How To Spot Sharks As A Small Fish In A Big Pond…
How To Spot Sharks As A Small Fish In A Big Pond…October 13, 2016
We’re really excited here at Quite Great to be working with the charming and supremely talented, Corinna Jane. But she’s not just a music aficionado, she knows her stuff about the industry too, so we thought we’d share this informative (and amusing) blog she wrote about getting to grips with the big guys. If you haven’t listened to her material yet, then get on over to her website ASAP!
Corinna Jane: www.corinnajane.com
How To Spot Sharks As A Small Fish In A Big Pond…
By default as musicians, we let our heads reside firmly in the clouds; a place where we can venture to areas others dare not go, a place that provides a sanctuary for self exploration and imagination. Whilst these romantic qualities of an artist can be a gift to themselves and the rest of the world, they can equally expose their vulnerability and become the bait for those wanting to have a piece of what they consider to be elusive and special. As a singer-songwriter who has been working at my craft for quite some time, I can confirm the age old cliche – there are sharks in the industry. Sharks comes in various different shapes and sizes; some like to dress up in top hats and coattails, while others prefer to sport a knitted jumper and a pair of converses to make sure that they can tear down some walls by trying to relate to you in some way. Of course you are going to have sharks with various levels of professional status that usually fall under these three categories: the amateurs, the failed superstars and the business sharks. Let me introduce you to these three common sharks you need to be able to spot…
Barry the Open Mic Compere:
Barry has been hosting an open mic for a couple of years now and has become quite well known in his neck of the woods for regularly presenting an evening that allows acts of all ages to showcase their talents. We forgive him for the consistently tinny sound that emerges from his worn out speakers, as he still tries to navigate his way around a PA system, because in truth he’s a likeable guy. One night, Barry thinks he’s spotted a young diamond in the rough and
thinks it’s time to take his music credentials up a notch. As the night draws to a close, he decides in a flash of inspiration that he is going to give music management “a go”. Now bear in mind that if you find yourself talking to Barry, he’s in truth quite a nice chap, may even talk some sense, but his knowledge has probably been regurgitated straight out of one of those BBC 4 pop music documentaries that you’ve probably also watched. I’m not saying that Barry couldn’t
become the next Brian Epstein one day, but for now his guess is a good as yours. So for now save yourself from Del Boy Trotter’s management deal until he’s got something to show for it!
Jasper the Failed Rock Star:
Jasper spent his twenties as the frontman of the band that wrote those classics that never were who were practically as big as The Killers – YOU just didn’t know about them! Jasper laments that his band members were the ones to blame for their unprofessionalism (though he likely bullied them into submission) and that their record label (that by the way, doesn’t exist) just never really did anything for them. However, you just don’t realise what a musical “genius”
Jasper really is. In an attempt to salvage his ego and penetrate the music industry once more, Jasper has masterminded a foolproof way of enticing you into his web… his web of lies! He’ll paint you a picture of his life as a creative agent in his penthouse in Knightsbridge and tell you about that time he shared a pint with Chris Martin. He’ll brag all day long about the publishing deal with Sony that he apparently still has and how he has the ingredients to turn you into a star! Unfortunately for you, he is pretty convincing and will befriend you quite easily, because that’s what a sociopath knows how to do best. However, as the old saying goes if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. After a little research, you’ll find that in reality he is a jobless thirty-something still shacked up in his mummy’s cottage, play pretending to be music mogul of the year. Avoid.
Gary the Business Guy
Unlike our other examples, Gary has actually managed to build a reasonably successful empire, which can be backed up with a quick google search. However, Gary’s business dealings leave a little to be desired. Gary will contact you personally via Facebook and tell you without hesitation that he desperately wants to work with you, because you are of course the next “Taylor Swift” or “Ed Sheeran”. He will tell you of course that he is absolutely going to get you a record deal within a month and that you need to drop everything you’re doing to make this happen. Before you even had a chance to meet, he is likely to throw a contract your way that is written in such
gobbledygook that even a music lawyer proficient in gobbledygook will get a migraine. At closer inspection, it turns out that Gary wants to keep 50% of all your royalties for the next five albums you make and you’ve not even met him for a cup of coffee yet! So before you naively sign on that dotted line, kindly tell Gary where to go.
So what do you do?
In many ways finding the right people to work with in the music industry is much like dating. The more types you meet, the more you’re going to realise what you need and what authenticity
looks like. One day, you’ll meet the right people at the right time. These people will have the credentials, but won’t brag, they’ll be friendly and not slimy, whilst ultimately having your best
interests at heart. How do you achieve this? A good tip is to keep a good pair of “i’s” : initiative and intuition. If you use your initiative and work hard for yourself first, people will see that you
are a force to be reckoned with and think twice about pulling the wool over your eyes. However, even more importantly, you need to be intuitive. Simply put – listen to that gut, if it feels wrong, it is wrong. Always.