A friend of mine recently resigned from a major music company- nothing really earth-shatteringly surprising as those days when working for one of the majors or an indie or a minor or even a mynah bird was considered a passport to “coolness”.

Yes, people, once upon a CD, working for a music company was a close second to being with MTV when Tom Freston ran the music channel and dumbass VJs like the name-dropping Danny McGill in Asia were treated like Rock stars.


It was one of the coolest jobs in the world- hanging out with Rock stars, flying around the world, staying in five-star hotels, getting paid very well for doing bugger all, getting laid by coming up with the right lines, more lines, lines, and lines…and vapid characters like McGill and those coked out female VJs.


Today, both are completely irrelevant and down such a big hole, there’s no way either can dig themselves out of the giant abyss they’ve created for themselves- and things will get worse before they might get better as music fans are finding out more and more how utterly useless both are whereas artists wish to keep away from being put in the same basket and face the same backlash.


My friend’s decision to leave the music company had to do with what those in the industry know are the stifling politics rampant in the organization- wrong people in the wrong positions and the wrong hires in positions where, previously, a music executive could bring about change and take an artist’s career further. But those were the days of music legends like Chris Blackwell, Jac Holzman, the Ertegun brothers, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, Berry Gordy Jr…



Without going through in detail how corrupt and totally fucked up this particular company is, bear this in mind: The age-old problem, not known to many, who sign publishing deals with a major music publishing house thinking this is cause for becoming Kool And The Gang and bursting into Celebration.

Think that signing your songs to a Warner-Chappell, an EMI Publishing etc will mean a team ready to MARKET your music and have a strategy in place to have this music covered by as many artists as possible so that you, the songwriter, is rewarded financially through royalties on sales? Think again.

What you sign is purely an administration deal. Your songs just sit there gathering dust. Why?

More proof that music companies comprise glorified sales and promo people with no bona fide marketing people and zero creativity in all those “Vice President” titles handed out and which are as meaningless as Music Matters conferences and Bob Lefsetz blogs.


Having a “music publishing deal” only means safe-guarding your copyright and having someone handle your paperwork- but it’s YOU who has to go out and market your songs. And if one or more of these are covered and become hits, well, the music publishing company vultures surface to take their percentage.


In many ways, it’s exactly the same as being signed to music company as a recording artist.

It sounds good, but, in reality, then what?

Unless YOU make it happen for yourself, your music is on a shelf gathering dust despite supposedly having a “worldwide deal”.

I am, for example, a huge fan of the band The Struts.

Everywhere and any time I can, I introduce the band to everyone I know who loves their music.

How many music executives with their label- Mercury Records, part of Universal Music- has heard The Struts? Not many.

And when these executives are in charge of different markets around the world, how far will the music of this very good band travel? Not very far at all.



When in Denmark, I thought all those very good Danish bands being signed to “worldwide recording deals” by Sony Denmark- but with their music unreleased in almost every market- was “unique” to that country. It’s not.

It’s rampant throughout the music world and just more proof that signing those contracts with music companies might sound good, but forget about hearing the sound of ka-ching.

For that to happen- the sound of ka-ching- you still need to be the master of your own destiny. If and when you hit it big, Shylock will show up to claim their pound of flesh.


Music companies: Who needs them? Certainly not musicians. Go start your own- and own everything.

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