17 Most Laughable Myths Of The Music Industry

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1) Getting A Record Deal Means You Will Be Successful

Did you know that 98% of all acts that sign to major labels fail? Meaning 98 out of 100 artists who actually get the deal don’t recoup enough money to pay for their advance and get dropped before their second (or even first) album is released. Getting a record deal is much riskier than going at your career on your own. Success doesn’t need to mean getting on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, selling out arenas and getting hounded by the paparazzi. It can mean making a comfortable living as a musician. And you don’t need a record deal for that.

2) Windowing Is An Effective Strategy

Windowing means holding off putting your album on streaming services for a window of time to maximize sales. It may have an been effective strategy in 2012. Or not. Taylor Swift windowed. Ed Sheeran did not. Adele did. Mumford and Sons did not. They’ve all done just fine. And broke sales/streams records. But it’s almost 2016. You can’t put your album on iTunes and not Apple Music. Not, you shouldn’t. You literally can’t. Apple won’t allow it. YouTube Red is launching and will kill windowing dead in the water.

If people can’t listen to your album they will move on. All the release day hype and marketing money will be for naught if when people go to check out the album, they can’t. They will forget about you. They aren’t going to spend $ 10 just to see if they like it. Unless you’re Taylor Swift or Adele, it’s not going to work. If you want a successful touring career, break down the access barriers. And remember, fans aren’t going to pay for music anymore. And that’s Ok!

+Fans Aren’t Going To Pay For Music Anymore. And That’s OK

3) Streaming Is Bad For Music

A CD or download sale is treated equally no matter how great the album is. It’s a one time payment never to be earned on again. Contrast that with streaming. If a song is great it will get played over and over again for years and years. Earning MORE than just a single sale ever could. Streaming pays less initially, but much much more in the long run – if the music is good of course.

4) Getting Your Song On A TV Show Will Shoot You To Stardom

Yeah, it’s cool to get your song on TV. But do you know how many shows there are? And how much music is placed? This isn’t 2007 Grey’s Anatomy. Very few TV shows actually break artists anymore. Commercials on the other hand can help (as made clear by American Authors and Imagine Dragons). And they also pay loads more than TV placements. Like $ 100,000 more. Yes, licensing can help pay your bills. And give you a bit of exposure. Definitely. But don’t bet the house on TV placements. It’s just one part of the equation.

5) Playing Well Known Venues Will Enable You To Play Other Well Known Venues

Putting on your website that you played The Whiskey means nothing. Everyone knows that if you have $ 400 you can pay to play any venue on the Sunset Strip. It’s much more impressive if you brought 100 people to a basement house concert than just playing a well known venue. No one cares what venues you’ve played. Except your uncle Joe. And he still thinks you should go on The Voice.

6) You Will Have A Music Career If You Go On A Singing TV Contest Show

Name 10 American Idol finalists. Not even winners. Finalists. There have been 14 seasons. That’s 140 top 10 finalists. And you can’t name 10. Well neither can anyone else. And how many The Voice contestants can you name? These are TV shows. Not career builders. Yes, if you’re smart, you may be able to use it as a launching pad. But most likely you will be locked into horrendous label deals with zero negotiating power and even if you do succeed will probably try to sue them like Phillip Phillips did. 

7) Major Record Labels Develop Artists

Hilarious. Labels only want to sign artists who are already successful. Already proven. And even if you pay some lawyer loads of money to ‘shop’ you at labels and convince some hot A&R dude to sign you, you’ll be lucky if you get an EP out. Most labels put out a single or two and if that doesn’t do well (and don’t think they’re going to put Rihanna money behind it), you’re dropped. And even if your album comes out, if it flops, you’re done. This ain’t 1973 where Columbia Records will allow two complete flops because they believe you have Born To Run in you. Labels demand instant success. If you don’t bring it, bye bye.

8) Major Record Labels Are Leading The Music Industry

Sure, they have loads of money still. But leaders, they are not. Their album creation and marketing strategies are paint by numbers. Songwriting camps. Release plans that haven’t changed in 5 years. Today’s album marketing plan should not be the same as last year’s. But at most labels, it’s identical. Labels are the last to come around on everything from downloads to streaming. Labels fight tech in court instead of innovating creative ways to work with the technological developments.

9) If You Book A Show, People Will Show Up.

If you don’t promote your show, heavily, no one will come. Plain and simple. One Facebook event ain’t gonna cut it.

+7 Reasons Why No One Is Coming To Your Show

10) Record Sales Matter

Sales are done. Streaming is now more profitable than physical or download sales at Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. And they were done for indie music lovers awhile ago. Indie artists should be working the subscription angle via BandCamp or Patreon along with pre-order, crowdfunding campaigns via PledgeMusic, Kickstarter or IndieGoGo. Sell experiences, merch and other offers on streaming services with BandPage. And of course, diversify the revenue stream. There are so many more ways to make money with music these days above just album sales. Get creative. Take your head out of the f’in sand!

+The Largest Independent Music Store Moves To Subscription Model

11) If People Stop Paying For Music, Musicians Will Stop Creating It

That was the argument 15 years ago when Napster hit. There is more music now than ever. Musicians create music because we have to. It’s in our soul. You want to pay me $ 20 for a concert ticket, $ 20 for a T-shirt, $ 35 a year for a BandCamp subscription, $ 250 for a PledgeMusic pre-order package, and $ 50 for a BandPage offer, but don’t want to pay $ 10 for a plastic disc or digital files of data? Fine by me!

12) You’re Either A Struggling Artist Or A Superstar

Middle class musicians are the fastest growing group of musicians out there. Just because Uncle Joe hasn’t heard of your band means nothing. Have you heard of his plumbing company? Does that mean he’s not successful? For some reason music is the only profession where people define success by fame. There are thousands of musicians making a living doing what they love who aren’t famous, but are incredibly successful.

Success is defined by happiness. Not income. Period.

13) Social Media Is More Important Than Email

Social networks come and go. Email has been the only constant. If you aren’t building your email list, you’re doing it wrong. Kevin Hart attributed selling out Madison Square Garden to his email list. Not Facebook or Twitter. Yes, it’s important to have a presence and engage with your fans on a daily basis on the social networks you feel most comfortable on and where your fans lives, but don’t prioritize it over your email list.

14) If Fans Want To Buy Merch, They’ll Find A Way

Bands b*tch all the time that their fans don’t buy merch. Bull. Maybe yours fans don’t buy merch because you aren’t selling it to them in the right way. Or maybe you have crappy merch. You can’t throw a couple CDs in the corner of the venue and expect people to buy them. If you don’t have a bright display, someone selling your merch (from when doors open to when they close), quality items, and a credit card swiper, you’re missing out on your number 1 tour income generator.

+10 Ways To Sell More Merch At Shows

15) ‘The Music’ Is The Only Thing That Matters

Yes, the music, first and foremost, needs to be great. In the streaming age, you can’t throw loads of marketing cash at a pile of shit and expect people to gobble it up. But, unfortunately, great music without promotion means nothing. Indie artists without a team around you have to work extra hard to get your music out there. Just posting it on Facebook and sending it to your email list will not turn your album into a chart topping success. You need an interesting story. You need a cohesive image. You need a marketing budget. You need to tour and/or work YouTube.

16) It Matters What Studio You Record In

The only thing that matters is what your album sounds like, not where it was recorded. Recording vocals through a U47 in Studio 1 at Abbey Road Studios is going to sound nearly identical as recording vocals through a U47 in your bedroom. Pay for the talent, not the room.

17) You Need A Publicist To Get Press

Bloggers prefer being hit up by artists and managers over publicists. Traditional press outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio and TV shows may respond better to publicists with whom they have a relationship, but a manager or artist can be just as effective. Save yourself money, do your own press outreach.

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog, Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

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Ari Herstand Digital Music News


Spotify Responds: “We Have Not Been Hacked… Our User Records Are Secure”

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We’re awaiting comments from Spotify, though Newsweek is now reporting that the streaming music giant suffered a hack last week that compromised a number of accounts.  As of this (Wednesday) morning, the Newsweek report suggests Spotify suffered something limited in scope, and potentially over, with the publication identifying “over one thousand email addresses and passwords” in question.

Newsweek also identified nine individuals affected by the hack, which also included posting of user account emails (we’re not sure where).  Those emails were posted publicly on November 2nd, according to the report.

Spotify has flatly denied any breach.  “Spotify has not been hacked and our user records are secure,” the company responded.  “The compromised credentials come from a well known past leak on another service.

“Many people use the same credentials for multiple services and we urge anyone who thinks his or her information was compromised to change passwords. We regularly look for leaks on other services and match account names with our own so we can advise users to change passwords that may have been compromised.”


Image by St. Boniface’s Catholic College, Plymouth, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0)

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Paul Resnikoff Digital Music News


51% of UMG’s Digital Revenue Now Comes from Streaming

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Universal Music Publishing Group

Music streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and YouTube accounted for 51 percent of digital revenue in UMG’s third quarter.

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest recording label, has hit a major milestone and tipping point.  According to UMG’s parent company, Vivendi, Streaming royalties accounted for 51 percent of their digital recorded music revenue in Q3 2015.  Financial results issued on Tuesday (November 10th) showed streaming revenue amounted to €230 million ($ 248 million), which equals to 19% of total revenue and a hair over 25% of recorded music revenue.  

This makes streaming  a significant part of UMG’s overall business, and a majority of its digital business.

That’s a big moment, though overall, UMG’s revenue fell by 0.4 percent to €1.2 billion ($ 1.29 billion) at constant currency and constant perimeter, but rose 8 percent on a reported basis.  Additionally, UMG’s earnings during the period before income tax and amortization fell 24.5 percent to €114 million ($ 123 million), at constant currency and constant perimeter.

This 51% may ultimately be a step in the right direction for UMG, it undoubtedly casts a difficult light on the big label business model.   UMG obviously favors royalties from paid services like Apple Music and YouTube Red, as opposed to free, on-demand unlimited music from Spotify (which is heavily ad-supported).  On the radio side, UMG has also argued for a significant rate increase from Pandora and other statutory webcasters from 2016 to 2020.

For UMG’s nine-month period, more details were provided.  Total revenue across three-quarters rose 2.1 percent at constant currency and constant perimeter.  On a reported basis, revenue grew 12.8 percent to €3.5 billion ($ 3.77 billion).  Growth was driven by a 33% rise in streaming revenue and legal settlement income.

This growth in streaming has also helped publishing revenue rise 2.6 percent at constant currency and constant perimeter, with growth in other divisions over the nine month period as well.

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Charlotte Hassan Digital Music News


The Ghost Inside Involved in Fatal Highway Crash

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The Ghost Inside Involved in Fatal Highway Crash

Details are still beginning to trickle out, but it seems that California metalcore outfit the Ghost Inside have been involved in a fatal highway acident while travelling between Texas and Arizona. Although the band haven’t confirmed any of the specifics, reports have been swirling around social media and news websites. It seems that the accident took place on US 62/180, a highway near El Paso, TX. The band’s bus reportedly collided with an 18-wheeler. Reports suggest that the band members all survived, but the bus driver and truck driver both died. (Other reports suggest that the…

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Rolling Stone Magazine Slapped With $25 Million Defamation Lawsuit

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It was a gripping, gutsy story about the gang rape of a defenseless and drugged freshman at the University of Virginia.  The only problem is that it was totally false.

Now, Rolling Stone Magazine is facing another lawsuit related to that article, which was formally retracted after evidence clearly outed the story as fabricated.   University of Virginia fraternity Phi Kappa Psi has now filed for $ 25 million in defamation and other damages related to the story.  “The reputation that Phi Kappa Psi and its alumni spend decades building was destroyed overnight,” the suit reads.

“The formerly respected fraternity is now known colloquially in the University of Virginia community as ‘the rape frat.’”

In a nutshell, the Rolling Stone story alleged that a drunken freshman named ‘Jackie’ was led to a dark bedroom by Phi Kappa Psi fraternity members, slammed into a glass table that shattered, then gang-raped by seven individuals in the frat.  That well-woven tale was published in November of 2014, and led to protests, attacks, and harassment from enraged students and community members.

Charlottesville police found zero evidence to corroborate the attack, however, and serious questions soon surfaced about the report.  The Columbia School of Journalism published a scathing attack on the report, though Rolling Stone and the article author Sabrina Erdely doubled-down and stood by the report.

The $ 25 million suit complements individual lawsuits from UVA faculty and various fraternity members, with claimed damages well over $ 30 million.

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Paul Resnikoff Digital Music News


$66,000 Raised for Slain Eagles of Death Metal Crew Member

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Core members of the band Eagles of Death Metal all managed to escape the nightmarish bloodbath of Le Bataclan late Friday night in Paris.  Merchandising manager Nick Alexander was not so lucky.  “It is with huge sorrow that we can confirm that our beloved Nick lost his life at the Bataclan last night,” Alexander’s family stated the following day.

Over the weekend, a memorial fund for Alexander began, with funds quickly passing $ 65,000 by Monday evening (Parisian time).  The funds came from a relatively small group of 1,534 people over a two-day span, far outstripping the initial target was $ 25,000.

You can join the fundraising effort here.


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Paul Resnikoff Digital Music News


Brett Ratner Is Producing a Tetris Movie

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Brett Ratner Is Producing a Tetris Movie

Brett Ratner has spent his career directing relentless, high-octane action movies. But the question remains — how well can he handle extremely boring stories? We’ll soon find out, as Ratner and his producing partner James Packer are reportedly piecing together a film about Tetris with their RatPac Entertainment company. So far, Ratner is just on board as producer for the film about the life of Alexey Pajitnov, the game’s inventor. It also likely won’t be too boring — it’s not just a man drawing shapes and scanning them into a computer. Instead, the Tetris movie will…

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Neon Indian Announces More North American Dates

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Neon Indian Announces More North American Dates

It looks like calling Neon Indian’s hotline and asking him for more North American tour dates has worked, everybody, as the glossy dance-pop guy born Alan Palomo has announced another batch of shows supporting his recently delivered VEGA INTL. Night School. As previously reported, Neon Indian wrapped a fall North American tour over the weekend. The trip had hit Vancouver and Victoria along the way. While Palomo kicks off an Asian tour tomorrow (November 19), he’ll be back in North America for a New Year’s DJ gig in Chicago. Then his first gigs of 2016 take place in January, and he’ll be…

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The Wooden Sky Announce Holiday Revue Shows in Toronto and Ottawa

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The Wooden Sky Announce Holiday Revue Shows in Toronto and Ottawa

While they may spend their summers touring on two wheels, the Wooden Sky are now looking to continue their wintertime tradition of giving back to their community. The band have revealed plans for this year’s annual Holiday Revue in Toronto, as well as announcing an inaugural Ottawa edition of the event.   The Toronto show will take place on December 14 at 918 Bathurst, where the band will be joined by Dusted. It will also feature an array of specifically selected group of artists with goods for sale. Following that, Ottawa attendees will be treated to two nights of festive fun on December…

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Thao & the Get Down Stay Down Tease New Album, North American Tour

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Thao & the Get Down Stay Down Tease New Album, North American Tour

This coming February, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down’s 2013 album We the Common will be turning three years old. Not long after that, the band will return with a North American tour in support of a new album. The details of the forthcoming LP haven’t been confirmed yet, but songwriter Thao Nguyen and her band have shared a trailer containing a snippet of danceable indie rock and along with dynamic visuals that mix candid studio footage with Asian city scenes. The album is due out in spring 2016, and Nguyen confirmed on Facebook that they “just finished” the LP. Speaking of…

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