Throwing shade is not for everyone. Though it’s hard to find those not willing to participate

Posted: March 7, 2023

When I worked in the music industry years back, the term throwing shade was a commonly used phrase. Shade is a subtle, sneering expression of contempt for or disgust with someone—sometimes verbal, and sometimes not. It appears in the phrase to throw shade. It was a very trendy word at the time. Kind of cute, and would make some to seem popular at the time.

It was interesting how the term “throwing shade” was made popular by those who deserved contempt. The outward appearance of certain individuals would make them seem accomplished or even popular. However, their voice, live performances, and work ethic were anything but polarizing. Even to this day, certain bands or artists will follow the trends in order to bump up their brand status in the music industry. You could say, they are looking to cut corners, versus working for what is deserving to few.

Case in point. These same trend setters, would try taking advantage of our booking agency by setting up booking dates on the side. All they needed was access to our connections. Which worked for their future gigs. But in the long run, it hurt their reputation. Even a new PR agency couldn’t recover a once unblemished music career. To this date, the band is struggling to maintain a career in the music industry. Unfortunately, the reputation of throwing shade at others has come to its end. At least for this band.

If this was a one-time occurrence, then it wouldn’t be memorable. However, there is a pattern or consistent behavior among artists. Working with a Booking or PR agency under exclusivity should prevent unprofessional conduct like this.

However, a legal document is only as good as the action you are willing to proceed with. Contracts or legal agreements are worthless. Unless you are pursuing your legal options. Then all parties start to take notice. Unfortunately, I have pursued legal recourse on several occasions. To me, it is more disappointing that loyalty and trust were broken. Working with these bands left a bad taste for me. The desire to work with artists on any level was diminished by a few bad apples.

Representing artists in a professional setting like PR or Booking are no longer interests of ours. There are too many artists willing to “go rogue” regardless of the legal guidelines that we established from the start. The problem is that too many agencies are too busy to take artists to court, that they just rather cut their losses and move on. However, this has set in motion a pattern or behavior that has run rampant within the music industry. I am certain that it also has occurred in the other sectors of the entertainment industry.



If you are an artist, do not consider going rogue. Always follow the legal agreements in place between you and any agency that is representing your brand. The legal documentation exists as a protection for all parties involved. Do not allow your past dictate to you how you should operate moving forward. If you have gone rogue, take the actions required and stop now. Before it hurts your reputation and your pocket.

I know that all parties do not play by the same rules. I get it. There is shade to be thrown at both sides of the coin. Either the artist, or agency can be held liable for any actions that fall outside legal guidelines. This article applies just to the artist. We can write a review that includes throwing shade at other entities as well. Again, no one is immune from legal action when applicable. However, do yourself justice and operate by the book. Your future as an artist is at stake. Do not become consumed by opportunities that are unjust and break the bonds of trust.

I would like to ask a couple of questions to an artist that I feel has gone above and beyond to adhere to excellent business practices. His name is Thomas Kavanagh.

Hello Thomas, thank you for taking a moment to chime in on this topic. We have conclude that you have operated your professional career in an outstanding manner. What motivates you to follow a higher standard of business practices?

For me it’s seeing my peers are doing and trying to adapt to that or work in a way that’s similar to them with my own twist of style. Always trying to better myself and looking back at my work and seeing what is it I can do better next time.

We don’t want you to mention specifics. However, have you encountered artists that do not play by the rules? In essence they “go rogue”.

I think i can say I’ve met a few on the road, but as the saying goes rules are made to be broken. Some people I’ve encountered have broken them wrongly others for the better!

What suggestions do you have for artists in dealing with agencies that they have signed legal agreements with? Is there something they can do before signing the dotted line? Please provide us as much detail as you would like.

I woud 100% recommend getting them selves a musician lawyer, someone who knows exactly what the agreement is before you’re signing. Yes it may cost money to get a lawyer, but it may make you money if they get your the right agreement and not lost in their pocket forever with the agencies.

Friends, it is important to discuss subjects candidly. There are many artists and musicians looking to make a career in the music industry. Focusing on adhering to the rules and guidelines a protection. Not a means to hold you back. Do not sign an agreement out of excitement, for what someone has promised you. Read the documentation. Get a clear understanding of the legal jargon used. If needed, hire an attorney or para legal to review the agreement. This is your livelihood, do not leave it up to someone else to dictate what your future will look like. If you have signed an agreement, do not give in to opportunities to accept gigs outside of your legal agreement. It isn’t worth it. Your 10% commission that you pay your agency isn’t close to what you will pay in legal costs.

Sign up with your email address to receive entertainment news and updates.
Subscription Form
We want to hear from you! Send us a tip using our anonymous form.
Guitar Thrills Magazine. 2023 Copyright. All rights reserved.