Everyone’s a Critic in the Music Business, but More Seem to be Experts
The music business can be difficult to navigate, at tines. Art is opinion, and no one is right or wrong when it comes to what they think of a song, a piece of art, an exotic food, or anything else that’s subject to personal taste and opinion. However, the amount of people out there claiming to be experts on the music business is staggering and scary. It comes down to the following ten categories with people ranging from running businesses to writing books to speaking at seminars.
The all-out scammer/fake, plagiarist, and fool
This is the person who puts on the best presentation but has nothing to back it up; who also steals the right information from others, but delivers all the methods in the wrong ways. There’s the biggest abundance of these types. Watch out!
Part-time musician who tells you how to be full-time
Be leery of the musician who’s still working to build his own career, but makes supplemental money off other musicians with tactics that may not relate or work. For example, take advice with a grain of salt from an aspiring artist who claims to have all the answers for success as well as all the tricks and tools, but hasn’t applied them to his own career.
Had a little success but knows the industry
This kind of scammer might have been with a big band or had a small flurry of achievement. Now unable to copy it, they use their name to make money off others who want the same type of success.
Had success years back but isn’t up to date
These folks found success — and a lot of it — long ago, but they haven’t been able to find it or sustain it. Now they prey on other musicians using their name from the past, but are unable to help in the way that musicians need from them.
“I work in another field but I have all the answers for music” person
Raise an eyebrow at the business planner who doesn’t understand music business plans or the marketing person who’s successful with a $500,000 marketing campaign but has no clue on how to market when there is only $500 available. Best advice — run the other way.
Worked in one part of music but has the answers for all of the biz
This includes the website designer, for example, who builds a great website and sets up the fundamentals of SEO, but has no clue about branding, marketing, business plans, and the booking aspects. Despite that, she preaches like she’s the gospel.
The employee who worked for a big name but doesn’t know the real work involved
You probably know the type. They have some basic knowledge, but sell themselves more off of a name than any viable knowledge and the ability to apply it to your career for a positive outcome.
The successful musician who isn’t aware of what was done for them
There are successful musicians who don’t know what was happening for them behind the scenes. This lack of understanding leaves a lot of holes in the information they share, and can leave even bigger holes in your career.
The life coach or cheerleader
These are some of the most dangerous scammers because they’re so amazingly believable. The term life coach is often defined by someone who hasn’t been able to do anything for their own lives, but somehow has all the magic answers for what you need to be doing in yours. While elements of confidence-building and self-esteem growth are good, many charge people way too much to give very vague directions and leave people spinning their wheels and getting nowhere.
The money person with lots of cash but little knowledge
This category includes record labels or management companies that are run by overly excited rich kids. They spend frivolously and usually from a more “look at me, I’m a manager, record label, agent” ego-type approach. These people offer more money but don’t know how to budget and allocate it for success. They also use larger-scale contracts that lock in the artist and their music for years while they really don’t do much to promote the artist and her career.