American Hustle (1)

The Akademia Apollo picture

In December 2015 I received a message from Cynthia Miller that made my heart beat faster. “Great radio potential!”, she wrote. She was referring to the song Isle Of U, a demo version of which I had just uploaded to ReverbNation, a music website. Cynthia introduced herself as Program Director of Radio WCTR Chicago. Goes to show how things can work out on the Internet. Before you know it your song is discovered by someone in America. Someone who is going to broadcast your song like crazy in Chicago. I replied with a short note. I said we would love it if WCTR Radio Chicago would put Isle Of U on their playlist. Did they need any promotion materials? Photos and other information? It was pretty clear they were eager to help us, because the answer came almost immediately:


Hi Hans Croon,

Thanks for checking in. You’ve got a good thing going and I’d like to help you get to the next level.

Aside from the major record labels, there are other organizations that can help you to secure significant airplay. Lately, we’ve been receiving some of our best music from The Akademia Music Awards. This company is covering the cost to get artists not only on WCTR Chicago, but on an extended network of stations worldwide. Therefore, you may want to consider submitting your music to them at www.theakademia.com. Just a thought.

I hope that this is helpful. Please keep me posted on your success and thanks for tuning in!

Sincerely,

Cynthia Miller
Program Director
WCTR Radio Chicago
www.wctr-radio.com


I forwarded Cynthia’s e-mail to the other band members. Jan, our VP Irony, responded with “Now it begins !!!”. I wrote down www.theakademia.com in the Master Plan 2016. By the time the CD was released, we would try to win one of the coveted awards. Who knows followed by hours of airplay through a global network of radio stations.

Nine months later, it was time. The new album was ready, and together with Hetty de Kruijf we had produced a video clip of the song Fine Shields We Are. We would subscribe to The Akademia! Turned out the costs were $ 9.95. Not much, when you consider that the video would be assessed, according to the website, by an expert jury consisting of senior music and media executives from the largest corporations. I submitted the video and continued to surf through the website. There were many testimonials from artists unknown to me, all Award winners and delighted with the support they had received from The Akademia. A little over the top maybe but hey, this is America. On November 15, the winners would be announced.

The Akademia Team increased the tension professionally. Two days before Awards Day, I received a new email in which we were congratulated beforehand: our video was nominated for Best Alternative Rock video from hundreds of entries. That we had reached this stage was already a great achievement. In about 48 hours, at midnight Central Pacific time on November 15, we would know if we were the lucky winners. November 15 happened to be the release date of the album, so if we got the Award, we could mention it nicely in the promotion of the record. It was a bit of a surprise though that we were said to play alternative rock. But never mind.

Wednesday morning, November 16, the happy email dropped in my mailbox. “Congratulations!” it said. We had won! But what? In any case, a “permanent Award certificate”. On that web page, the judgment of the jury rang:

A distinct melody bargains with fascinating circular drum chops to make ‘Fine Shields We Are’ a strangely affecting testament and scathing social indictment well worth the listen.

Right. That was a fine sentence to be quoted in our promotion efforts. With such a nice recommendation from The Akademia, online music magazines such as Pitchfork and Consequece of Sound would certainly review the album. The Akademia Team wrote they would soon send us more information about the next steps. Once more I flipped through the pages of the website, looking for the gallery of winners of the November Awards.

BANG. With a sudden shock things became clear to me. Just like the time when all our instruments were stolen from the rehearsal room, and despite all the signs – the open window, the ladder, the half-empty room – it had lasted minutes before I realised what had happened, just like then I had ignored all signals. The somewhat rickety web design. The glossy photos of posh offices in LA, London, Chicago. No track of a list of winners in the various categories. Of course, every contester had won an Award. We all had received a roaring text on an isolated web page, our Award certificate for life. And all of us were almost warmed up and ready to be towed in. That $ 9.95 was only the beginning.

I googled “The Akademia fake” and found an article in www.reddit.com. In this article, there was a quote from an e-mail sent by another radio boss:


Thanks for checking in. You’ve got a good thing going and I’d like to help you get to the next level.

Aside from the major record labels, there are other organizations that can help you to secure significant airplay. Lately, we’ve been receiving some of our best music from The Akademia Music Awards. This company is covering the cost to get artists not only on KVHT Hit XM Las Vegas, but on an extended network of stations worldwide. Therefore, you may want to consider submitting your music to them at www.theakademia.com. Just a thought.

I hope that this is helpful. Please keep me posted on your success and thanks for tuning in!

Sincerely,

Mike Zinzer
Program Director KVHT Hit XM Radio Las Vegas
www.hit-xm.com/lasvegas


I decided to play along.

15 december 2016

 

Continued: American Hustle (2)


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