Everyone knows the Music Industry is cut throat. It is loaded with ego bruises and dissapointment around every turn. Whether you are a musician, producer or manager you will be promised opportunities, given offers and other things that will get your hopes up time and time again. Over the years I have watched many close friends get their hearts broken when a powerful member of the music industry told them they would do something and it didn’t actually happen. Whether you are The Killers or a local band I can tell you one thing that will ring true at any level of the industry, in any profession- for every five promises/oppurtunities one may come true! Follow me to the jump and I will explain more.
It happens all the time, someone tells you an A&R man is going to listen to your song, you are going to get put on this tour, this act is going to do a song with you etc. The music industry is abound with promises that never come true. It is not because everyone is full of sh*t, or people are fake or whatever cynical cliche you want to throw around. It is usually good natured and motivated by doing the same thing you are trying to do: succeed.
Someone who likes your band kind of knows an A&R man whose label you’d love to be on. This person wants to help you out of the kindness of their hearts and odds are they want to be cool… just like you! They want to be “The Man” and be the person running the show, just as you want to be “The Man” and have thousands of adoring fans. For some reason it doesn’t happen and you are left heart broken. There is no reason to be mad at the person who was going to try to help you or that A&R man. The person you should be mad at is yourself!
What you need to have to make it in this business is a full deck of cards in options. If you are waiting on one person to give you a big break you are dead in the water. For many reasons one person is not going to be enough to give you your break. It could be a number of things, they never even get your song, they don’t like your song, your song gets buried in the pile, etc. etc. There are far too many variables that can happen to make your song never be heard even if it really is the greatest song ever and will stun the person when they hear it. You need to spread yourself out or else you are in for a life of dissapointment.
What about when someone calls you up and says they can get you on this tour and they are the one in charge and they bail on you for another band? This person is just trying to do the same thing as you: the best thing for them. You can’t be mad if someone in power decides at the last minute they may have a better option they didn’t see before. This happens to huge bands everyday, it’s not about how good you are, it’s about how you wouldn’t care if you created better options for yourself. In fact this happens to huge bands so many times it no longer even phases them. By the time you are the biggest band in the world you have been passed over for so many tour, commercials, festivals, etc. it is second nature to doubt every offer you get.
What I am trying to get at here is if you sit around waiting for one person to listen to something you’ve lost the game. I get calls from labels everyday with prospective offers and about one out of five work out. There are a million people who do what I do and sometimes I am not the best option. It doesn’t even phase me since I see it all the time. I don’t sweat it since I always have something else to do, if one job falls through I have four more to fall back on. This is the same case for every band out there. The odds of the first A&R man who hears you being the one who “gets” your band is pretty low. Expand your options and never wait on anyone to give you a break and you will be 5 steps ahead of the crop.