Thursday, March 8, 2012

You Get What You Negotiate

I read a post a couple of days ago form an older artist who had been a part of a very successful group. They had gold records and a few hits, but he mentioned that during the height of their success it took him years to receive any royalties. He also mentioned that his music had been used in several films and he was only paid a few hundred dollars for licensing. He's now retired and barely living on a social security check. Yes, he is still owed tons of back royalties but can't afford an attorney to fight it. I know we've all heard hundreds of these kinds of stories. The music industry was and still is a tough business but let's never for get that it is a business FIRST and you only get what you negotiate. Most artist are so busy focusing on being famous that when they have even a little success their ego can sometimes cloud their judgement. Let's face it, their is just nothing exciting or fabulous about doing tons of paperwork including filing copyrights and publishing papers. So many artists sign agreements without fully understanding the dreaded fine print. It is important that you are aware of every single clause and what it means. A record deal or now 360 deal (which are horrible by the way) is only a loan. If you borrow money from a bank, you will negotiate to get the best interest rate and terms of payback that best suit you. Well you should look at any contractual agreement the same way. Don't walk into any meeting trying to be an artist. WALK IN AS A BUSINESS MAN/WOMAN. Negotiate terms that will pay off the advance or label investment as well as get you paid not only in the short term but the long term. You want a deal that gives you a percentage ownership stake in everything that you generate from performance royalties, publishing, mechanicals, licensing. . . etc. You need to also look at the length of the agreement. Don't sign your life away. There is so much more to consider, much more than I have time or space to write in this setting, (I will cover it in depth in my book). Just remember that you only get what you negotiate and if you make a bad deal, it's not the other guy's fault, he was looking out for his interest, NOT YOURS. Enjoy the journey.

The Truth

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