The Dark Side of the Music Business – 7 Things Every Fan Should Know
Everything is not always as it seems in the music business...
1. Everyone is Making Money, Other Than Your Favorite Artist
Despite the music never existing without your favorite artist, they're the last to get paid and that's not only because of the small royalty the major labels pay them.
The way their deal is structured means that all costs are recouped from their small royalty, meaning the label can make 100s of $millions, while your favorite artist has made next to nothing.
To make matters worse, everyone else around them is taking gross commissions - managers, business managers, lawyers, booking agents etc. - meaning they often lose money from things like touring, while everyone else is winning.
2. The Real Reason Your Favorite Artist Has Disappeared
Still, waiting for your favorite artist to release some new music?
There's a high probability they got signed to a major label deal, didn't make the label enough money, and now they're stuck in a long-term deal and unable to release any music.
It might be years before they're able to move on and by that point, they might be so jaded by the whole experience that they don't have the energy to continue.
3. Ticket Companies Take Money from You, Giving Nothing To Your Favorite Artist
You've probably seen those crazy extra fees being added to the ticket when you buy them online - often as much as 15-30% above the ticket price.
You might be able to just about stomach those fees when you're thinking that they benefit your favorite artist in some way.
4. Your Favorite Artist Didn't Win A Grammy Because Allegedly The Grammys are Rigged
You might be wondering why your favorite artist didn't win a Grammy, despite their work being so good.
It's long been said that the Grammy's are not judged fairly and it's even been alleged that they're rigged.
Major labels have a huge influence over the voting process and will lobby hard to make sure their artists get recognition.
This makes it incredibly difficult for independent artists to get recognition, no matter how good their music is.
Even certain artists who are signed to major labels don't win Grammys if their face doesn't fit, despite having undeniable success.
5. The Real Reason Why Your Favorite Artist Wasn't Chosen By Radio Stations
You've probably asked yourself why your favorite artist wasn't chosen by radio stations to have their songs played.
The truth is, radio has effectively been taken over by major labels and the power of money (AKA payola) means they are able to get airplay for their artists, while independent or grassroots artists never really stand a chance.
6. Your Favorite Artist Hasn't Released New Music Because They Didn't go Viral on TikTok
Your favorite artist hasn't been able to release new music because they didn't go viral on TikTok, social media platform that has become an important part of the music industry.
The major labels are now so obsessed with TikTok, that they're not allowing artists who are already hugely successful to release new music.
To illustrate this point, Halsey said in an interview that she “had to have a viral moment on TikTok before she could release music."
This statement is indicative of the pressure musicians are feeling to make sure their work gets seen by the right people, and the fact that going viral often seems like the only way for artists to get heard.
7. Your Favorite Artist is Suffering From The Illusion of Success of Others
The music business has long been one that uses smoke and mirrors to create an illusion of success.
Stories are often manipulated and falsified to create the perception that an artist got to where they are by chance, without revealing the great degree of support they had on the journey.
Further, supposed independently successful artists such as Russ who talk about 'doing it all alone', actually did it with a great deal of support from the big machine (the traditional music industry).
I have a vision for a fairer and more equitable partnership with artists, I talk about it in my first post on The Baker Say’s here: