They say that the best jobs are never advertised. This is true for everything, not least music.

However, over the last ten years or so, there’s been a proliferation of websites claiming to advertise music industry opportunities to musicians but are really designed solely to drain the wallets of singers and songwriters with the promise of success. These operate over various guises – music A&R websites, exposure companies, songwriting contests, to pick three.

Here’s an example.

An artist I worked with recently paid to upload his song to one of these sites and have his music critiqued by a “music industry professional”, which usually turn out to be down-on-their-luck producers, finishing for business. Indeed, my guy got an email from a producer, raving about the song – saying it’s the best song he’d heard for years, he wanted to get the song to his industry contacts and make things happen IMMEDIATELY.

Oh, just one thing though; he wanted £1,500 to make the song “industry standard”.

I did a bit of a Google search on this guy, and it was full of articles that he’d written about himself meeting the legends of rock and roll, yet I couldn’t actually find any actual music he’d produced. So he was selling a promise that he couldn’t deliver.

This means that, in theory, I could join a site like this as a “music industry professional” and make money by charging people to submit music and try and get them to pay ludicrous amounts of money to record with me with the promise of fame and success. (Except I don’t want to as I’m doing just fine making a living honestly, through hard work and word of mouth!)

Songwriting contests are the same. There is one in the UK going on at the moment and, low and behold, the main judge is one of the very producers from one of the very sites mentioned above. Anyone I know that has entered it has won a badge saying they got to “the semi-final”.

So, with that in mind, just please be careful with any opportunities that come up. Don’t do anything where they ask for payment. You shouldn’t have to pay to submit to labels, publishers etc. If anyone makes contact with you promising fame and fortune, do the decent thing and Google them to make sure they’re legit.

Getting anywhere in music is hard work, luck and talent, probably in that order. Be talented, put in the hard work and hopefully you won’t have to worry about those websites any longer!

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