Too often, in this industry, we hear about the frauds and scams that happen. We hear about the stories of alluring deals, imaginative promotions and fake label reps that take people's money, promise them all the glory of success and then skip town just to dupe another unsuspecting victim. This kind of activity has become so prevalent, that often-times it's difficult for genuine artists, business men and business women to be taken seriously at the first meeting. People have become inherently distrusting in this business; and everyone loses out on possible opportunities due to the blinding effect of bad business. What are the roots of bad business, and how can someone identify it? How can we present ourselves in a manner that does not depict or represent bad business without having to jump through hoops? Let's explore the causations of the problem.
While it is pretty easy to just blame everything on snakes and schemes; the world is not so black and white. The more accurate truth is that most people are well-intentioned, and the prospect of successful business is an alluring ideal for so many of us. The thought of working for yourself and being your own boss is something many people want, but are not well prepared for. Whether it is a question of work ethic, dedication to goals or a simple lack of clarity; the cycle of bad business is most times born out of one's desire to do something they are not fully equipped to execute.
The issue really becomes overbearing when it's a person or group of people who refuse to accept that they are ill-equipped, and continue making haphazard efforts to maintain an "image" of success for the general public. The concern for one's image has taken precedence over actual numbers and statistics. The public opinion and view has been more highly regarded than hard work and talent. It's become a whirlwind of delusional characters, and they are continually rewarded by their own peers instead of being held accountable to a standard and code of ethics. Without a standard, the music industry has become a wild west of opportunists, elitists, masterminds and an overload of thirsty artists going through great lengths just to be heard and seen by someone.
Education is most definitely fundamental in anything concerning business, and the music business is no exception. The music industry is filled with networking events and conferences; but it seems the majority of aspiring musicians and artists are still unprepared for the corporate experience, for the investor meeting or the study of analytics and metrics analysis for business growth.
An uninformed population is indeed a people without clarity; and this is why most indie labels whom are well-intentioned will fall by the wayside of the business. With the increasing amount of pressure now placed on artists to market themselves; and the massive amounts of artists now flooding the web; it's made it harder to stand out in the mix of hustlers and their fast talk.
Unfortunately, the hustlers usually make it past a certain point in business. They are able to hustle their way with promises and exaggerations; but at some point in time, their ability to execute AS PROMISED is what will separate them from genuine movers who rely on quality delivery of promised services and/or products. The success that they make all too visible is misguided, and their time is always limited to their ability to hold off the people from the truth about their operations.
Bad business creates an environment of mistrust; loss of opportunity; and it provides schemes a platform to continue the cycle. Standards, though not the favorite concept, creates an environment that demands accountability, creates trust through contracts and makes no accommodations for fraudulent activity, whether intentional or otherwise.
Without a standard, one will always have to question everyone; and the ladder to success will always rely on a few people who took the time out to take a chance. While that has, in the past, helped filter out the nonsense; it is now what cripples the growth of a worldwide industry.