Besides having talent, the single most important thing you could wrap your head around in the music industry is the business side. I'm speaking from experience when I say that no one is going to watch your back but YOU! You have heard the phrase, "Knowledge is power"? Arming yourself with the basic foundation of how the industry revolves, and how to protect your product is key. I say "product" because let's face it, that's what we are. We spend countless hours honing our craft, standing on every platform we can find shouting "Look at me!", while trying to find that back door into the spotlight, then we have to find that edge over all the millions of other very talented artists doing the exact same thing, and it's important to understand that along the way you'll encounter what I like to call.....PREDATORS!
Like any business, you will encounter those that do not want you to succeed. They may see you doing something you love, AND making money at it, or perhaps jealousy has reared it's ugly head and deep down they realize they do not have your drive and determination, and will do whatever they can to throw you off track. Honestly, this is where you'll need to dig deep and stay true and on course with your goals for your career. I personally have always taken the stance that we must support others, share their music, talk about what they're doing, and support their dream as well, and if you think about it, if you are supporting THEM, they will support YOU!
There are many ways in which a Predator in this industry may try to push you off course. If you're a Songwriter, be careful about who you share your music with. I personally have a select group of industry people I will bounce new music off of, and I learned this the hard way having a song stolen from me. Fortunately with the CDbaby Legal team and ASCAP behind me, I was able to recover my song. This brings me to another point, please, copyright your material asap. If I hadn't copyrighted my song, I would not have been able to prove the copyright infringement had taken place.
While it's great that as your career grows you will find a bigger web presence surrounding your music, I have found that it also brings out the unscrupulous as well. I have found websites selling my music for triple the price I do, my cell number listed along with my email address, (which explained why I was getting very strange voice mails), and a record label claiming I was signed to them. WHAT? This particular label even had the balls to link their site to mine. Fortunately, most of these "low lifes" will back off once you threaten legal action, so I would recommend a music industry attorney. I have a great one! Google yourself!- find out what you're being linked to out there!
Lastly, keep in mind that since you are putting yourself out there in a very big way with the Internet being a very powerful tool, you will encounter the weirdos too. I've gotten the obscene, right down to a guy that wanted to buy my shoes. This one got a little crazy, as it came into my Facebook messages, and although I blocked him, he would simply create a new profile and message me again. As of now he has stopped, but my point is that some people have nothing better to do, and see your high profile image and need to feel important. Ignore these messages, and NEVER respond publicly to these people. My experience has been that if they don't see you squirm they've got nothing! Ignore the idiots. You wanted your name and music out there right?
I could type forever with stories like above, but my point is this, we do what we do because we love it right? We want the world to know who we are, appreciate our gift of music, and be acknowledged and a force to be reckoned with, but do it smart. Arm yourself with as much information as possible.
I hope this helps everyone in some way.
Until next time!