Re: the music biz
Posted by: John Q ()
Date: August 27, 2001 05:36AM

Let's assume a "single" person gets signed to a "major" label. The person is the singer and a songwriter as well. What would an average (generalized) deal be like? Is the publishing deal considered to be different from his record deal?

>>>> A publishing deal is seperate from a record deal, but it could be in the same familiy, i.e. you get signed to Warner Bros. and sign with Warner/Chappell for publishing (doesn't have to be though). There is no such thing as an 'average deal' - the advance all depends on how badly the label wants you. Could be $250.000.-, could be $3 million. It's all about how they perceive your potential. A nice lil' bidding war tends to jack up the price, too. Some extremely shitty bands have gotten signed for millions because one delusional A&R saw greatness and, as always, every other A&R sheep in town put in a bid, too, because there just HAD to be something there if dude X from label Y thinks band Z are all of a sudden hot @!#$.
Publishing deals can be neat: An artist may get a pretty nice advance, enough to live on for a while or buy a pad even, before the record is even out. If the record tanks, i.e. the publishing company loses their ass on the deal, you still have that money. Sure, it's all recoupable but they can't re-possess your house over it.

The musicians hired to play on his album are also paid. Who cuts a deal with them? And do they continue to get royalties from the future sales of the album they played on? Or is it a one time deal only paying them for their session work and has nothing to do with the album sales?

>>>> It's a one time flat fee. Session players get paid (part of the recording budget) - extremely well if you're talking the Michael Landau's of this world - for what they do in the studio and that's it. A session player might get hired thru a producer who has a relationship with that particular musician and knows what he's good at, or it could be the manager or even the artist himself.

Does the record label hire the studio and the producer?

>>>> Most likely, the band, manager and label will agree on a producer and then the producer, manager, and band pick a studio together. Since the money for the studio is coming from the label - unless the band has a spec/production deal with a producer who fronts the money - they obviously have to sign off on it, too.

What exactly does a producer do?

>>>> Tweak the songs/arrangments, help write songs, engineer the record (or hire an engineer and assistants to do that task), be a cheer leader, a psychiatrist, a baby sitter (for the band - not their offspring mind you!), basically be the quarter back of the whole project.

How can you differentiate between a slick production and a low budget production?

>>>> If it sounds lke Def Leppard - that's 'slick' production. If it sounds like straight out of the garage - that's lo-budg. Personally, I prefer somewhere in between, i.e. great production without the furniture polish.

Does the producer make any money from the subsequent sales of the album he worked on?

>>>> Yep, producers get 'points', usually around 2 or 3. If an album goes huge, a producer will make more dough off his points than what he got paid to produce the thing.

A single goes to the radio and gets airplay. A commercial sigle is released as well. Does the contributing songwriter(other than the performer) make money from the subsequent sales of the single?

>>>> Absolutely! Do you think people like Diane Warren, Desi Child or Robi Rosa write songs for fun and no compensation? ;-o That's their bred and butter!

The artist decides to cover a song on his album. If the cover is released as a single, do the original performers and songwriters make any money off it? If the cover is not released as a single but is included on the album nonetheless, do the original songwriters/performers make any money off it?

>>>> Anytime you cover a song, whether it's just an album track or released as a single, the original author makes money, provided said author didn't sell his publishing on that song off to someone else (example: Dolly Parton wrote 'I'll Always Love You', which Whitney Houston covered fro the 'Bodyguard' OST. The song sold something like 20 million copies and got more airplay than God - 100% of the publishing generated frfom thst song went to Dolly, unless Whitney's people negotiated with Dolly in advance and said, 'look, Whitney is doing your songs - it's bound to make you some serious cash. Let us have a share of that because we're basically generating money for you you wouldn't otherwise make').

The performer now goes on tour. He hires a band and takes care of everything else. He performs a concert and the gate for that concert is say 100,000 $. What percentage goes to the venue? How much does the promoter get? How much does the record company make? And how much is the performer left with?

>>>> The record company gets nothing (if they do - something is very wrong). The artist will most likely get a guarantee, plus a cut if the guarantee is exceeded. In this day and age, many of the venues are owned or have an exclusive agreement by the big concert agencies, i.e. SFX (OzzFest and a million other big things) have the monopoly on a certain venue. Hard to say how much a promoter will end up with - it might be nothing if the concert is not well attended and the costs of the event and the guarantee he's paying the artist are higher than his take at the gate.

How many albums an act needs to sell before it can actually become rich? So in the end is it safe to assume that members of huge acts like Bon Jovi, U2 etc. are about 20-30 Million $ richer after every album and tour?

>>>> Believe it or not, a lot of bands don't make hardly any money off record sales (see the revealing Dixie Chicks interview on '60 Minutes'? Millions of records sold and the girls aren't rich... just comfortable). Getting a record high up on the charts via radio promotion, MTV (videos cost $500.000.- and up), print ads and everything that goes into it is insanely expensive. A band might have a double platinum record and while that looks nice on paper what you don't know is how much money was spend to achieve those sales. The $$$ made and spent could practically negate each other!

The artist is at the bottom of the totem pole to begin with. The people that create get the least. Most deals yield a 14 - 16% royalty of which you pay your manager, your lawyer, your business manager, your account, the account who checks on the first account, and who knows who else. And since every cent the record company fronts you to make the record and go on tour is recoupable, you can end up with a huge debt in no time flat even if you're doing reasonably well. You have to be pretty damn recourceful and have your @!#$ together (being a perpetually toasted alcoholic/drug user will signal to everyone - 'I'm an idiot - please exploit me!' Keith Richards is an exception and lucky beyond believe...) to come out on top in this game. Chances are better to get struck by lightning than becoming filthy stinking rich as a musician.

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SubjectViewsWritten ByPosted
How does the music biz work? 150Layman08/27/2001 03:19AM
Re: How does the music biz work? 107 Eric Abrahamsen 08/27/2001 04:24AM
explain rap then 118 sfk kurt 08/27/2001 05:33AM
That's your perspective .. 84 Misterpomp 08/27/2001 05:52AM
Re: Good Point. 87 Eric Abrahamsen 08/27/2001 06:07AM
Re: explain rap then 82 Eric Abrahamsen 08/27/2001 05:53AM
Two words, kurt: PIMPIN' HOs 86 koogles 08/27/2001 06:10AM
Re: the music biz118John Q08/27/2001 05:36AM

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