Monday, 27 July 2015

'music Industry' IDIOTS, 'ARTIST DEVELOPMENT'

A while ago I received an email. Wait no, I should start at the beginning. 
My name is fairly irrelevant, I am a Singer, I trained at the Oldest Performing Arts School in the World. I have a First Class BA honours in Performing arts. I have a few years experience in the live music scene, where I have been writing and performing my own music. I was even lucky enough to get one of my songs on BBC Introducing. As I was eager to understand as much about this industry as possible, I took on an intern role at one of the top Music PR companies in London, who specialise in breaking new artists. I have also submerged myself in crowds of fellow musicians and their stories, learning and absorbing as much information as possible. Researching anything I was unsure of in whatever way I could.  Now, I have not got to where I would like to be on the ladder yet, but I am working at it. 
But, this blog is not about me, (it was just important you understand that I may be just like you, and what I have to say may just save you a couple of grand!! ££ !)
So back to my original statement... Today I received an email, out of the blue that went like this:
Dear -----,

Would you be interested to meet with our Artist Development Manager in Sheffield on Friday 10th April? We have 5 free slots available for artists who are interested in taking their music to the next level.

If you’re an act who is interested in making new recordings, promoting your music or raising funds for your artistic development, this is a fantastic opportunity. There will also be the chance for you to gain advice from top music industry professionals 

The hour-long sessions are being offered out on a first-come-first-served basis. Take a look at resoundmedia.co.uk to find out more about who we are and what we do. 

Please advise which sessions you could attend - 9:30 / 11:00 / 13:00 / 14:30 / 16:00 via email. 


Thanks, 
Jessica
Now, firstly, I am quite frankly insulted by this comment, 'slots available for artists who are interested in taking their music to the next level.' anyone who has studied English, communications or psychology, can instantly see what they've done there.. very clever.. So if I do not want this slot, I am not interested in taking my music to the next level, and therefore by proxy , not 'serious' about my career. This company is well aware that I am trying to make it as a musician, else they would not be emailing me. 
Secondly, the more disturbing part is that I did NOT contact them first, therefore we can only assume that it is someone's job to trawl the internet looking for young, impressionable musicians who look like they may be an easy target. I may be small, and blonde, and young looking, but that is hair dye and luck! I am actually not as young as the doormen on most bars think!
Anyway, I have had dealings with companies like this before (I'll get to that later) so I decided to cut right to the chase and replied with:
Hi Jessica,
Thankyou for your email. Can you please just let me know if at any point (should I be successful) you would require any money to change hands between myself and the company?

Kind regards

Needless to say I had not researched this company at this point, but could only assume that they wanted money. 
After receiving no immediate reply, and writing a quite long rant-y email in response on my phone, it turns out I replied again.. granted by accident, I had planned to spell check it first on my laptop.  Never the less, my follow up email went like this: (and this is the good bit)
Dear Jessica, 

Awaiting your reply, I took the liberty of checking out the resoundmedia.co.uk website at your suggestion and have come to he following conclusion.
I am concerned to see more companies such as yours popping up to deal in things like this. You are not the only company to approach me, essentially preying on the young, naive and fame desperate. It upsets me that companies, such as yours, exist.
I am in contact with songwriters who have written for the likes Leanne Rhymes, Leona Lewis, Rihanna and Littlemix. I am also in contact with managers of certain top ten artists, who shall remain nameless.  I am aware how PR companies work, as I used to work for one breaking new artists, and also know when they are required to be of any use. I have enough live experience to know how promoters work and how to get on tours with bigger artists. I am aware how it all works and also that I am not currently in a position where any legitimate label or managing company would touch me. 
It saddens me that companies such as yourselves (Resoundmedia.co.uk) , 'Downtown Artists', Soho and, I'm sure many more, prey on artists such as myself- People who you deem may be silly enough to have you 'develop' them for a fee, when in actual fact no one should be paying for a development deal with a manager or label. (If anything, advances come in the way of the artist not the other way around!)
I feel that when I was a naive 16year old, I may have been more likely prey to your company and an easier target, which in itself leads me to believe that everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves for taking advantage of young musicians. You should NOT be selling them advice that, in reality, they could find out on google and packaging it as a legitimate 'development' deal. Which we all know, it is not. 
A particular highlight of this for me, is you're 'Invitation' to little me, to go all the way up to Sheffield for your consideration. This tactic probably does make some feel 'special' or 'chosen' but again, I can assure you, all legit and good labels and management companies, have people banging down their doors to get them to even listen to a track, (unless the artist has been lucky enough to have been spotted by an A&R rep of course),  but again, if that was the case here- you would have seen my low number of Youtube subscribers and twitter followers and probably then reconsidered. 
I will pursue my career. I will have to spend money to do it, but I can assure you, the money I spend will be paying directly for services that I simply need and cannot do myself, such as recording/ studio time, mastering and use of reputable PR companies when I am ready. Not for a ridiculous middle man.
I shall however, spread the word for you and make sure everyone knows exactly what you are all about. 
Thanks ever-so for your consideration, and I eagerly await your response.
Kind regards,
Musician spending her money on real things rather than advice from people who don't know anything.

A little about http://resoundmedia.co.uk/  they are, from what I can gather, an 'Artist development company'. Their website offers a number of 'packages' under the bracket 'Sound consultancy'. Do check the website out for yourself for clarification, but it seems to me they offer a number of 'Services' (and I use that term loosely) ranging from £66 to £1,111.09. 
I went to meet with 'Downtown artists' when I was 16. I 'auditioned' for them, and needless to say the chap was surprised when I could actually sing.. this was the first warning light. (this isn't x-factor, legit studios and labels don't waste their time listening to bad singers on the day to day.) And surprise surprise, I was 'successful'. LUCKY ME! I got offered the chance to pay the company thousands and thousands of pounds to do a list of things that I could do myself, such as 'get gigs at London venues', 'record in studios'... :/ luckily for me I realised pretty sharpish that this was a load of rubbish and stepped very far away from the situation. Sadly for a younger girl I knew, her parents had been dubbed by this, and she had been put on their books as it were. She told me they didn't even provide the services that they offer. She told me they had got her maybe one or two gigs in the same dingy venue and that was it.
I have recently received an email from yet another company, who I can only assume are in the same business as these con artists.
Hi -----

I source talent for develop in association with ------------ on a
commercial basis and as the ------------- team have recommended you as
emerging talent and I have now listened to your music perhaps we can
arrange a date to meet when I'm next in ----------.

I work closely with established named producers in the UK and US and like
to work with real people who want to achieve success and  open up their
music to a global platform and we are very lucky to have a team of people
who are familiar with that global platform and can support you in making it
happen.

It is rather hectic for me now until August 14th as I'm travelling however
I will be back in ------- at the end of that week therefore perhaps we can
meet in -------- then.

In the meantime perhaps you would like to outline what you want to happen
with your music over the next 6-12 months and if would have 2-3 tracks
ready for development
.

Look forward to meeting soon.

Best wishes
(I have removed names and places as they are irrelevant. I couldn't help myself but to highlight a few key points here. 
bulls*** 1- established named producers    last I checked everyone has a name, and established just means working, so at this point I was being offered to work with a person with a name!! wow.  It's all very vague, and bearing in mind you can find 'established named producers on websites such as miloco, who will charge around 3-4grand in total per track, because they are great, I don't see how they can be offering this any cheaper, these top producer dudes don't do deals, because they don't have to. They have quite enough business and grammy's to just not, quite frankly. 
bulls*** 2- real people   AI hasn't reached the point that we mistake robots for humans yet so.... I mean.. what is a non 'real' person.. 
bulls*** 3- who want to achieve success gahhh this is that thing I mentioned before, the kind of language that makes you think, if you dont reply to the email then you CLEARLY don't want success... 
bulls*** 4- global platform umm the INTERNET???!!!??? 
bulls*** 5- 2-3 tracks ready for developmentA song becomes a track once it's recorded, so assuming you are also a songwriter, and have recorded your songs, they want to develop them? - one can only assume she has used the wrong terminology here or wants to help plug your tracks. (the job of a dedicated plugger or PR company) Or if she meant songs to develop, I'd be concerned straight off with this mistake, and then wonder what a team of brilliant songwriters are doing working on songs with unknowns for some measly fee. It just doesn't work like that.
So heres the response:
Hi Catherine, 
Thank you for your email. I cant seem to find a website for your company and I just wondered if you could summarise what exactly it is that you would be offering? Obviously depending on the outcome of the meeting.  For example, do you offer management services or are you a company who artists pay for your 'help' as it were. 

Kind regards,

--------------

Pretty clear question from me here. And watch how she dodges it:
​Hi -------
We are in the process of creating a new website as the business model has expanded in the last year. We offer the following services :
  • Management(Initial 3 month contracts)
  • Development Programmes - access to established producers/PR/Plunger's/image/Branding/Personal Development/Voice Coaching
  • Talent Development Programmes in association with Named Producers(Bespoke)
  • Agency- studios uk and US/Venues
  • Collaborations with DJ's/mixers
  • Music Videos and support with Crowd Funding promos. 
Perhaps you would like to call me and discuss what you're looking for and what the bigger picture looks like later tonight. I will be on calls for most of the evening however 7.45 looks good. My number is 07787 015 0XX.I usually drop in on the -------- to have the opportunity to hear and meet the artist however missed your slot so ----- suggested I get in touch.! Your ratings are looking great.
Speak soon.
Catherine


mmmm, I didn't get my answer, so I thought I'd go in head on:

And sorry, do you charge for these services?

Thanks, 



-----


As you can imagine, sales folk never want to answer that question, and even though Catherine's previous reply came back as soon as I had sent the email, this time I received no answer. 


CONCLUSION!----

The main reason I wrote this is because I am fed to F*** up of people pretending they know about the industry and can offer some 'inside scoop', some quick, easy way to start on the ladder half way up. Sadly if that's what your looking for, it just doesn't exist. If your lucky enough to get a legit top contract with a label, that could be gone over night. The market is weird and ever changing. But the last thing we need is a bunch of money grabbing amateurs, who may have some tiny mild link with someone remotely good in the industry, pretending they can do all this for you so long as you pay them a bunch of money.

If you are a musician with no money or a load of money, assess where you are at realistically and spend it on what you need most and I promise you, It will never (in my opinion) be the services from any of these companies.

you need songs?- get writing or co writing
your need recordings?- get in touch with some studios big or small, whichever suits you best
you need PR?- Go to a PR company!! :O yes, it really is that simple
you need gigs? - try a gig promoter, or a venue!
you want a plugger- find a plugger

all these things cost money, how much is up to you, but you never need to pay some one to find these thing for you. PLEASE BE WEARY.

If someone approaches you, great, if they want no money from you ever Perfect. If they do.. Then I would think very carefully about what they can do that you can't do yourself.

Basically any company that calls themselves an 'ARTIST DEVELOPMENT' company. Real development deals from labels are rare these days, I believe they were big in the 90's (??) but now they are extremely rare, but you do not pay for them. I don't know how to make it any clearer.

Don't be fooled by the language tricks they use, or the non-names they drop. I know a few multimillion selling song writers, and they cant get me in any more than some random off the street could. Be smart, be direct find out always, what they get out of the deal. If it is just your money.. then I'd run a mile!
Oh and a great question for them, and a fair one, 'Who have you broken?' If they are so good at their job, surely they must have one success in their history of the company? 





These are my personal opinions, and conclusions drawn from my dealings with these companies, but of course you are free to make your own judgements. 


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Final Artefact

video
Hey guys! Today saw the final parts of the course get finished! Presentation done! So thought I'd upload my final artefact for anyone who missed it. Hope you enjoy!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy new year and good bye coursework!

A couple of hours ago I sent my final artefact and my giant piece of writing off into the world, and I am terrified, I couldn't have done any more than I did, I know that, so I mean what ever happens happens, but at the same time if it doesn't work out as I hope it will...of course I'll be kicking myself wishing I'd done something else, something more to it, to make it better. Arghhhh anyway, there's nothing I can do now except get ready for this year and get cracking with it. I cant sit still and just wait for results. They are so many months away.  :S New year, new everything. Lets do it guys!!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas Cover

Hey guys,  I made this video as a Christmas card to a couple of very close friends of mine, I thought I's share it with you. I recorded the song for the advent calendar I've been part of this year. Hope you enjoy it :)
video

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Ave maria.

hi guys this is my christmas cover of ave maria... for you. Theres a 2 min linking story at the beginning but its the right video. xx check it out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeaLRjPNmQQ

Monday, 2 December 2013

UHOH! It's December!! CAMPUS SESSION NOV 21ST

I've seen a couple of blogs saying how quick time is going, I COMPLETELY AGREE. One of my songs has the lyrics "Time goes slow when you don't want it that way, time goes fast when you need it to stay", and I really believe it! When you're bored with nothing to do, don't you find yourself wishing the day away, but when its all happening and you need all the time you can get its practically gone in the time it takes for you to blink.

Last week I headed over to Hendon to drop off my library books and attend the campus session. Alan and paula were present, and we were looking at defining what is meant by the word support and success. What does it mean to support the arts? Does is mean providing finacial support or just going to see free shows when you can. In a way is support simply engagement. Supporting by just keeping it going.
Nice to see my friend Chiara has joined the course. As a fellow Conti girl I wish you all the best of luck with the course! :)

We then talked about the literature we read. When you read an article you need to check who wrote it because they can easily be written from biased opinions or be funded by a company with an agenda.
When you take a question and go through a process with it, you have to look at it from different angles in order to sort of break it down and find lots of different in depth meanings and answers. Perhaps a better way of phrasing that is just don't the question or its answer at face value.
It was suggested that you do not need to be academic to be a good dancer. Why is it that our professional vocational diploma courses are not enough?
Its true not all good dancers are good teachers but its also true that some of the dance teachers in schools are not good dancers. So why is it it enough that the bad dancer with the teaching qualification can teach in schools, but a good dancer, who went to a professional dance school, and has their ISTD teaching qualifications, would then also need to go back and get some sort of degree before they could teach.
My question, if we don’t need to be ‘academic’ to be good dancers, why do we not just train and then do teacher training why do we need to have the degree top up, is our vocational training just not seen as worthy?

The aim of the BAPP course is to try to get you to think through things more and to open your mind up to possibility. We were all given a list of words and asked to choose a few in groups and come up with a definition. 

We chose Rehearsal, Deconstruction, Argument and Communication. On the bits of paper we have brainstormed what words came to mind when trying to define it and then a short definition at the bottom of the page.

I thought breaking these words down was pretty interesting as I realised that we use these words everyday without having a clear definition of what each one means.

If we were to apply the same process to questions given to us on a regular basis we'd find that the possible answers are much greater.

I've added some pictures, so If you missed the campus session you can have a look at what we were doing. We also filmed our definitions and there's a link for that below :)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWrJiNV7aMs


Followers