Nobody likes being scammed – especially when it comes to music. In the 1990s, producer William Barrington-Coupe manipulated hundreds of pre-existing recordings in a bid to pass off his wife Joyce Hatto as a world-class pianist.
The heist was heightened by the excruciating embarrassment of the many record critics who praised the recordings for their originality.
At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, nine-year-old Lin Miaoke won the hearts of millions of people after her performance at the opening ceremony – only to be revealed as a lip-sync stunt.
She would hardly be the first singer to be accused publicly of faking performance, as the history of UK pop – from the Everlasting Love Affair’s 1960s session musician scandal to various TV performances by Cheryl Cole (now Fernandez-Versini) – shows.
In 2013 Robert Mawhinney, the lead singer of LA rock band Lights Over Paris, cheated investors out of $11 million by wildly exaggerating the extent of the group’s success. And just last year Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams lost a high-profile court case to the Marvin Gaye family estate who successfully sued them for plagiarising one of Gaye’s records from the 1970s.
So there’s a rich history of muso hoaxes, and it’s not unique to the glitz and glamour of mainstream showbiz. In a more parochial case of ‘fake it till you make it’, a musician from Borders was taken to court last month after allegedly pocketing payments for a ceilidh band that never showed up to any gigs.
Whether he got away with it or not, the case raises the question what you should do to protect yourselves when hiring entertainment for your private event.
In today’s digital world, it can be hard to tell the pretenders from the professionals. When it comes to booking function musicians in particular, the recent Scottish case highlights the importance of having a contractual agreement in place.
You want to know that the band you’ve fallen in love with online is going to deliver on your special day – and that you haven’t just handed over your money to a group of imposters.
With FixTheMusic, you can enjoy the security of a third-party mediator. We personally vet all musicians and acts who sign up to our site. When you pay the deposit to secure a booking, and the remainder 45 days before your date, it is worth noting that all transactions are processed through Stripe, the most secure online payment platform used by hundreds of trustworthy sites including Lyft and OpenTable.
And, most importantly, the entire fee is held safely in escrow until you’ve danced the night away, after which we pay our musicians. Put simply, we’ve got your back at every stage. Take a look at our booking agreement which governs every transaction made through our site.
Read what other customers have said about us in our five-star reviews on Facebook and Google.
We are very proud to have achieved only 5-star reviews in the several years since we began FixTheMusic.
And rest assured that with an impressive database of thousands of professional musicians on hand across the UK, FixTheMusic is uniquely positioned to be the best possible safety net for your event, with 24/7 customer service and its own in-house team of professional musicians.
Have you booked musicians online before? What was your experience like and what was important to you in the booking process? Tell us in the comments section below!
— Myles recently completed his PhD in Music at the University of Cambridge, where he also manages commercial bookings for the recording studio in the Faculty of Music's Centre for Music & Science. Alongside FixTheMusic, Myles runs Eastwood Records, a London-based sound recording company.