When I’m talking to artists & indie labels about their projects I know that I can sound negative or critical – but I’m really just being 100% honest. The music industry isn’t the mythological millionaire maker that most people believe it to be & I don’t sugarcoat the BS, fuckery, fakery or douchebaggery that goes on in this business.
Based on conversations I’ve had over the past few days, I’d like to shed a little light on some misconceptions that aspiring artists have.
1) Featuring a “popular” artist won’t get u noticed. In Louisiana alone, there are hundreds of kids with verses from Kevin Gates (a recent signee to Atlantic Records) and just having someone famous on your record does NOT make your song stand out. He’s bigger than he ever was – but the rappers with features from him are out of $2-5,000. (Money they could’ve spent on PROMOTING THEMSELVES)
2) Radio isn’t a magic genie. Getting your song played on 20 different stations won’t make u a nickel if u don’t go to those markets and interact with the people. Get ur street buzz up in at least 10 cities (not towns) BEFORE running to radio.
3) Radio is NOT free. Substantial radio play in markets that impact & influence listeners will NOT come for free. Fcuk what they told u. Fcuk what u heard. You want 100s of spins a week?? Have 10s of thousands of dollars. PERIOD.
4) Paying to open for major artists is a WASTE of your money. They’re not gonna hear u & give u a million dollar contract. That’s not how it works. I’ve seen 50 Cent & Young Jeezy BOTH offer the same Louisiana artist a contract when they were on stage together. The next day they left & the artist is still in Louisiana grinding.
5) You DO NOT NEED A RECORD DEAL. Quit begging for deals & bragging that you’re about to get signed. 99.9% of record deals leave you frustrated, broke and disgusted with the industry. There is MORE MONEY in being independent than signing to a major label. Strange Music makes 10s of millions of dollars a year independently. If you’re successful enough on your own, the majors will make it worth your while to sign (Cash Money, Odd Future, etc) – until you reach that point – enjoy keeping the majority of the money. 100% of $250,000 (25,000 albums sold at $10 each) is twice as much as 12.5% of $1,000,000 (100,000 albums sold at $10 ea). So you’d have to sell four times more to make HALF the money!! And that’s BEFORE the label does its “fuzzy math” to take as much out of ur check as possible.
Let me say in closing: There is NO SUBSTITUTE to hard work and grind. It takes TIME to build a following & continuously develop a buzz that builds from project to project. It takes TIME & MONEY to expose your music to people you don’t know. There is no success in any business without substantial investment.
Remember, the music industry is a 16 BILLION dollar a year business. You don’t get a chance to get a piece of that pie for free, Like everything else in life – it costs.
Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of music industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists.