5 Of the worst people you'll ever meet in the music industry
It’s no secret the music business is a nasty, cutthroat environment that will chew up and spit out those who aren’t careful. Like show business, the suck is just the nature of the beast. But for those brave (read: dumb) enough wanting to make a career in the music industry, there are several people you'll inevitably encounter and should be wary of even if they seem to be on your side.
Should you find yourself wanting to join the ranks of the music peons, we can only offer one piece of advice: Don’t quit your day job.
We’ll go ahead and get the obvious one out of the way first. It’s not just self-deprecation, either — it’s true music writers and bloggers are usually arrogant, elitist hipsters who feed on the hardships of struggling artists. If you’ve ever submitted a song to a music blog, you should know that it was probably either deleted without a listen or was laughed at through a straw of an overly priced latte. Whether in an interview, an album review, or a profile piece, a music writer is almost always concealing his/her true feeling about the subject under layers of ostentatious words, fleeting music knowledge and loads of utter bullshit. It’s the job of a music writer to observe and analyze every detail about a subject to make the shitty ones seem excellent and the excellent ones seem shitty. Don’t hold it against them though; music writers are often just bitter because they don’t get paid to live out their Almost Famous fantasy and have real issues no amount of fanfare will ever fix.
Rule number one when it comes to dealing with a manager, is to never leave your drink around them without a sitter. Not because they might go Cosby and drop something in it — though some might, who knows — but because they will drink your drink gone and ask you to get them another on the grounds that they’re “with the band.” Of course, managers aren’t all sleazy dirt bags, but most of them are definitely entitled jabronies who overestimate their contribution to the whole manager/artist relationship. This really hasn’t changed much over the years; managers have always been the gate keepers to the artist, hence why they feel a misplaced power to expect free drinks and tit-flashes as payment for backstage passes. To their credit, managers can be an integral go-between for an artist in terms of dealing with the press. Though this is dependent on the manager maintaining focus long enough to answer a fucking email or return a phone call. *glare*
What can be said about a record executive that hasn’t already been said about Donald Trump? They’re rich assholes with terrible taste who feed on crushed dreams and the almighty dollar. Record executives are arguably the worst people in the entire industry and can be held responsible for turning it into the Top 40 shit-show that it is today. Assuming they can stop snorting coke off their twenty-three-year-old girlfriend’s fake everythings long enough to actually make some deals, records executives are notorious for making it possible for people like Justin Bieber to have a career in music. For record execs, the bottom line always takes precedence over artistic integrity, creativity, and self-expression — you know, what music is supposed to be about. Ever wonder why you hear the same song twice an hour on the radio for months? Blame record executives and payola.
Club and concert promoters aren’t as terrible as they once were, but they’re still pretty bad. Promoters will do or say just about anything to get people in the door and make their nut. “Skrillex is definitely playing a surprise set after Taylor Swift gets off stage…” “Of course there’s gonna be hologram of Tupac … and Biggie … together! Thirty bucks to get in.” It’s not necessarily their fault; it is their job after all. But whether you’re an artist, a manager, or any schlub off the street, remember promoters don't care about you or your entertainment. They don’t care if people are into music. They don’t care if people are having fun. The only thing they care about is headcounts. If you want to see the worst of the worst, walk around the Vegas strip for an hour and see if you get more club fliers or prostitute cards.
Even if they are ultimately the life blood of the music industry, musicians should be approached with caution. Musicians aren’t like regular people. They are either wildly intelligent and incredibly talented (often resulting in a head the size of Hey Arnold's), or they are Neanderthals who have a hard time stringing together a coherent sentence (hence why managers are sometimes necessary). Much like animals, musicians are generally simple creatures with simple needs — food, sex, sleep, perform (then the cycle repeats) — thus they are usually harmless to be around, unlike their doofy handlers (managers). Though we have to give credit where it’s due: these people have some big, swinging metaphorical balls. It takes some serious gumption to forgo a “normal” life and a “normal” job to chase down a dream. Though the choice to pursue a career as a musician is often a misguided one (they’re called “starving artists” for a reason), it still deserves some admiration or respect at the very least.