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My Own Music Business Horror Stories


By Professor Pooch
© 2016 David J. Spangenberg

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Today I’d like to tell you about 2 personal Music Business Horror Stories from when I first started out, back when I was strictly on the creative side…

1. Many years ago, when I was first starting out as a Recording Artist, my Producer was Jimmy Ienner, which was pretty exciting to me, in that he was becoming a very hot producer with hits on the radio. He had met me while I was this 18 year old guy who was producing another act.

Now, being new to the business, I was at his mercy, and very happy to be, except for the problem that he was super Pop oriented – and I was super Rock oriented, being a rock guitarist singer/songwriter. To make a long story short, he said I needed a “Hit Pop Single”, which he didn’t think I had. So he grabbed a song for me from this other group he was producing, an up and coming rock band at the time named “Water” [actually a bunch of Harvard Students] who was being recorded by Apple Records, the Beatles Company. The song, “Coronation”, wasn’t exactly my style, but close enough and strange enough, and oh well, a step into the biz. I recorded it and everyone was happy, but…

Apple Records said I could come out with the song, but only after Water’s record was released on Apple. One month went by, two months, three… A year later we realized that Water’s Record was never going to be released! And, with all of the inner complications associated with it, I lost my first chance into the biz.

Being new to the biz, I also couldn’t figure out why an album recorded by a powerful label was never released. I soon learned that this was very common-place at the time – and still is to this day. I later learned there is nothing in any recording contract that states a Record Label has to release any song[s] they record. They can put out the time and money to record them, but decide to sit on them for any reason they choose!

2. Around the same period of time, I was also writing songs for other Artists. Well, a song I had co-written was recorded by three groups, and the first one was ready to be released on Columbia. Alright! My first song out there!

BUT, I took a look at the actual record and I noticed something was missing – MY NAME!!! Rut Roh! And, I could get no answers from anyone!

A weird side-light of this story: The song was going to be released the coming Monday, but the Friday before, Columbia decided to do a house-cleaning and fired all the VPs! And, none of the new VPs were brave enough to put the recording out since it was from the past regime.

After the above two things happened to me, along with many other things that seemed very foreign to me, I decided maybe it would be a good idea to LEARN the Business Side, to prevent it from happening to me again. And, to make a verrrry long story verrrry short, people started coming to me with their own horror stories, asking me if I could explain things to them and help them out. And here I am today, trying to prevent a lot of horror stories from happening to as many people as I can reach out to…

On a side note, this year marks: 50 years I’ve been involved in the Music Industry, 35 years on the business and contract side, 25 years as an educator, and my 16th year on the Web…

… and I’m still writing songs, and rockin’ that guitar…


If you ever have any questions on about the Creative, Business or Legal ends of the Music Business, or need my help in any way, please contact me at: pooch@professorpooch.com

Stay tuned every Tuesday for a new Blog, and if you miss any, you’ll find the older links on the Blog page.

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"Our aim is to help guide you, protect you, and to answer any and all of your questions regarding the Creative, Business and Legal sides of the Music Business, in plain, easy-to-understand "People-Talk". No matter what style of Music, no matter what you do, no matter what stage of your career - we're here for you! Let us help you save wasted time and money..."

David J. Spangenberg
["Professor Pooch"]

Music Business Career Guidance,
Music Legal & Contract Specialist

E-mail David at: Pooch@professorpooch.com

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