When people ask us “How do I sell music on iTunes?” one of the first pieces of advice we can offer is simply: do not get scammed. The music business, unfortunately, has attracted shady businessmen for centuries. You have got to be watching your back if you want to get ahead.
How do you tell reputable partners from the rest? We have four signs to help you out.
Selling Music Online:
Four Red Flags To Avoid
1. Signing away your rights
Many of the major labels try to take control of your IP rights when you sign with them and, well, that particular trade-off is up to you. However, anyone who is not a major label should never, ever be allowed to claim rights over your intellectual property.
It’s a devil’s bargain to begin with, and there’s no reason whatsoever to enter into it unless you’re dealing with a label that has a lot of marketing power behind it.
2. Form letters
“Hi, (band name), we just heard your track “(track)” and we love it! Contact us back for more information!”
Sound familiar? Scrupulous managers and promoters will contact you personally with an email that was clearly written by a real human. If it looks like a form letter sent by a bot, it probably is, and that means the sender is likely not on the level.
3. Substantial money up-front
It’s perfectly reasonable for an online music distribution platform to ask a small fee for his or her services, but beware of anyone asking for real money up-front. If it’s more than you’d spend for a nice dinner out, be very careful.
Just like in the self-publishing book industry, there are plenty of vanity labels that are happy to take all your money without offering any guarantees.
4. Fake Battles of The Bands
Promoters love to get free performances out of bands, and it’s sadly common to create fake “competitions” with no actual prizes just to try and mooch live acts. You may even find yourself on the hook for additional expenses, such as pricey plane and hotel tickets, if you do manage to “win” such a contest.