Tuesday, October 26, 2010
It's always interesting to me how many artists and musicians complain about being ripped off, exploited or mistreated but won't do anything to be proactive about changing their perceived situation. I submit to you today that the way to change this situation is by taking ownership of your career. Years ago I heard a quote from Dave Clark who is known as the father of modern record/street promotion and he said "If you don't have a record then you are not in the record business." Now as simple as this may sound many of us still don't get it. Most of us want something for nothing. We want to record Cd's but we don't want to pay for the studio, graphics, photos or packaging and we are content to try and take advantage of someone else to get these things paid for. I know you've heard stories about how record companies for years have stolen royalties from artists and how the company got rich while the artist became broke. A lot of these stories are true but in most cases no one forces you to sign anything. You have a choice and it is up to you to take ownership of your decisions. It's really common sense. If I am a record company and I pay for an artist to produce a Cd and I cover all the cost involved with marketing and building their career then the record belongs to me as does the lion's share of the profit. I would have to make all of my investment money back first and because I took the risk I will also have a healthy percentage of whatever other earnings are made. Don't get me wrong, the artist will make money too. I will just make more per my investment. I mean without me you wouldn't have a record. I know you've seen the name "Executive Producer" on Cd's. This simply means who paid for the project. As an artist, if you are not willing to invest your own money, time and energy in your career you should just quit today. I understand that it is costly but you can at least pay half and partner with someone to help you but just know if you don't invest in you then you are telling the world that you don't really value who you are and what you have. You are simply setting yourself up to be ripped off. As a label owner and publisher I have garnered ownership of so many pieces of intellectual property because of artists trying to take the easy way out and get something for nothing. When they sign the agreement saying that for my investment I will own part or in most cases all of the publishing rights they think they are taking advantage of me. Now I do everything I can to try to get them to come out of pocket with SOMETHING so that we can share the executive producer role but they want something for nothing so I don't have a problem with it because it costs our company quite a bit of money and time to produce and place these projects. We produced a show a few years ago and the concept was to get a group of talented artists that each had a basic fan base of one to two hundred people. We proposed a partnership between our company and them to produce the event by all of us equally splitting the cost to produce the event. Each artist was to get video and audio footage of their performance to further help them. Now all of them wanted to do the show but do you know that not one of them would give a dime not even $100 to invest in themselves? We did the show and it was very successful but since we took the chance we made the money. Yes some of the artist started saying we were ripping them off because we didn't pay them this or that but from the moment they refused to invest in themselves they relinquished any right to complain. It's all about taking ownership and responsibility for your career. As a record executive/musician/producer/performer I have had to invest in ME all my life so I have zero tolerance for artists who don't want to do the same for themselves. I simply believe they will get what they deserve or what they put in and in most cases that is nothing. So I challenge all artists to take ownership right now.
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