Akademia SCAM Alert.

I’ve won an award for the EP ‘ the Abbey’ for best Folk Singer Songwriter December 2016.

YAY. except it’s not as good as it sounds, Unfortunately this has turned out to be one of the most convoluted scams i have come across in the Music Promotion world. Initially I was contacted via email by a DJ from an LA radio station. It said he’d heard my track named it and went on to suggest
getting in touch with a company called the akademia. This i did and after having a bit of a look around
I entered my EP into one of several Monthly Contests. I paid $19.99 to enter and was
really blown away to receive an email telling me i’d won. They’d created me a page with a brief
and shining review of the EP. Fantastic, they offered to promote me and invited me to their annual Gala attended by 1500 people including Music Big wigs in L.A.. All great, except here’s where things started to unravel.

I decided i’d better look into the Akademia a bit further.. Research on Google found a lot of people asking the same questions, Who are these guys? As it turns out the Akademia hold roughly 130 competitions every month. I don’t know how many entries they receive but that could be a pretty reasonable income. They then offer their winners a promotional package for a cost of $49.99 per month.

My first hint of a Scam came when an email arrived stating they’d met with several Executives from a Global radio network who’d agreed to put my song on circulation. I looked into these radio stations which have names like WLDN London & KEDG the Edge Sydney. They are all Internet radio stations
transmitting from the same location in the United states. They all have the same Akademia Award winning artists on rotation an no one else.! Each of these stations have only one point of contact and no physical address. That’s a BIG clue right there. They all have around 4000 followers on FaceBook, (probably from other artists who have won an award) and I couldn’t find any one openly stating how positive their experience had been, no champions.

I decided to reach out to the artists listed on the website’s own Success Stories page the ‘Winners Circle.’ http://www.theakademia.com/winners/
Of the ten artists listed i contracted 8 and received 4 responses. Of those 4 only one went on to work with the Akademia after winning an award. One! here are the responses:

Ricky Kej http://www.facebook.com/rickykejmusic

“Hi.. i did not pay akademia any money.. and am not associated with them in any way. Is there anyone who has told you that I have done any work with them?”

D’NME https://www.facebook.com/OfficialDNME/

“Hey how’s it going thanks for reaching out. I personally never paid the Akademia Awards to for any support. I submitted music to them and they like it and it eventually won an award. After that I never did anything else with them. I did pay for the physical award but I was ok with that because I wanted it. Personally my experience with them was really straight forward. The promotion they offer I already have access to so I didn’t need to request their services. Hope this helps D’NME”

Nicky Barot http://www.facebook.com/nickybarotmusic

“My manager handles the publicity side of things. I attended that gala at the LA expo last year and it was legit. Got to meet the executives. All I can say is it takes time to build momentum. I believe they too are trying to build their brand. I get updates from them about the spins my songs get which are on smaller satellite stations. All I can say is talk to more people and do what your gut tells you. As for me, I’m focused on my music and Akademia gives me reason to talk about myself. Cheers.”

The Silver Snails http://www.facebook.com/thesilversnails

“Hi Wayne, RE the akademia, my feelings as follows: on the one hand the publicity (‘look! we won an award’) is fine and doesn’t cost much. On the other hand, their promotion service is a scam. we signed up for a year of promotion and received essentially one or 2 bogus emails a month in which they pretend that they have us ‘in rotation’ on these fake radio stations. Not only did this leaving us feeling like chumps (scammed yet again by music industry bottom-feeders), but it feels like they used our brand to promote a fake service to brother/sister musicians because they featured us on their website. Of course, we did our diligence along the way, talked to Anwar, even attended their gala last april to see if there was something behind it. As far as i can tell, the only people aware of them are indie musicians like ourselves, i.e. not a good place to find fans, move along… Best Regards, -£ucas“

I also watched the various clips relating to their annual Gala event held in LA. I started to watch any YouTube vids i could find, the event looked glitzy Red Carpet Photo flashes Tux and Ball gowns, very LA very Glamourous. But the event was held outside on the forecourt, every body queuing up for their picture round the outside, no one else.! Basically the event is populated with artists who’ve won an award. No Music Biz professionals, no paparazzi, just the artists and the Akademia staff. You basically fly to LA to have your picture taken and pay for the pleasure.! It’s wrong.

I did find this one report from Fox News: http://www.foxla.com/news/140124495-video
**update: Another fantastic source is Steve Angulo, who replied to this post and has done extensive research into the Akademia. His video’s are really informative. You can find his Youtube channel here> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV4LnLhZiPEnm6lzpr2tYOQ

The Akademia are an example of just how cautious the new independent artist must be. I suggest always checking a site or offer very carefully, You can find search forums and find website statistics to help verify an offers validity. As Musicians we have access to the whole industry like never before. It’s fair to say that we no longer need Big record companies to promote us, however, it is a double edged sword because we are also exposed to scams like the Akademia. Be careful out there people.

18 replies
  1. Steven Angulo
    Steven Angulo says:

    Congratulations on doing your research. As you found out, it’s a really bad scam, but it’s much worse than you think. I’m surprised you didn’t find my videos about the scam on YouTube. Anwar Najmi is a failed musician who has never even released an album. He runs the company with his wife Roujeanne (they are both members of the band Millennium), and I assume that his brother Daniel (whom you can see on the Akademia submit page -a total loser with no accomplishments in the industry) is also quite involved, but there is zero evidence in reliable independent sources that those other guys wearing nice suits at the gala actually work for The Akademia. It’s quite possible that Anwar just pays them to show up once a year to create the impression that The Akademia is a serious company. Anyway, I wish more musicians would speak up about this scam, as you did, and the ones you contacted should ask Anwar to stop using them as fake success stories.

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      Thanks Steven,.
      I did actually see your Youtube vids, Steven, and I’ve now added the link to the blog post, they were really helpful actually. I’ve also pointed out to those artists on the success circle page that they’re being falsely advertised by Akademia,. I’m hoping they see red enough to do something about it. This is a slick SCAM aye, Well done for your research and thanks for getting in touch. W

      Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      hey alva,. no haven’t heard of the ‘Global Music Awards’ just really do your research before parting with any cash,. I’m pretty much against pay to play unless there is a definite undeniable benefit..

      Reply
  2. bobby smith
    bobby smith says:

    4.0 star rating 10/22/2017
    After winning 10 2016 Music Awards for my album Storybook Diaries which has 10 songs I promoted it….I attended the 2017 Gala in Los Angeles and got great pics and got to meet the staff…On each of my awards I got a very professional review, a link to hear the song, and more….My website has over 218,000 views and I saturated it with this news….The counter rises every day and my schedule is pretty much full. I have recommended Akademia to many people that have submitted their material. I also had campaigns that went worldwide and got monthly results of airplay on their station list and a first class interview!!…I cant say this is a scam because I have received too much positive results from the ordeal. I also got signed to a L.A. film library. For these results See my facebook page facebook.com/bobbysmithg…… and my website bobbysmithentertainment.…
    Anwar is my hero!!!!

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      Hi Bobby,. thanks for the input, still hasn’t covered all the bases for me, they’re still inviting me to their Gala event, (blanket email) and trying to sell me a plaque. Also didn’t they contact someone like Annie Lennox and told them ‘we believe your music could go far’…

      Reply
  3. Daniel
    Daniel says:

    Hey guys, i’m Dan. And i just won best music video of february 2018 on the akademia.
    Glad i found this post cause i started to smell Scam as soon as they asked me to pay 49.99 dollars each month (for what? Any warranty?).
    Then the invitation at the gala, where i was asked to pay for the airplane ticket from Italy. Just speechless.
    I was excited cause it’s my first attempt abroad with an english original song, i’m italian. But i realized i didn’t win anything special. Do you guys know a good online promoter that really helps you out and make ppl listen to your music? Thanks!

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      Hey Daniel,
      I can relate to that feeling of accomplishment quickly dashed. Really you have to be your own online promoter. But definately check out distrokid for online distribution.

      Reply
    • John
      John says:

      You and Everyone who enters any Category wins, there are no losers , just many versions of the same Category . So, the akademia never lets anyone not win so they all may PAY THEM and for their Plaques also.

      Reply
    • Jörg
      Jörg says:

      Hello, we’re running several labels and a promotion agency. One of our artists also won best pop song, but as soon as we digged deeper into the background we noticed that the Akademia seems to be quite a blown up fake. I would not say it’s scam, but they try to sell promotion that is basically based on this “Award” title with less substance behind it. We know that promoting independent artists is very tough these days, sine we’re doing almost everything by ourselves with the labels and our bands together. There is just a massive amount of music out there, increasing every day, do beeing recognised as an artists gets tougher with every new realease coming out.

      Reply
  4. Russell Foisy
    Russell Foisy says:

    Hi there. My name is Russell Foisy and i have a fb group titled The Akademia is a SCAM. We all strongly agree with your comments. Please join our group. We have filed complaints with the California State Attorney General and gaining some traction. Please join us.

    Reply
  5. Vanda
    Vanda says:

    Thank you so much for this article! I also got contacted by Maria from WMIC radio, submitted my MP3 there and then they sent to me another email asking to sign up for The Akademia. You SAVED ME from submitting the mp3 to The Akademia (unfortunately, this Maria if she’s real already has it so I guess they are one company), but it seemed really fishy to me, especially their generic email and the awful websites. I did my googling (too bad I did it AFTER paying the small fee…did pay like 9 USD, but didn’t submit the song at the end) and found out thanks to you and others that this is a really well organized and camouflaged scam. Cheers, Vanda

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      Hey, Glad you didn’t get too stung, Vanda. Keep promoting yourself and believing in yourself. Be aware of those that say they can make it happen for you. All the best. Whitedog

      Reply
  6. Anwar
    Anwar says:

    Sorry gentleman, but the Akademia is NOT a scam. We have been in business for ten years, have a 99% client satisfaction level among active members and have helped thousands of artists to advance their careers. I want to clear up a number of inaccuracies in your assessment, White Dog. First, there is only one music awards competition per month (not 130) and one artist of the year competition per year. Second, the radio stations we operate are not fake. They are internet-based because that is the future of radio. Just search ‘iHeart Media bankruptcy’, if you want to see what’s happening to the traditional FM radio platform. It’s not pretty. Thirdly, yes we only play Akademia artists on our stations. The point of our marketing campaign is to connect Akademia artists with global audiences. Lastly, it’s not cool to approach artists who have achieved something positive and harass them (as Steven Angulo has repeatedly done). But since you have, please know that we sometimes only deal with their management (as was the case with Ricky Kej). The transactions with his team and his award win are well documented.

    In summary, Akademia offers two important services: 1) awards and recognition to add fuel and spark to artists’ careers, and 2) a major-label style marketing campaign to expand their fan base and build their body of work. In the process, artists keep 100% of the rights and revenue for their music. I understand that it’s tempting to criticize a new model that doesn’t adhere to the old paradigm. But it’s worth remembering just how abusive the old music business model was to artists – the lottery winners that actually made it – and how many of them were left penniless at the end of long careers. Most of those artists would have loved to have paid a small monthly fee for marketing support in order to keep 100% of their rights and revenue. We have to draw lessons from the past and integrate them with new ideas & technology to create a better model. That is precisely what Akademia is about.

    Reply
    • admin
      admin says:

      That’s great Anwar, thankyou for responding.
      Could you please answer this one question for us.
      How many artists that you have supported or promoted through Akademia are now enjoying successful careers and who are they,?
      yours expectantly
      Whitedog

      Reply

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