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?”
“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.