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Anybody else ever run across “Charlie Ray”?

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  • Anybody else ever run across “Charlie Ray”?

    A few weeks ago, I got an email from a radio station in Nashville (NBRN). They found one of my songs online and wanted me to send them a CD so that they can hear my stuff to determine if they want to play some of it on the air. I checked the station out. It actually exists and it’s on the air, although it seems to mostly be an internet radio station. I’m not sure if they are actually broadcasting via an actual physical radio station in Nashville. They even have a show that features songwriters. OK, no problem so far. I send them a CD as requested.

    THEN, I get a letter from somebody claiming to be the programming director (Ms. Billie Joe Braiburne) saying that she has played one of my songs for a man named “Charlie Ray” who is a professional song plugger. This letter goes on to praise Mr. Ray’s astounding accomplishments, which include placing Achy Breaky Heart with Billy Ray Cyrus and “promoting” Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. Supposedly, the Tennessee State Legislature has even issued a proclamation acknowledging his “contributions to the entertainment industry.” The programming director tells me that Mr. Ray was VERY impressed with one of my songs from the CD and thinks that he would be “willing to work with me.” Hmm.

    When you go to the guy’s website, it is about as crude an example of webpage design as I’ve ever seen. You would have to go back to the very earliest days of the internet to see something as appallingly bad. It looks like it was designed by an autistic ten year old. It’s got some photos of various albums that are framed with little plaques praising him for various things. He has a picture of the alleged proclamation from the Tennessee State legislature. A web search uncovers NO legitimate, credible web sites that acknowledge any of his supposed accomplishments. Some of the claims, of course, can’t even BE checked out. For example, I don’t know how to find out if he actually placed Achy Breaky Heart, but even if he DID, that was in 1992 – two decades ago - and it is a totally different industry today. Most of the albums/plaques that he has hanging on the wall are from decades ago. (Not to mention the fact that ANYBODY could easily put a display like this together.)

    The website looks nothing but sleazy. There is NO evidence that he has any industry contacts of any significance today, if he truly ever DID have any. There is NO evidence substantiating ANY of his claims by any credible, third-party, at least not that I have been able to find. (“Billie Joe” is, of course, a third party, but appears to be part of the scheme.) Finally, if you Google his name, you find that a whole bunch of people have received letters EXACTLY like the one that I received, except the name of the song that attracted Billie Joe & Charlie Ray’s attention is changed. It certainly doesn’t sounds legit to me.

    Apparently, this all started simply because I had a ReverbNation page. After I mailed the CD off to NBRN, I took another look at my RN page. I had thrown it together in a hurry and then promptly forgot about it. It had been totally neglected for AT LEAST 18 months. I had a request from somebody asking to be a fan from 2009. (These days, you don’t have to “request” to become a fan, you just click a button.) And when I approved it, that fan disappeared. Obviously, I haven’t done a good job of promoting my RN page! HA!

    The one song that was posted on the RN site was a rather mediocre song that was recorded very, very badly. (I’ve since added a couple of better songs.) However, after sending the CD off, they quickly zeroed in on one song that was much better written - and much better recorded. It was this song that, supposedly, got Charlie Ray’s attention. It wasn’t even the best song on the CD, but it was probably the best one that would fit the format on a country music radio station without being re-recorded.

    So, has anybody come across this? Apparently, all you have to do is have a ReverbNation page and identify yourself as being a “country” artist (in addition to whatever other style you are identifying yourself with) and you will, sooner or later be contacted by Billie Joe. Then, the show will soon begin.
    ****************
    Brad

    My music can be heard here: http://www.reverbnation.com/braduebinger

  • #2
    first, the station cannot be a terrestrial radio broadcast station in the USA with those call letters...second, a search for Ms. Billie Joe Braiburne turned up a lot of references to her and NBRN, and following one reference, lo and behold, the saga repeats itself elsewhere...draw your own conclusions..
    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, there are apparently LOTS of people who have gotten the same letter. Apparently, there have been some other interesting ventures with NBRN and "Ambassador Charlie Ray" going back many years.
      ****************
      Brad

      My music can be heard here: http://www.reverbnation.com/braduebinger

      Comment


      • #4

        Would you trust this guy? I'm just saying...
        www.WheresEddie.com

        Comment


        • #5

          Would you trust this guy? I'm just saying...


          Yeah. Really inspires confidence, huh?
          ****************
          Brad

          My music can be heard here: http://www.reverbnation.com/braduebinger

          Comment


          • #6
            I am just beyond where you are in the sales process. I sent an email to the good Ambassador, and received a response that showed he had not read my email. He will push my CD for $600 or something like that. I would love to have someone plug my songs, but I am in my fifties and have a bunch of rental properties, and a wife and a good life. I have no interest in living in a van and eating out of dumpsters, waiting for my ****************ty voice to make me the next big thing. I believe in my songs, and they would be great if someone who could sing recorded them - I am not the guy.

            I did not respond to his email, and yesterday got a letter from Billie Jo, offering to produce and promote a 30 minute performance and interview CD of me. Of course she wants $500.

            I don't think this stuff is illegal, I suspect it is a bit misleading, and I know the business does not usually work that way. I would pay $500 to get my songs plugged, if I knew the plugger really believed in me and knew what I was after. The plugger would at least have to show they are paying attention to what I say, not sending me some prefab email response that insults MY professionalism.

            My hoping to become a "songwriter for the stars" is an incredible longshot, but hell, it is my dream. I would love some help, but I think this is all about someone's retirement plan, not my business plan.

            oldMattB
            Troubadour? Singer-songwriter? Artist?
            Hell, I'm just a storyteller with a 4-minute attention span and nervous hands.

            mattbruner.com
            myspace.com/mattbrunermusic
            reverbnation.com/mattbruner

            Comment


            • #7
              This is the first time I have ever signed up to write on one of these forums. Tho, I felt it imperative since I have received the exact same letter as Blutunes today~! It seemed personal, picking out a song from the Cd she had requested that I send to her so that she could give it some air time on her radio station Radio NBRN.FM in Tennessee. She said she played it to her friend, Charlie Ray, who had "highly favorable comments about your music". She even gives me his email address and mobile phone number. She said he only works by referral and tell him that she referred me. She p.s. at the end of the letter saying "Because I was once and independent artist, I know how hard it is to rise above the crowd and get your music noticed. I'll continue doing all I can to help you get your music as much exposure as possible". So I guess this is a form letter and a scam to get money out of people?

              Comment


              • #8
                The evidence is all right there...there are no lengths some people won't go to in order to prey on the hopes and aspirations of artisic people.
                "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

                Comment


                • #9
                  Is there any way we can file a complaint or is there someway to report this so people won't send their money to them? They are really preying on innocent people here. What a shame.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    technically, it is perfectly legal until you can prove fraud.
                    The sad part in this is that Charlie Ray is trading his once-good name in the biz for this type of shoddy dream-peddling.
                    "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      File a complaint about what??? All he did is solicit his services in trying to "plug" my songs (and your songs, and a whole bunch of other people's songs). And he didn't even get a chance to do THAT in my case since I never sent him a CD. But if I DID send him a CD and if I DID agree to let him represent my music, then any attempt that he might make to sell the song, even if he was unsuccessful at it, would have fulfilled his end of the agreement. I simply did some research and decided not to participate. Way too many red flags for my comfort. The thing is, the music industry is FULL of these kinds of people. Caveat emptor should be the guiding motto of anybody who chooses to have anything to do with the music industry.
                      ****************
                      Brad

                      My music can be heard here: http://www.reverbnation.com/braduebinger

                      Comment


                      • #12

                        First off I completely agree with everyone on here about the Charlie Ray letter. Came home today to find this through the door. Knew straight away it was a scam! Anything to do with handing money over to strangers I always recommend to stay away from.

                        Also, I too have sent my music off to NBRN.FM in Nashville. Some may say I'm a fool but as far as I can see, what harm can it do? I didn't give my bank details or credit card information away, nor did I send any money at all. All of my songs were are copyrighted (and my mums a lawyer which is helpful haha), and the person I spoke to seemed genuine. The email address matched the one on the website. Also, I checked this girl out the emailed me and everybody seemed to have good things to say about her and the radio station. As for the address well if it's an online radio station it won't be a big studio set up like a traditional radio station. I've been to many internet radio stations before and if you googled the address, you'd probably think it was a scam due to the fact most of them are in people houses or garages!

                        Anyway, maybe I'll think twice before I send stuff again. I definitely won't be doing anything about this Charlie Ray guy. Really glad I googled this as you're all saving people from being scammed into paying money to strangers.

                        Comment


                        • daddymack
                          daddymack commented
                          Editing a comment

                          Glad to be able to perform a public service.  This industry (like any other high-stakes media-related industry) can be a cesspool, populated with rats, cockroaches and other vermin.  That is on a good day....


                        • MDLMUSIC
                          MDLMUSIC commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Doesn't sound like they're doing anything illegal. Unethical? Maybe, depends on your definition. I was looking at a mail order catalog and saw an item "on sale" for $20. The exact same item can be bought at a local store for under $10. So is the catalog company doing something wrong? If somebody is willing to fork over twice the cost for something, isn't that their business? Caveat emptor (look it up).

                        • daddymack
                          daddymack commented
                          Editing a comment

                          No, MDL, you are right, it isn't illegal. It is deceptive, and it preys upon most entertainers' desire to hit it big. The 'radio station is not a terrestrial station as they would have you believe (as I mentioned earlier, the call letters are a dead give-away to the knowledgeable), and the fact that they ask you to give them money with no specifics should set off all the warning bells. As they used to say on 'Racket Squad': "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."


                      • #13

                        He's reached out to me a few times. I talked to him on the phone a few times but have never used his services.

                        He seems like a nice enough guy and he was helpful. He directed me to his "very outdated" website which actually had some really informative articles on there (an article about starting a music mastermind in your city waas pretty genius I thought).

                        THAT SAID, I just can't pull the trigger. The hit he rally's his pitch around is "Achy Breaky Heart." it been a long, long, long time since that tune was out so I wonder how plugged-in he is these days.

                        Bottom line, I can't shake the feeling that I would be buying a $150+ lottery ticket.

                        Official Website (where to hear my stuff)...Planetcorey.com
                        Thoughts on how I get fans and make a few bucks with music...Musicgoat.com

                        Comment


                        • daddymack
                          daddymack commented
                          Editing a comment

                          ckoehler wrote:

                          Bottom line, I can't shake the feeling that I would be buying a $150+ lottery ticket.




                          No, the chances of hitting the lottery are probably better than the chances of these types of come-ons producing the expected end result.


                      • #14

                        Yep sound slike a scam to me. I would go as far as to say that anyone asking for large amount of money up front to promote your CD or music is a scam. There are legitiment companies that have a small fee to submit and they may be legit however you need to make a decsion if you think it is worth it.

                        signature removed for overt SPAMMINESS!

                        Comment



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