The Dizzying World of the Record Deal

Today we’re going to touch on a rare commodity in the world, a problem that is accompanied by a solution. So, we all have heard the myths and murmurs of bad deals with a lifetime of creative and financial prisons. 

If you’re similar with the rapper Tyga, he famously signed one of the worst deals and history and ended up having to buy his way out of it, ending up still being owed $12-$15 million dollars by the label afterwards. Recently, Taylor Swift has been in a very public battle over his publishing ownership and has been denied over and over the ability to buy it back. In music history, so many musicians have signed away their rights, their publishing, their creative control and ended up owing money on top of it. 

Before we go too far down this rabbit hole, we wanted to remind you from the jump that it’s ever so important to compartmentalize your business and personal life. Now, we’ve all heard the saying of not to mix business with pleasure and that’s for certain, however a lot of people don’t realize that you shouldn’t mix certain elements of business with other elements of business. This is a lesser known fact that is often ever considered until the unfortunate signee realizes they’re in deep and everyone around them is in kahoots. 

An example of this is that your manager should never own your record label or your publishing. All three of these should stay separate. Similarly, we highly suggest that you hire a lawyer on your own accord, as in, they weren’t suggested to you by anybody that profits directly from you, like having the CEO of your record label’s lawyer also be your lawyer. It’s important to maintain distance and perspective because unfortunately despite positivity and high hopes, sometimes you just don’t know who you can trust.

During 2020, as if we all weren’t handled enough, several cats have been “let out of the bag” including an entire batch of sour deals. If you caught Kanye a few months ago posting his record deal details on Twitter, you may have witnessed the spark of the newest wave of industry outings. 

So, let’s dive into the proposed solution to the problem at hand. The brand new Record Deal Stimulator is now on the scene. You can find it here: Specially, they state “Many artists sign record deals they don’t fully understand. We’ve created a deal simulator to help artists, managers, and labels model deal options and forecast profits. It’s a rough guide to better understand the finances of how record deals work.” This tool is beyond cool because it puts real facts and figures on a screen for you, for free. This is the first of its kind and it’s absolutely perfect timing. They are just getting started so stay tuned on future updates but be sure to sift around the projections as they are currently. 

No matter what you decide to do in terms of making use of your signature on a seriously serious contract, take it slow. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of a potential deal, especially in these times of uncertainty, but you’ll thank yourself later when you took the time to read, understand and challenge every single word.