Archive for January, 2009

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Loyalty and the music business

January 1, 2009

For some reason, loyalty is a word not often written about in the music business.

No, the sharks in the music business (and many folks that work in the entertainment industry) seem to live and breath by the concept of placating one’s own ego and doing whatever it takes to succeed, as long as it isn’t illegal.

And sure, I bet a lot of those people make more money than I do and drive fancier cars, etc.

But at what cost?

Being a terrible human being?

As an artist, are you willing to do “whatever it takes” to get ahead???

***

I’m an incredibly loyal person — sometimes I think to a fault.

I’ve lived in the same building for over 10 years.

I’ve driven the same car for over 10 years.

My motto is – if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

I keep friends forever – unless of course they move away (or stop treating me well, become too negative, go crazy, etc). (And even then I stay in touch with friends from back home and visit them whenever I’m in town.)

I’ve noticed, there seems to be an attitude in the music business (and the entertainment industry in general) that some people have — “I’ll just use this person for what I need” and then drop them and move on to someone bigger and better. “Trading up” is what it’s called.

Not going anywhere?

Hire a manager…then when they get you successful, drop them and go sign with a “bigger” more established manager.

Start out on an indie label, and then when the CD blows up, skip out on them and sign with a major.

Lucky enough to find a small agent to book you shows? Great. Use them until a bigger agent comes along…

Hire an attorney that does work for you for free (or at a great rate), then go with another “bigger” attorney when a deal comes your way.

I think you get my point….

And you know, the irony is, these “higher up” people will convince you that you need to sign with this label or that manager or this attorney or that agent to become huge. When in reality, they are really just telling you this because the system feeds itself – the label guy wants you to sign with his manager friend because they are friends and his manager friend sends him bands. The manager wants you to sign with this attorney because they are friends. The agent wants you to sign with this business manager because they play golf every other Sunday. The whole system is built on a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” and while I don’t dismiss the power of being in that inner “clique” or “circle” you really can succeed with a great manager outside of that golf system.

Look at U2’s manager!
Many successful artists have been managed and represented by the same person for the duration of their career. U2. Tori Amos. The list goes on I’m sure.

And the artists that try to “save a buck” and fire their manager right before (or right after) something big happens? Well, look at the Killers. Their first CD was a smash. Did anyone really care about their 2nd CD? And now they are vanishing into obscurity.

I bet if they’d kept their original manager around they’d still be popular.

Those people who support you early on – whether they are your friends, your fans, your first manager, label, attorney, agent, etc. oftentimes have your best interest at heart. The people that come later on see dollars signs in front of their eyes – and the reason some of these “bigger” people are successful is because they’ve lied, cheated and stolen from others to get the artists they have, the money they have, and the things they have. Sure, not all successful people are like this. But a lot of those at the top didn’t get there by being nice. Many of them were ruthless and unethical. Do you really want to go into business with someone with no morals or values? I wouldn’t. I rather have my integrity and 10 year old car ;P

Besides, if you sign with someone who is unethical, what’s preventing them from screwing YOU over next time around?

****

Be a good human being.

If someone is doing a great job for you, whether it’s your label, your agent, your manager, your attorney, etc, stick with them.

After all, wouldn’t you want someone to treat you the same way?

And always remember – karma.

After all, just imagine for a second how you would feel if your band got signed and the only “catch” was that you were going to be replaced? Can you even imagine that for a second? Well, try to.

I’ll leave you with this story:

Once there was an artist I was going to manage. Well, turns out, after giving away countless hours of free advice and help to see if we would make a good team, it turns out that artist was also getting free advice and help from not one, but 2 other managers, saying they were going to sign with them also…and this artist was (and still is) unsigned to a label deal.

Wow.

Already being shady and unethical even before you get any type of deal?

Hmmm, well, the good news is that it’s a VERY very small community (especially these days) in the music business. Screw over one manager, maybe you’ll be ok. Maybe….if that manager gives up and gets out of the business…But screw over 2 or 3? Hmm, people talk.

Don’t be surprised that if you screw over one person in this business, your career suddenly comes to a stand-still and you have no idea why.

People talk behind closed doors and when they find out an artist or anyone in this business is behaving unethically and being shady, well, that artist or person’s career suddenly may come to a screeching halt.

Be loyal to those that support you early on.

Maybe then you’ll have a career like U2’s….after all, Paul McGuinness has been their manager since the very beginning. Same with Keane’s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_McGuinness

Jennifer Yeko
True Talent Management
9663 Santa Monica Blvd. # 320
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

~Artist Management~Music Licensing~Music Publicity
www.truetalentmgmt.com

“More than eighty percent of self-made millionaires in America began with nothing or in many cases, less than nothing.”
— Brian Tracy

“You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.”
— Malcolm Forbes


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