Musicians often ask me if there is a “blacklist” in the music industry – a list of people that industry professionals don’t want to work with for one reason or another. While I’m not aware of a “master” list that’s shared throughout the industry, I think many industry pros have some sort of personal list of people they don’t want to work with.
I’m not even sure they actually write it down, but they do tend to remember those who have aggravated them in one way or another in the past, and they avoid working with them in the future. The music industry moves too fast, and the competition is too great for them to waste time on people who repeatedly make rookie mistakes or act unprofessionally.
With that in mind, here are some things to avoid so you don’t make it on anybody’s “blacklist.”
1) Submitting music that’s already been signed to an exclusive publishing deal for other publishing deals. We recently got a call from a top-shelf publisher asking why we forwarded music to him that his company had already signed to an exclusive publishing deal. We had no way to know that the music the member sent and TAXI forwarded to the publisher had already been signed by the company, but the TAXI member who submitted it certainly did.
I’d bet the member didn’t understand that once a piece of music is signed into an exclusive catalog, it can’t be pitched to or signed by another publisher. I wouldn’t be surprised if the publisher that signed that composer’s music would be reluctant to do business with that person again.
2) Submitting your music for one of TAXI’s Industry Listings, getting it forwarded to the listing company, then not responding to the listing company if they reach out to you, could land you on that company’s “blacklist.” They could think you’re not acting professionally, and they’ll not want to waste their time with you in the future.
When asked, most of our members who’ve made that mistake tell me they didn’t respond because they’re afraid of getting ripped off by the company offering to sign them!
TAXI checks out the companies we run Listings for! While we can’t guarantee that every one of them will act with integrity 100% of the time, I can only remember two companies in our 23 year history that I regretted working with. And in both cases, nobody actually got ripped off – the companies changed the terms of their deals after we published their Listings.
3) Another thing that might get you on an industry person’s so-called “blacklist” is not delivering music to them when they need it. If a TAXI connection results in a professional relationship and the publisher asks for a certain type of music in a one-on-one situation down the road, they’ll hold you to your word when you tell them you can deliver it by a certain date. If you fail to deliver on time one time, that might not be a relationship breaker. If you miss a deadline a second time, they’ll likely be hesitant to come back to you again!
TAXI goes to great effort to connect our members with real industry professionals! They’re used to dealing with composers and artists who deliver what they promise when they promise it. If you give them the timeworn, “My dog ate my homework,” or “My studio went down last night,” excuse more than once, it could very well result in a blown relationship.
The bottom line: All those successful TAXI members you see on our forum (and elsewhere) became successful because they responded to the companies that contacted them, they didn’t submit material that was already signed to an exclusive deal, and when they promise to deliver something by a certain date, they deliver it on time.
If you’d like to have a shot at getting your music on a hit TV show like The Blacklist, you need to make sure you don’t get on a publisher’s “blacklist!” Act like a professional and the industry will treat you like a professional.
Want to learn about other things that can harm your chances of success in the music industry? Watch this video: The 7 Deadly Career Killing Sins, or this one: Career Killing Mistakes.