I’ve seen plenty of pay-to-play scams over the years. The latest is coming from “KLEWS,” a joint venture between two people (Randy Jenereaux based in Pittsburgh) and Kenny Lewis (based in Los Angeles). They are pitching a variation on the pay-to-play scam by contacting bands/musicians and telling them that they are filming a documentary of bands after shooting their videos. They offer the potential for exposure via the documentary being featured at film festivals “all over the country.” They claim to be covering a band in every state in the U.S. The catch is that since these so-called documentary filmmakers have no financing, they are charging each band $800 to make a video to be featured in the documentary. That’s right. They are charging the subjects of the documentary to be featured in the documentary. There is not a single legitimate filmmaker out there who will ask actors/subjects to pay the filmmakers to appear in their production. They also mention that they may be open to booking more than one band per state. Of course they will! The more bands they sucker into this, the more money in their pocket. The bands pay to play (i.e., be featured on film) for a documentary of music videos supposedly being shot in the future. After being contacted by Randy Jenereaux, red flags went up with the vague tone of their offer, along with the numerous typos and dramatically cryptic enthusiasm. The scam is revealed upon a follow-up message, outlining the costs for bands. After informing Randy Devereaux that I was onto him, he made a few denials and flimsy explanations. I made it starkly clear that he not contact us again. He ignored the warning and became insulting. I then informed him that since he wanted to push it, I would be spreading the word on their little con operation. These grifters are preying on the dismal state of the independent music industry and the desperation of naive musicians/bands who can’t break into an inundated scene. They are opportunists making a quick buck with an empty promise to further their filming ventures. Being an independent musician in the current climate is daunting enough without the burden of false hope for a price. Don’t allow people like this to take advantage of musicians. .
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