BUYER BEWARE: Warning Regarding “Tom Ness Music Scam”

It takes talent, professionalism and incredible perseverance to be a gigging musician. That’s why scam-ridden companies show up on your favorite gear swap website or clutter your newsfeed on social media to promise you that your hard work is going to pay off… IF you sign up for their workshop, package deal, coaching session, etc. and unfortunately for you, the musician, these promises are often too good to be true.

“Making it” in the music industry can mean 100 different things to 100 different musicians. There is no one right way, no perfect formula. You work too hard for your cash to give it away to some bozo.

Recently I came across a craigslist ad promising that you are never too old or too inexperienced to be a pro-musician, you ONLY have to pay $179 for this e-coaching workshop and access to their special super top secret forum. The one in particular that caught my eye is “Tom Hess:  Make it in Fort Collins”- #1 – He’s got ZERO Colorado industry experience as he’s in the United Kingdom and #2 – his website oozed sleaze. A quick google search “tom hess scam”, yielded dozens of pages of how the guy is a tool and his “program” is worthless. Of course, with fabricated success stories and a plethora of buyer beware messages, I quickly “flagged” that sleaze-oozing ad and crossed my fingers that my musician friends would do a google search of their own before wasting their time and $$$. Try it for yourself by googling “Tom Hess Music Scam”.

Since the beginning of time, musicians have been targeted with lofty promises of Stardom…Only if, of course, they gave away their rights, their royalties, opportunities and creative freedom.

There are two great articles on the subject that I highly recommend.

The Take Away:

1.  Beware of and do your homework if…

Consultants, agents, engineers, producers, managers, booking, talent and licensing websites are looking for monthly fees, membership fees and lump sums of cash upfront.

2. Google is your best friend…

Try these searches before signing that contract replacing “Business” with the name of the company you are searching.

“Business Name”
“Website title”
“Business” review
“Business” complaint
“Business” scam
“Business” article
“Business” rip off
“Business” ripoff

3.  Don’t lose hope!! There are credible music industry professionals out there, and if they feel right, go with your gut…But always spring for a lawyer to look over and explain that contract.

Jahna Eichel
COMBO Board Member
Higher Ground Rehearsal Studios
Fort Collins, CO

Jahna is a studio owner, artist manager and marketing strategist from New York City, raising her family and her business in Northern Colorado. Learn more at:

Categories: Buyer Beware