How to Avoid Music Publishing Scams

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If you are an inspiring musician or songwriter, you have probably seen ads claiming to make you a star… for a fee. The truth is that making your way into the music industry is difficult, and many scammers have taken created what seems to be the perfect break-in opportunity. If you have doubts whether an opportunity is legitimate, there are red flags to look out for.

1. Be skeptical if you are contacted directly. There are lots of great artists out there who are sending demos and working hard to get a label or agent to notice them. If the only thing you have done is put some samples on your MySpace page and still receive a letter from an “agent,” be suspicious. Pay attention to the wording of the letter or email and look for specific details, such as names of songs, that show the person is talking about you, rather than sending out a mass email.

2. Be wary of ads promising you a music career if you pay them.
Nobody can guarantee success, not matter how talented you are.
Legitimate companies will evaluate your work and only offer you a contract after you have proven you are good. This means you shouldn’t have to pay before you are evaluated.

3. Use resources like The Industry Yellow Pages over at to find and research recording studios before you step in and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting for your money. References are especially important, as they show that the company has had satisfied customers in the past. If you are given references, contact these people directly, but also look online to whether they have any real presence in the music industry.

4. Use companies such as Taxi, CD Baby or Ty Cohen’s Music Marketing Extreme Program to promote your work. CD Baby will allow you to sell your already-produced CDs and help you reach potential record companies through their website. Taxi will guide you through the whole process, including forwarding your work to companies, critiques and both online and direct listings and Ty Cohen’s Music Marketing Extreme program will get you mass visibility online on a global scale. All three resources offer tips and organize free conferences to help aspiring musicians.

Don’t assume that paying for something equals scam. In fact, aspiring musicians often shell out money to pay for studios to record demos or produce their own CDs. This is acceptable as long as you know what you’re getting.


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