Do you REALLY want a record deal???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by mchildree, Nov 30, 2001.

  1. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    This was posted this morning to The Bottom Line by one of the moderators, Edwin Hurwitz. Pretty eye-opening, don't ya think?

    " For those of you out there that don't know how the music business works, it's well worth it to get educated on royalties and recoupables, etc. It's quite possible to sell a lot of records and not see a penny, while your record company execs all drive nice cars and boats and live in very comfortable houses. Basically, your 5c a
    record royalty pays for everything associated with the costs of making the album, while the company makes money from the first one sold (and sometimes from the first one pressed, even if it never gets sold, if you give away your mechanical rights).

    I heard a story of a band that was making their first major label recording, and their rep came by the studio to "hang with the boys" and brought some chips and
    a six pack. Later, when their accountant was going through everything, they discovered that they got billed $15 for the chips and $25 for the six pack. This they had to pay back with their royalties, so if they were getting even a dollar a CD, that would mean they would have to sell 35 CDs to pay for their chips and beer. Whereas, if they owned the album, 35 CDs would be worth $525 to them (at $15 apiece). Still want a record contract? At these rates, a $20,000 advance costs the band $300,000 to pay back. You are way better off just getting a bank loan and hiring a publicist yourself."
  2. Hey mchildree!!!Have you read the book "Confessions of a Record Producer" by Moses Avalon? Whew....I tell you what,he exposes many scams and frauds that go on in the music biz.It's an interesting book since He was a producer for several major labels and has produced bands that have sold platinum and multi-platinum albums.In Feb 2002 he should have a new edition for the above mentioned book.If anyone wants to pursue a viable career in the biz,these books are an eye opener.Plus,Mr. Avalon has put out another book called "Secrets of Negotiating a Record Contract".IF anyone has a chance to check this out,they should.Moses doesn't want to discourage musicians from involving themselves,but wants to arm them with practical knowledge so they can survive the corporate trickery that robs artists on a daily basis.WHAT YOU DON'T NOW WILL HURT YOU!!!
  3. OOOppss...I meant to say at the bottom of my post: What you don't know will hurt you...damn typos.
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    CS again-Excellent topic and no I dont want a record deal.
  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I like to do an Ani diFranco, if possible, my own "label", publishing etc. get the loan for production (in the material sense) and find some method if distribution. I heard Michelle Shocked sued her label under the anti-slavery amendment and won! Anybody know if that's factual?
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I also discovered this the hard way in the 1980s when the band I was in thought we had it made, when we signed a deal with EMI in the UK !

    We did get to make a single, but EMI never promoted it and wouldn't let us do anything else for 2 years!

    So the deal meant that we basically lost 2 years of our lives when we were at our creative peaks and all we got was a healthy level of cynicism about doing anything like this again.

    The band had to split and all the money was used up in the recording costs. :mad:
  7. I have a friend who is doing pretty well in music. He's is friends with some pretty "big" canadian musicians. He said some of them don't make hardely any money. I was shocked to hear who some of they were because I assumed they would be rich. Well I guess they're popular but not rich.
  8. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I had posted an article but deleted it cos it might infringe and stuff. Basically the record company stump up the money and you do the work. On a typical deal of say

    £1 for you and £3 for them on each CD it works like this. Iy ou get a 1k advance and make a CD that sells 100000 copies...

    You make £1k
    They make £3k less £1k advance
    You give them £1k
    They make 3k
    You make 0.00

    So at the end of the year another 100000 CDs are sold

    You make £100k
    They make £300k
    You split your £100k between 5 members
    Each member made £20k which is a good wage but not the millions promised
    BTW the record co. made £600k that year.

    PS try to get a mortgage on a house after you told them that you are a pro musician.
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    There was some heartfelt and anguished "advice" about this at the Jazz SummerSchool I attend.

    So there is usually a question and answer discussion session with the tutors who are all Jazz pros. I think they finally decided that the only way is to have a year or so off - get some sort of steady boring job, get your mortgage and only then go on to being a full-time musician!
  10. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    This is interesting:

    Anyone remember back in the mid-80's when Quiet Riot's debut album had just knocked Michael Jackson's "Thriller" out of the #1 spot on the charts? That very week, I was playing a Hilton Hotel bar in Baton Rouge, LA and Quiet Riot was in town for a concert. They stayed at this Hilton and came down to the bar for a drink after their show and I got a chance to talk at length with Carlos Cavazos. His parting words to me? "Hey man, can you spot me a Five for a burger?....I already spent my per diem on lunch." And the guy had the top album in the nation at that moment! Wow.....
  11. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Other things to consider:
    Front money is not a gift, it's a loan. The more front money you get, the harder it is to become successful. One of the reasons The Police were a success was that Stewart Copeland brought his experiences in Curved Air with him. They recorded the first album cheap, and did a threadbare tour of the US first time around. It's better to borrow a little, sell modestly and make a profit than borrow a lot, sell well and lose money.
    Royalties can be split from different areas. A friend of mine was on a small metal label in the '80s. He told me that they got a percentage of distribution in the USA, but nothing from Japan and Europe, which were the biggest market for metal at that time. They ended up with the #8 album in France, and saw no money.
  12. Well, making money is not the only reason to be a rockstar. There's also...being a rockstar, which some people may be willing to exchange quite a bit of money for.
  13. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Screw that, give me the cash.

  14. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    Bruce, after 5 years on the road, I found myself in the dubious position of having to explain those years on resumes. I handled it thusly:
    Occupation: Entertainer
    Employer: (use a booking agency name that you worked through whenever possible)
    Responsibilities: Performing, advertising, finance, travel logistics, graphic art layout.....
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    What I do know is that her label has deleted her entire catalog in the US :mad:

    Not sure if that constitutes "winning" :(
  16. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I think she got the right to record for other labels. I don't really know more than that, could be something else at this point.
  17. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    If you are lucky enough to get an advance, get as much as you can, because you ain't gonna recoup anyway! We have a "decent" deal with Arista, and we'll see our advance in January, but we know that the real money is going to come on tour. We have creative input, the final say so on producers, and the right to produce ourselves. I read Moses' book, and it's an eye opener for those that are new to the game. I'd been involved since '89, and everything in that book is true. If you know that going in, you'll be fine. Other than Moses Avalon's book, go out and get "Everything You Need To Know About The Music Business" by Kashif, the former keyboardist for BT Express. It is one of the realest book out there. So real, that the industry higher up's blasted him for writing it. Hell, they ain't too happy about Moses' book either! To me, the best way to do it, is to have your own label with major distribution.
  18. Stingray5

    Stingray5 Supporting Member

    Apr 6, 2000
    Long Island, NY
    Right on. The only way I was able to make some $$ from the record company was from the advance. We used the advance for the first album to purchase all our own studio equipment (the guitarist produced). Then we were able to take the advance for the second album and pocket it, minus minimal costs for tapes, cables etc.

    Warwicknut, when you say the real money will come on tour, are you referring to merchandise?
  19. I decided a while ago that if I got a deal, great, if not, no biggie. I know a lot of people that 'have' to get a deal; I think they are just setting themselves up for a big disappointment, whether they 'make it' or not. That's why I've decided to just become a professional bassist for whomever wants to pay me. It's a broader experience anyways.
  20. phogchris


    May 27, 2000
    Boca Raton, FL
    So far being in a band with a record deal has kept me from having a day job, so its not so bad so far. But I am a hired musician, so I don't have to worry about the bands' debt as of now, I get a steady salary, and I get to be a "rockstar"(whatever that means, and I think that title is a joke). Its been fun so far, and I am not in it for the money. If I get enough $$ to live on, I am happy....I am all about touring and being on the road.