So Emergenza sent me an invitation through a private message to my artist page. This is just me, it’s clearly not a band. But they don’t give a fuck. If your profile says “musician/band”, they’ll approach you. I made a post on my private Facebook profile about them and their money-grabbing, exploitative scam, and for the most part, my fellow musicians agree. But not everyone knows how shit it is, and I wrote out the following response, in answer to the question, “Emergenza is a scam?”
Pretty much, it’s all about money. Early stages are purely about popularity, aka how many $$$ you can get through the door. They only weed out the shit bands later on, presumably to avoid embarrassment. When they’re charging $15-25/ticket and paying bands an unspecified “share” of the takings, you know they’re making a lot from this. Especially when they cram up to 8 badly matched bands into one show. And they’ve only recently rebranded the entry fee as a “refundable deposit” provided you turn up, but since you don’t know how much your “share” of the takings is, they can absorb that by just paying you a share minus the deposit amount. And lol, they give you 100 tickets, fucking ambitious! And you have to turn over all the money to them, not just their share. No transparency at all. They’re just using bands as a profit engine. And this is a world-wide thing, which is how they can afford to fly people over to the finals.
They’re also terrible shows for cross promotion because they take bands of any talent level and genre and put them all on the same gig. You can have “ambient indie” bands playing with post hardcore bands. These bands aren’t going to get new fans from each other. If you’re a metal band on with a bunch of soft bands, then you are definitely not making it to the next round regardless of how good you are unless you managed to bring a hoard that outnumbers all the softies. And you almost certainly don’t stand a chance at getting to the finals, given there tends to be more soft bands than metal.
It does look like they’ve improved, as it seems they’ve addressed the main “pay to play” complaints of the past, but it’s still a stinking pile of shit focused on profits rather than artist development. They don’t care about the bands who sign up, only the money they can bring. You can tell this when they approach any Facebook page that says “musician/band” regardless of whether or not they’re actually a band (and refer to their PM as an “email”, definitely a copy-paste job). They did no research into my DestroyerMariko page. Even if they figured out I was part of Rainbow Death Ray, we already told them we weren’t interested. Bitches just want our money. So much so they pay someone to spam everyone in this way. I wish more people would say no so that the fuckers would go out of business. This goes for every other bullshit band comp out there. If a promoter really thought your band had potential, they’d approach you directly and offer you a proper paid gig. Not ask you to pay a deposit to play a band comp.
Even the finals look shady as, the festival is legit, but they’re not gonna put you on between the big acts, they’re gonna shove you on at a time when hardly anyone will show up. And as it turns out, you’re on the smaller stage at the other end of the venue to the main stage, and hardly anyone gives a fuck about Emergenza, they came for the headliners on the other stage. As far as I can see, only the winner gets to play on the main stage with the big acts. If you’re unlucky enough to play early on the smaller stage, reports suggest you’re only playing to about 20 people.
It also does nothing for you:
“I regret that people are showing nearly no interest in the Emergenza contest. The bands which had to play at noon were playing in front of more or less 20 spectators. Even when Nervous Nellie played a second gig after the jury’s decision, there weren’t many people curious enough to check out the Emergenza winner 2003. Being an Emergenza winner is just good for your reputation and for nothing else. The last three winners (2000: Nada Brama, 2001: Willowtree, 2002: Mushy) didn’t make a breakthrough. The Emil Bulls (winner 1999) will never advance further than opening big festivals.”
This is an old report, so things may have changed, but if you look at Australia’s finalists from the last five years, where have they gone? Nowhere.
All have less than 2500 facebook likes. Sure that’s not necessarily a good indication of popularity, but it’s not looking good, despite the hype of Emergenza.
Emergenza has been exploiting artists across the globe for years.
US complaint 10 years ago:
Other band comps are just as bad, often worse. Just don’t play them. It’s not worth it, and supporting them is supporting the exploitation of hard working, desperate musicians.