5 Secrets of the Music Industry

Checkout this article on “5 Secrets the Music Industry doesn’t want you to know for aspiring artists”

Q-Tip said it back in 1991, “Industry Rule # 4080/ record company people are shady!” – A Tribe Called Quest, Check The Rhime (Throwback Video below)

Starting in the early days of the music business with Blues and Rock & Roll, payola was once the most popular underhand practice. Record companies and managers would bribe radio DJ’s to give their artists radio play.  Although illegal, this practice has never stopped and continues to be used in 2011, albeit in more subtle forms.  With the rise in new technology and the dominance of the internet threatening the music industry’s outdated business model, new “questionable” tactics have been developed to help labels stay afloat.  Here are 5 secrets the music industry doesn’t want you to know!  Check the full list after the jump.

spotted: SHHPR

1. Views, Likes, and Followers

Have you ever checked out a YouTube video only because it had a lot of views and you were curious to see why?  Are you more likely to follow an artist on Twitter who has 324,687 followers rather than one who has 54?  Are you the type of person to be first to “Like” an artist on Facebook or would you check to see that this artist already has a lot of “Likes” before you join in?  While you may think that looking at numbers is a foolish way to evaluate an artist’s worth, millions around the world feel otherwise.  Sad as it may be, high numbers often propel artists to celebrity status.  Young and impressionable minds, which the industry targets since they’re the largest consumer base, often assume that if a video has millions of views, it must be good.  And even if they don’t really like the video, they support it anyway because everyone else seems to.  But here’s the dirty secret: YouTube views, Facebook “Likes”, and Twitter followers can be bought for a moderate fee. There are now dozens of companies who specialize in increasing numbers.  Some companies use special technology to achieve their goals while others claim to be able to get thousands of “real” followers.  If that weren’t crazy enough, “positive” YouTube comments supposedly written by real people can also be purchased!  This kind of practice is deceptive and makes it difficult for aspiring artists who have to compete against those who have the means to purchase the services.

2. Buying the # 1 Spot

Once YouTube Views, Facebook “Likes”, and Twitter followers have been bought, it’s time for the label to really go all out and buy thousands of CD’s and downloads to help the artist get to # 1 within the first couple of weeks of release.  Since sales have been declining due to free and illegal downloads, it’s become more and more challenging for artists to hit the top of the charts.  This is why some labels are buying their own products (often with the artist’s money), in hope that achieving # 1 will generate publicity and result in more sales and touring opportunities.  The idea is that the average fan is more likely to support an artist who appears to have a large following. It’s all about image and perception, and for today’s mainstream music fan, this counts more than talent.

3. Professional Reviewers

Ever read customer reviews on Amazon or iTunes?  Some are brief, misspelled, and poorly thought out while others are thorough and clearly expressed, almost as if a “professional” had written it.  Shockingly, that’s exactly what’s happening!  Writers are paid to act like customers and write positive reviews.  Sometimes, these writers are simply part of the artist’s team, other times, they’re professional writers who get hired from popular classified sites such as craigslist for their review services.  Companies have gotten in trouble for this kind of practice but this hasn’t stopped it from happening.

4. Wardrobe Malfunctions, Nude Pics, and Sex Videos

Every week, there seems to be another naked celebrity on popular blog sites such as MediaTakeout or WorldStarHipHop: Nicki Minaj and Kelly Rowland’s wardrobe malfunctions a couple of days apart from each other, Rhianna’s explicit pics popping up regularly.  Sure, one could claim that these “indecent exposures” are just accidents or that intimate pictures and videos are leaked by spiteful exes and hackers.  If so, why does it keep happening every week?  If celebrities are truly as appalled and embarrassed as they claim to be when their naked bodies are leaked for the world to see, why do they keep such pictures and videos of themselves on their phones and computers if it’s that risky?  Why do artists continue to perform in outfits that barely cover them up and then act shocked when their breasts pop out?  Truth is, most of these incidents are planned by the artists and their team for publicity.  As soon as the pictures or videos are leaked, hundreds of blogs and sites repost them right away.  Millions of Facebook and Twitter users repost them as well.  In a matter of 24 to 48 hours, that artist is Googled millions of times which causes their name to “Trend” online or on Twitter and increases their search ranking.  For the artist, this is an amazing free promotional tool that would otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in marketing.  All it takes is a little nudity and the public becomes their street team, their sales increase, the gossip sites have new content that drives traffic to them, and everyone’s happy…except for real artists with real talent who can’t get the same “free” promotion because they’re more interested in making music than showing their bodies…

5. Fake Beef, Phony Stories, and Controversy

Replace wardrobe issues, nude pics, and sex videos with fake beef, phony stories, and controversy and the result is the same: FREE PUBLICITY.  Did Soulja Boy buy himself a $55 million jet for his 21st birthday?  Is 36 year old (William Roberts) aka Ricky Rozay really beefing with 20 year old Kreayshawn?  Did Wayne really take shots at Jay Z?  When an artist, or an assistant pretending to be them, tweets something weird, crazy, unusual, or controversial, they know that it’ll spread in a matter of hours and eventually make the top blogs and gossip sites who welcome this kind of foolishness.  And again, everyone seems to get something out of it.  There was a time when this type of nonsense would have hurt an artist’s career.  Now, it sustains it…and that’s pitiful.

There are many more industry secrets.  Some of the ones discussed here are well documented.  We all know that alot of you are sharp enough to see through the hype and don’t need anyone to fill you in on what’s going on behind closed doors.  As well, we know that quite a few artists become successful without using these tactics.

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