If you’re going to make it in the music industry, you’ll need to be prepared to work hard, accept help when you need it, and you’re likely to have to shell out some of your own hard-earned cash. For most musicians though, cash at the beginning of a career is in precious short supply, so you have to most of every penny you invest. Below is a review of things you shouldn’t do….these are the best ways to waste your money in the music industry.
1. Paying for ‘likes’ or fans – Thousands of facebook fans who never interact with your page don’t make you look nearly as popular as a few hundred who really love you and are forever wanting to know where you’re playing next or releasing a new track. Concentrate on building a genuine fan base.
2. Paying other people for things you should be doing yourself – In the early days at least, it’s all about putting yourself out there. The more relationships you can build up, the more you get to understand about how different aspect of the industry work the better.
3. Paying publicists or agents before you have anything to publicise – However good the agent is, they need something to work with. That might be your modest local success on the college circuit or your upcoming album release, but there has to be a product or a story before an agent can develop it.
4. Thinking that just any music supervisor or curator will do – look for someone with an already established history of success. Joe Bloggs, who’s worked with no one you’ve ever heard of, can certainly help you become someone else no one has ever heard of. Henry Parsley who is co-founder of The Infinite Us and previously worked as production assistant to Fraser T Smith (Adele, Sam Smith) would be a much better bet!
5. Falling for false promises – If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t true. Be extremely wary of any company that’s promising success or a record deal. There are no guarantees. Ever. Look for a someone that frames what they can do for you in honest specific actions, rather than making vague, pie in the sky claims of outcomes.
6. Paying to play – There may even be times when covering your own expenses to play at a not-to-distant festival that’s likely to attract a decent crowd is a good investment. But if you’re offered a gig you have to pay for, on the promise that producers, agents and other talent spotters will be there, you should be deeply suspicious. Put yourself in their shoes, they only have so much time to invest in looking for new talent, are they really going to spend it checking out bands who have to pay people to listen to them?
7. Paying for cheap merchandise – If your fans are prepared to pay for a tee-shirt with your name and logo on it, give them the chance to buy one that will last more than three washes. Shoddy merchandise suggests you don’t value yourself and you don’t value your fans. It’s better to accept a lower mark up and show respect than to try and sell trash.