Surviving in the Music Industry

Mariah Carey

Lesson time 16:36 min

Mariah reflects on her journey as a musical artist, and she provides tips for navigating the industry and maintaining creative control. She also reveals the full version of “The Roof,” created during her class.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Music Ownership • Stand Up for Yourself • Know Where the Power Lies


[MUSIC PLAYING] - The music business has changed so much since-- I mean, since certainly since I started. So when I first started out, I was like, oh, my gosh. Now they're not-- like, I can't have, like, vinyl. I can't have, like, a regular album. Like, it has to be a CD. You know, it was like this whole thing I was-- my whole life I waited to have that, and then it was like now we're doing this. Then the next thing you know we're doing something else. Now basically it's, like, a stream, which you make, like, 1/16th of a penny on. It's a whole different thing, and it's another scam. I'm sorry industry people, but it's a scam. Like, it's a complete and total scam because there's no way you can go from-- like, who is actually making that money? I'm curious to know-- that used to go-- first, they went from, like, all the big physical things that were sold, whether they were, like-- I mean, they still sell vinyl now. It's, like, big again, but I'm just saying, you know, all those other things that whether it was CDs or, you know, DVDs or whatever, like, now it's a whole different thing because pretty much anybody can get on YouTube, can be heard, can be noticed, can be discovered, which is great, but what does discovery mean? Like, you're already on YouTube. You already sing your song. There's your moment. You have to carry it from there, so how do you carry it from there? There's a whole lot of different parts of the industry. There are record companies, publishing companies, management companies. There's touring, and as a developing artist, you have to be knowledgeable about all of these areas of the music business. I mean, it's difficult because-- sorry-- but a lot of these record companies, they do these 360 deals with young artists and they're taking advantage of them. And they're taking everything they have. A 360-deal is when an artist is signed to a recording contract that gives the label a percentage of earnings from all of an artist's revenue streams rather than just recorded music sales. The artist only makes a percentage of their actual earnings. But I'm not clear as to how fair that percentage is. Thank God I didn't have one of those type of deals, but I still really got screwed over in the beginning of my career. And, you know, it takes a long time to come out of that. Just imagine you wrote something that, like, became a huge hit or something, and you didn't realize that you didn't have to sell it to somebody or give somebody else a part of it or make them-- like, even a lot of the percentages and splits that I've had over the years are really not fair, but, you know, whatever. Eat, drink, dance, rob a bank, whatever. It's just a phrase I use. [MUSIC PLAYING] I think music ownership, meaning keeping control of your own publishing, owning your own publishing, is huge. I remember I was growing up and I was watching some documentary, and it was about the Beatles and ...

About the Instructor

With a five-octave range and soaring whistle tones, Mariah Carey reigns as the “Songbird Supreme.” Now, for the first time, she’s opening up her studio to show you her creative process. Learn how she uses her iconic voice to write songs, collaborate, and produce—and discover how some of her biggest hits were made. Draw inspiration from Mariah’s journey and connect with the power of your own voice and vision.

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Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey invites you into her studio to share her process. Learn how she uses her iconic voice to create, collaborate, and express a vision.

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