A music PR Agency offering to pay music journalists to review bands has closed its doors just weeks after launching, following widespread criticism from the industry.

Bands and music labels using The Men From The Press (TMFTP) site could sign up for differently priced packages, which would allow them to send music for review, press releases and event invitations to journalists working for a range of publications.

Publication packages included £8 to send to a journalist working for the Observer; £18 for DrownedinSound.com and NME; £16 for Time Out and Maxim. Journalists involved with the site were asked to write a brief comment on music sent to them for review and TMFTP would then notify the band in question.

But the site was criticised for listing the journalists available as reviewers and later replaced this list with the names of publications worked for instead.

Founder of DrownedinSound.com, one of the publications listed on the site, Sean Adams says his title did not endorse TMFTP in any way: "DiS does not do a pay-to-play style of coverage, which if you read between the lines, is what they're suggesting they do."

"Although using TMFTP might be cheaper than employing a PR company’s promotional wiles - you're looking at a couple of hundred quid plus a hefty dose of deal-beckoning hype for a campaign on an unsigned band’s debut single - a miserly hack's dashed off opinion is worth precisely nothing to you," says NME's Laura Snapes in her review of the agency yesterday.

The website has now been taken down and a statement confirms it has closed, though cached versions still remain online.

"The whole point of themenfromthepress.com was to provide PR in a 'brand new way' (…) But we have now been shot down in flames," says the statement.

"Certain publications and some traditional PR companies (who I will not name) have made it impossible for us to carry on through their constant slanderous remarks and activities which have damaged our reputation to the point where we have lost all heart with the project," the site says.

The agency will refund all subscription and submission fees to bands, artists and labels that signed up to the service, the statement on the site adds.

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