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Hello everyone,

Sorry for being offline a lot lately, I've had a strange virus that's affected my joints (maybe I caught Michelle's flu :-p) but I'm on the mend finally.... just have to survive xmas now!

I was recently approached through MySpace by a guy called Joe Bird from Quickstar Productions based in Baltimore MD. He's keen to include a song of mine on a compilation CD QP puts out. It gets distributed to radio stations, (which immediately got my attention) and is produced in hard copy as well as digital formats.

I've looked at the submission form, which is basically a permission for them to use my work and a contract that I'll buy 50 CD's to distribute myself. The URL is http://www.quickstarproductions.com/forms.html

Does anyone have any knowledge of this company, have you dealt with them, are they legit? Despite my industry experience I know my limitations - I'm not a music lawyer and have even less knowledge of US music law so would appreciate some advice from the experts!

Seasons greetings to you all and thanks in advance.

Debra


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Hi Debra, I don't know anything about them, but here's my kneejerk reaction:

- exactly what will I get 'in return' for putting a song on a compliation CD. Commercial radio play (and royalties)? Not likely. Income from download sales? Okay.

- how much am I paying for the privilege of having a track I wrote, recorded, mixed & mastered... on this compilation. $150? And how many paid downloads would it take for me to recoup this cost (300).

- what kind of marketing program is in place? What kind of rep does the company have? Do I know any other songwriters who have participated.

- who is doing the artwork for the CD, and what will it look like? How many impressions (CDs) will be manufactured?

- will I be able to sell 50 cds with only one song of mine on it... to 49 people.

- is everyone who applies accepted? or is there an audition process? (I notice you have to pay up front when applying) How do I know that the other music on the CD will be good?

- do I retain the rights to the song & to the Master Recording.

Just some general thoughts from me on the topic....


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Are the examples of previous compilations you can listen to? My first reaction is if you are required to buy 50 copies, that's how they make their money. Who knows the quality of other music on the cds.



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Originally Posted by T.C. Elliott
Are the examples of previous compilations you can listen to? My first reaction is if you are required to buy 50 copies, that's how they make their money. Who knows the quality of other music on the cds.



good points.


Vikki Flawith: Songwriter/Composer, Singer/Voice Teacher

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I'd add that I've become automatically suspicious of anything with a name like "Quickstar." Sounds like they're in the business of exploiting people's dreams instead of providing a service.

joe

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If it were me who got the offer I would pass. Too many questions. Especially if I have to send them money for ANY reason. What's the guarantee that you will ever get to CD's that you bought when the compilation is not even finished yet? They may never finish it. It's too risky. Ben

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debra, please don't do this. I just read the submission form and the little parts that require a magnifying glass to make out. Besides the initial $150, you have to pay $20 more because you are outside of the US. They will pay you 50% of every download of your song after the total of $10 is earned. Believe me it will take a lifetime just to earn $10 in downloads, and after that they will pay you 50 per cent? You will mail them $170 and get nothing in return. It is a scam.
Read Vikki's blog and take her advice. Your music will go further if you do that. Don't fall for a typical "get rich scheme". They never work.
Please don't think that I am insulting your intelligence or experience. I don't mean to, but when I saw that web site, it smelled bad. Ben

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Well my reaction is pretty similar. If you have not heard of them chances are that not many others have as well. How did they hear about you is the important question.... are they looking for worthy causes to promote? Or perhaps just perhaps they trawl sites looking for mugs willing to be put on a compilation CD. 15 artists X 50 CD sales money up front is a lot of money.
Now I am not saying that it is a scam BUT I do know of companies who do operate similar type operations that ARE scams or at the very least offer you nothing back except 50 rubbish compilation CDs with only one of your songs on it that you have to pay for. I would ask a lot of questions and do a whole lot of homework before parting with any cash. I did a little research and came up with this link http://www.quickstarproductions.com/index.php
They have only one CD on Napster by a band called "suckerpunch" could not find any mention of other bands or a quickstar label or connection on the various sites they claim to put stuff on. Suckerpunch...are they trying to tell me something LOL. I would have thought that if they distributed what they claim they do then they would have at least several bands plus a number of compilations. Interesting that they only have six acts advertised on their site as being customers. I would have thought they would have dozens and would promote them all on their own site.
I also checked out the contract that you would be signing it pretty much stiches you up to pay for everything and promote them rather than they promote you. I would be very wary.
It would probably be cheaper and easier to put your stuff on the download sites they offer you yourself. It is also confusing that they state in their FAQ that they do not do hard copies but downloads only. ALL ALARM BELLS!

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Here is a link to some other opinions on Quickstar. Most are pretty unfavourable. http://acapella.harmony-central.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1759233

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You might ask for some success stories that resulted from their previous compilations, and if there are any, check them out carefully with the artist in question. If there aren't any, you know you would be a guinea pig or worse.

Last edited by Colin Ward; 12/23/08 02:33 AM.

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CDBaby has all of the major music download sites covered. If you have a CD on CDBaby then you should already be included. I have been with CDBaby for three years. My songs are on Rhapsody, Napster, itunes, emusic, etc. If your not with CDBaby then it costs $35 bucks to join. A lot cheaper than $170. Your percentage of sales will be more than 50% and you don't have to wait to sell $10 worth of downloads.
This is not advice, it's common sense. Ben

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You people are wonderful! I am a sceptic by nature and had pretty much decided I wasn't going to bite this biscuit but wanted to make sure I wasn't shutting the door on something with good cred in the states that's unknown in Australia!

After I logged out of here yesterday I checked the exchange rate (abysmal!) and did the sums as well as doing searches for their cd's, other bands they'd promoted etc. Then going through the contract closely revealed loads more holes than I liked the look of. I didn't even bother to contact my lawyer. (This might sound downright paranoid but I don't sign anything unless I've had my lawyer look over it.)

Logging in again today was great, it underlined the fact that you folks are not only knowledgeable about your territory but a very caring bunch. So thank you all for your advice, it was much appreciated and vindicated my gut feelings!

Thanks for the Harmony Central link Big Jim, I hadn't seen that one and it echoed all our positions I think!

Also Ben, how could I possibly take offence at all with your posts? - I asked a question and got great, honest & heartfelt responses. By the way, you're quite correct, even with the poor AU$ exchange rate (0.6835 this morning) CDBaby gives best value for money at present.

Anyway, to close this is the reply I sent to Joe Bird. I hope I wasn't too terse?.....

Dear Joe,

Thank you for your approach re Rock 4 Life including one of my songs.

As an ARIA award winning performer and writer I'm more used to people paying me when asking to use my material. Also, I'm in negotiations for o/s distribution of my forthcoming recording and don't feel it would be wise to do anything to jeopardise that at this point in time.

In fact, having done some research in the last 24 hours I have to admit your whole operation smells decidedly like a scam from start to finish.

Thanks but no thanks.


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Hi Debra, I hope you read page four of the HC link there is a reply from the man himself. I am still not impressed with him.
It is interesting to note that he says his company are in no way connected to "Quickstar" the pyramid selling cleaning product company formally called "Amway" an abbreviation of "The American Way" LMAO.
I always have a huge laugh at that name. They call themselves Amway "the American way" and then use the most unethical, ridiculous PYRAMID sales and promotion scam ever invented to market their stuff. I think the two companies are very alike. LOL
By the time everybody in the pyramid gets their cut the end user has to pay several times more for the product than if it was distributed in the conventional way.

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Hi Debra...I don't think I've ever said Hi to you...HI!!!....
and sorry to hear about the flu or virus that has taken its toll....

I think in general from everything I've heard...and this is probably beating this to death...but if it's a compilation that
requires...sum of $...and a promise to send it to radio stations....not a good deal.

It was also an eye opener for me when my son..who has a radio program at the university he attends...came home with a STACK
of un-opened CD's... I asked what are these?...awe...I was told to take as many of them home as I wanted... hmmmmmmmmmmmm.....
compilations.... Don't know if that happens often...or if it was because it was a college...but..I was...like ...OHHHHHHHHHHH...

smile

Hope you feel better...
best to you..and a late welcome....

P.S..I love CD Baby too....

Kaley smile

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Debra,
Yep, another "nice 'n legal" scam, or so it appears.

You've gotten some great input and you handled your reply well.
Lesson learned... if it smells fishy it probably is. grin

Cheers!
Michael


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Just been approached by Quickstar - who clearly haven't given up! This string was everso helpful!

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Please don't sign up with Quickstar Productions. I am one of many who did, and is terribly disappointed. I paid $165 in Nov. 2009, and still have received nothing that was promised to me. If you want to know more, there are many more stories on this myspace forum and my blog:

http://forums.myspace.com/t/3804489.aspx?fuseaction=forums.viewthread
http://www.havenyates.com/blog/?p=166

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Hi Debra,

This company gets a lot of attention on the Net for being scammers. Never dealt with them myself, but where there's smoke there could be fire.

Here are a couple unflattering links. There are many more.

http://bbs.espguitars.com/showthread.php?t=30541

http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=1759233

Best, John smile

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Kaley,

What your son had was only the tip of the iceberg that larger stations get. They average about 1000 unsolicited packages a week. Their dumpsters are full of them. most of them are from services that advertise shipping you to radio. They do ship them. From your Cd to their dumpster. And they have fulfilled their contracts.

Radio is programmed by directors and companies. And even the majors are not able to get all of their artists on the radio. There are only slots for four of any label at a time. And this is nothing new. If you research the Motown era where they had hits going on constantly, you will find dozens of label names.Motown, Tamala, dozens of different names. That is because they were not allowed more than four artists at a time.

There is an 18 song playlist. That means that only 18 songs at a time are in standard rotation at any one time. With the odd new artist, oldies but goodies, and then tons and tons of COMMERICALS, they simply CAN'T PLAY all the stuff that comes in.
College stations and internet pod casting are some of the only ways to get songs on radio.

So these services offering to "ship your songs" to radio. Do just that. From your CD, straight to the dumpster.

MAB

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I am one of the 21 so far that have filed a complaint to the BBB about Quickstar Productions. The other day I checked and their rating was C-, now it is D+. Here is the link to their rating:

http://www.bbb.org/greater-maryland...tar-productions-in-baltimore-md-90097770

The links from John L. are from 2007. It is far worse now. These links are more recent:

http://forums.myspace.com/t/3804489.aspx?fuseaction=forums.viewthread
http://www.havenyates.com/blog/?p=166

I looked at the ESP forum, and the Harmony Central forum before deciding to try out Quickstar Productions, who at the time had an A rating with the BBB. What I found on the internet seemed to suggest that if all you cared about was getting 50 CD's to sell in about 3 to 5 months, you'd be totally good to go. That is not the case anymore. If you receive your CD's, it will take more than a year now. Yet they are still soliciting 100's of new artists a day, knowing they will not deliver what they'd promised. The myspace forum best tells the story. There are a number of artists who have spoken out with a story just like mine.


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