Top 10 Lies of the Music Industry
Based in Beverly Hills, Weber is a longtime industry producer known for his work with Luther Vandross and Ronnie James Dio, and two of his projects won Grammys.
But after 30 years he's left the corporate rat race to work directly with artists. With his new freedom Weber has decided to expose the more dubious aspects of the business. Here are his top ten record industry lies, pulled from his book. We talked to him about what exactly these lies mean.
10. "We love your stuff."
According to Weber, when producers say this, what they really mean is either: "I don't know who you are," "I listened to it and it's not very good," "I never got it" or "I didn't listen to it." It's a white lie to spare artists' feelings. Weber adds that a producer who has actually listened to your stuff will have a complex understanding of what works and what doesn't. Those who haven't listened tend toward vague praise.
9. "We'll fix it in the mix."
This really means "We'll do our best to make you sound like an artist," Weber says, which sounds to us something like "It'll grow out" after a bad trip to the barber. The final product might be all right, but the recording is sub par.
8. "The booking is definite."
What this really means, according to Weber, is that the booking agent doesn't know who you are, is waiting for someone who's going to be a better draw or -- preferably -- an audience that's going to spend more on booze than yours. Remember that the clubs are in business to turn a profit, not to give your band exposure.
7. "It's hot in the clubs."
Rather than answering your question, a record company exec will supply you with a silver lining in the form of a non-sequitur. "It means you're getting a lot of attention and buzz in clubs," he says, but also that "no one has a clue about your record and no one's buying it."
6. "My last band had a record deal, but we broke up before recording an album."
There are deals and there are deals. "When someone says you have a deal," he says, "it means you have a deal until the next guy up the chain says 'are you crazy?'" He's also clear about the realities of the recording industry. "If marketing and promotions don't believe in the record, there is no deal, regardless of what A&R says." This pressure often causes bands to break up before a real deal gets signed.