Tips to Avoid Scams in the Music Industry
When you think about being robbed, you might imagine a desperate person stealing your wallet at gunpoint. But, as a music artist, you’re more likely to be robbed in a less violent—but more violating—way.
Just like you hope to make a real income from music sharing sites like Spotify, some people make their money with music industry scams. They’ll trick people like you into sending them money or resources with no intention to give you anything in return.
Don’t fall into a trap. Whether it’s because you don’t want to deal with the embarrassment or because you just can’t afford it, you need to know how to avoid scams in the music industry.
Recognize the warning signs.
Like any good salesperson, scammers have strategies. While it works for them, it can also help you identify the red flags. Scammers will:
- push you to meet imaginary or arbitrary deadlines
- tell a story packed with buzzwords that lack real information
- manipulate you with guilt-tripping, making you think you missed an opportunity
- try to convince you that what they have to offer is a “one-time” deal or highly sought after
- drop big names in the industry with no real proof
Know who you’re talking to.
Even if those warning signs aren’t present, that doesn’t mean you should trust everyone you talk to. If you want to avoid scams, one of the best things you can do is think hard about who you’re talking to.
Did you meet this person through a reliable mutual friend or a coworker you hardly know? Did you meet them online through social media?
If there aren’t any solid connections, be wary.
And know that it’s a huge red flag if they ask you to send money before you know:
- all their contact information, including email and phone number
- their real full name
- their affiliated businesses
- the details of the deal (and if there’s a contract)
Do a “background check.”
If you haven’t gotten the gist yet, the trick to not getting scammed is not trusting anyone. Once you’re in contact with someone who seems legit, check their references.
The music industry is fairly small, so you can probably find some information on this person if you call around. You should also reach out to people via social media. Cross-reference the potential scammers’ Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
If you’re considering hiring services from a service like Musicvertising, read their reviews and testimonials or check their rating on the Better Business Bureau’s website. You can also do a Google search with their name and “scam” in the search.
If you get feedback from reputable sources that you should watch out for or they don’t recognize the name, it’s a red flag. But, getting good news on this step isn’t necessarily a green flag, either.
Some people work for reputable labels and run scams on the side. And if you follow our advice, you can protect yourself from these people, too.
Write, read, and sign contracts.
A contract isn’t always necessary, especially if you’re dealing with people you know you regularly do business with or if you’re not at risk of losing anything.
But that’s not usually the case. So, ask for a contract. If the scammer gets uncomfortable, shifty, or tries to convince you not to sign a contract, that’s a red flag.
At the very least, get everything in writing. An email trail with dates and times will hold up in court a lot better than a phone call no one recorded.
Be careful where you send your money and personal info.
Just like having a paper trail of your agreement, you’ll want to have a paper trail for your money, too.
If someone requests you send an odd amount (like $299) via a wire transfer that requires only a password, that’s a red flag. Anyone can redeem that money with that password. The same goes for an unverified Venmo or PayPal account—and cash.
And, if you want to avoid scams, don’t go around giving out your personal information to people you don’t know either, like your:
- full name
- home address
- bank account RTN and ATN
- credit card information
Copyright your music.
One common issue that plagues the music industry is when an artist shares their work without copyrighting it. Without copyrights, you can’t prove that you helped write or produce a song. So, if your “friend” decides they don’t want to share, you’re out of luck.
Protect yourself by copyrighting your work before collaborating with anyone. You can hire a lawyer to help you navigate the process, or you can register your work here.
If you want to avoid scams, never trust that someone’s word will hold up if you don’t have proof—even if you think you can trust them. Whether you call it pessimism or realism, this outlook will protect you.
If you’ve completed all the steps above, good job—you might have a real opportunity in front of you. But it’s not time to let your guard down.
Before you decide to work with a producer, label, or any business other than Spotify, you need to be skeptical. Even if the business is legit, the deal might not have your interests in mind.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does it sound too good to be true?
- If the service is free, how does the business make its money?
- Do you need to forfeit the rights to your music?
- Do you know the terms and conditions? What are they exactly?
- Do they take a cut from you? How much is it?
- If they’re charging you money, is the price tag in line with competitors?
The truth is, you can make real money on music streaming platforms like Spotify without signing to a label or ever paying for services like Musicvertising’s playlist placement. But it’s also true that the right deal at the right time can help you boost your music career.
The real test is knowing how to tell the difference between a scam and a legit opportunity.
Use Sites You Can Trust, Like Musicvertising
If you want to avoid scams in the music industry, but you’re still interested in boosting your music career with services like YouTube Promotion and Spotify Playlist Placement, choose a reputable site with positive reviews like Musicvertising.
At Musicvertising, we even offer a 30-day money-back guarantee on your first purchase. And, if you have questions or concerns, Musicvertising’s customer service representatives are easily reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final Thoughts: The Best Way to Avoid Scams in the Music Industry
As you can see, the best way that you can avoid scams in the music industry is with:
- common sense
- a healthy dose of skepticism
- preliminary research
If you see even one of the red flags mentioned in this article when dealing with a new potential partner, get out of that deal. Any red flags are a sign that there are more to come. And, if you’re a small artist struggling to make it in the industry, you can’t afford to be scammed.
Music industry scammers target artists like you with bait that sounds nice but disappears the minute you send your cash. So, be careful out there!