Top 5 Myths About The Music Business


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If you are involved in the entertainment business then you’ve probably heard a few tall tales. The following is a list of some of the top myths about the music business.

1. People in the music business will help you out of the kindness of their hearts.

Facts:

The music business is called the music business for a reason. It is a business that just so happens to sell music. Businesses are in business to make money. They are not in business to make ART, however they will sell it. You may find a handful of good Samaritans willing to help for free but generally speaking if helping does not benefit the other party, they won’t help.

“People (not counting loved ones) will help you if they think your art will make them money. They will not help you if they think your art will not make them money.” -David Naggar, Esq. from  The Music Business Explained In Plain English-

2. Since the economic decline people aren’t buying music anymore

Facts:

People are buying music, but they aren’t buying it in the same way they used to. Sales of CDs may be down but the sale of single tracks is up! If you are still an unbeliever just check iTunes sales records. Reportedly, Apple has sold 10 billion and counting!

3. Music superstars have and are making tons of money.

This is one of the biggest myths in the entertainment business. When you see a Sean Kingston or Lady Gaga on television you may think that they are living the good life, but really the amount of money he/she brings home is really dependent on the terms of their contractual obligations as well as their money management skills. Simply put, if you spend more than you make you are bound to go broke sooner or later.

Need examples:

MC Hammer

Marvin Gaye

Michael Jackson

Willie Nelson

Toni Braxton

Billy Joel

George Clinton

Isaac Hayes

Jerry Lee Lewis

Ron Isley

Need anymore? The list goes on.

The fact of the matter is that all of these artists have seen the highs and lows of the music business. Micheal Jackson, the “King of Pop”, even had his money woes. No “superstar” is exempt. Good money management skills are needed in order to maintain a “superstar” lifestyle.

4. You can become an overnight celebrity in the music business.

This is one of the most common myths about the music business. People believe that you can sign a record deal and then all of sudden you are magically on magazine covers and receiving Grammy awards. All of this talk is nonsense. At the end of the day it takes a decent amount of leg work, dedication, passion, perseverance, and strong networking relationships to achieve “success” in the music business. NO ONE HAS BECOME SUCCESSFUL OVERNIGHT however, some people have achieved their goals faster than others. Artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West, and Eminem spent years building their reputation and brands to become the people they are today. This is why working smarter and not harder is essential in the music business.

5. Talent Trumps Work Ethic

In today’s music business, talent still counts but work ethic counts for more. An extraordinarily talented person with average work ethic will generally not do as well as someone with extraordinary work ethic and average talent.

A strong work ethic, more often than not, means that you can be consistent which is of the utmost importance in the music business.

Why?

One word. Marketing. Being able to consistently deliver high quality to the consumer is paramount.  This is where work ethic trumps talent. A person that is able to consistently deliver a satisfactory product to the consumer is, in the words of Charlie Sheen, WINNING! Because of our increasingly shortened attention spans, having someone or something consistently in our faces helps in branding the product, service, or person. Ultimately, this results in people getting paid!

By Isaac O Hughley