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Can You Handle The Truth?
by Kenny Love - December 2000


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The famed television series, "The X-Files," began its purveyance of a unique thematic element almost 10 years ago. And, ever since, there have been ongoing copycat films that incorporate it as well. So, what's this "oft-copycated incorporated purveyance?"

'Truth'...plain and simple, and the search for it thereof. Not candy-coated...not sugar-sprinkled...not even iced and diced, but just presented as plain old vanilla.

This idea of searching for the truth in these times, is an idea that many, if not most, of us could stand a much stronger dose of...especially, in the Arts and Ent. fields, which seem to have so very little, if any. In other words, in this instance, Life would do well to imitate Art.

With all the history of the entertainment industry, most of us have, at least, heard of one rip-off, or another, whether in music, film, theatre, writing, or any other number of facets within the industry. Yet, in all our experiences, firsthand as well as learning 'on the fly' from others, we seem to still prefer to hear (and accept) what "sounds" best for our own self-serving interests.

Take the case of musicians and their acceptance (or lack of) the "real" working mechanics of the music industry. Following are several realistic truths that musicians will (hopefully) learn to accept, sooner or later. Now, I didn't create, nor establish, these truths, so don't blame me for their existence. I simply wish to present them so that you fully understand the thinking, and what "truthfully" goes on behind the scenes of your music careers.

Truth #1: If you are over the age of 26, and are just now trying to break into any one of several high-profit money-making music genres, understand that you are going to experience one hell of a time getting in the traditional door of getting signed to a label. Why?

Record labels know that the 15-25-year-olds buy the most music and, therefore, the labels spend most of their efforts and finances courting this particular market. All other genres will take the proverbial back seat, or better yet, should *definitely* self-release their recordings. In fact, self-releasing is, practically, their only option. Thankfully, today, it is affordable.

Truth #2: If your music falls within any category, other than any one of the high priority commercial money- making, mega-platinum-selling genres, don't expect it to make million$ and stay in the Top 10 of any commercially-driven chart for 10 weeks. In fact, it will be lucky to even crack the chart at the bottom position. You can blame this on a fickle, young, ever-hungry for a new "fix" young market.

Truth #3: If you fail to provide money for promotion of your recording, all of the word-of-mouth and freebie web sites in the world won't bring you worldwide success you are seeking. Just as you needed $ for recording, whether for studios, your own equipment, mastering and manufacturing, so shall you need $ for its promotion, even if only for mailing costs.

It always astounds me, especially today, the number of musicians I still encounter whose expectations are to receive results and responses to their product comparable to their well-funded counterparts, without the sacrifice of one dime in their promotion.

Truth #4: Gigs: If you continue to operate, as in the past, whereby, you do not cover yourself, legally and financially, through a formal written agreement as well as demanding a deposit for your performances upfront, understand that you are courting imminent financial disaster, and will always be at risk for not getting paid for any given performance afterward.

All of the above points are, whether accepted or rejected, shall remain...'truth'. And, in order for artists to begin and sustain their careers on more successful foundations, acceptance of these basic truths takes immediate precedence. Otherwise, artists are, assuredly, doomed to flowing with the ebbs and tides of a negative and ever-circling career whirlpool.

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Kenny Love has worked within several aspects of the commercial music industry, including national recording artist, producer, promoter, publicist, and booking agent. He also publishes the "B# Newsletter," a monthly Email newsletter for independent musicians, and is Co-Owner and Director or Marketing for "1st Light Records," a Houston-based Urban/R&B record label.


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