So You Wanna Be A Star? Pay Up!

By ALLISON LORD — Caribbean (read bio)


Susan Boyle has been an inspiration in the best and worst way!

With everybody and their grandmother now taking a crack at stardom through the Internet and television talent shows, the music industry has become supersaturated. It’s become more difficult than ever to wade through the cesspool of talentless starry-eyed hopefuls that surrounds the true diamonds.

Everyone wants more than ever to be a singing star and charlatans have smelled a lucrative opportunity.  They have found a goldmine and have come out of the woodwork like the slime that they are, promising fame and fortune overnight if you give them an advance of $20,000.00, sign your name on the dotted line, and/or throw your naked body on their sofas to seal the deal.

They have infested the music industry like sharks off the coast of Miami searching for their next meal — courtesy of an ailing music industry, the demise of a global economy, impatient artists desperate to achieve their dreams and the con artists’ dire need to make fast and easy money.

Wait, you may ask, don’t most artists get into the music industry so that some major music corporation would pay THEM an advance and set them on the road to megastardom, just on their sheer talent? Right! But, doesn’t it take money to make money? Right! And that’s exactly how the swindlers lure unsuspecting aspiring stars into their web of greed.

They come like wolves in sheep’s clothing selling a pipe dream of overnight fame and fortune. They hand you a “professional” two page “consultant agreement,” promising you everything, but in the fine print, really nothing. You sign on the dotted line, ah, you have arrived! You hand over the big bucks that you had to beg, borrow or steal (or heaven forbid however else you got it) and you wait for the Grammys and mana to rain down from the sky.

These vultures, known more commonly as A&R “consultants” (aka A**h*les & Ripoff scum) claim they can bypass years of tireless dedication and development and get you in the door with just one phone call. They boast about “relationships” with the top record industry honchos – the people who can ultimately change the fate of your career at the snap of a finger. Tantalizing, isn’t it? Some even promise that they can get your song on the most prestigious national music charts, for a bigger fee, of course, equivalent to a significant deposit on a multimillion dollar home!

Greed’s a b*tch personified by shady gentlemen with the name T-Dawg.

One phone call? One snap of a finger? If only it were that simple.

The truth is, the shysters do sometimes submit your material to music executives.

CORRECTIONWhat actually happens is these scumbags get your beloved masterpiece into the hands of disinterested, dirty A&R record label executives, whose very job is, ironically, to legitimately find and develop superstar talent as part of their job description. These unscrupulous executives, despite their high salaries and perks, will accept money under the table, take five minutes to listen to some unknown artist they have no intention of signing, all the while wishing that it’s garbage so they can fulfill their “favor,” get their cut and go back to making money on the real artists and projects that are paying their mortgages.

But you still get a deal out of it, right? Nope. While the “rap” artist from Atlanta is excited that he got a personal audience with the A&R guy at XYZ Records, despite the fact that Mr. A&R guy’s label only does “pop,” Mr. A&R guy’s only interest in your material is how much he can get out of the hustler in exchange for giving you the courtesy of listening to your material in your presence.

There lies the modern day music industry, although these snake oil salesmen have had this sweet deal going on with rogue executives for years. The playing field is open to anybody willing to pay the price and open themselves (no pun intended) to the awaiting piranhas willing to sell them false hopes and dreams, at any expense.

What I don’t understand is why these con artists scramble for peanuts when they can use their entrepreneurial skills to have actual peanut butter. Here’s the thing, if you know all these big guys at the top, why not make a deal happen that is lucrative for all involved and then take a piece of the bigger pie?

I have rubbed elbows with some very successful people in my day and I can tell you they are not sitting around all day looking for quick little amounts of money. They are looking to make really big deals happen so that they can maintain their monstrously lavish lifestyles. Save the ten and twenty thousand dollars here and there to pay for your education.  They make that in a day’s work or even while they sleep.

So bypass these jokesters charging you to be a star and don’t fall for or give in to their scams and false promises. Consider their agenda. If they’re more interested in green than platinum and gold, as in records, save your money and run for the door. Invest in honing your craft instead. Be humble and put in your time. Let your talent speak for itself and hopefully you will attract the people who will believe in you and give you an opportunity to get in the door, e.g., an entertainment manager who is more interested in you long-term than a quick buck. When you are ready, expand your team – invest in a great entertainment attorney – one who will ask you for very little in the beginning because he or she believes in the big payoff in the end. You only need a couple of those guys or women in your corner and you have a chance.

A good (as in “skill and ethics”) talent scout, manager, attorney, or record executive can take one listen to somebody’s demo and tell if it has the potential to make them money in the first few seconds, or if the pale moonlight and the distant reflections of your pretty packaged demo CD will only end up in the garbage. They know the deal. They don’t have to deprive you of your life savings or insist on sleeping with you first before sealing the deal, which is what most men in the industry do to both male and female ‘wannabes’.  Don’t be duped!

BUT… just because you have the talent doesn’t mean that you are a surefire thing destined for the top. Well-meaning music insiders will be quick to tell you that top music execs are not waiting around for “the next best thing,” that they are focused on maintaining the “same old thing.” And that may be true, but if you really believe you have talent and have been told that you have what it takes, not just by your mom and dad, I say, “Go for it.”

Until then, as Simon Cowell often says… Don’t quit your day job!

48 Responses to “So You Wanna Be A Star? Pay Up!”

  1. Lakita in Indiana says:

    Big fan. I am still laughing at your airline article and I’ve sent many people to this site to read it. They’ve enjoyed it too. I didn’t know this was going on in the music industry so it was very interesting for me to read. I’ll be sure to warn my music friends. thank you and keep up the good work.

  2. blackcrow says:

    you would be surprised to know the kinds of people involved in this thing. some big names.

  3. tangodancer says:

    omg thank you so much for writing about this. a friend of mine got taken in for $35,000. even though i knew it was a scam and kept tellng him that he wouldn’t listen and two years later he’s still trying to pick up the pieces. these people should be shot for the false dreams they give to hungry, desperate singers. no one talks about this scam and it’s all over the music industry.

  4. redman says:

    Hey, I say if you’ve got the money give it a try it just might work out. Look at some of the stars out there, they for damn sure don’t have no talent and they’re getting ahead. I’m sure they paid some $$ to those people you are talking and got on the charts. Maybe they hooked up with one of those dirty record guys and gave them some drugs or women or male prostitutes or something and they got a deal. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do for the break.

  5. priddy says:

    thought payola was illegal in this country.

  6. Sensational says:

    there is something very very wrong with this and you should talk to the authorities about this scam. seriously.

  7. Tami says:

    This is so awful but true. It is the reason that entertainment is not what it used to be. Where are the stars, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Elvis Prestley, Frank Sinatra, Sammy David Jr., Michael Jackson? If you can simply “pay to play” it bring down level of talent, in my opinion. Give real shots with singers and performers that have all talent and the charisma like Ole Hollywood. If I had record company would not sign contracts with artist who could not sing, dance, play the piano, and be able to do movies as well.

  8. Cristina says:

    my friend was taken for two thousand plus a shameful episode on the couch and to date she still got nothing. she really believed in these guys and I think she told me about it because she thought she was going to be a star. now she’s embarrassed that I know. I feel so bad for her but I don’t know what to do.

  9. LLW says:

    This article should make the rounds in the schools especially in the arts department. I will start by printing it out and take it to my school and circulate it. I hope others follow and do the same to circulate it.
    People need to know.

  10. Kirsten says:

    Interesting article, Allison, and it’s so true. I was thinking “true talent speaks for itself” as I read through the article. I realised this when I was auditioning for a movie years ago and when I asked the producer if I needed to bring a resume, he laughed and said, “Look, we’ll know if you’ve got what we need when we see you.” I’ll always remember feeling that my prior experience is irrelevant to industry professionals who know what they want. Spending money on image development, singing coaches and acting/speech classes would go a lot further.

  11. Andromeda1111 says:

    Congratulations for your articles, are very good, takes me time to read that I have to translate first.
    It Seems this type of music industry full of dreams to the young,
    which only lasts them to fame as the program lasts , then forget them.

    But unfortunately people see these programs and gives them momentary fame.
    The public should support more the true talent that is out fighting and working alone to get a good product.
    A good example of real talent is her son Donny B Lord deserves to be supported by the public.

  12. brenda says:

    I say the men who ask you to go to the couch have to be BIG, SLIMY, UGLY and smelly. That’s the only way they can get a little sum sum. Dirty bastards!!!

  13. Dino says:

    I know this guy who is the size of a f**king metro bus and the only way he thinks he can get girls to sleep with him is to have them pay and sleep him for an appointment with top names, in the industry. Good thing is his ding dong is lost in all his rubble of fat and he cannot get it up, so most times the girls get lucky but not too lucky because he finds other ways. Yuck and double yuuuuuuuck!!

  14. Shanaya says:

    Allison, I am sixteen years old and I want to be a singer. My mother always tells me the way to get ahead in the music business is to work hard which is what i have been doing. She tells me when the time is right for me to be out there she will get me a good manager and invest the money in me and my career. Thanks for the article because she forced me to read it and I am glad I did. There have been m any times when I have been impatient and desperate but I see now it’s not hte way to take short cuts. I will now forward this great article to all my friends who want to be in the business be it singing or not.

  15. Hohum says:

    Money have passed hands, bodies have passed from hands to hands and it will always keep on happening as long as we have uneducated, unsuspecting, gullible fools. People know in their guts when something is wrong but yet still they allow themselves to be fooled by smoothe talkers. Greed and lazyness is also part of the problem. They want it fast and don’t want to wait so they get exactly what they deserve. Do I feel sorry for them? Absoulutely not.

  16. barbwire says:

    Glad I am not in that industry. But what do you expect when you have mega super stars that boast about getting to the top by laying on their backs? These are our children’s role models unfortunately. Our children think if they did it and they are so rich and famous and “respected” why can’t they do it. Funny some of these so-called role models now have children and dont want their own children to listen to their music or look at their videos. If it was so good for our children why isn’t good for theirs. There is something very wrong with that. Laying on your back to get to the top is not the way to go. Conscience and truth are two powerful things. Even if you are the only one that knows what you did to get ahead that’s enough for some serious emotional sh*t later.

  17. persimion says:

    What you write about is nothing new. This has been going on for years. In Hollywood, look at it, every actor, singer, dancer etc in the business knows what every other actor, singer and dancer have between their legs. They hop from p*ssy to p*ssy and a$$h*le to a$$h*le, depending on their preference. This is an immoral business and unless you are going to make a change no moral person should go near the music or film industry.

  18. gerald says:

    This is disgusting. My daughter is debating between singing and being a doctor. She has a great singing voice and is very talented in the medical field. She is also good girl. Her passion is singing. Thanks for bringing these sick men in the industry to light. This will surely help as we figure out what her options are realistically.

  19. FABULOUSO says:

    Our role models say its okay to sleep around to get to the top. These guys are just taking advantage of an opportunity and making money in the process. If people are stupid enough to fall for that old “Baby I’ll make you rich and famous” bit, then who’s to blame really?

  20. Juliette says:

    i am in the music business and something similar like that almost happened to me. But i was smart enough to realize and run for the door. My friend was taken for five thousand dollars and her clothes off, but I was cautious and walked away with my clothes on and my money in my pocket. I was alerted when I saw, for myself, the guy who promised to get us the interview with the top A&R guy who said ‘I have fulfilled my end of the bargain and gave you the appointment so pay up,’ and he gave some money to the A&R guy.

    This article should be emailed to all the wanna be stars on the face of the planet.

  21. Susan Boyle Fan says:

    Susan Boyle cannot and should not be blamed for inspiring people to pursue their dreams. Susan is a real talent and at 48 showed that you should believe in yourself. What a story! She is an inspiration of the highest level and should not be put down for her success encouraging other less talented morons to try to be stars. The talenteless wannabes will no doubt fall by the wayside. In the meantime, more kudos to Susan Boyle and the success she’s achieved. She’s an inspiration.

  22. Megahan says:

    This expose is extremely revealing and every up and coming impatient and desperate artist should be aware of the pitfalls of the music industry. Your article should be distributed to everyone desiring a career in music. Well done and God bless you.

  23. amber says:

    Those crooked slime balls should be shot in their balls. fact is they only think with their d*cks and to tell the truth most of them do not have any, so you think well, since they do not have anything down there i will give it a try because they will not hurt me, in fact i will not even feel anything. It is their insecurities that are working for them.

  24. painfulprocess says:

    Parents need to keep their eyes on their children they may think it is no big deal but with all the STD’s that are out there with everybody sleeping with everybody, who knows what anymore. Even if you tell your kids what the real deal is they don’t want to listen and sometimes have to get hurt to learn. So sad.

  25. rufus says:

    Allison i am glad you exposed those (assh*oles & ripoff) guys. There are too many of them hiding the industry as A&R consultants. There are so many of them. Now I understand why so many f**ked up people especially kids e.g Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, need shrinks. G-d knows what happened to them along the way.

  26. Cecile says:

    unbelievable that this is happening in the 21st century.

  27. Roll Call says:

    There are scammers in every industry but I have never seen more than in all areas of entertainment. But it’s simple. If you are desperate you will be taken for a ride.

  28. Lie To Me says:

    Anything that sounds too good to be true always is. However, there should be a way to prosecute those individuals that take money in the thousands of dollars from unsuspecting artists.

  29. Christyl says:

    TY to talking about this in such detail. I’ve known many people who have had this happen to them, give money to get nowhere. And it’s not just in the music industry but in every performing industry, modeling, acting, dancing….It’s soo cruel to the person who really is trying.

  30. Meredith says:

    Allison I know Hollywood is an evil place, but does that really happen? I can’t believe it but I’m glad you have brought light to that sick and evil industry. To all those that seek fame I say “seek first the kingdom of God and not the things of the world”. You will find true peace and success within.

  31. Numero Uno says:

    i’m about to sign with a label and done it the old fashioned way like you said hard work and being ready when the talent scouts came out to watch me perform. i didn’t have to give up nothin no money no a$$ no nothin didn’t want to hurt nobody so i done it right.

  32. CB says:

    OMG its worse than I thought. Who can you trust if these A&R execs are crooked too? How do you get a real deal? This is too scary to dare to dream your dream. HELP!

  33. OMG in LA says:

    So you’re saying to get ahead in the music business you have to wear a chastity belt, walk with your accountant and hire a big body guard by the name of Moe? Sounds good to me.

  34. Brown says:

    it cannot be all that bad. there are new singers being signed everyday. i had never heard of lady gaga or some of those new folks and i’m sure they did not go that route. so, the old fashioned way must still work.

  35. lalala says:

    Thank you for this eye opener.

  36. Sandra Lord: Co-Founder of this Blog says:

    Having been heavily involved in the music industry for most of my life, I must tell you that this is really a great account of what’s happening in music. It is pretty sick, but as P.T. Barnum said, “there is a sucker born every minute” and as long as people are desperate, there is always opportunity for them to be victimized and/or scammed. I’ve encountered some of those scumbags and you would be SURPRISED who some of these people are. The only thing I can add is that there are no shortcuts in life and if something doesn’t feel right to you, then go with your instincts and don’t do it. Finally, it’s never worth it to sell your body or your soul for fame and fortune.

  37. change says:

    It’s just another form of payola whether its between record labels and crooked DJs and program directors or dirty ‘consultants’ and even dirtier record executives. The FCC, FBI and Attorney General should definitely be looking into these kinds of practices.

  38. Rhonda C. says:

    very informative post. thank you for your insight and advice.

  39. coppertone says:

    desperate people do desperate things. not everyone that is famous is rich and not everyone that is famous have ethics dirty people come at all levels.

  40. Linora B. says:

    Honey I agree it’s not worth sh*t to sell your body or give up your hard earn money. I think the best thing is to read on how people like Lady Ga Ga, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Usher and others made it and see if you can follow in their footsteps.

  41. Chili says:

    everyday there is some new tv talent show and that makes it easier for dishonest people to make a buck promising false dreams to desperate people. these are the times we live in. that’s just how it works.

  42. CryBaby says:

    I disagree with you on Susan Boyle. She is a very talented woman who makes me happy that her dreams came true. Evryone should have an opportunity to pursue their dreams no matter what age.

  43. Justina says:

    American Idol sucked this year so maybe that will dampen the enthusiasm of some of those no talent a**hooles.

  44. Hank Paul says:

    i’m curious do you know if this happens in sports as well?

  45. Marianne C. says:

    Congratulations on a very well written article. Knowledgeable and insightful. I work at a performing arts school and I’ve learned a lot to pass on to my students.

  46. Cynic says:

    if you ask me, i think every one of those socalled stars got screwed on the way up. they just not talking about it.

  47. Felicity says:

    any business where you have to sell your body and soul is evil. it is what it is.

  48. BE ME says:

    Yes, you can almost tell which ones scr*wed their way to the top. lol.

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