|Can You Handle The Truth?
by Kenny Love - December 2000
Back to The Academy
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
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
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
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
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
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