Beware of Feeding the Music Industry Sharks

Some weeks it seems like upward progress in the music business happens effortlessly. New fans pour in by the dozen on all the social media fronts, the band confirms a high-profile show at a fantastic venue in a major market and the guy in charge of "Talent Acquisition" for a major label sends us the invitation to connect on LinkedIN.

Other weeks, the results come in for all the opportunities you submitted the EPK to in the previous month and when you check out the winners circle you suddenly realize that these outfits that are "ripe with opportunities" aren't even listening to your music because they obviously make their decisions based purely on social media numbers, as yours are crumbling around you because your FaceSpace page loses 3 likes for every one gained and this whole rock and roll pipe dream begins to feel a lot like carrying Frodo's unconscious body up the side of Mt. Doom and you begin to wonder what it was that you loved so much about.......all this.

For a long time I thought, "Man...If we can just get some of the industry suits to hear what we are doing, they will swoop in and give us a hand up." At any other time in history, that may have been plausible. However, our most recent attempt to "storm the castle" has made it perfectly clear that there is a dirty secret looming over the entire industry these days: You will find no shortage of these suits to "discover your band”, but they no longer have the power to boost bands to the titanic levels of the greats anymore, not even the folks that have been in the industry for years. Album and ticket sales are down across the board. It's so bad that industry VIP's are resorting to extortion just to maintain the lifestyles they've gotten used to. It has created a PANDEMIC of opportunistic parasites. Some parasites are better at disguising themselves than others, but there are some legitimate opportunities out there that just happen to cost money.

Last week on PLVNET Twitter, we got a message from some outfit that claimed to be able to boost the views and likes on our YouTube video by tweeting the link to a network of 150K twits for just $10. That sounds wonderful, right? Well, I took a look at the website these people were using for working these miracles. It wasn't the greatest looking site, but it was pretty clean and there were hundreds of different embedded links to all kinds of different YouTube Channels. I scrolled down the page and it didn't take long to see that NOT ONE of these videos had more than a single thumbs-up and most had zero. The only thing getting boosted by thousands per day was the wallet of some narcissistic jerk with a Domain name. So, I replied to the Twitter message and here is what I said:

They still haven't responded to my offer, but I'm hoping they can see the value in the opportunity we were offering. I can't help but feel like one of the first steps we can take to begin healing the broken music industry (besides only making honest music) is to burn all these venomous snakes out of the fields. Well, okay...we don't have to burn them, but if we, the musicians and aspiring artists of the world, stop throwing money at them, they will have to...oh, I don't know...get a REAL job or maybe try to create beautiful art for the world like we do.

In the same week we got an email that was "personally" inviting us to submit music to the USA Songwriting Competition. Now, this outfit may, for all intents and purposes, be a legitimate opportunity, but they wanted $35 for each song to be reviewed by their esteemed panel of judges that include A&R's for Warner Music, Universal and Sony Music. So, instead of submitting $35 and music, I submitted a counter offer that went like this:

I felt like my counter-offer was MORE than fair, but that evening this Karen person DID write me back to say, "Dear Jonas: Sorry, entry fees are needed to help defray the cost of the judging procedure, the Competition's clerical and tracking process."

Oh yeah, Lady??! Well, WHO THE HELL is gonna "defray" OUR costs of writing, recording, mastering and duplicating the songs (product(s) that we spent 100's or thousands of hours to create??!) You mean to tell me that these elite A&R's from all these "Major Labels" can't afford to pay us $1.29 per download but they WOULD be able to finance our career to the next level if we win your competition? The movie "Wayne's World" would have ended very differently if it had been made now as opposed to 20 years ago.

I may have insulted the purveyors of a legitimately large opportunity, but I doubt it.

Remember, Family, WE are the music makers, WE are the dreamers of dreams and WE are the ones sacrificing day in and day out to create something beautiful for the world despite the part where they don't really care or appreciate it. Lay siege to the music industry like you are the ones actually creating the "products" that the business relies on to stay afloat. Don't let them take your hard-earned money that you earn at a day-job to fund the love of your life because these parasites WILL drain your corpse if you allow them to.

Submit to all the FREE opportunities you can find. Plaster your work on EVERY corner of the internet that will allow it. There are still fairy godmothers (fathers) of the industry out there that still care more about the music and the craft than pillaging the little people and they will hear you. Stay strong friends and keep pushing onwards and upwards. If you've got what it takes and you know it, eventually you will become undeniable to the gatekeepers of the industry.

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Jonas Nathanimal Luttrell

Jonas Nathanimal Luttrell
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