Thursday, November 11, 2010
You Get What You Negotiate
One of the most talked about things in the music business is the bad deal. Everybody has heard a story about someone getting ripped off or out right stolen from. Now even though most of these stories are true, there is no need to demonize the industry. You must simply understand that you get what you negotiate. I've worked for Little Richard for 15 years and I've heard all of the stories about Specialty Records first hand. Richard's deal was a straight rip off. He was only receiving a half a cent royalty. Now how do you break a penny in half? The thing that got Richard and thousands of other artists and I dare say still gets artists today is that they are more concerned about being famous than they are about being paid and having ownership. When you sit down at the negotiation, table don't talk about fame. The deal should be structured so that you GET PAID. I mean these people(The Record Company) are simply going to exploit your talent to make a profit so you should profit from that exploitation as well. Fame doesn't pay bills or build wealth for your family. You have to be educated on the business and the people you are doing business with. But don't play the blame game. I mean people are quick to tell you not to trust someone because they did them wrong. Well that person forgot to tell you that they got taken advantage of because they didn't do their do diligence to get the best deal. Now don't get me wrong, it is good to have an idea of the playing field but just understand you are not negotiating to be friends. You have to negotiate as if your very life is on the line because it is. Signing the wrong agreement can change the course of your career and your life. Don't be sold on hype and be sure to seek legal advice BUT PLEASE DO NOT GET REPRESENTATION OR ADVICE FROM SOMEONE WHO IS AFFILIATED OR ASSOCIATED WITH THE PEOPLE YOU ARE NEGOTIATING WITH! This is called a conflict of interest but they won't tell you, it is up to you to do the research to be sure that your attorney is truly on YOUR side and not just there to help the other people take advantage of you. Before you start a negotiation or seek representation, you must first know what you want. You can not waiver. You must know what you are willing to do and give up and always be prepared to say no and walk away. Never be afraid to say no. If the deal is not working for you, regardless of how bad you want it, just say no. Another deal will come along. Stay focused and read, read, read everything you can about this industry so that you can be a savvy artist/negotiator because you truly only get what you negotiate.
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