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10 Things I Hate About You... The Music Industry.

If you know you know. And what you know is that the music industry may just be up there as one of the hardest industries to be in. Not only is it a fully saturated market with ever-changing technology and income streams but it is also INFESTED with industry sharks that can catch you out at every turn. This isn't going to be your typical moan about things I cannot change but it will pretty much summarise why the industry can be so difficult and why, in theory, it is the literal make or absolute destruction of many artists and musicians.


1. Right Place, Right Time

How many times have you heard this saying about people who have made it in the music industry? I mean don't get me wrong I have no doubt about how much hard work they put in to get there but I've met so many talented, hard-working, dedicated people in my time, who are just as good, if not better than the top dogs in the industry but just in need of that break. Agreed it can sometimes be who you know not what you know, but the majority of these breaks are discovered by chance. Do I really want to put my entire future as a musician in the industry down to a matter of chance? I'd love to say that talent and persistence pays the bills but this isn't quite accurate and for the large majority of us it turns out that we are in fact here at the wrong place, at the wrong time.


2. Get a Real Job

The lack of support is REAL for musicians and artists. I think people underestimate the importance of music so when you inform people that your job is making music and they politely say 'Yes but what's your real job' I carry on to say this: Imagine driving in your car and there's nothing but silence, adverts on the tv but again just silence. You're out for a run... silence, in a bar or restaurant.. silence, and so on and so forth. What a bloody depressing life that would be and this proves it, music is important and so are the creators of it, and we shouldn't be made to feel so undervalued.


3. Pay to Play

The three words any musician hates to hear. It makes zero sense to me how venues and promotors can get away with this. The whole way in which music venues work is to book the acts at a cost to them, to then make their money from the punters. If venues are making money from the ticket sales and the drinks bought at the gigs then why in the hell do they think they deserve money from the bands that bring these customers in? And to add salt to the wound they come at you with the generous offer of exposure. Thank you sir but I don't think my landlord accepts exposure as payment, and last time I checked Tesco only accepts cards or cash.


4. The Social Media Takeover

Back in my day (I'm starting to sound like my mum here) it was all about the music. You'd play a gig to people for the first time and they would have to come up to you after to buy your four-track EP to listen to in the car on the ride home. Yes don't get me wrong we had socials so people could find us but this was mainly just to let people know where the next gig was. But in this new era of social media, music seems to have taken a bit of a backseat. It's now all about your online persona and how you interact with your audience on all platforms. Polls, sponsors, giveaways, and live streams - it's almost impossible to keep up. And as soon as you manage to learn the new trends, something new generates and you're back to square one. Yes, I know I'm sounding out of touch on this one but it's just the way it is.


5. Paid Promotion

This leads very nicely on from the last - the more money you begin with the further you will go, but what if we don't have this? It's a well-known fact that the more money, the better the content and assets you can make, and therefore the more likely you are to be seen. But to add this, we're now also talking about paid promotion, so not only is the content better but the funds behind the promotion are also higher. Therefore, the content has the ability to reach wider audiences and again have more chance of being noticed and valued, creating more money to fund more high-reach promotions. It's an upwards cycle but only if you have the original sum funds to start off and I'm pretty certain a lot of us musicians do not have this.


6. Jack of All Trades

The jack of all trades but the master of none, yet you are the master of one but it's not enough to keep you afloat. So many talented musicians have to widen their horizons across the industry because being a musician simply doesn't pay the bills. From teaching to writing, to engineering, to working behind bars - literally anything, to keep the music dream alive. And in the end, it always turns out that you're working triple the hours that any office job whilst earning half the money, but it's the only way you can continue to lead your other life as a musician.


7. Nothing's Original Anymore

Okay fair enough, this one is a bit of a matter of opinion, but genuinely I do feel like tracks are all beginning to sound the same. Now I know that this tends to happen with the charts, and there have been many situations where artists have been sueing other artists over the copyright of songs and melodies. But it does seem to be that all songs are morphing into each other and no one seems to bring anything new anymore. Could this really be the end of original music? Have we exhausted all possible scenarios of songs? And not only this, but in this day and age of sampling it seems even this is overused and whenever I hear the radio now it's just old songs remixed by new DJs and I'm not sure I feel the essence of originality from that. I don't know it's just an opinion and here's me hoping it's just a phase.


8. The Sharks

Yep, we've all heard of them, and well if you haven't then congratulations because they are rife within the industry. The online definition of a shark is 'a rapacious crafty person who takes advantage of others often through usury, extortion, or devious means'. Well, don't they just sound pleasant? As if it isn't hard enough, you also need to keep one eye open for these parasites looking to catch you into some sort of deal. The kind of deal that will see you working your ass off, only for it all to be taken from you leaving you with nothing. All I'm saying is watch your step, you don't want all your hard work to be completely destroyed by the likes of these.


9. Put On The Shelf

This is it, your big day of signing, you've been offered a record deal and all of your dreams are beginning to seem more reachable, and then boom you're on the shelf. And yes this happens more than you think. It turns out that it's becoming more and more rare for artists to receive any sort of long-term deal with record labels. This, I can only imagine, is because of the saturated industry, you get one chance, and if you don't hit the jackpot then that's it - you're dropped, and they're onto the next. So my message to record labels is to give us a chance, rome wasn't built in a day and all that.


10. Artists Make NO Money

There's the big one. And this goes out to all artists whether grassroots or arena-selling, they make very little money in music. The first example is in recorded music sales - everybody streams nowadays, and per stream an artist will make only 0.06p so my god you need a lot of streams before you're gonna be making any sort of proper money from it. Then onto live shows - even the big arena ones - once the record labels, the promotors, and the venues take their cut, minus the expenses, accommodation, travel, etc you are left with barely anything. They say that out of £50 per ticket for an arena tour, the artist will see on average £4 from each ticket - and that's if customers can afford them in the first place. So that just leaves us with merch sales and online influencing revenue and as we've previously mentioned this is a whole other thing.


Anyway, I hate to completely moan about the industry as I am in a sector of it myself but it's helpful to get the cons out there. It has its ups and downs and it's about being weary of the ever-so-changing parts of it. But all in all the music industry can be a glorious thing, and it brings us the music that makes our lives slightly sane. Like a cup of tea, music can be the answer to any mood so don't let our music industry crumble!

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