I’ve kicked off a new project/band where I’m creating music with a heavier techno/metal sound called binarywaste. You should check it out by clicking right here!
I remember a friend of mine who was renting from me about 10 years ago showing me one of his tracks that he had shared on ReverbNation and suggested that I place some of my music there as well. I browsed around for a bit… listened to some of his tracks, but quite honestly felt the platform looked unattractive and in my opinion, targeted towards artists in a genre that was way outside of the type of music I produced. I didn’t like it. In fact, I hated it and didn’t want to be associated with it.
As a developing artist however, I’m always looking for ways to present my music in ways that may lead to more discovery and recently I noted a few of my artist friends have a presence on ReverbNation. I decided to give it a shot, and after about of month of having a presence there, I figured I would share my thoughts so far.
I am still unsure of the platform, and it’s only been a month. I don’t want to drive a nail in the coffin in regards to ReverbNation just yet, but there are a few things I still just DON’T like about the platform, and some services the platform offers that I would probably recommend not investing in.
Lets first start with the presentation of an artist profile on the site.
I was honestly surprised at the number of pros vs cons as I sat down to write this. I think it’s just the one Con I have listed that makes me cringe when I look at the artist profile page.
- The sites designers have obviously employed a responsive web design approach to the site that is a big win for me.
- I like how the artist banner is large on a large display and scales nicely when the browser window is reduced.
- Your music is placed prominently at the top of the main content area. Something many sites fail to do which seems quite absurd.
- Artist information is nicely displayed just to the right of the music if the viewing experience is wide enough.
- On mobile, the artist profile picture is shown in lieu of the large banner, with a “more…” link to actually read about the artist.
- Overall nice presentation.
- The one thing that I absolutely hate about the presentation is how artwork is presented. A photo gallery of album art work, working in the studio, behind the scenes imagery is a great thing to have. However ReverbNation bastardizes your artwork when presenting on the home page. For example, my banner image is also shown in the photo gallery, but it’s “squashed” to fit within the gallery area of the page. If you click on the image, it is of course shown in it’s original aspect ratio, but for initial presentation in the gallery section? It’s deplorable and looks insanely amateurish. When viewed along everything else, to me this makes the entire page look amateurish.
It starts to get worse here.
- You can easily add an album and songs and the process is streamlined….however
- WHY are the advanced metadata sections now allowed at the SAME time you are adding a song. Sure, some artists may want to just quickly add some tracks with ease, by just selecting the song; giving it a title; determining if it’s streaming or downloadable, but for goodness sakes, give someone the option to supply the additional metadata at the same time, without forcing them to upload first, THEN go back and find the song in the song list to apply that metadata. I like to supply as much metadata up front as I can. SoundCloud/Bandcamp/etc. does a GREAT job of this. ReverbNation’s implementation is horrible.
- ONLY MP3? It’s 2016! Am I missing something here? I should be allowed to upload my music at it’s best format, and the platform should provide features to deliver the content in the users preferred format. Oh, and if you want to upload a DECENT Mp3 version of your song, well you have to sign up for a subscription then. Otherwise you’re limited to very lossy versions just to be able to upload a song more than 1 minute in length. This prevents anyone from actually “Trying” the service before going all in.
- Maybe I’m too obtuse.
Yeah, right. Let’s start with a picture for reference.
So you’re telling me that after only “16” plays, I’m ranked number 1 in the Dallas area, and 268 nationally in the Electronica category?
The following must apply to these figures
- There are not that many artists who classify themselves as Electronica in my local region, i.e. not much competition.
- How can only I be listed number 1 after only 16 plays??? Obviously the algorithm they are using is based on most number of plays recently, vs number of plays over time. I would guarantee that the artist listed at number 2 in both charts has more than 16 plays each, but those plays are not most recent. This tells me the ranking system they employ is complete garbage.
- I could shout out to my social channels that I’m ranked number 1!
- That number one spot, doesn’t really mean anything, so why bother.
There is only one service that I’m going to detail, because after using it, I have absolutely no desire to try their other services. And that service is the “Test for Radio” service. As per their own description:
“Is this song good enough for radio?
Songs that are ready for a mainstream audience score a Track Rating of 7.0 or higher with Crowd Reviews.
Crowd-sourced reviews let you know if your music is ready for a mainstream audience. With descriptive reports and in-depth statistics, Crowd Reviews are a great way of knowing where your music’s strengths and weaknesses lie.”
So you basically elect for a song to be tested. It’s sent to a set number of listeners (Based on how much you pay) and they (ehem) “Listen” to your song and critique it for you and score it.
I decided to try this service with a couple of my songs.
Ambient Highways. The title track from the Ambient Highways album.
And Goodbye Dubai – From the album Skylines.
I felt they were both decent songs to utilize for the experiment. One very ambient track, and one more upbeat soft-electro rock.
I signed up for the service, and after a few days I got my results.
Ambient Highways received a 7.3 score out of 10, whereas Goodbye Dubai received a 7.1 score out of 10. So both scored 7.0 or higher and are considered radio ready.
Awesome! That’s great!
So let’s take a look at the analysis for Ambient Highways
And then you have the reviews themselves.
Now stop… Before you go ANY Further. If you have not heard either of my songs, I would encourage you to take a moment and listen to them. You will obviously notice that they are instrumentals. There are NO vocals in these songs.
Most of the little mini reviews were nice. You can tell that “Most” of them, actually listened and provided some good feedback. I’ll share that good feedback in a moment, but let me first start off with this review that was made.
This song has major potential. I believe this song can be on the tip charts. The beat and the lyrics fit the song perfectly. Overall, great song looking forward hearing more of what more it has in store for the listeners. This songs has potential.
Did you catch that? The part about the lyrics? Obviously, they did NOT listen to the song.
Here is another:
well there were no vocals in this one but i love how well this was put together. It was relaxing. To be honest it sounded like an ending song for a move.One of the best pieces ive heard on this app. i give this a 10 out of 10.
The targeting is SUPPOSED to be towards people that like the same type of genre that you have the song set to. It’s my firm belief that these reviewers on ReverbNation think “Electronica” and “Ambient” obviously means EDM (Electronic Dance Music). So they are expecting EDM, as that’s what Electronic Music means to them.
Here’s a great example of this mentality:
dont really like this track something missing cant quite put my finger on it .Maybe a little base some where in the middle of the song might do it some justice.would be a very good drum and base song people would love the drum and bass remix of this deffo.
Maybe this reviewer has a point. Maybe an EDM/Dance mix of Ambient HIghways should be put together. I dunno.
However, the other 38 reviews for Ambient Highways were nice, I’m just not sure if the listeners truly listened to it, or if the targeting that ReverbNation uses is correct. I don’t see a better option to classify my music on their site.
Here’s a couple examples of the others:
The intro is nice, I like the slow pace that it starts off with. I think how they add the instruments in is solid, and is appealing to most people, including myself. I think that the harmonies created are beautiful and are very soothing to the ears. The piano is especially nice. I like the loud parts and soft parts, and also how it rapidly changes from one to the other. I wish there were vocals to this song, it could tell a good story. I am a fan of the techno part, definitely different.
The start of the song is really beautiful, amazing and it has a great tune. Although it’s kind of long, but I can feel the smoothness that it wants to display. Additionally, the record quality is really good, and I feel it’s a good song to hear while meditating. In conclusion, a great song with a great use of the instruments.
I like how this song starts out. I think this song is nice and I like how the instruments were used. The rhythm is nice. I like the production as well. I am interested in hearing more from this artist because I believe the artist really knows what they’re doing.
So some nice comments made, but as evidenced in the last one… They REALLY didn’t listen to it. There is no rhythm at all in Ambient Highways.
The same pattern shows itself on Goodbye Dubai. Once again, NO VOCALS/LYRICS IN THIS SONG!
great song, good vocals, good harmony, i love the beat of this song, i’d dance along to this for sure at a party. i’d love to hear this song and much more from the artist on the radio. love their voice and the lyrics of this song.
And of course something like this:
The instrumental is just amazing. Its so soothing, but there is no vocals so i did not like that. but overall, I love the beat and its just so relaxing. i can honestly can say that they could have done better, and the music is awesome
So “they could have done better, and the music is awesome”. If it’s so amazing, and awesome what could have been done better? Don’t tell me something could be done better without providing some decent feedback. And it’s a bit rhetoric.
- None. I don’t see the ROI or value of the service unless you are making EDM or “Beats” as they say. The reviews that are given just seem very generic.
- Reviewers truly don’t listen to the song.
- Can’t target reviews properly
Overall, ReverbNation is yet another platform to host your music, and possibly have new fans discover your music, but at this point I would ignore their ranking and stats to provide you any real value. Also, I’ve only used one service, and the results were almost what I predicted. Absolutely not worth the investment.
32 Replies to “Reverbnation – Is it a joke?”
Keith, great article by the way. I’ve been debating giving RN any of my money and this article pretty much made up my mind. One thing that jumped out at me with the reviews left for your songs, is the same as you mentioned, reviewers probably not listening to songs. I think this has something to do with sites like RN having a bank of generic reviews. Then some computer just assigned all of these pre-written reviews randomly to songs being submitted by actual artists. It sucks to think this is happening, but if there was a way to compare all of the reviews for bands out there, it would be interesting to see how often these types of things are happening. I’m sure RN is not the only review site doing this. http://www.WeLikeToRock.com
Yeah, for the longest time I wouldn’t even give them a thought (I think I expressed that in the post) but figured I would give it a shot. And well, there are the results. I may still keep the free option, just as a source to redirect folks to my main site. Who knows.
THe reviews are junk. The crowd sample is useless to most artists. You get complete idiots who trash any non-hip-hop stuff with 0 rankings, you get people who do like your genre and give it a 10: utter randomness in the end. And many of them don’t listen to it at all. These must be shut-ins, non-working couch potatoes, etc.. Some will evaluate not your music but your equipment–they consider themselves “audiophiles.” I don’t think much of it.
Other services work as promotions for yourself that you pay for. The rankings don’t make any sense to me. It just reflects that someone has “hit” your site. Buying music counts; hits don’t, in the real world.
I joined reverbnation a few years ago when I started getting into recording. I put up a couple of demos but didn’t pay much attention to it. When I next looked in I decided the demos were a bit flaky so I took them down, and left no tracks on the account. The next time I looked, weeks later, I was number one! Silence works.
So let me get this straight. You left absolutely no tracks on your account, but somehow got to your local number one position?
great blog. hi sir. hi keith… Respectfully posting this, Reverb is not a joke.Not to a artist or two i know. Not to me neither.But, I wish you luck though. My friend is doing quite well,and imo it make sense rank move up by also proper marketing et.al., so i’m happy for a friend of mine, she is doing so well,and again, the part though Mr.”TALENTED KEITH RICHIE!” lol the part i agree with is 1 part, “the reviews.”‘Some definitely that you’re procuring did seem real. but yep 1 or 2 did not. So again we love the reverb. I know 1 woman named GINA CUTILLO made it,literally cracked billboard top forty or 100,and heck my friend would be happy with doing that,and ms.cutillo yes! is still on reverb just amazing. God bless you,you’re really talented keith. Keep enjoying what you do. That is my friend motto, whether or not we all make it one day and see each other on billboard.if not?You’re still enjoying what you do,and that is a blessing in our own right.from Morgan Farantino
Keith – This article is well structured with a number of good points. I use RN mainly because I had a Yahoo domain/URL – and it was very flaky. This has been slightly over a year ago. So, I used RN to re-host another domain/URL. The Site Builder functions available to create an interesting site are very limited – but was most interested in new domain. I completely agree on the value of stats furnished by RN – mainly because self-promotion is the only method that raises the stats – primarily by buying services. I’m trying the Promote It method at one of the most nominal options – and compared to the exposure – the fan base does not increase. As if you have to buy each fan a beer – and be a fan of their music whether you like it or not. Your BandCamp URL is of much better quality than RNs – I will probably keep and transfer the domain to another provider – thinking about WordPpress or Wix .. but not sure yet. I actually like the musical creations you’ve made available – mostly because of the mood and texture – not my preferred genre – but I’m not even sure if I know what genre means. Thanks again for the article – Laze (Mike)
The only thing it’s good for is some of the opportunities. The spelling and grammar in the reviews are very suspect. We had radio quality songs by top musicians and the reviewers made stupid comments. Also they would say I don’t like country I like rap so I give it a zero or something. Also you can pay for fake plays like this one lady does to stay #1 in country in the world. I won’t say her name but she never does a thing and has thousands of song plays. Yet never performs etc. Just some rich older woman with a lot of plastic surgery. It’s pretty obvious it’s not legit. Then today I saw a guy that I don’t even think is real. There aren’t any fans on RN only artists. I think they are just exploiting people for their dreams.
I just explained that reverbnation is a tech company and not really a music company. Rankings does represent how good the music is. Ranking is based on the over all online presence of an artist outside of reverbnation. They calculate based on how many new fans, song plays, and shows the artist has on other platforms such as SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram, etc.
I’ve been on ReverbNation quite a while – What I’ve observed is that I will get a notice that A.M.P. is “Ranked #(add a rank in top 10) on the Los Angeles Rock Charts” and if I click the provided link, the numbers match up. BUT.. if I log off, search the same “Los Angeles Rock Charts” my band is NOT in that top 10.
What ReverbNation seems to do is give a band a much narrower market according to a smaller location to encourage a band’s participation in investing in their RN account due to their “success” then falsely feeds a sense of greater success than is real.
In terms of benefiting from being on ReverbNation, Abraham Music Project has been selected for more than one opportunity, including being aired on Southern Califronia’s largest terrestrial Rock radio station 95.5 KLOS on the Heidi & Frank Show which boasts 1.4Million daily listeners.
I’m not sure but I think RN (or was it FaceBook?) may have been where a U.K. promoter contacted me directly and through his agency, our album, “First The Honesty, Then The Promise” began receiving media attention there in music publications which led to exposure and track being picked up by radio and streaming stations across Europe.
I think, ultimately, artist’s music has to have a voice of its own that others will embrace, no matter how the doors begin to open. I’m highly suspect of ReverbNation and its waving that proverbial carrot in front of musicians and artists with big dreams.
I sometimes wonder if there is a way to call RN to the carpet through some legal means for some of their questionable methods and get them to play fair.
Abraham Music Project
P.S. I just withdrew my paid RN membership which killed all the full length songs I had posted there. if you happen to be interested in the tracks here are a few links:
SoundCloud (a few full length posts incl. “Mr. Mastermind”)
CDBaby (snippets of the tracks for a quick overview)
“I think, ultimately, artist’s music has to have a voice of its own that others will embrace, no matter how the doors begin to open.”
Couldn’t agree with that statement more.
Ann. I read your post.
Well, i know 1 who would disaree… GINA CUTILLO and others who are on billboard at 1 time and still today on RN would highly disagree wit cha! i and my friends on rn luv it, so far so good that is. and also i m not again buying social marketing likes to build up a brand from FB to other sites. i get it. it’s all marketing ..But,good luck to you and and those who know what they are doing, that i have seen it works for some. I can care “less if a man got surgery or a lady.”their body,their mission,their objective.” (Long as the person is loving one’s self and not lookin all crazy.) So far Reverb has been great for those in my inner circle.Good luck either way.” You’re going to get what you put into it,again that is how we in my inner team circle look at it.”
I’m not even going to mention the money scam they have going in this company ! yes, money is important but lets face it 90% of similar music promotional sites are scamming
gullible hopefuls out of their money with ZERO chance to succeed ! OK, maybe zero is too strong.more like 1 in 100,000 ? So,maybe better chance playing the Lotto? I did not become a member of ReverbNation but I did check out their conditions by clicking on their accept button, Real horror show ! Basically they OWN your personal details + any music you may download ! In fact they are the new owners of EVERYTHING once you press that little tiny accept button that VERY few actually look into !!! Check it out and spread the good word and NEVER allow these mongrels to think they are above reprisals ? and they do you know while they dance all the way to the bank.
I been with RN for a while now, I paid for their distribution service and to sell my music on the site. So far in the past few years I have collected on 60k from them… Just 2 years ago, I was collecting around $1,200.00 to $1,500 a month from my sales and streams.. I never had any problems with RN. But thy don’t collect from YouTube like I hear CD Baby Do.. I’m still stuck on should I drop my next project on RN, CD Baby or Tunecore any suggestions???
I have always used CD Baby. And I have no seen a valid reason to switch yet.
I like CD Baby.
The thing about that YouTube royalty program is that aspect’s only for songs with no samples or royalty-free loops many artists legally use / get from the internet. I’m one of those artists that can’t add that extra YouTube aspect for my music, but many artists (like probably most rock bands) are free to include themselves. For other artists, they can choose on a song-by-song basis and need to be more careful to choose right.
What I’ve heard of TuneCore is NOT good; it’s way too expensive (annual fees).
Nice article, and clearly represents the shortfalls (and maybe some good things) about ReverbNation. I have heard from a few people that the crowd reviews always seem to be right around that magic 7 number (We got a 7.1). Seems like they want you to think you have some good music, but always not quite good enough for the main page. Keeps you coming back for another review, right? I have also found that the ad campaigns are pretty much worthless. We tried a “Promote It” and a “Sponsored” ad, and neither generated a single sale. Worse yet, the Sponsored ads do not even give you metrics on how many times it was shown or clicked! I mean, come on, this is like website ads 101. I will say that you can get your music heard by a lot of other musicians very easily. That might be the only benefit. Sadly though, most of the other musicians are not interested in buying your music.
The #1 thing that everyone here needs to realize is that Reverbnation is a TECH COMPANY not a music company. This is absolutely true as they get their Ranking based on your artist presence OUTSIDE of reverbnation aka Twitter, Facebook, soundcloud, etc. YOUR RANKING has NOTHING to do with HOW GOOD YOUR MUSIC is on reverbnation. Also as for the reviews, they hire bums on the internet aka get paid to review music. Wether or not these low paid reviewers actually listen to the songs is out of reverbnation control. These guys gets paid pennies per review so they would want to write as many as possible so it is very possible the reviewer just don’t care to listen.
I don’t work for reverbnation but I like the site. I had paid $0 to them and found I have made top 10 multiple times and did research how their ranking system works.
Hi, so after all this which sites would you recommend over reverbnation as a platform to promote yourself and your music, as an artist?
I had 3 songs reviewed and they were exactly as you described. They said the piano part in the beginning ,we don’t play a piano. Some were on track I just wrote it would be easy for 10 people and 4 employees to produce 50 reviews.
Nice work – good article. But I’m commenting ’cause I really like “Ambient Highways” you walked the fine line between using electronics but still giving the music a soul. Really beautiful – it has a tubular bells feel. I mean that in the most complimentary way. BTW I’m on Reverb nation and read your article ’cause I just got the “your song’s in the top 10 message” ha ha.
Wow, thanks Susan! I’m so glad you like Ambient Highways. I just released a new album titled “Songs From the Wounded Heart” that I would love for you to check out. You can find it here: https://music.krichie.com/music/songs-from-the-wounded-heart/
Great job Keith. My band have been using ReverbNation for a couple of months now and we can concur with your experience. I played my 10 track album 10 times the other day and we went straight to number one!!!
Yeah, I’m still number 1 in my community well because…. I’m the only guy doing it in my small town I guess lol! It’s almost like a participation ribbon 🙂
Reverbnation lifts your Twitter follower count and uses that as you “fan” count on RN. A Twitter follower is not automatically a fan of the music. A bit disingenuous, yes?
I sent one song for crowd review. Most of reviewers listened to the song and commented negatively, which is kinda understandable, because this song absolutely different and unusual. But one of reviewers said that the artist, I remind her mostly, is Madonna. And I am a male with bariton or bass voice with very specific cracles in voice, that in no mean can remind Madonna. Another one said I remind her Michael Jackson. Definitely, there are some people who listen to the song, but there are who doesn’t. For myself I decided not to put any money to crowd review anymore.
Stumbled on your article which led me to ‘Neutrino’ which I loved. ‘Harrowing Emptiness’ feels like it’s channeling Barbar’s Adagio. Very poignant.
Thank you so very much!
I’d love to send you an autographed CD copy of Ambient Highways!
Use the contact link to send me a private message and we can get that worked out
Never once did I mention that I was trying to get a record deal or feel they manipulated me. If you read through the post I think you’ll see that the overall service I used I felt was a joke. Not the reverberation folks themselves. It was quite clear the “listeners” who were instructed to give solid feedback didn’t for the most part actually listen to the song . that’s what I’m getting at.
Thanks for the comment on Goodbye Dubai! Glad you like it.
I agree its a joke except the few people who give you insightful feedback (and I mean very few). Overall people are clicking on my page and never listening to a song and even if they do, it’s almost always lacking detail, nuaiance,or overall meaning in general. Glad i stumbled across your page though. Im a guitarist just now getting into synth and I really enjoyed the progressions, effects, and the mixing. I find myself trying to do too much until it sounds like a bunch of random soubds clashing. I like how yours gets that ambient, blend to where the different sound are flowing together. Much harder than i realized to mix that kind of instrumentation. So props on that!
P.S. I also agree about the ranking system doing it by genre seems to carry the intention to manipulate into purchasing the services. I was #1 only because I chose experinental in Wilmington, NC whereI was living when I posted all these songs . Now that im back in Denver it would probably put me in a more fitting ranking (toward the bottom).
Yeah, I typically try not to call my music ambient, because if you’re a purist 🙂 You’ll clearly see my music isn’t pure ambient. I don’t know what to call it actually, I just enjoy doing it. So I feel my music falls into many different genres of “electronic” music… but certainly NOT EDM lol.
It is difficult to find the right mix so things are not just clobbering one another… so I can definitely understand the frustration there. So thanks for that!
Reverbnation like many/most promotional sites treat you as prey. Musicians (artistic creative types) are desperate to promote themselves but have little or no business, legal or experience on how to place their art in front of the people they wish would appreciate them. Companies like this tempt you with lies of what they will do for you because I’m sorry to tell you that you are an easy touch. They have a terms & conditions page of endless legalese which they know you either will not read nor understand. It’s there to contain the part which tells you by uploading to their site they own the rights to your creation. The rest is there to combat the complaints they will be bombarded with by their customers when they realise its a scam.
Their T & G’s usually state they can use this uploaded (YOUR) data productions anywhere they wish within their group without reporting to you, & in some cases release compilation albums through a connected subsidiary, even renaming the tracks & in areas you are never likely to be aware of.
If you have uploaded your music to any site, please go & read the terms & conditions & see if by uploading the site claims ownership & can do anything they wish with your creations. Learn the industry you are in & stop b being prey to these ………………..(fill in your adjective).