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Industry Schmindustry

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One of the bugbears within the music industry is that many who work within it’s auspices don’t actually understand terribly well how it functions. More people than you would imagine are there purely because they’ve lucked/bullshitted/shagged their way in, and smuggled through the door a bucketful of the misconceptions and fundamental misunderstandings that exist in that outside world which eyes the music business with awe and envy. Common misconceptions that are understandable if they’re in the minds of fans because after all it is an industry based on hyperbole and the sale of ideas (“Between the truth and the myth, always print the myth” – Anthony Wilson), but for someone who is supposed to be on the other side of the fence corrective education in these matters needs to be swift. I love the scene in the film Rock Star, where every one of Mark Wahlberg’s character’s lifelong rock n roll clichéd ideals is shattered in an instant by Jason Flemyng’s gay, stone cold sober “rock star” in a hair metal wig.

Traditionally, musicians tend to start their careers in a somewhat deluded position (although ironically tend to wise up about the true natures of the beast fairly quickly) but it is more frustrating when the people at the back end don’t know what the hell they’re doing there. For instance, I recently heard of a ludicrous piece of green-lighting. The Tour Manager – on any tour, arguably the most responsible job, the lynchpin if you will – of a major-label signed rising British R&B (to use the modern vernacular) artist embarking on a high profile European tour to support a huge American R&B star… You would imagine for such an undertaking the TM would be seasoned road crew…… no….? Maybe an experienced sound engineer who has stepped up to management? Ok, then, perhaps an events bod from the label? Again, no. A week before the commencement of said European tour (where he subsequently went on to cause havoc with his inexperience) this tour manager worked for Phones4U, flogging Nokias. But the thing that got him the job, the special quality which other young mobile communications salespersons lacked was…. He happened to be the artist in questions best mate. Good for him.

One of the consistent topics of bamboozlement is the world of publishing. Having oft and long been a source of confusion to many, poor understanding of the mechanics of publishing has lead to a litany of terrible deals (usually whereby the artists/writers/composers have lost out substantially) often through unscrupulous exploitation, but sometimes not maliciously – just through ignorance and misunderstanding. This is why generally speaking, music lawyers are one of the only groups of people in the industry still consistently making good money. One music lawyer of note is Donald Passman, whose book All You Need To Know About The Music Industry is absolutely vital for anybody working with music, or eyeing up a career in the industry.

 

And so, for our sins, we have now fully entered this realm – our music publishing wing HOTTWERK MUSIC is up and running, with most of our back catalogue signed up already.

Further tales of interest from the wonderful world of publishing soon….

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