CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - DJ Chuck T got into music out of love and passion, and he now aims to teach up and coming artists on how to save their money by navigating the music industry.
At times, artists will make a name for themselves, only to fall down when they end up broke or stuck in a bad record deal. DJ Chuck T wants to fix that.
He’s an award-winning DJ who was instrumental in the early days of many young artists including Charlotte rapper DaBaby. Chuck T’s goal isn’t just to help artists get to the top, it’s to teach them the ins and outs of the business.
WBTV spoke with him about his background in music and the mistakes most up and coming musicians make in the industry.
Chuck T says he’s been in the music business for about two decades, but has been involved with music since a young age.
“I have been in the music business about 20 years, but I’ve been doing music since I was a child. I come from a family that has always been sort of big musically, rather it be in the church or outside the church doing R&B and things of that nature,” Chuck T said.
He says he has always recognized the importance of the business side of the music industry.
“Naturally everybody starts off in front of the camera or doing moreso the entertainment side, but I always saw a huge need for the business end to be covered because so many musicians, artists, DJs, producers, everybody - they make a lot of money and then they end up broke shortly thereafter because nobody paid attention to the business, nobody paid attention to the money,” Chuck T said.
The music industry has had a reputation of taking advantage of artists, and DJ Chuck T says he’s seen it his entire career. Some artists have even publicly criticized their record labels. Chuck T gave a glimpse into some of the major mistakes artists make when they first get in the industry.
“I feel like everybody is so concerned with the upfront money, that they don’t read their contracts and see that a record deal is a loan. They get the big upfront money, they start buying cars, clothes, jewelry, going on lavish trips, vacations and things of that nature. They put a little bit of money into music, but they don’t know all of that stuff has to be paid back, every last single dime,” Chuck T said. “Also, with recording contracts themselves, they’re never for a period of time, they’re for a period of albums, or a period of releases, so they never really run out.”
There is also a major issue when it comes to artists and having ownership of their own music. Artists like Jay Z have talked extensively about the importance of owning music. DJ Chuck T spoke on ownership in the music industry.
“If you don’t own the music, you have no control over where the music goes,” he said. “You have so many different clauses in contracts, that whenever you do read the contract, you could easily skip over something. We all know contracts are worded to be a little sneaky.”
In today’s music society, DJ Chuck T feels like the industry is getting more clouded due to the amount of people who have access to upload music.
“You would think because of all the do-it-yourself tools out there, people would be more than happy to put it out, but the internet is sort of like the wild wild west,” he said. “At one point in time, you had hundreds of people doing music, now you have millions of people doing music.”
He also spoke on the misconceptions some artists may have about how much money they are making from streaming services.
“Streaming is literally hundredths of a penny per stream that you get paid,” he said.
DJ Chuck T holds seminars and classes to teach artists the business side of the music industry. He teaches about trademarking, copyrighting, helping artists get their LLC, reading basic contracts, performance rights, as well as monetizing music and YouTube videos.
These music business classes are a part of “The Foundation of Music” and more details about the classes can be found on DJ Chuck T’s website.
Chuck T spoke about his relationship with DaBaby and how the two have worked together on music through the years.
“I offer a lot of services for artists such as CD duplication, helping them upload their music on iTunes, Spotify and things of that nature, so I started off working with him on that level,” Chuck T said. “As his career progressed, our relationship has taken things to another level where I’ve helped him get in doors where his record label couldn’t get in, because of some of the connections I’ve had. In turn, he’s looked out for me and helped me get in places I haven’t been able to get into. So it’s a great relationship.”
Chuck T, is involved in the NBA’s first ever “Music Industry Night” in connection with the Charlotte Hornets. The music industry night takes place at the Charlotte Hornets vs Orlando Magic game at the Spectrum Center on Jan. 20, 2020. You can learn more about the event on Chuck T’s website.