There are tons of myths about how the music industry operates, and when you're trying to break into the business, these misconceptions can send you down the wrong path in a big way. This is part three in a series looking at common music business myths so you can avoid falling prey to them. Be sure to check the bottom of the article for more information.
Joining the music industry can feel a lot being the new kid in town on the first day of high school. A lot of people feel a tremendous amount of pressure to pretend they have more knowledge about the business than they really do. Heck, a lot of people of feel a tremendous amount of pressure to pretend they know about musicians, labels, venues and such that they've never heard of. Some people in the music industry never quite get over this feeling. Rightly or wrongly (probably wrongly), there tends to be a bit of mystique about the industry that makes people feel like that they not only need to strive for professional success but also social acceptance when they enter the music realm. And they often try to do that by trying to bluff their way through conversations or negotiations that they really don't understand.
But does it work? Should you fake it til you make it? Definitely not. The people who really get things done in the music industry are the people who aren't afraid to speak up and ask a question when they need to. This is especially true when you're learning the ropes. How will you ever learn if you don't ask? It may be intimidating to admit you don't know something, and you may be concerned that showing your inexperience will rob you of an opportunity you really want. In reality, no one worth working with or working for will look down on you for asking a question. If anything, with so many other people trying to skate by with a good poker face, your honesty will seem refreshing and will reflect well on you. The added benefit for you is that by asking, you really WILL get to learn the business, and you'll end up being confident in your music career instead of constantly looking over your shoulder, waiting for someone to find you out.
One caveat to this rule: if you're involved in negotiations - say for a record deal - that you don't understand, it's best to take your questions to an outside source rather than the person you're negotiating with. When you're negotiating with someone you don't know, giving them a glimpse at your inexperience will let the less scrupulous people (of which the music industry has many) take advantage of you. But make sure you DO get your answer before you sign. Never, ever sign a music industry contract you don't understand.
Learn More About Music Industry Myths and Industry Basics: