Artists, Stop Getting Taken Advantage Of

30th August 2015 1 comment

There are plenty of services in the music industry which require money for effectiveness. Paying for PR, social media help, management, and marketing are all necessary to efficiently run a music career like the business it is. Often artists would rather pay for fun things, such as equipment and recording, not realizing that many components are involved in a successful career. Often, however, artists are so excited to have their music heard that they make the crucial mistake of paying to be interviewed or featured on various websites and blogs. Those websites can try to pretty it up however they like but no matter what phrasing they choose, it’s payola and extortion. Because this is such a rampant problem, newer artists often subscribe to whatever faux-logic is offered by the people asking for payment simply because they 1) don’t know any better and 2) are eager/desperate for a chance to get their work in front of a larger audience.
We feature artists we support and believe in on Thirty Roses and wish to spread the word about them in as many ways as we possibly can. Our mention of artists is sincere and genuine and we have never, nor will we ever, ask artists for any sort of payment to be featured here. It’s not an option because it’s not okay. We know how hard artists work, many with jobs outside of music which funds their dreams. There are many people who capitalize on the industry of dreamers we all work in and until artists stop paying to be taken advantage of, there’s little impetus for the perpetrators of pay-to-play websites to stop what they’re doing.
Stop thinking of the rock star you want to be and apply some logic to the situation: Do people pay to be written about in Rolling Stone, Billboard, NME, or any other publication? No one would trust those publications if they operated that way as all information would be disingenuous. If someone sees you on one of the many websites that asks artists to buy “packages” to be featured, the presumption won’t be that they should listen to your band because someone had some great things to say about you. Instead they’ll think you paid to be there and all words written about you are insincere and were only written so someone could bankroll their website while piggybacking off of your name and talent. People trust their friend’s opinions and word-of-mouth advertising over paid sponsorships because it’s genuine. Why would anyone trust a source which will feature absolutely anyone who is willing to pay them? Those sites don’t want to help further your career, they want to take advantage of it. They don’t want to help you cultivate a fan base and build a sustainable career; they want money from anyone who will give it to them. Your time is better spent seeking out sources who have sincere interest in helping you build your career and fan base. Your money is certainly better spent on professionals who can advise you on how to best approach social media, PR, marketing, and promotion. Even if you don’t have a huge budget, the industry is full of people with varying skill sets and levels of experience, many of whom will take payments in regular installments rather than having you pay a large sum up front. As infuriating as the music industry can be, it’s also filled with people who are willing to help you. As I say almost daily, it really does take a village to make the music industry run. A lot of people are involved in the success of an artist but the key to maximizing how effective that can be is dependent upon artists making wise decisions. I have no doubt that pay-to-play websites can spin their offerings in such a way that it’s called marketing, promotion, PR, or anything that legitimizes their scumbaggery, but keep in mind when you’re paying true industry professionals you’re paying for their dedication to you and your goals. You’re paying for their contacts, their interest, their attention to you. You’re paying them to block out specific time to help you because they can offer expertise and allow you to unload some of the daunting tasks artists face. When you pay to be featured by a publication, what are you paying for? Someone who couldn’t care less about your work to write insincere words “promoting’ you to be people who won’t pay attention. Your money is better spent anywhere else or in your bank account collecting interest. If you’re going to invest money in your work, do it sensibly. Hire a PR agent to help you book interviews and get press, if only for a month or two. Pay for a one-off consultation with someone who knows what they’re talking about. They can tell you what scams to watch out for (like pay-to-play websites), give you some advise on managing your social media while still having time to write, perform, record, and have an actual life. They can advise you on what trustworthy resources are available to offer practical advice. Don’t pay someone to use your name to grow their website stats. These people exist because artists keep paying them. Don’t legitimize their behavior, don’t give them money, don’t encourage people to blatantly take advantage of you. We’re happy to refer you to a number of colleagues if you’re a bit lost wondering who to turn to.

Some great people to follow on Twitter or via their websites for trustworthy, smart information:

Ross Barber, AKA Electric Kiwi. He and Marcio Novelli have a wonderful podcast called Bridge the Atlantic which features people from all facets of the industry. They discuss serious issues with a sense of humor and each episode is full of great advice- and it’s free!
Check out Bridge the Atlantic HERE and follow Ross on Twitter HERE

Solveig Whittle – Solveig is a marketing guru and indie artist whose website offers whip-smart guidance and awesome interviews. Find her website HERE and on Twitter HERE

Andrew Jones, AKA Checkered Owl. Andrew has experience with artist management, video production, and the Checkered Owl website has posts about all varieties of relevant industry/artist information. Visit his website HERE and find him on Twitter HERE

The Patcast podcast, hosted by Pat Monahan, has a different guest on each episode. The guest is usually a professional musician, many very well-known, some lesser-known, but each episode is full of great advice, stories, and anecdotes from artists who have been in your proverbial shoes. Find all of the episodes HERE

Industry-related social media accounts and websites offer professional insight and advice from true professionals; keep up with them and you’ll be in good shape.
Some of our favorites:
Music Business Worldwide
The Feaured Artists Coalition
Ari’s Take

If you’re looking for referrals for PR, marketing, or management feel free to ask. I’m pretty confident any of the above mentioned folks would be happy to guide you, as well.

It takes a village to make the music industry operate and too many people are taking advantage of their positions. It also costs a lot of money to make the music industry operate, please spend yours wisely.

Share this post: