Busting Music Business Myths
by J.P. Kallio
Why is it so hard to let go some of our preconceptions? Music business is filled with so many myths, and outdated information. This is how they did it before, so this must be the way to do it right now… Unfortunately the truth is that very few things these days in the music business are the same they were ten years ago, let alone twenty… So lets bust few of these myths:
1. When you get signed to a major label, you will get a big chunk of money from your record label.
It still amazes me how many people believe this. In fact those days are long gone. Typical major label deal these days consists the record label paying the production costs of the album. But here is the catch, for them to make back the money they will invest in to promotion after the album is done, you will need to sign a 360 deal. This means they will get a cut out of everything, and I mean everything! Yep, even the money you make from the live shows. And this is not just until they have made their money back, this is for the duration of the contract.
2. If I find a promoter abroad, they will pay for everything.
It is exiting to get to play in a foreign country. But unless you are well know enough that by just printing your name on the poster the promoter will fill every venue, the promoter will not take the risk of bringing you over. I know some of the bigger festivals in the folk scene refuse to book flights anymore. It is the band that has to take that risk. This is very much how things have always been done in the punk scene, and now it is becoming a norm for most artists. The fact is, if you don’t lose money on your first tour, you are doing well!
3. I need a manager to take me to the next level.
For get about it! Manager will only get onboard when you are in a position to be able to pay him. And considering most managers work on a percentage, how are they going to make money if you are not making money? So you need to make it to the “next level”, before a manager will want to work with you. And by the way, the last thing you want is to be stuck in a contract with a manager who is useless.
4. If only (enter the name of your favourite artist) will hear me, I will be famous.
Professional musicians are busy, famous professional musicians are extremely busy! They have their own managers to “take care of the business” for them. And those managers are insanely busy! The last thing the artist wants is to waste their manager’s time with an unknown band. That would be time the manager could be using to promote the artist themselves.
5. All I need is a one viral video to become famous.
This is not as old myth, but already turning in to something of an urban legend. OK, one of the biggest bands to have success through YouTube in the resent years is Pomplamoose. Did they have one viral video and became an overnight success? No! they have over 80 videos on their YouTube channel, some of them actually quite complex productions. It has taken them a lot of hard work. And their success is not measured in one videos views, but in the combined views of their videos. Having a one YouTube hit means very little these days. You will be yesterdays news before the day is over if you can’t keep the momentum going.
I said this before and I’m sure I’ll end up saying it again, but the only way to succeed is to work hard, long and consistently. There are no shortcuts waiting around the corner, so stop wasting time trying to find them and get some real work done.
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