By Katie Reilly
Don't Pay to Play
some of the worst and most common hoaxes because they
seem so benign but they can easily cost you a lot of
money without getting you anywhere. They tend to disguise
themselves in the form of some sort of legitimate opportunity
from a legitimate business whether it be getting your
song played on the radio, getting you a record deal,
or letting you play a showcase in front of a big time
A&R rep. The common thread though is that they will
all ask you for money to get access.
With the exception of membership-based
organizations like ASCAP or The Recording Academy, press,
marketing, or radio promotion agencies, or a qualified
professional industry consultant (determining that requires
research though), there are hardly any legitimate music
businesses that will charge you in order to get access
to a career opportunity (and honestly the aforementioned
companies aren't charging you for access, they're charging
for their services- but I didn't want to confuse anyone
into thinking they are not legitimate businesses because
they cost money)
.Many of these scams offer you what sounds
like the chance of a lifetime, and some will even go through
a process of choosing only a handful of participants to make
it seem more promising, but that is not how the music industry
operates. In fact, most contracts will offer you an advance
(money in advance of any sales), not the other way around.
Many people in the music industry make money by getting a
percent of the artist's earnings based on their work together.
If that is not the case it should be a serious red flag.
Trust Your Instincts
If something doesn't feel right for whatever
reason, you're probably right. Don't risk it even if it seems
like an amazing opportunity. If it seems to good to be true,
it mostly likely is.
Asking questions tends to be a good way to
get someone who is trying to swindle you to start to feel
nervous. If you ask too many questions they'll be more inclined
to leave you alone because they'll realize you're not going
to fall for it. Ask if you can speak to former participants.
Ask them to name some of their former success stories. Ask
about what the next steps of the program are and those thereafter.
Ask them what exactly your money goes towards and exactly
what you will get in return. Ask for names of key employees,
look them up online, and ask if you can speak with them. Better
yet, tell them you want to have any legal language reviewed
by an attorney.
The Internet is an amazing tool for sharing
information, including those about scams. Now, when someone
has been cheated, they are likely to take to the Internet
to warn other people about it. Find as much information as
you can; search the name of the program along with the word
"scam." If you can find out names of employees,
past clients, and any success stories and look them up too
to determine if they've had any real experience in the music
The more you know about how the music industry
works, who does what, and how they get paid, the harder it
will be for someone to trick you.