Review of the All-New Sonicbids EPK System (part 2)

I decided to give the new system another shot today.

Yesterday, I spent about four hours re-working my artist profile, adding all of the elements that were lost in the transition, trying to make the layout as least unattractive as possible. Today, I found that most of my changes were lost (even though they were there last night when I logged out). These include:

  • The city and state where the band is based
  • All of the press/reviews entered in
  • Our stage plot/tech rider
  • Music video
  • Discography
  • Set list
  • Lyrics

In fact, when I logged in, I found those areas to be completely blank:

New Sonicbids profile dashboard

Well, that’s a bit frustrating, especially because there is no “save as you go” feature. You can hit “submit” at the very bottom of the screen though. I re-entered my information today, hit submit, and got this message:

Sonicbids Dashboard full of errors

When I scrolled through the profile, there were no errors flagged. I deleted the information and tried entering it in, one box at a time. Got the same message – essentially, I couldn’t save. I used the help chat feature only to get the same message as I got yesterday: “…is in the process of being migrated.It should be available in the next few hours.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t help when I’m in the middle of booking a tour and have over a thousand emails out, all sending people to an incomplete, scattered EPK.

PRESSING ON

I ran into another issue when trying to add press/reviews in the profile:

Adding Reviews into Sonicbids

This isn’t a surprise; in fact, there was a character limit on the old system too. The problem is that if you begin pasting in reviews and trigger the character limit, it creates this error message. Even when reduce the text to be in compliance, the over-character limit triggers an error in your profile so you can’t save anything after it. You have to log out, then log back in and start over again.

Also, they say that content is being migrated – so what happens when you enter this in and they migrate the old: is it duplicated? Does it create another error for having too many? Or will it override certain changes? I asked Sonicbids using the chat feature but didn’t get an answer on how to proceed.

GIGS ARCHIVE

When you log in to see the history if gigs that you’ve submitted to, including the status of pending gigs, it might look like this:

Sonicbids Gigs

In other words, completely empty. Every rep I’ve asked replies with the same: “we’re migrating content, it should be available in a few hours.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t help when i’m trying to follow up with contacts and submissions made for the tour I’m booking right now.

MORE DOWN TIME AND ERRORS AHEAD

I understand that it takes a huge amount of work, time, and resources for a complete website redesign and migration of resources (in fact, I’ve managed the process for even more complex systems, like colleges and universities’ websites, student data registration, etc.). I’m guessing there will be more bumps along the way as new errors are discovered, etc. It’s difficult to anticipate every issue in advance and sometimes you just have to pull the trigger. That being said, I would have liked to see:

  • Content migration occur before the new design went live. Everything should have been moved to a remote server and thoroughly vetted so that they could just “flip the switch” and have all of the content already there. It minimizes down time.
  • A warning before the site went down. If I had known that Sonicbids was going to be down for a few days or that they were launching a new profile system, I would not have included it in my emails going out. It’s very bad for business and looks poorly on me to send people to a non-working EPK.
  • The ability to opt-out. Most social media sites let you hold on to an old system before transitioning to a new one – at least for a while. It allows users to get used to the idea of the new profile, test it out, and think about how they can match it to their existing brand and strategy.
  • An incentive for users to switch to the new profile, even something minor like another 30 day trial to test it out first.

CONCLUSION

As a customer for six years, someone who has spent thousands of dollars on a premium account and gig submissions, and someone who has written several guides and a book praising the Sonicbids EPK system, I couldn’t be more disappointed in the lack of transparency, service, and lack of foresight. I’m going to give it another few days and see if the kinks can be worked out. After that, I’m going to completely re-work all of my materials I’ve created over the years and direct people to another EPK because this one simply doesn’t work.

6 Comments

  1. 3peak7 says:

    My band is relatively new to Sonicbids, and we have not spent the same level of cash as others have. In their defense, I did receive a couple of emails stating that they were going to do a redesign, but I didn’t think much of it as such things are routine events these days. However, we are now in a bind, too, because we’ve been using this as our main EPK as well, a decision made based on the site’s relationship with SXSW and really nothing else. The irony here is that there is still a round of acceptances to SXSW for which we hope to be included, but I can’t confirm what content is or will be presented to the organizers, which is frustrating.

    In terms of my experience using the site, I can tell you that the login page does not render correctly on an iPad, neither in portrait or landscape viewing. The login fields disappear, covered by all the links which normally appear at the bottom of the page. Furthermore, when switching to a Windows laptop using Win7 and Chrome, the images don’t load readily. I, too, have attempted to make changes to our profile, only to lose the information after trying to save. I’m also frustrated that there are so many fields available to change per page, and that if one part doesn’t save then none of it does. I would gladly move through more pages if it meant that I didn’t have to re-enter data time and time again.

    We lost our performance dates, too. All of our completed ones as well as our upcoming shows. It’s so difficult stuffing the funnel, getting dates, and proving that your a worthy group as it is, without having all the data that validates your argument in limbo.

  2. 3peak7 says:

    *you’re a worthy group. Please forgive the typp.

  3. 3peak7 says:

    Typo. Damnit.

  4. extremeflute says:

    SonicBids is now a mess AND it is out of control! It is toast and I have cancelled my account already! (…Think MySpace!…)

  5. yagirldy says:

    The website looks terrible. I canceled my account.

    I am wondering if I will still be able to see/receive replies from any outstanding submissions.

  1. […] posting two in-depth reviews about the new Sonicbids EPK system (“An Honest Review” and “Review part 2”), I’ve had offers through tweets, emails, and chats by the company to talk to their Chief […]

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