If your name isn’t John Petrucci, Zakk Wylde, Paul Gilbert, or any other high-profile musician, chances are you’re going to do whatever it takes within reason to get your music featured on social media. That’s where sites like Guitars Daily and others that advertise “Direct Message us to purchase a guaranteed feature.’
Most musicians are broke as a joke. The thought of sites like this trying to capitalize on musicians’ desperation should be appalling to the majority in the community. Is it, though?
You can scroll through your Instagram feed and you can see many guitarists using hashtags for Guitars Daily, Masters of Shred, and Guitar World trying to get the attention of someone to get their video out to more people. A lot of the ‘A” musicians follow these three sites and are quite chummy with their respective editors and owners. There’s nothing wrong with this but in hindsight, you’d figure some of these ‘A’ musicians who are very vocal on causes near and dear to them should be aware that these sites prey on up-and-coming musicians to pay to be featured. For example, John 5 is buddy-buddy with Masters of Shred. John and his fellow musicians should use their star-power, notoriety, and fanbase to call out such sites to stop exploiting musicians. Will they? Not a chance. Am I calling out these musicians who are hypocritical that will cry foul on issues near and dear to them but pull a blind eye to this issue? You’re damn right!
Guitar World, who’s been bought and sold like a cheap whore many times in the last few years only features who their advertising buddies want. So unless you’re an Ernie Ball endorsee named Petrucci or Gilbert, you won’t see the front cover. This is the same magazine that has snubbed Chris Impellitteri for over 30 years but says Nita Strauss is one of the best guitarists. This is a dying publication that is as ass-backward as they come.
I am aware that it’s capitalism and everyone is entitled to earn a living. We’ve never taken a penny from a musician to feature on social media or write about. Most of our followers expect something for nothing and most don’t support sites like ours as fans did back in the ’80s. We’d be excited if you bought one of our T-shirts but don’t say, “If you don’t buy a T-shirt, we won’t feature you.”
When I started All That Shreds, I knew straight upfront that I wouldn’t be making any money doing this as people expect something for nothing and only hope for likes, clicks, and reshares. I started this for my passion for guitar.
I’m calling on every musician to take their balls out of their purse and call out these sites that try to scam and profit off up-and-coming guitarists and musicians. There has to be a better way forward for musicians to get their music featured other than thee pay-to-feature sites. Do I expect the John 5’s and Nita Strauss’s to call out Guitars Daily or Guitar Word? Hell no. They’ll stay silent and passive-aggressive as it doesn’t fit their agenda.
I spend my own money on All That Shreds and have no sponsors. We don’t answer to anybody and feature who we want and when. If I was expecting to earn money off this I’d be homeless.
Until there is a pendulum shift in attitudes, these sites will continue as business as usual. We will still be calling them out and the musicians that support them.