So what is so wrong with the 360 deal?
For those that do not know what a 360 deal is, it is the current trend in record contracts. Labels try and claim they getting enough money from record sales (which many call B.S. on). So they now con the artists into giving up a large percentage of the tour and merch money as well. Many defend the record company saying that they have to make their money somewhere, but I ask why punish the artists? TechCrunch has some ideas on why the labels have no problem with this.
There is also something that I don’t think the industry has thought out. Artist development. For several decades at least artists have not made a penny on their cd’s. When the R.I.A.A. talks about protecting artists they really mean protecting the bottom line of the record companies. You know those big “advancements” bands brag about when they sign a contract? That and every penny the label spends on a band is a loan the band has to pay back. Without going into too many details (and having this article grow to a few thousand words), that loan is paid back by the band’s percentage. So if the band gets 10%, the label of course keeps 90%. The loan is paid back with the band’s 10% and they don’t see a penny until that loan is paid off. This normally takes decades at best. Most band’s never pay it off and then never get paid anything for their own music. The label takes 100% of the money a great majority of the time.
So how does the band get from town to town? How do they pay their rent and feed their family’s? Well, for just as many decades bands have survived from the money they make from touring and merch sales. You always wondered why Kiss has so much merch? Greed may be part of why it happens now, but I am willing to bet it was just Gene’s sense of survival in the lean years. So now that the labels are taking a chunk of that crucial survival money, bands will not have a chance to grow. Unless a band becomes a major hit overnight they won’t be able to survive those first few years. Most of your favorite bands toured for years with several albums behind them before they multi-platinum cd. They had a chance to fine tune their sound through a few years on the road. That won’t happen now because the 360 deal has killed off artist development.
So now bands will be more desperate to become a hit too early. This means more auto-tune, more pro-tools, and less true passion in our music. Music is going to get more sterilized, homogenized, and pasteurized so that there is nothing raw about it. Forget about meat and potatoes rock and roll, because the 360 deal is here and all personality will now be removed from all new artists.