Money To Burn? Beware The A&R Company Promising Too Much
Over the past week, two talented William Paterson University Pop Music students have come to my office with opportunities presented to them by companies we’ve never heard of. These companies have scouted SoundCloud or YouTube and found some good songs and small social traction. They’ve copied their pitch letter and pasted it into an email personalized for these students. They’ve promised that people will hear the songs, more people than you can imagine. And between the lines, they’ve promised riches and stardom and happily ever after.
Beware these companies.
To be fair, the people working in these businesses are not doing anything illegal. They’re working hard and trying to carve our a niche in a market where they feel they can make a difference.
But in reality, these are pure money-making ventures. They know how badly artists want to “make it.” They know how emotional people feel about their songs. They understand the vulnerability of young artists; they understand how passionate artists are about their music. And, even if they don’t consciously know it, they’re playing on those vulnerabilities to make money.
This is Pay To Play. You really shouldn’t pay a club to let you play on their stage. And if you feel strongly about that, then why would you do something like this?
Here’s the email this particular student received:
Date: November 5, 2015 at 5:13:32 PM EST
I was just listening to some of your music online, and hope it’s alright to get in touch with you this way.
I’m an A&R representative at XXXX, an artist relations company representing top emerging musicians around the world. We are looking for new music for our radio network, music licensing catalog and artist promotion roster, and I was wondering if you would be interested in sending us some music for consideration.
Subject to a successful review, our company will get your music heard by entertainment industry professionals and fans all over the world, and help facilitate music licensing and distribution deals, live events bookings, record label/music publisher deals and more. You will receive a detailed agreement once your music is accepted.
You can find out more about us at here and find out how to submit music at here.
The lesson – If it sounds too good to be true, it is. And please, please, please make sure you get a music business attorney involved before signing ANYTHING.
Have you received opportunities like this? Tell us about them in the comments below.
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Professor David Philp is Assistant Professor Music Management & Popular Music Studies at William Paterson University. He is the co-host of the only FREE advice college radio-based music & entertainment industry talk show in America, Music Biz 101 & More, which airs live most Wednesday nights and is available as a podcast HERE every night (days too). Reach him at PhilpD@wpunj.edu or find him on LinkedIn HERE.