When it comes to your favorite rapper 360 deals might be holding them back from earning what they truly deserve.
We all know the record companies are bastards. It’s in every movie about the industry. But just how do they screw over their artists?
It has been well known that the label takes their cut off the top and the artists take home a fraction. At least that’s the way it used to be. Back when records were more than just hipsters.
We no longer live in a world where buying an album is common. When this was the case, artists would keep their money from merch sales, touring, and appearances, and a fraction of the album sales.
However, when album sales took a steep drop in the 2000s, the format had to change. Music sales went from a record high in the 90s to a low in the following decades.
360 deals are still the worst
A 360 deal is the standard today. They take a fraction of all things artists used to keep, such as merch and touring.
Just the same, the advance the artist is paid is not money they get to keep. It’s there for artistic inspiration but will be owed back to the label. The label invests an average of $2 million per artist.
In the contract they sign, they agree to pay back all money invested, on the terms of the label. This is how artists can go hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to their contracts.
In essence, they become slaves of the industry.
What about streams?
Streaming does not bring in the big bucks. Artists have their entire catalogs put on streaming services because of deals made with the labels. They agree to put on their artists by taking majority profit, which the artists have no say in.
The labels are pimping out their artists on the corner for dirt cheap. In Spotify’s case, they pay 70 percent to the label. Even if they’re independent, streaming still wouldn’t give much of a payout.
Being paid by the stream is basically like getting paid in tips: you’ll never make as much as you’re supposed to.
What about the Lambos in their videos?
Loaners, without a doubt. Most artists will have a house paid for by the label for image reasons if they’re a success. This and most other high price items in the video are just there for the look.
That’s why you hear about artists getting their nice cars repossessed. They have enough for a first payment, but not continually.
Owning your masters
If you’re looking to make music yourself, it’s worth it to know a bit about music production. Being able to self-produce is one of the biggest legs up a musician can get.
The point of working with a producer is to get the sound as good as it possibly can, to elevate the album to something grand. Being signed meant people would see your record in stores.
Now, with the online tools like United Masters, you can produce and distribute your own music, keep a large percentage of your royalties! You may not have the money and backing of a big label, but starting your own ain’t a bad move either.
Beware of people selling a dream, friends.