Investigating fraud in the music industry

The music industry has been plagued by fraud for as long as it has been around. This can range from bootlegged vinyl to the musicians themselves. One thing that all forms of fraud have in common is that it can be highly damaging for the industry at large and affect the employees who work in it. But what kind of fraud exists, and what is being done to tackle it?

How Does The Music Industry Protect Itself?

The music industry relies overwhelmingly on private security services to combat direct threats such as studio break-ins and artist close protection, to the indirect, which involves private investigators. While the former shows up in obvious situations such as guarding studios and musicians, etc., the latter is far more discrete. This inconspicuousness is vital to combat some of the more sinister activities prevalent in the industry. To that end, both companies and individuals hire private investigation companies, including the services of Armorous Investigations, who are present in California, where the bulk of the music industry is based. By doing so, they have direct access to some of the largest frauds currently taking place. Regarding the investigations side, it is often required to utilize these private investigative companies to gather sufficient evidence of wrongdoing before passing it along to the police and courts, who can prosecute those involved. Regarding fraud, what are some of the various types of fraud endemic in the music world?

Common Types Of Music Industry Fraud

Understanding how common fraud is is the first step to understanding why private security is necessary. In addition to the scams listed below, many others are actively being fought against.

1. Greedy A&R Practices

Large studios hire Artist & Repertoire (A&R) scouts to go out to ‘scout’ new talent that could be profitable to sign up. With this responsibility, A&R scouts are given tremendous power by the studios to use their judgment to provide results. While many do their jobs efficiently and honorably, some abuse the power afforded to them. This is often done by charging the talent to boost their chances of getting in front of the music industry’s top executives. The majority of people end up paying large sums of money for an opportunity to capitalize on their dreams. Still, in most cases, they lose this money without ever having their material heard. This is particularly pernicious and difficult for the music industry to combat. Still, with the help of private investigators such as those already mentioned, they can go a long way toward solving the problem.

2. Double Dipping Management Companies

Double dipping is a term that refers to the act of a manager or management company charging commission twice, once on their clients’ takings and second from the music industry. While this might seem harmless on the outside, it ends up costing the music industry significant amounts of money and reduces the chance of them signing the artist. Not to mention how unfair it is for the artist. This is typically run by managers who profess to have their music label and tricking their talent into signing up in this way. The good news is that this is easier to uncover. Although it isn’t illegal, once discovered, it can ruin the reputation of these shady managers, making it more challenging for them to sign talent again.

3. Consultants Who Perform Disappearing Acts

Unfortunately, this shady tactic is rife within the industry, and some consultants are making serious amounts of money on the backs of naive new artists. In some cases, it is so common that it is perceived as a right of passage to be defrauded before making it big. While it wouldn’t be such a big deal if it were small sums of money, this is unfortunately not the case. Some new artists will pay thousands of dollars, sometimes entire life savings, for the chance to make it big, and these consultants know it. They offer promises of connecting them with the right people and facilitating the growth of their careers for a fee. Once they receive this money, they vanish, never to be seen or heard of again. The lucky few can hire private investigators to help find them and gather evidence that can then be used in a civil court to get their money back.

Fraud and scams are rife in the music industry, and it is usually those at the bottom of the ladder who get hurt the most. Even so, there are things that people can do, such as hiring investigators who can help to provide justice for the aggrieved.

Default image
Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email:
Articles: 11508