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Why 360 Deals Are Bad For Artists


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Having just finished working as a manager, hired by an international label to manage an artist, I have some great first-hand insider insight to impart in respect of 360 deals for artists. In respect of 360 deals, I agree there are benefits for labels and rights holders in respect of ‘cross collateralizing’ recoupment of any monies advanced or spent on attempting to break an act. Yet it is a very one-sided equation in favour of the label and not the artist in most cases.

It gets even more dubious when, the artist’s lawyer insists it is the labels responsibility to contract a manager and that the managers commission has to come from the label’s share of revenues and is not recoupable by the label. Whilst on first look that may seem like a bargain for the artist. But is it really?

What about conflicts of interest, which I might add any REAL lawyer could see with such a scenario, but this artist’s lawyer chose to ignore in this case. Where are the checks and balances in such circumstances? Non-existent in this particular case. The label was not even made to pay any advance to this particular artist to receive rights to all income streams. A total dereliction of duty in my humble opinion.

In my case the label wanted me to be a ‘label lackey’ advising a band to do what was in the best interests of the label and not necessarily in the best interests of the artist’s long-term career in terms of revenue. A prime example is where the label wanted me to advise the band that offering a producer a percentage of ALL income streams to produce a record. Interestingly, because although the label had signed the artist, it did not itself have enough money to pay the producer the label wanted to produce the artist’s record. Not a very nice position to be placed in. Needless to say, I refused to advise the artist to agree such a deal.

It gets uglier, with the label concerned trying to tell the band that releasing a record in their own home territory will work against them in terms of releasing their record overseas in the UK or USA first. Obviously, utter bollocks with no basis whatsoever in reality! One only has to look at one particular Australian band, which was broken top down from the UK. These same artists only managed to sell 2000, tickets to an 8,000 capacity show it was supposed to be the headline act for…

As it was clear to the label that I was not going to be a ‘lackey’ they refused to approve my record release budgets and instead begun asking the band to agree to extremely un-viable budgets, (behind my back whilst at the same time telling me not to run budgets by the artist in question). Sadly, the artists concerned did rather stupidly agree too these inadequate budgets. I cannot blame the band as they are naïve and green around the ears, which too many labels take advantage of. It will no doubt take this artist as it has many others their first record release to realise that they were ‘done over’ in terms of revenue and payment from the label they concluded the deal with.

On a final note, I have over 3GB of recordings of conversations with this label, and unless they pay for expenses incurred during my tenure representing this artist on the label’s behalf, you may very well hear some very juicy conversations where the label is clearly advising the band to do what is in the interests of the label but not the artist in question. I’m already in discussions with media companies on three continents with reference to serializing these conversations outlining dubious practices employed by this particular label.



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