THE HOW – So someone is telling you what they can do it for you if you sign with their agency, their label, their company or hire them as a producer? The bulk of artists that get screwed over actually did it to them selves. The thing they often forgot to do when it came to all these promises was to ask HOW?
There are a lot of people out in the music industry that are there to screw you over. It is a dirty business and like any business has its seedy types and scammers. Now at the same time, there are a lot of people out there that do not mean to screw you over or hurt your career, but with the lack of experience, knowledge, problem solving or having a true pulse and understanding of the music industry of today, they charge, sign artists to rough contracts and end up holding them back or hurting their chances. It is both the artist and the not so hot companies fault though. As they may not have the tools or anything beyond the cool front man or the great website, many of these artists didn’t ask how these people would make this work or other important questions for that matter.
I make a comparison to the following idea as far as the inexperienced trying to come off too big and not able to make good on the hype, then in turn, hurting or holding back the artist.So when was the last time you talked to some one who watched ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs or any of those other medical TV shows for a good number of years as well as a whole bunch of the medical comedy or drama movies, then one day decided, “hey, I can be surgeon!” I have never heard of this, I don’t know about you.
Yet, there are a great deal of people that decide they can just up start a music production company, a recording label, a booking agency, a recording studio or any other music industry type organization. But there are thousands of organizations and people out there that just wanted to be a music producer, a booking agent, a record label or what ever else. They saw it on TV, they either had the money or the web designers or graphic people to set up a cool site and they might have even gone in and copied content from someone else.
Some might even have the right idea but they get on to this crazy overhype vibe where they showcase all the hype promises but give no answers or even hints at how they are going to do it. Here are 10 of my favorites…
Taking over the music industry?
Saving the music business?
Changing the entertainment world?
We got the expertise and knowledge?
Helping artists achieve their dreams?
Making bands famous?
The next big thing?
The most important playa’s out there?
We will take you to the top?
We will give you thousands of hits, friends, likes or listens?
HOW HOW HOW???
Come on binky, you took the time to print the hype and I understand you might not give away some core knowledge but at least show a blueprint! You get hit with any of the above statements, view them as questions where you ask HOW!!!!!????!!!!!
And keep up a red flag when you hear these or the next ten too..
Raising the Bar
On The Cutting Edge
Killing the competition
Going To The Top/ Up and Coming
Putting others to shame
Totally Brand New Sound
Doing it the Right Way
And make sure the answers you get are not hyper extensions of the hype from above. On top of that, call the references, do the background checks, see if it makes sense when the excitement is gone. Ask the how’s. Ask what is going to be required of you as you ask what is going to be required of them.
Now one of the biggest problems that these artists face are the contracts thrown in front of them. These hype type companies copy larger scale contracts word for word. While these larger management and agency contracts require exclusivity, ownership and a great deal of other things that you might have missed, if you sign it, you are bound to it. Hell, this new great manager who has only talked and barely delivered may own rights to your music for years to come. And while larger companies may have dumped large sums of money in to an artist that signed their contract, you are still bound to this manager who may not have dumped in a penny.
It’s not fair, but they didn’t ask how and they signed on the dotted line. It is on them.
READ THE FINE PRINT!!! ASK THE QUESTIONS!!!
A perfect example outside of the music industry but still online is that lady that took that picture of the space shuttle launching that was captured by her while she was on an airplane. She has been going to the press yelling that the photo went viral and was sold for profit by Twitter. She got a lawyer and is trying to sue to get money. The biggest problem for her is that she posted it on Twitter. In the terms and conditions of twitter, they have the right to use and sell any image uploaded on to Twitter regardless of the portal. So while she did take the photo and it isn’t fair, there is nothing she can do.
In the end, the point is don’t be sold on the hype. Ask the questions, go after the details. Get the answers. Put up the red flags and care about your career. I tell artists that hire me for production, for consulting or any of my services..DO NOT TRUST ME till I can earn your trust. Ask questions! Bring up your concerns and your doubts as you have them and let me address them. Every time I post something or say something, I always do my best to make sure I can explain it or show how it can work. That is one of my selling points and it should be one of the selling points for anyone you work with. Also fly that red flag when some one tells you to trust them right out of the gate.
On another personal note. I have enjoyed a great career but the biggest mistakes I ever made, the biggest losses I ever took and the hardest times I ever had that involved other people or companies were when I didn’t ask how. When I wanted to believe so much and wanted it so bad, that I took the how out of the equation and got hurt from it.
A couple things to watch for.
If some one gets hot under the collar when you question the basic, if some one starts to stutter, seem to go quieter, changes the topic, inserts more hype or flat out doesn’t give you an answer, then either continue to go after the answers or go far away from this person or company.
The last HOW to ask yourself?
If you are doing everything you are asked to do and keeping up your end of the agreement (A lot of artists don’t, so I am adding that here) Then how long do you stay with that some one or that company making all the promises, giving you none of the answers to your questions, using all the hype and not delivering?
If this hits home, maybe it is time for a change.
Loren Weisman is an accomplished music producer, author and speaker based in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of “The Artist’s Guide to Success in the Music Business“, a book to help independent musicians achieve self sufficient and sustainable success. For more info on Loren, visit http://www.lorenweisman.com