People occasionally contact me and ask the following question:
“Someone Contacted Me to Promote My Music. Is it Legit?”
Probably not, sorry to say. But, before you respond with a nasty email telling them to shove it, let’s look at the red and green flags to decide whether or not it might be legit. The last thing you want to do is tell someone off when they are actually a big deal and have good intentions!
How Do I Know if a Music Promotion Company is Legitimate?
I would venture to say that 99% of music promotion companies will not deliver fame or fortune. They’ll promise it all day long, but they really won’t be in a position to do it. Their tactics are shady, lazy and unproven, and they make you sweeping, vague promises that you can’t prove they *didn’t* do, so it’s hard to get your money back or sue.
Before hiring ANY Music Promotion Company, ask yourself these questions:
1). Are They That Big of a Deal?
I understand that everyone needs to start somewhere. However, if they’re asking you to pay them to get you noticed, they need to have some great referrals. If someone recommended them to you, find out why. Did they have great results themselves, or is this their mother-in-law’s nephew and they owe them a favor?
You can find out if they’re a big deal by checking the second point:
2). Does this Person/Company Have Proven Results?
By “proven,” I mean they need to give you specific names of artists and bands that they’ve provided real results for. You don’t necessarily need to have heard of the artists/bands, but if they say something like, “We got this artist a performance slot on the news,” find out WHAT news show, find that artist’s performance, find out how it was received, etc. You need to be a detective here. If they have vague results, you’ll probably get vague results as well.
I’ve seen quite a few music promotion companies brag about getting artists interviews or reviews in magazines. This could be a big deal, but when you look closer, the magazine is some unknown publication like soopercoolmusicdude.biz or whatever. You can easily get into magazines yourself, and often bigger ones if you do the right things. See my post on that here.
3). Could I Get These Results Myself?
If a music promotion company is bragging about getting someone “thousands of plays” on YouTube or Spotify, you could easily do that yourself. Simply create some ads and spend the money you would have spent on the company. You’ll need to do your own research on ads and effective marketing, but there are short online courses you can take on this that will help you in the long run. Or, you could hire a marketing company that doesn’t specify music success, but knows the ad game very well.
4). What Are My Actual Goals?
Many of these music promotion companies are successful at taking people’s money because they approach people out of nowhere, flatter them, and give them promises of “fame” and “success.” The recipients were not considering a marketing company before, but now they think they might have a shot. However, this isn’t a goal that you can easily achieve, because it isn’t measurable.
What do YOU want from your music career? Do you want to make six figures a year from album sales? Do you want 10 million YouTube subscribers? A sold-out national tour? These are concrete goals to work toward. If you KNOW what you want, it will be a lot harder for a random company to swoop in and take your money. You’ll be able to research their track record and see if it gels with your goals.
5). How Do I Feel About It?
This one is really important, especially if you have great intuition. If you have an uneasy feeling about it, that’s a red flag. Potential music deals should make you excited and powerful. While there may of course be some nervousness also, if you get a bad feeling you should definitely pay attention.
However, some people don’t have good intuition, or they are so excited by the idea of success that they refuse to entertain any negative thoughts (this happens to the best of us! You can see my post on how I got scammed here).