In the Music Industry, What You Don’t Know Will Definitely Hurt You

Know what it takes to be taken seriously in the music industry.

© 2019 Vinny Ribas

Every industry has its own set of unwritten rules that every seasoned professional comes to know thoroughly. It could be a specific code of conduct that everyone in the business subscribes to. It might be a specific way something should be done. It might even be something that needs to be said or should never be said.

The music business is no different. How you act, what you say and what you do all let professionals know immediately whether you’re a wannabe or a serious music professional. It can make the difference between someone dismissing you or taking you seriously. Industry professionals prefer to work with people at their level (or higher). Making rookie mistakes too often can brand you as unprofessional indefinitely.

For example, here in Nashville the biggest no-no is interrupting a celebrity or executive who is eating dinner in a restaurant so you can pitch your CD or song to them. First of all, it’s rude. And, chances are their lawyers have told them not to accept anything from anyone they don’t know. The right way is to build a relationship so they ask to hear your music or go through the proper channels. And yet it happens on a daily basis.

Another unwritten rule in Nashville is ‘never ask a hit songwriter to co-write with you when you don’t have any credibility.’ First, it puts them on the spot. Secondly, they most likely either write alone or co-write with other established writers who are at their level or higher. Again, build a relationship so they ask you to co-write.

A 3rd example is simply using the wrong terminology. Saying the wrong words and phrases that every serious professional knows is an immediate indicator that you’re not yet ready to be accepted into the fold. For example, if you say ‘I’m looking to sell my songs’ when what you really mean is ‘I’m looking to license my songs to an artist to record, you will be branded as a wanna-be.

There are countless examples like this. If you don’t know the language and idiosyncrasies of the industry you’re working in, including what is geographically acceptable or not, you put yourself at a serious disadvantage. Just like travelling to a foreign country, if you study and respect the local culture, you will be accepted and respected as well.  

Do you want to truly understand how to be accepted and respected in Nashville? Check out these life-changing ‘Plugging Into Nashville’ boot camps.

About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.