Is paying someone for their music business contacts normal?

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by MJ Slaughter, Apr 21, 2015.

  1. MJ Slaughter

    MJ Slaughter Member

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    My sister's son is pretty talented, got the looks and personality, lots of experience performing in musicals, good voice and for the past year or so started writing some of his own songs. A singer songwriter friend of the family who has been in the business and still has his contacts offered to take him to Nashville for introductions, play some open mic nights and try to generate interest for my nephew. He wants $20k just for his time, take the nephew to Nashville and use of his contacts. Anything like demo recordings, travel expenses etc is extra. There are no promises and it's not a question if my sister trusts him but before turning over that kind of money she would like to know if this is unusual or a direction other artists take.

    This guy has said that he couldn't make my nephew a star but could get him in front of those who could give him a chance and help him with his music if things worked out. This family friend is well respected in the area among other musicians and one of his Nashville contacts is a fairly big name BMI songwriter. My understanding is if the trip was successful that my nephew would get more experience performing his music, record a demo and possibly build a band. All in the interest of promoting his singing and songwriting skills.

    So, presuming the money is not an issue, is this a waste of time, unusual, something others have done? I'm just not sure how to advise her since I've never been in that situation or presented with an opportunity like this.
     
  2. fezz parka

    fezz parka Member

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    He's no friend. Picking up his travel and and a per diem is reasonable, but a 20K fee is picking your pockets. A back-end deal is customary if signed, usually points on a record.
     
  3. Monts

    Monts Member

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    my nephew would get more experience performing his music, record a demo and possibly build a band. All in the interest of promoting his singing and songwriting skills

    This is what most of us just do on our own.

    20K??????????
     
  4. Tahitijack

    Tahitijack Member

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    what fezz parka said.

    And, do not sign or agree to anything without getting legal advice from an entertainment attorney.

    Reputable agencies take on talent without money up front from client. Even so, take their contract to an entertainment attorney.
     
  5. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    Anyone in show business who asks for money upfront and promises success is a shark.
     
  6. MJ Slaughter

    MJ Slaughter Member

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    Agreed but he told her up front that he can't promise anything at all.
     
  7. tiktok

    tiktok Supporting Member

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    $20k up front, but can't promise anything?

    [​IMG]
     
  8. loudboy

    loudboy Member

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    That's even worse...

    Run away from this guy, seriously.

    I was working with a young band, who's singer was the son of a good friend.

    I did a demo, and then their first CD for them.

    Some local shyster got a hold of them, sold them all this crap about taking them to work in a studio w/the guy who did "Fallout Boy" or whoever was hot that year, and then have it mastered by another famous guy.

    3 songs - $5K.

    His dad asked me what I thought - I told him to forget it, but they'd already signed the deal.

    The songs came out all wrong, because the guy mainly did R&B.

    They could have just called up the famous engineer and mastering guy - those guys are all very approachable and they need $. <g>

    To top it off, he stiffed them on the pressing. They were up all night before their release party, burning CDRs because this dick didn't deliver.

    It was strange - they almost had the complete "music biz" experience in about 18 months. From walking into a studio for the first time, to getting screwed and breaking up.
     
  9. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Silver Supporting Member

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    I agree with everyone else. My guess is you could give the kid $20K, have him walk into every studio or publishing house or hot live venue, meet "someone" and tell them he'll give THEM $20K to help him out... why pay the middle-man?
     
  10. dirk_benedict

    dirk_benedict Supporting Member

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    Seriously, if his songs/chops are any good...get him a youtube account and put some videos of him performing.

    Your singer-songwriter friend is being a huge dbag.
     
  11. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    I live in the middle of nowhere Canada and know several singer/songwriters firsthand who have fallen for this kind of scam. They all talk a big game, name drop like crazy and brag about all their impressive contacts.
     
  12. Hack Prophet

    Hack Prophet vile mighty wretched Silver Supporting Member

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    Sounds mad shady would not trust
     
  13. MJ Slaughter

    MJ Slaughter Member

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    I'd say it unanimous and backs up my initial feelings about this proposed arrangement. The kid is only 19 or 20 and has not had any band experience let alone performing original music in public so I just didn't understand why this guy thought this was the right first move. Well, there is the money.
     
  14. BMX

    BMX Supporting Member

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    Big time scam. What a dirt ball. He'd be better off spending the money on actual studio time, session musicians, pay to play shows etc. Also how many Nashville songwriters would turn down an email offer like "hi, I'm a young songwriter and will be in town for a couple of weeks. I would love for you to give me feedback on my work. I know your time is valuable, how about $250 for an hour?"
     
  15. BMX

    BMX Supporting Member

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    I was in a band that got taken by a similar type scam artist (against my advice). They had sent out a bunch of demos, one of which landed with a drummer/producer who played with a famous guitar player. He'd help them out if they came out to California and all they had to cover was the studio time...it was his studio and he was creating false hope when all he was really doing was booking his studio at probably a higher than normal rate.

    When people are young they think the problem is access to people in power in the music business. It isn't. My advice to young people is to just keep working on your craft- spend your energy there instead of trying to make connections. If you're good enough things will happen. The music business doesn't pluck people out of obscurity and put them on a national stage. 99 times out of 100 they take someone who's already successful regionally.
     
  16. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell Gold Supporting Member

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    unfortunately, this is not unusual.

    but, ethically & practically, it does not compute.

    so, well, like, uhhhhh..... who is this guy?
    if he has some kind of "standing", why does he have standing..... and, who can verify that for you, for real?
    who are these contacts?
    where is the list of this guy's contacts that are gonna be met, and in what time-frame where they will all be confirmed to be available?

    whom will your nephew def meet?
    which gigs will your nephew def play?
    when will your check def be cashed?

    just sounds like another nashville grifter, imo, unless & until there's much more information coming & some verifiable confidence built.
     
  17. Rod

    Rod Tone is Paramount Silver Supporting Member

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    Good advise by all. $20,000 . I can't stop laughing at this douchebag..... Quite a friend
     
  18. chrisr777

    chrisr777 Member

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    My son runs an open mike in L.A. and I'll tell you where for a mere $2500. I can absolutely get him a slot too.
     
  19. SammyTickler

    SammyTickler Active Member

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    Sounds likes something I would consult on.

    My suggestion is to hire someone with some business sense you trust who's objective and can flesh out this guy. If he's for real then it can written up, $ in escrow, negotiated to a back end, lower to 0 upfront, etc.

    My gut tells me that if he's for real, he has 0 confidence in the kid or his contacts and sees it as a crap shoot. Money up front might also mean he will bilk the family for more or a back end if it kicks. He wants it all his way, no risk, no investment. Danger Danger.
     

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