AfterDawn: Tech news

Labels tell artists 'we gave your money to our lawyers'

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 02 Mar 2008 23:56 User comments (24)

Labels tell artists 'we gave your money to our lawyers' While there are some people opposed to RIAA royalty collection tactics and others who take the labels' side, one thing both sides generally agree on is the importance of paying artists. That is, of course, unless you count the labels themselves as representing their own side.
Last year RIAA member companies successfully negotiated deals with a number of websites whose operators had been accused of copyright infringement, giving them a windfall in royalties for use of their music. The problem is they apparently haven't bothered to share their newfound revenue with the artists whose music they're supposedly collecting royalties for.

"Artist managers and lawyers have been wondering for months when their artists will see money from the copyright settlements and how it will be accounted for," said lawyer John Branca, who has represented Korn, Don Henley, and The Rolling Stones, among others. "Some of them are even talking about filing lawsuits if they don't get paid soon."

Of course the labels say that the money was all but exhausted paying lawyers. On the other hand it's well known that all music label and movie studio deals have a net profit of $0 as a standard way to avoid paying percentages of the real profits to anyone.

Irving Azoff, manager for The Eagles and Jewel, among others, said "They will play hide and seek, but eventually will be forced to pay something." He added "The record companies have even tried to credit unrecouped accounts. It's never easy for an artist to get paid their fair share."

On the other hand, maybe the labels' accountants really aren't very good at math and couldn't figure out how much they needed to sue for. Or the lawyers were so inept that they didn't catch the mistake.

But really, even if both of those things are true and the labels don't have any money left over, shouldn't that be their own problem, rather than being passed along to parties with no voice at the negotiating table? Still, it would explain an awful lot that's happened recently.

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24 user comments

13.3.2008 0:07

Cheapos!

23.3.2008 0:14

I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.

33.3.2008 0:17

Originally posted by 21Q:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.

I like your future!

"The flimsier the product,the higher the price"
Ferengi 82nd rule of aqusition


43.3.2008 0:29

Originally posted by 21Q:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.

I don't see that as likely, but I won't be surprised if they're devalued to the point where companies with workable business models take them over. The days of labels making their money from music distribution are done.

53.3.2008 0:38
varnull
Inactive

They haven't been able to pay me what they owe me.. Maybe they have spent MY money on chasing sharers too.. Funny thing is.. I can't find my music being shared anywhere, and I have spent more than I am owed chasing the ******* for the ca$h.. It would be nice to break even.

Stuff that for a game of soldiers.. If I ever release any more music it will go straight on to the p2p sites.. at least then the suits don't get any more from me, and just maybe some people will get to enjoy without paying fat cats through the nose for it while I see nothing.

Their business is bankrupt.. download, burn and give away.. If you feel guilty send the artists a couple of $$'s (or donate to a good charity and tell them who you paid).. It's more than they would ever see if you bought it!!!!!

63.3.2008 0:47
cousinkix
Inactive

Quote:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.
It's here now! Some artists offer direct downloads from their official homepages. Third parties such as www.nugs.net host several bands on their website too. You can pay with a credit/debit card or use PayPal in some cases. I buy lossless FLAC downloads myself and none of the money goes to that RIAA mafia.

73.3.2008 4:33
nobrainer
Inactive

Originally posted by 21Q:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.
Well lets hope the bad ones disappear, that dictate what the rules are, bribe stations to only play RIAA music (payola deals sony's forte), steal from artists and block indie bands air play and royalties and these companies are: Sony, Warner, EMI and Universal obviously!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Mar 2008 @ 4:35

83.3.2008 10:18
atomicxl
Inactive

Originally posted by 21Q:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.
This is the same fantasy land where radio gladly plays any and all music made. Eventually artists will be like, "I wish there was someway we could come together on one name so that we could have more bargaining power. I'm not saying we should be a group, but maybe if we could label ourselves as one entitiy, things would be better and easier for all."

People who say this type of stuff usually haven't the SLIGHTEST idea about how the music industry operates. All they see is that their favorite cd is $9.99 and they feel like they're getting ripped off so they spew nonsense.

Labels are a major benefit. You may not like major labels (shame on anyone for promoting artists, pushing songs at radio, paying for album recording, mixing and mastering, buying advertising slots, paying for tours... thats the work of satan!) but labels are a critical part of the industry.

93.3.2008 12:05

Quote:
Originally posted by 21Q:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.
This is the same fantasy land where radio gladly plays any and all music made. Eventually artists will be like, "I wish there was someway we could come together on one name so that we could have more bargaining power. I'm not saying we should be a group, but maybe if we could label ourselves as one entitiy, things would be better and easier for all."

People who say this type of stuff usually haven't the SLIGHTEST idea about how the music industry operates. All they see is that their favorite cd is $9.99 and they feel like they're getting ripped off so they spew nonsense.

Labels are a major benefit. You may not like major labels (shame on anyone for promoting artists, pushing songs at radio, paying for album recording, mixing and mastering, buying advertising slots, paying for tours... thats the work of satan!) but labels are a critical part of the industry.
Labels may have been a critical part of the industry in the past, but they refuse to evolve, at the detriment of the artist. They may or may not be needed for new and up and coming artists - that's debateable and I won't argue for or against it. But it's been proven that an established artist really has no use for them anymore. Radiohead, or Neil Young for example can rely on their name alone and the internet to do all the advertising, marketing and distributing.

And I agree that an Artist group should be formed. That would be a great idea. AFA (Artists For Artists). Create their own trade group where younger artists can be funded and have access to marketing resources - without a third party getting involved, whose only concern is the bottom line dollar. That kind of system (what we have now) only bastardizes the art of music.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Mar 2008 @ 20:57

103.3.2008 12:53

LOL... This reminds me of the "windshild" business!
When business is low, you go out with your baseball bat at night,
and smash a few car windshilds and... guess what?!!
Yep, you have new business!

So, if your lawyers need a "retainer" (to keep them working for you),
you have to bust a few websites to pay them!

Artists to get paid? No way... we (RIAA) are in the Windshild business!
Cheers!

113.3.2008 15:59

BAH-HAH-HA!
There is some justice after all.
Smell it, "artists."
Smell what you got in bed with.

123.3.2008 16:40

"We can't pay you(artists), we are broke because we have to pay the lawyers first.", said the RIAA as they drove off into the sunset in their Mercedes, Ferrari's, and Bentlys.

133.3.2008 23:38
llongtheD
Inactive

@atomicxl

Wake up dude, there is more than one way to skin a cat. They WERE once a critical part, but their greed has blinded them. The business model they're following, suing people for not buying their formula music, is a sinking ship. Some artists are waking up to this fact, by releasing their albums independently, and over the internet. Do you really believe a great band couldn't find sponsorship elsewhere?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Mar 2008 @ 23:49

144.3.2008 0:20

At the end of the day the lawyers were the only ones who ever profited from illegal downloading. The irony in this is almost comical.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Mar 2008 @ 0:23

154.3.2008 0:26
llongtheD
Inactive

Quote:
Quote:
Originally posted by 21Q:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.
This is the same fantasy land where radio gladly plays any and all music made. Eventually artists will be like, "I wish there was someway we could come together on one name so that we could have more bargaining power. I'm not saying we should be a group, but maybe if we could label ourselves as one entitiy, things would be better and easier for all."

People who say this type of stuff usually haven't the SLIGHTEST idea about how the music industry operates. All they see is that their favorite cd is $9.99 and they feel like they're getting ripped off so they spew nonsense.

Labels are a major benefit. You may not like major labels (shame on anyone for promoting artists, pushing songs at radio, paying for album recording, mixing and mastering, buying advertising slots, paying for tours... thats the work of satan!) but labels are a critical part of the industry.
Labels may have been a critical part of the industry in the past, but they refuse to evolve, at the detriment of the artist. They may or may not be needed for new and up and coming artists - that's debateable and I won't argue for or against it. But it's been proven that an established artist really has no use for them anymore. Radiohead, or Neil Young for example can rely on their name alone and the internet to do all the advertising, marketing and distributing.

And I agree that an Artist group should be formed. That would be a great idea. AFA (Artists For Artists). Create their own trade group where younger artists can be funded and have access to marketing resources - without a third party getting involved, whose only concern is the bottom line dollar. That kind of system (what we have now) only bastardizes the art of music.
I couldn't agree with you more emugamer.

164.3.2008 12:53
Icanbe
Inactive

"But really, even if both of those things are true and the labels don't have any money left over, shouldn't that be their own problem, rather than being passed along to parties with no voice at the negotiating table?"

Exactly, Wake up Labels, RIAA, that's your problem, not the artists.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Mar 2008 @ 13:20

174.3.2008 14:42

Anybody else find it ironic that as much as the RIAA & the entertainment industry is in the public eye as far as bemoaning the evils of file sharing and piracy, that they're just as bad (Or in this case, worse than) as the people who're at their homes doing the "crimes" that they bitch about?

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Mar 2008 @ 14:43

185.3.2008 7:18
nobrainer
Inactive

Originally posted by Icanbe:
"But really, even if both of those things are true and the labels don't have any money left over, shouldn't that be their own problem, rather than being passed along to parties with no voice at the negotiating table?"

Exactly, Wake up Labels, RIAA, that's your problem, not the artists.
The RIAA does the labels bidding, just as the MPAA fronts for the movie industry, they are told what to do by Big Media not the other way around!

They are used as a smoke screen so Bad Press does not effect sales.


This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 05 Mar 2008 @ 7:24

195.3.2008 21:19

So they Sue people For UnGodly inflated amounts of money. and your telling me you have not a dime left. The RIAA are So full of SH*T it isn't funny. if i was caught Downloading and the RIAA tried to Sue me, i would much prefer to go to a gun store buy A 10 gage shotty go to the court room and blow my brains out than pay those fee's.

lets see $10,000 a song i have about 1,000 P2Ped Songs, with my current pay that would make me your slave for almost 28 years. keeping a minimum of 260 dollars in my pockets and the rest to the RIAA.

206.3.2008 14:43

Originally posted by 21Q:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.
not likely. this is an option for existing bands that people already know about but it wont work for new artists

bands cant market themselves as well as if they had the record companies backing them.

it might move in a different direction where instead of a record labels a new web site label will emerge that could offer direct downloads. I could see that happening in the future.. 5-10 years
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Mar 2008 @ 14:48

216.3.2008 16:31

Quote:
Originally posted by 21Q:
I can imagine a world where record labels no longer exist. And thats in the very near future.
not likely. this is an option for existing bands that people already know about but it wont work for new artists

bands cant market themselves as well as if they had the record companies backing them.

This is true because of the way artists have always been marketed. Put some makeup and new clothing on them, establish a new trend and saturate them in it so as to create an illusion of being hip, and convince people that they are deep and in tune with them by spending a couple million on a vapid music video. It has to be more about the music as opposed to the image. Which is why they need support from those who are established. They need endorsements from bigger artists. Big name artists should be proactive in reaching out to younger artists whom they themselves truly suuport to help them get the exposure they need. And not just in the form of touring with them. That works (I remember seeing Ben Kweller for the first time when he was touring with Jeff Tweedy about 8 years ago - I thought he was a very talented scrapper at the time), but there are too many up-and-comers for that to be a practical solution to work for everyone. An established artist should offer free marketing resources that may be available to them. There should be a more close knit community for each genre.

Music Utopia. Will it ever happen....??? Probably not any time soon, but at least the foundation for some form of change is being laid.

227.3.2008 5:21

Maybe 2 or 3 artists should get their BAR licence and donate some time in court to represent the artists.That way the RIAA would have no excuse for not paying out the proceeds they gain from the lawsuits.Everyone is entitled to a "representative" of their choice in court.

237.3.2008 8:53

Any artist that signs up with a label should be committed! Well, maybe if they would carry me because I was cute and a great dresser but had no tallent I would concider it.

2420.4.2008 21:32

So much for the music artists making more or getting their money back. We all said that the lawyers will win in the long run.

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