The content of this article was originally published on our old STACKS Magazine blog site. But, seeing that things haven’t changed much since August 2008, we’ve decided to update it to fit the times and rerun the article.


In the fall of 2008, a well-known author and speaker in the independent artist circle here in Atlanta emailed me an article snippet. The article brought to my attention the MANY “money hungry” games played by promoters and individuals who seek out new artists and producers to exploit. The game as he called it is “Industry Pimping”.


Are You Being Pimped?


As I scanned through the paragraphs, I realized how unfair the promoters were treating starving artists. For instance, open mic nights are a breeding ground for promoters to make large sums of money in effort, as they say, to help artists get the exposure in front of major labels and A&Rs. Some open mic nights pimp artists by charging them $50-$150 (it all depends on the “celebrity” guest judges in the building) to enter the showcase. Now, I’ve seen plenty here in Atlanta, and I must say that – 9 times out of 10 – there may be one or two “real” judges in attendance. Out of the two judges, maybe one have the appropriate “connections” to potentially shop the artists’ music around. Of course, that’s only if you have “real” talent. Most of the time, the judges on the panel give you general feedback on your performance. Back in the day, you’d see one judge actually give meaningful advice to the artists.


Before signing up for a showcase, check the promoters background. Check out the history of the promoter and make sure they’ve actually produced “signed” artists or producers (and/or broke hit records at their showcases).


Secondly, conference pimps are in full effect. Most music conferences occur in the spring/summer time. During these “conferences”, the promoter or event planner claim to help aspiring artists by offering inside information and ways to succeed. The event flyers showcase power players in the industry as panel guests. These guests are expected to give up some key advice to the participants. Although the speakers do offer up some information, the inside scoop is redundant [if you heard it once, you will hear it twice in this industry] and nothing new is ever communicated. The hard earned money an artist spends to attend the event paid for the venue, conference materials, and maybe the speakers. But, no real value came out of the experience. Most attendees leave without gaining valuable information he or she can truly use during their journey to becoming a signed artist.


The pimping game don’t stop there though. You got your publicist pimps who claim they will get you local and national media exposure…but never really practice what they preach.


Also, you have the DJ pimps. The DJ pimps have a known history of making artists pay to spin a record in the club and/or on the radio. If you are an artist with money to blow, you probably don’t care as long as your song is in heavy rotation. However, for the starving artists truly grinding to be heard, you may want to think twice before paying that DJ. There are legitimate ways to get your song played. You just need to keep working it in the streets and network with the right people.


Again, this article isn’t to throw salt on anyone’s pimp  game. The purpose of this piece is to make our new artists aware of what’s going on the industry – especially when it revolves around money.


Refrain from being pimped. Instead, educate yourself, find a legitimate route, and grind hard!



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