Your head will hurt, your stomach will ache, your eyes will roll at the amount of stupidity, ignorance, and desperation going on in the fake music business at this very moment as you’re reading this article. It’s not funny. It’s sad. We call it the fake music business because what we’re about to reveal holds no water when confronted with real contracts, real talent, real managers. Welcome to the scam of the new decade: where you PAY to get signed. SMFH.
5. What do you mean “you pay to get signed?”
Exactly what you read. There are solo artists and bands paying big money to record labels to get signed and managed. We know. It defies all f*ckin’ purpose of being good enough to get noted. How did this even come to be a thing? Well every day more people are born, more people have internet access, more people become better at the same instruments, more people teach themselves music production and composition, more people are actually good at this music business. What does that lead to? Ridiculous competition on the market. What does that create in return? Artists wanting to take shortcuts and doing all kinds of things to go that one step further than the rest. That includes PAYING to get signed. Mind you, we blame the artists for this atrocity, not the labels. If you hand a lot of money over to a company to take you under their wing, chances are they will take advantage of your “offer.” So it’s YOU who shouldn’t be encouraging this sh*t taking place.
4. But why would artists do this?
Several reasons. Instead of putting in the sweat, blood, and tears, they want it all to be taken care of by someone else. So in a word: laziness. They hit up multiple record labels to see what they can offer and for what budget, then they make their choice and are super proud of it too. Just how could you be proud when everyone around you knows of your existence just because of the money you pay them and not because of your actual music? Second reason, they are so set on being associated with a big label name, and their ego is so huge, that they don’t want to be considered an independent, upcoming artist. They want the signed status and the stamp approval from a major, public entity. So: vanity. Laziness and vanity equal recipe for a disaster of a career.
3. Do they actually make it because of their affiliation with the label?
NO. A very loud and very clear NO. As in business, if you did not earn your reputation by genuine effort, even the people you pay don’t believe in your talent. They will never post up photos with you, they will never mention you in their interviews, they will never officially defend you, they will not promote your music at any time except for when they get paid for it, basically they will never genuinely support you in making it big. So for everyone blaming God for having been born in a very poor family, don’t! Rich kids don’t get much favoritism in this business. They got more access to more resources but few to none actually believe in their music. That’s why you will see a lot of them turn into vloggers, influencers, TikTok-ers after a couple of years of the grind because they were expecting to make it big and then get frustrated when they see that even millions can’t buy them a music career.
2. How about when I work hard and someone offers me a deal I have to pay for?
We will stress this for the milionth time: if someone asks you for money to help you, they want your MONEY, not your talent. This is not to say that people who believe in you should expect no pay or work for free at all times. Not at all. Everybody has bills to pay. What we are saying though, is that people who believe in you and who can seriously help you, will be reasonable and make no promises because they know better. Usually they prefer a percentage rather than a flat fee. Whereas scam labels and scam managers will promise to make you a star for a fixed fee from you on a monthly, yearly basis. Big difference.
1. So what am I supposed to do if I don’t have a clear sense of direction for my career while someone else comes in the picture with a concrete plan?
Pay for a consultation if you are so convinced that they know better than you. But DON’T enter entire contracts. Plus… Your focus is always the same as everyone else’s: grow your FAN BASE. That just means being consistent. Putting out a new song every 2 to 3 months, shooting visuals, running ad campaigns, training your voice, networking with other artists, writing better songs faster, just improving who you are as an artist and keep doing it for as long as necessary until your fans pay your bills. That should be your ONLY goal. Everything extra that comes with that is a bonus.
If you made it this far, please like and give a listen to our B.R.E. Spotify playlist where we’re helping and promoting artists we personally know and wrote about on this very website: