experience, I can say that ReverbNation Pro will be looking very good to many users now.

—————

Simon Tam is the President and Founder of Last Stop Booking, author of How to Get Sponsorships and Endorsements, and performs in dance rock band The Slants. Simon’s writing on music and marketing can be found at www.laststopbooking.com. He is on Twitter @SimonTheTam 

Reader Comments (1)

Hi Simon, the SAME things you mentined happened to me...it has cost my band income from gigs and other opportunities...stiil messed up...who wants to send an EPK to venues that looks like crap...if, that is, you can even get into your site to send it...who wants to send old stuff that they've grabbed from 2 years ago...and what about all the hard work building your site...frustrated, pissed...I mean, this is our art...and they've messd it around...bad juju...
Working on a reverbnation site ...cheers , D

February 24 | Unregistered CommenterDerral Gleason

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