How The ’70s Majorly Screwed The Major Labels

By Jeff Price

Lava lamps, Happy Days, mood rings, MASH, and Jimmy Carter’s Playboy interview weren’t the only things to come out of the ’70s. In addition, copyright law was revised by the U.S. government granting artists and songwriters “termination rights.” This law states that 35 years after 1978 the recordings and songs “owned” by record labels or publishers would revert back to the artist or songwriter regardless of if the artist or songwriter was recouped, un-recouped, etc.  In other words, the government said to the labels and publishers,“ 35 years is long enough. Times up, give them back control over their work.”

For those of you counting, 35 years from 1978 is 2013.

This means albums and songs from Cheap Trick, The Kinks, AC/DC, Kraftwerk, Carole King, Peter Gabriel, The Cars, The Buzzcocks, KC & the Sunshine Band, Kenny Rogers, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, Tom Waits, Yes, Sex Pistols, Boston, Ramones, Bryan Ferry, Heart, Uriah Heap, Neil Young, Aerosmith, Brian Eno, Hawkwind, Whitesnake, Queen, Kate Bush, and countless others are eligible to revert back to the artists.   Which means that the record labels, in addition to losing control over distribution (think TuneCore) may now lose the rights to the only thing left keeping them alive, the recordings that they make money off of.

And each year that goes by, means another set of albums and songs becoming eligible to revert back to the artist.

As you can imagine, the labels are fighting it.   According to the August 15th, 2011 New York Times article, “Record Industry Braces for Artists’ Battles Over Song Rights,” Steven Marks, general counsel for the Recording Industry Association of America stated,

“We believe the termination right doesn’t apply to most sound recordings.”   The RIAA’s position is  that the artist never owned the recordings or songs in the first place so how could they revert back to them.  They were just employees hired by the label to record their own songs. Therefore, the labels own the recordings forever (or until they enter public domain).

The issue here is over the legal definition of the term “Work For Hire”.  If the artists were legally “work for hire” employees, the labels would be right.   The RIAA and the labels saw this issue coming.  In 1999, to assure their position and not lose rights, they were sneaky little scumbags and literally attempted to quietly slip a midnight amendment into a bill going through Congress called “The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act”.   The bill was about “retransmissions of broadcast signals” (I kid you not).  The RIAA had four words added to this bill that would take away the right for artists to own their recordings if they signed a major label deal.  These four words would, by default, legally define the artists as “work for hires” and therefore the rights to the recordings could not revert back to them.

To quote the very comprehensive and well written August of 2000, Austin Chronicle article “Work For Hire,” (which you should read!)…

In 1999, “Turns out the amendment was added by a staffer named Mitch Glazer from the office of Subcommittee Chairperson Howard Coble, R.-N.C., Glazer now works for the RIAA, the organization that sought to have those four words included in the first place, and did so with alarming quiet.”

Fortunately, they were caught.  The words were noticed and artists, and their lawyers, went to war. The result was that these four little words are no longer part of the bill.  Which means that the courts have yet to rule if the labels are right or if the artists are right in regards to the reversion of rights.

So, we approach 2013, and both labels, artists, and entrepreneurs are frantically attempting to either hold on to, get back, or acquire rights.  Clearly, the labels are not going to go quiet into that dark night, however, this is yet another crack in the firmament of the traditional label system, and ultimately a win for the artists.  Of course, the artists, now more than ever, will need to be able to market and distribute their newly-acquired/re-acquired rights, so that they can enjoy sustainable artistic careers on their own terms.  The labels will argue that the artists can’t do this; only the labels could possibly market and distribute their records.  That argument gets a little more tenuous with each passing day.

Stay tuned for the mother of legal battles.  It’s going to get very interesting as manager and former label head and owner Irving Azoff sides with the interest of his client, The Eagles, and takes on the very industry he helped create.

Related to this article: Works Made for Hire: Good Or Bad For Musicians?

  • Rw

    So, if artists were “Work for hire” employees wouldn’t the advance really be salary and not re-coupable?

    • http://www.waneenterprises.com Brusewane1

      Great point.

    • Mike Resendez

      haha. awesome!

    • Inity

      No, technically Work For Hire can be under any payment terms, not just salary. Royalties can be the sole payments if that’s what’s specified in the Work For Hire agreement. Just the same as I could hire a programmer to build a website and either pay him for his time, or pay him royalties on sales made through the website. Recoupable advances would function as outlined in the agreement.

      • Poog

        @b9ea9a7059ac7b7074033a6f92ada6f0:disqus …This is where the labels will have a tough time, especially in California where many of the albums are made. Independent Contractor vs Employee…Once you have read this, then explain your understanding of “work for hire”.
        http://www.ca-employment-lawyers.com/California-Law-Independent-Contractors.htm
        @68b7c1b2df7d792225e3427134ee40f3:disqus …Again, it is all about the control the contractor has.

        What makes all of this interesting is that this fight is a two edged sword especially if successful artists like The Eagles did not handle their state and federal tax liabilities correctly. This is the type of stuff that used to be kept in the backrooms. Now it will be brought out for all to see. This is not a fight either side should fight in the public arena.

        Laugh now, just as Capone did, but the money that could be lost in this one area could be disastrous for both sides. If you own a business in these terrible economic times, especially one in California then you know this state is turning over EVERY stone to find as many nickels as possible. This fight is a potential gold mine for the state. By the time this is over, it will not be the copyright issues that harm one side or the other, it will be the fact that someone broke the law either knowingly, or not. Remember, the labels treated artists as independent contractors, but gave them deadlines, appointed producers who strongly suggested studio’s. How much control over the artist did that sleazy A&R guy have? How many artists do you think knew enough, or were advised to incorporate?

        Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with the label system. In it’s basic form it is the same as the SBA or even a bank. Loan money to build a product or service….Pay money back with interest. In the case of a bank, the loan is secured with collateral, in this case Recordings and or copyrights…The problem, as always is the case in the entertainment business, was/is pure old school, run of the mill greed.

        As I said before. This is going to get bloody. This is the reality show of all reality shows if you are into the nuts and bolts of this business. Artists vs Label industry Premiering Q1 of 2013. BE THERE!

      • Maximillion Crowley

        I don’t think so…. For that scenario be legal it would have to be clearly outlined in a contract and no lawyer would allow a client to agree to it anyway.
        Major record labels have operated the same as other “banks” – take out as much profit as possible and don’t reinvest in new ideas or artists in a productive way. Pour million and millions into washed up acts like Mariah Carey and Robbie Williams and rely on old artist reissues and new formats to make money instead of finding new talent. It’s turned into payola at it’s worst and need a huge overhaul.

      • http://www.claudiarussell.com BruceKap

        It seems to me that a royalty implies a licensing agreement, and a licensing agreement implies that you own something and are giving the right to use something to another entity for the royalty they agree to pay. In any case, 35 years is long enough for the company to make back their investment. Even pharmaceutical companies don’t get a 35 year patent – it’s twenty years. And their R&D costs are much higher than recording a CD!

  • Mike Resendez

    Wow! I was just reading up on this when your newsletter came in. 2013 is going to be a crazy year for the recording industry. The labels will have a hell of a time staying afloat if the artists do take all their records back. Another post I read on the issue gave an interesting thought about strategies artists could use to exploit this reversion without taking the record back from the label… but it also said that if artists did take their records back and didn’t defend their works from piracy they could lose their copyrights? Is that accurate? (That article is here: http://www.mosesavalon.com/mosesblog/2870/music-business/termination-of-masters-bringing-new-life-to-classic-recordings-or-helping-us-lose-them-forever/) Either way… it sounds both scary and exciting for artists everywhere.

  • Mike Resendez

    Wow! I was just reading up on this when your newsletter came in. 2013 is going to be a crazy year for the recording industry. The labels will have a hell of a time staying afloat if the artists do take all their records back. Another post I read on the issue gave an interesting thought about strategies artists could use to exploit this reversion without taking the record back from the label… but it also said that if artists did take their records back and didn’t defend their works from piracy they could lose their copyrights? Is that accurate? (That article is here: http://www.mosesavalon.com/mosesblog/2870/music-business/termination-of-masters-bringing-new-life-to-classic-recordings-or-helping-us-lose-them-forever/) Either way… it sounds both scary and exciting for artists everywhere.

  • http://twitter.com/hifielectro Thomas Edward Mrak

    I think people demonize the labels too much.

    The idea of a record label isn’t the problem. After all, it’s just a business making a profit off of distributing and marketing music.

    I don’t think they are doomed to disappear off the face of the earth either.

    So much time and money has been wasted trying to maintain a 1950s ways of doing business, when the money could have been used to create something better and get people excited about paying a decent amount of money for a record.

  • http://twitter.com/hifielectro Thomas Edward Mrak

    I think people demonize the labels too much.

    The idea of a record label isn’t the problem. After all, it’s just a business making a profit off of distributing and marketing music.

    I don’t think they are doomed to disappear off the face of the earth either.

    So much time and money has been wasted trying to maintain a 1950s ways of doing business, when the money could have been used to create something better and get people excited about paying a decent amount of money for a record.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed 100%…..although some tactics used by major labels are extremely backhanded.

  • http://Kakoon.com Chuchu4444

    I like what I Am hearing. Kakoon.com support this issue for all musicians regardless. The slave master does not own the slave, regardless of what he pay for  him or her. The slave has the right to run away if he choose to. Heads up to congress.

  • http://Kakoon.com Chuchu4444

    I like what I Am hearing. Kakoon.com support this issue for all musicians regardless. The slave master does not own the slave, regardless of what he pay for  him or her. The slave has the right to run away if he choose to. Heads up to congress.

  • http://twitter.com/thewritestuff1 thewritestuff1

    What this will most likely mean is a re-negotiation of terms, rather than the disappearance of labels. If I had a track that was being exploited to my satisfaction by a label for 35 years, I might not want to take it back just so that it would sit on a virtual shelf.

  • Thesweets32

    As this Movement goes on and this Old/Ongoing Revolution of Artists demanding these Basic Rights be included in the sale of soul’s, Thanks To You!! It seems we have after all a Front Man Mr. Price…I only hope that which is won won’t be sold off so easily by Artists looking for the Big Deal and not using sound business  sense..

  • http://www.VimaxReview.com JonnyForever

    I’m a little confused by this… why doesn’t this already apply to older material? Like recordings from the ’60s which are all over 35 years old (of course) ??? 

    • Mike Resendez

      Records released from 1972-1978 have to wait 56 years before they can revert, and records before 1972 can never be reclaimed by the artist because there was no federal copyright law. Lame but true.

  • Ben

    I’m gonna have to start calling you guys Charles Foster Kane.  Again this blog seemings to be using sensationist journalism.  Its not like every artist and their brother are going to be demanding their masters back.  Termination rights can only be granted if the artists believe that their recordings haven’t been sufficiently promoted.  They would have to file a lawsuit to get their masters back and be able to show that this is true to some reasonable extent.  Furthermore, the artist’s god damn lawyers, who are skimming atleast 5%-10% off the top, should have caught the work for hire clause.  Its a legal document its not like they are sneaking shit around and making up rules as they go.  The nation-wide rules of copyright ownership regarding work-for-hire artists were set in place before the contracts were signed.  If the artist’s signed a legal document they didn’t understand without a lawyer, it looks like that was a big mistake.  If the artist’s signed a contract with a work for hire clause under the advisement of their lawyer, then their lawyer is an asshole.   Plain and simple.  Truth.

    • Les

      Ben, your analysis is quite short sighted. There were almost NO contracts that didn’t specify “work for hire”, notwithstanding the lawyers. There was no choice, notwithstanding the law at that time. I speak from experience on this having been in the music biz since 1969 as a writer, artist, producer, publisher.

  • Paul

    Record labels and publishers are the ones hired by the artists to record, promote and distribute the
    product created by the artist like you would hire a truck driver to drive your truck and transport your
    merchandise.  Writers are the heart and mind of music.  

    • Wil

      Not always the case in the 70’s or earlier.

  • Anonymous

    Good read… didn’t know about that!

  • Goop

    As an employer in the Great State of California..cough, cough…wink, wink (Cali rules, but our Government sucks) their are some employment issues here that the labels will have to answer to if they stick with the “work for hire” stance. If the artists were employees, why were there no taxes, social security, Medicare…etc taken from their checks? If they were sub-contractors, how much control did the labels have over their work performance. In other words, did they tell the artists who they were going to work with, where and when they were going to work. If the answer is yes, they did have control then the artists are employees. In California these are very hard-core long standing rules concerning employment vs sub-contractor. How much control the labels had over the artist could end up bringing down the whole thing. Much in the same way that the police could not down bring down Capone, but the IRS could.

    Jeff is correct, this is going to be one bloody battle. It is going to be VERY cool to watch.

  • Rock Dude

    Tunecore’s awesomeness can’t be measured!

  • Rock Dude

    Oh, and don’t ever vote republican!

  • http://june31strecords.weebly.com/ Joseph D. Smith

    I like the sound of termination rights! Serves the major record labels right!

  • John O

    GOD FORBID the artist make money off of music. I’d rather the artist make the money rather than the antiquated and dying music industry. Where would the music have come from if not for the artist? So the labels got the music out to the masses. It’s just like in the old days when there was a guy who brought you milk, that was the only way to get milk. Now you go get your own milk, and there is more than one choice of where to get it.

  • Browndog1y1
  • Dellie Hoskie

    I am one of these artist, in late 60th early 70th I recorded few albums my self, one of my song made to to the top ‘ THE CLOWN ” I never got one dime from it it sold millions copy world wide my ex manger sold me out took the money and I never heard from him again. Believe me this are a true story, just look  up Dellie Hoskie on your search engine. But that OK I am back 2004 I came out another album so far I have released four more albums , my late one “THE JUNKYARD BLUES” Dellie Hoskie

  • Stackatrack

    Well it’s only right that artists get their work back at some point in time. the record business has fucked over more people than it ever helped IMHO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rob-Mazurek/100002442795520 Rob Mazurek

    Well the RIAA and Labels can claim anything they want- the fact remains the “LAW” says that copyrights belong to the original artist/songwriter – the fact that they may enter into a contract with a label doesnt relinquish them of their ownership/copyrights to their own original material. A Record Contract merely means that the Labels are allowed to “USE” that artists music to sell,promote on behalf of the artist (acting  on behalf of the artist) …It in no way grants the labels ownership of any kind over the artists copyrights. (Think of it as a renting a car- By renting a vehicle you assume temporary control of that vehicle- but ownership of that vehicle still belongs to the rental company)

  • Knownote

    The record company has always owned the “recordings”, meaning the actual recordings made during the studio time paid for BY the record companies, which to me makes sense. Unless the artist signed a really crappy deal, the record company never owned the actual ‘copywrites’ to the songs themselves, JUST the recordings.  Which is why artists re-record their songs to sell on their own.  The record company can’t tell them NOT to re-record their own songs.  It makes sense to me that the people who paid for the actual recording would actually own the physical recording.

    • Les

      Copyright is vested in the “AUTHOR” of a work. The label didn’t author the work. The artists did.

      • Inity

        There’s two different basic kinds of copyright when dealing with recorded music – the songwriting, and the master recording. The artists “author” the songwriting, but I agree that in most cases, whoever paid for the recording “authored” the master.

        • Les

          Well, since the labels recoup the costs of recording, then the artists pay for the recording. If the artists didn’t have to endure recoup, then, perhaps the labels might be in the right. But not here.

          • Grateful Fred

            There you have it! If a label charges (recoups) the artist for the recording…it belongs to the artist…even if the label doesn’t directly recoup all of their investment they will have gained a tax deduction. ‘Work for hire’ talent are usually sidemen hired as independent contractors and the law marches to a different drummer.

          • Western Ranch Music

            This is my own opinion, to help today’s “Artist/Composer” generation with being independent of big greedy labels and publishers. To me, it is a better business practice to be your own private/independent label and your own publisher. (Managing yourself). We record under our own label.

            This applies also, if you are active in the music industry but you can not afford recording equipment or, a studio and do not understand or know business management; in this case you my elect to sub-contract your recording sessions to a private sound engineer/independent recording studio, under your own management/supervision and your own recording license.

            Assure that all music files from those recordings are assigned and embedded with your very own recording label  “ISRC numbers” (this is very important) to assist in avoiding piracy and unauthorized reproduction/bootlegging, and to assign proper copyright credit (worldwide) for royalty payment purposes to “You”. Assure that your own copyright information is embedded into each music file. You can find this music file embed program on line, free of charge.

            Back in 1952, my grandmother saw the writing on the wall; she was the author and/or, composer of most all of her over 200 songs that she also recorded under her own label. You can always contract with publishers and other labels later, if you do not want all the responsibility of management when and if, one of your songs becomes popular. If you are are both the composer and the author then you receive 100% of that portion of the  performance royalties collected by performance societies worldwide. And, if you are also the “sole” label, then you will receive 100% of the portion of recording royalties.

            Lets face it, we can not be everywhere in the world at one time, assuring that plays, performances, sales and the royalties from them are all assigned properly to us. It definately takes a team that you can trust. This is why some artists opt to sign with labels and publishers; it just becomes too much of a headache to do what they love and do best, as an Author and/or,  Composer and/or, Performing Artist, and then to take all that other time managing.  They would never get time to enjoy their success “if they are lucky enough to become successful”. A hit is hard to get. It’s like playing the lottery. Some are in music for enjoyment and some are in it for fame and success. It really depends on how “You” as the Artist/Author/Composer, want to manage your own music business; this will certainly reflect your level of success.

            Keep in mind that big labels and publishers are investors. They have worth. When you need a loan for a home or car, you go to the bank. They have the money to invest in you. When you need your music exploited in order to gain exposure and success, you go to the people who have the money and power to do this. They are only as successful as “You” are, or, that you help make each other be.  If you sell out part of your copyrights/royalties for exposure and management, to chance becoming a success, then you have no right to complain about it later.  Keep in mind that a good artist and a good song are always that to the listener, and a bad artist and a bad song is always that also, to the listener. That would not be a publisher or label fault. It is a problem for the investor however, because they took risk on the artist/author/composer and lost.

            Just be sure to register all works with the US Copyright Office, with you as publisher (if you are, or become one) and as the author/composer, if you are. You may be able to leave that publisher information out initially. I’m not sure about that.  USCRO will ask for what it wants upon registration of each song. And be sure to then immediately register the songs with the ISRC numbers and pertinent copyright ownership information with the collection society who you have received your writer membership and/or, label license and/or, publisher license from.

            After my grandmother (WRM author/composer member and label owner) passed away, then I, as author/composer/label owner, member successor, basically asked our society for a publisher license and we paid only $20.00 for that.  I’m not sure what all the society qualifications are.  Anyways, I manage all of our own songs with worldwide copyrights as author/composer/record label and publisher.

            If you don’t want a big record label or publisher to exploit you, then just say “No”. Manage it all yourself.

          • Anonymous

            @Western Ranch Music

            Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful post.

            I wanted to share some of what I have learned in regards to ISRC codes
            Currently,

            – ISRCs are not used by digital music stores for tracking of information – ISRCS are not used by any Performing Rights Organization to track public performances – ISRCS are not used by any mechanical royalty collection agency for collection or administration of royalties. – ISRCS are not required by any law – be it state, federal or international – Entities like an iTunes do not require ISRC codes in order for a song to be made available to buy and accounted back on – There is no central database of ISRC used by any entity for tracking or royalty payments
            Jeff

          • Westernranchmusic

            Well said!

    • Madguitarist

      So then if I pay for a CD, then I own that physical recording of the CD, and should be free to share it on a bit torrent or P2P if I convert it and/or remix it, non?  After all, I did buy it. 😉  Therein lies the can of worms in this argument.  I bought it from them fair and square, so it should be mine to do with as I please.  Anybody else notice that the entertainment industry, is one of the few places that you can pay for a physical item, and not be permitted to do as you please with it? 

      I can buy a car, and pass it down from generation to generation or share it with anyone that I please.  I can modify it and resell it at will without any whining from the car company about my reselling it or lending it out affecting their sales or breaching the intellectual property rights that they have on it.  I can make aftermarket replacement parts that are identical to the original parts, and fit exactly the same.  Those parts can come together to form an exact copy of a patented engine that I can then put into said car or sell as my own for profit. 

      I can write a book that shows people how to repair the car at the expense of the company’s service department, using the exact same techniques that they use, and sell it in spite of the fact that the name of their car is on it, as long as I acknowledge that they own the intellectual property and trademark rights in fine print.  Same applies to computers, as well as any number of other patented and copyrighted items.  Why is it that the music industry is deserving of this special treatment, and others aren’t? 

      Quite frankly, I’d like to see the big music labels fail, because they force feed us a lot of garbage.  I’d like to see other artists have a fighting chance against the Britney Spears/Justin Timberlake/Hannah Montana/Taylor Swift mass-produced music machine.  Put them on an even playing field, and let the good artists prevail.  I don’t see a collapse as a bad thing, because record companies don’t invest in a lot of very talented and palatable artists.

      As a musician, I am offended that otherwise tone deaf individuals can use autotone to win musical accolades, but many legitimately talented vocalists can’t even get a gig as a session singer.  As a fan of music, I’m insulted that I’m often expected to pay $15 for a CD and get only 2 or 3 quality songs on it that often weren’t even written by the performer, while I can pay $5-10 for an independent release, and get at least half of the disc filled with good music that the artist(s) has/have poured their hearts into.

      My problem is that many very good and legitimate artists, are being overlooked by labels in favor of their own creations that they manipulate to their own ends.  That, or we’re being sold the same crap over and over.  Seriously?  Why do I need multiple releases of the same song(e.g. Nickelback’s “Just For”/”Just Four” that appeared on both “Silver Side Up” and “Curb”) on different albums?

      • Kidix2000

        sooo true, im praying for the satanic major labels, go broke. hahahaha, Karma is a bitch, and she’s my girl, take that take that. lol. 

      • Westernranchmusic

        You have a lot of good knowledge and it appears that you have put that to work and have gained much understanding of the music industry, be it good or bad. You are well on your way to wisdom. If you feel like you just openrd a fortune cookie, congratulations! Let me inspire you today. First, thank you for responding to my post.

        The lack of information/knowledge has driven many desperate artists, authors and composers to “sell out” for a quick remedy to gain notoriety. As we know the vultures are waiting desperately to feed off of them. I would urge an “Artist” today to become independent. They can and should acquire their own licenses these days. To be successful as an independent Artist/Label/Publisher, an Artist should write and/or, compose their own songs and the composition, and/or, hire a “Composer” (if they do not want to learn to compose). This way, the Performing Artist(s) will always own copyrights as an author (writer) and/or, composer. All performance and mechanical registrations of songs required the author and composer. And, keep in mind that a “Title” is not copy-writable; the song and composition is.

        This way, you will always have copyrights to the song and the composition, no matter who performs (covers) or uses your songs (worldwide) and you will always get some credit, even when you are not performing your own song(s). Remember, those author/composer royalties are always split 50/50 by the collection societies (worldwide). If you are both, then you receive 100% of that portion. And The Artist will receive his or her portion, if  there are no other contracts with record labels and/or, publishers or other entities, to allow them copyrights. “YOU” as the Artist, Author and/or Composer have the ultimate responsibility over your works. If you need someone to hold your hand, out of fear of the unknown, then go ahead and get someone to manage it for you. But if you do that, you are going to need to be fair and pay them for their work to promote you. You have the right to say NO. 

        If you are on the uprise as a popular artist, and you can’t afford to promote, then you have choices to make. You are either forced to get a loan and go in debt, or choose and easier way. The easy way is to take up the Label/Publisher on contractual agreement. Put it this way “the easiest way is not always the smartest way”. In other words, if you are tired of waiting to gain success and notoriety, then you are either going to pay interest to a bank from a large loan to promote yourself, or, you are going to place a Label/Publisher or other entity at risk of not really knowing that you are going to be a success.”  If your looking for someone with the power and money to get you exposed and exploited, then don’t complain after you have signed with them.

        For your protection however, it is known in the music industry worldwide that if a publisher does not show an effort to do anything with your work(s) to promote them within the first three years of assignment, then you have the right request  reassignment. If you do decide to sign, still be sure to include this in the contract. This way, you will not feel used or abused by them.

        My grandmother found a way to work circles around the big guys, but was afraid to go as far as becoming a publisher. You are allowed to be your own publisher. Just request the license from the performance society that you register the works with.  I did this for her label after she passed away in 2006. She stepped out as a Writer and Composer to be her own Independent label in 1952.  Western Ranch Music is still alive today and Country Music is here to stay, as grandmother would say. Oh, and by the way, she would also say “they are still listening to my songs”…. Once, she fought with a big publisher and label  for over 30 years to get one of her songs reassigned to her. It was her 1967 musical that earned a gold label, and a best country and western writer award. They just sat on it all that time.

        When she passed away, I found that they never removed their name as publisher from the registered song, and in fact they changed societies to cover it up also. She never saw royalties from the publisher or from the societies,  and now it is all covered up and under the statute of limitations. I was determined to confront the publisher and label owner and I succeeded in getting the large publisher to remove their name from the song and take it out of their societies system and assign it to our own society. We have indefinite copyright control of “our own” songs as author/composer and record label. You can do this too. We do have a few recordings under our label that we do not take credit for as Author or Composer. We keep the Country Pops registered and alive for Oldies fans, and our grandmother.

        Most of the older small independent labels from that era have become defunct. She suffered the same adversities (probably more) as artists, authors and composers are confronted with today. She  essentially felt compelled ‘due to outside forces beyond her control’ to become an independent label in 1952.  She was a writer and composer of over 200 Country, Western, Blues, and Rockabilly Pops and some Polka musicals.

        In regard to sharing music with others, I think one would need to ask themselves this; “If I were the Author or Composer or the Artist of this song, would I want ‘just anyone’ giving my work away freely, if the whole reason for my efforts were to make me and my work a success in order to receive a return for my hard work?” .. In other words, you are cheating the very people who you think you are defending. You are cheating yourself as an artist and those like you, whom should be  artist friends and families who you wish to support.

        Only copyright owners can decide weather or not to sign with the devil.

        Hope I helped. 

         

      • Tybolton

        well said.i agree totally.

  • http://bitwranglers.0catch.com/daness Andyroyd

    I’ve been watching this since the 70’s, as record companies fought all new technology and slowly took more and more of record sales and pushed artists to concert income. As far as I’m concerned they’ve dug their own grave and have hired Daniel Webster to keep them from going any lower than 6 feet under. Greed, it’s a killer. 

  • Apbrittain

    Good for Irving Azoff! However, The Eagles are still douche bags

  • incredulous at the idiocy

    What a load of crap. Yeah, like the whole “industry” is going to grind to a halt because of those greedy asshole musicians. How DARE they try reclaim their intellectual property!!
    Is Jeff Price writing this as a 14 year old in 1978?
    What, exactly is “yet another crack in the firmament” anyway? Is he channeling Lester Bangs?
    Oh, what’s that, you don’t know who that is?  Why do more and more “articles” I read lately feel like they’ve been written at a content farm?
    Last I checked, all of the musicians and producers from that period have been forced to share a rental a few doors down in my neighborhood. I saw Bruce Springsteen taking out the recycles with Bob Johnston.
    Ric Ocasek was raking the front yard.
    Sensationalist, ignorant trash.
    Do yourself a favor and get a subscription to Tape Op. It’s free, and who knows, you might actually learn something about music, the industry, etc.
    Seriously, I’m a drunk and I can write better than you. Consider yourself luck you have a job, although if you keep writing shit like this, you might be standing at the front door of Labor Ready real quick.

    • Anonymous

      oh no

      incredulous at the idiocy doesn’t like our writing

    • Reuxon

      incredulous.seems to me you are one of those creepy crooks from the record labels.Like the saying goes”the truth is bitter to swallow”.The recoed labels have done more harm than good to artists.Let me have the right over your works and lets see if you will not go around opening your mouth loud about your rights.True the labels are CROOKS.

  • One more time…

    Interesting to me that you took the effort to point out my dislike of your writing skills, when really I was actually calling you to task on the whole point of your argument.
    Did I hit a raw nerve there, “Tunecore”?
    Typical. If you want, I’ll privately send you my real name and phone number and we can discuss this in person.
    Or did I violate some weird internet protocol that allows people to post bullshit articles and not be called on it?
    I mean, there are a whole TON of examples of where the majors were just not on the ball.
    If you do decide to call, I SWEAR I will be civil. I like to hear other peoples arguments. But if you’re just  posting it, it’s the same as grafitti: it’s a one way message, not a conversation.

    • Anonymous

      oh no

      we seem to have upset you

  • Gee

    These articles would be more credible if Tunecore were more transparent in its explanation of when and how it pays royalties to artists. I’ve been a Tunecore users since 2007 and I’ll be damned if I can figure out which month sales actually happened, which site they’re from, and how many sales there actually were.

    • Anonymous

      @gee

      royalties post every monday

      the stores pay them out about a month after they happen. some of the stores pay them out every 90 days.
      most of the info is the FAQ

      I will ask Artist Support to reach out to you

      jeff

  • Jolly Rancher

    Artists used to dream of scoring a record contract – if I could just get signed!  I could really by big – I just need the money to do it. If I get signed I’ve made it!

    The record labels had contracts with artists in the 60’s, 70’s,80’s etc.  The agreements stipulated what was expected of the label (manufacture, distribute, market records, etc.) and what was expected of artists (write and record songs, perform songs, etc.).  A lot of people tend to vilify the record labels – sure there has been some nasty underhandedness by labels over the years – but people seem to forget what the labels would offer the artist.  Namely, a large sum of money up front to record their music.  And the deal was predicated on the idea that the artist would pay the label back for the up-front money through the royalties the artist would receive from the sales of the records.  The generous thing – if the artist’s music tanked and the records didn’t sell, the artist didn’t pay the label back anything.  So part of those record contracts would stipulate that since the label was taking all of the financial risk that they would own the master recordings so that they could market them as they deemed appropriate in order to recoup their expenses.  They might repackage a record or group of songs over the years and market it again under some new campaign in attempts to recoup.  And if the artist was hugely successful, the labels certainly wanted to cash in on that success since they risked the advance money in the first place.  The labels were able to take chances on huge numbers of artists because of the money they earned from the few very successful acts.  Those acts would help finance the new acts.  But of those new acts, most were a bust so the label lost a lot of money trying to find that successful act.

    Also, US copyright law does not say that copyrights belong to the original artist/songwriter as Rob Mazurek states in any earlier post.  Copyrights belong to whoever owns the copyrights – Michael Jackson owns the rights to half of the Beatles music catalog because he bought the publishing rights in the 1980’s (Sony Music owns the other half now).  In both cases, the Beatles, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison’s estate and John Lennon’s estate don’t own the publishing to their own creations.  That’s what all the flap in the press has been over the past couple decades – they have been trying to get the ownership back.  And, the Beatles sold their music publishing themselves to another owner.  When labels sign contracts with artists, these types of issues are in the contract.  While label/artist contracts follow a certain standard, each contract is drawn up to include things that are specific between a particular artist and label.  The more successful artists have more control and can assert more with a label than a new, up-and-coming artist.  That’s where legal representation is very important. 

    So regarding masters, ownership rights and reversion rights and how it all relates to copyright law will be determined by each contract and, I’m sure, the courts.

    • amnotrec

      Actually, Sony/ATV & Michael Jackson own what used to be Northern Songs, Ltd. (hereafter referred to as “NS”). NS was set up by Brian Epstein as a means of marketing the Beatles before they were ever signed to Parlaphone (the NS catalog is solely made up of Beatles songs written by Lennon/McCartney). From the outset, the Beatles never owned controlling interest in NS. Epstein and his partners owned 54% and the other 46% was divided among the band as follows: 20% apiece to John & Paul, 3% apiece to George & Ringo. At the time it was unheard of for an entire publishing venture to be undertaken for only one performing/recording act. Years later, during the band’s breakup year, a court battle took place over what had previously been Brian Epstein’s shares in the company (by then valued at one million pounds). Clive Epstein, Brian’s brother, had inherited those shares following Brian’s death. The band’s new manager, Allen Klein essentially upset Clive to the point where he quietly sold off his shares to a private buyer. With no controlling interest in NS, the Beatles had no legal recourse whatsoever. So it is grossly incorrect to claim that the band sold off their rights! They were never offered the opportunity to have a majority voice in the matter! As a side note, the last straw that ultimately lead John to quit the band by the end of 1969 was the news that Paul had been buying up NS shares on the open market. John didn’t understand until years later that Paul was trying to save the NS catalog from the kind of legal rubbish it finds itself in today. Everyone since the Fab Four learned what NOT to do when it came to publishing deals & residuals. Get your information straight and stop being an apologist for major label extortion.

  • Aegis Minz

    I’m thankful for places like Tunecore that allow DIY independent artists like myself to have creative control and wide distribution. Isn’t it about time we as artist take the power back for ourselves, and try to make it happen on our own terms? There’s nothing wrong with getting signed if the deal is right(what artist doesn’t want to make a living doing what they love? Assuming the craft is free of ghostwriters or paint by numbers forced album formats musicians are forced to generate by labels vice their original artistic content) but pay for hire+ restricted royalties for intellectual property<complete creative control in my book! 
     

  • Guest

    This will most likely only apply to artistes who licensed their own financed product to the labels.  And it applies only to the USA.  All other territories (including the EU) are not included.

    • Anonymous

      @guest

      thats actually a really good point. what happens if the recordings revert back to the artist but they were licensed to another entity abroad?
      the entity that licensed the rights lost the rights to license the recordings. therefore, does the foreign entity lose the right as well?

  • Beethovens9th

    Isn’t this ‘Take my copyrights back’ self defeating? If the artist now owns their successful record with a hit song or two, then the Labels won’t put it in the shops or put it in combinations 70′ 80’s hits etc… as there is no real reason for them to, then maybe the artist will realize what an important part of the cog the Labels are? and that most success is the synergy between the two.   
    All successful companies have stories of a few dubious things that have happened somewhere in their development…
    If this will be the case, then artist need to be truly multi talented, less music and more business.
    So to me, it is more like a serious renegotiation of a few parts OR a new contract written…
    So it is a good stage to get to, I think the Labels will take the artist more seriously.

    And lets not forget how some artists are just arrogant asshole  wankers who are stoned, junky drunk perverts and so fucked up that they couldn’t hold a job pumping gas in the real world, but they can be rich and famous in the strange and weird music industry and pay good lawyers to fight for us.

    Life is a synergy…:)

  • http://twitter.com/clefbits clefbits

    2013 will be an awesome year…

  • http://www.facebook.com/beckerjim Jim Becker

    Here’s a suggestion to the record companies:  Instead of clinging to the artist walking out the door and trying to live off the past, how about stepping out of your numbers-driven comfort zone and signing new diverse artists and develop them over the long haul instead of expecting a zillion sales or nothing…???  Why not be the innovators you once were in this new playing field leveled by the internet and digital media?  Let the old guys go; in 20 years their audience will mostly be gone as well and – even if you have the copyrights – who is going to want to buy it?  It’s OLD music.  Stop looking for the next Beatles or Taylor Swift or whatever – instead just re-invent and take the long view.  Otherwise, your demise is already guaranteed – not because of the loss of copyright control, but because you’ve ceased to be creative and daring in a daring and creative world.  So long.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beckerjim Jim Becker

    Here’s a suggestion to the record companies:  Instead of clinging to the artist walking out the door and trying to live off the past, how about stepping out of your numbers-driven comfort zone and signing new diverse artists and develop them over the long haul instead of expecting a zillion sales or nothing…???  Why not be the innovators you once were in this new playing field leveled by the internet and digital media?  Let the old guys go; in 20 years their audience will mostly be gone as well and – even if you have the copyrights – who is going to want to buy it?  It’s OLD music.  Stop looking for the next Beatles or Taylor Swift or whatever – instead just re-invent and take the long view.  Otherwise, your demise is already guaranteed – not because of the loss of copyright control, but because you’ve ceased to be creative and daring in a daring and creative world.  So long.

    • Mike Resendez

      Were labels ever the innovators? Artists were always the creative innovators. Labels innovations were on a business level. The label simply saw an opportunity to make $ and helped make that happen. To think that they are in it for the “art” is naive. They may like the art… but they are about making money. That is why they seemingly blindly go after clones of already successful acts. The next “Taylor Swift” or the next whoever. The only time they gamble is when they think that that gamble will pay off big. 

      Also… don’t forget that the labels catalog of older records is what helps keep the label afloat. That is a major source of their stable money. No catalog = less (or no) money to risk on untested talent. 

      This issue is much more than greedy labels losing some old records… it is essentially a possible cause of the collapse of the majors. And even though the labels have gained a reputation for being corrupt, their collapse would hurt artists of all sizes everywhere. Losing major labels would be like losing banks. We don’t need those stinkin vaults of money! Not all artists use major labels… but all benefit from their existence.. and if they lose a good enough chunk of their active catalog then they might no longer exist.

      • Goop

        Here, Here Mike! Labels are not creative, artistic innovators. Though you could say that their accounting practices are works of creative art!

        I agree with you 100%!

        • Mike Resendez

          Hey Goop… as you pointed out… art can be anywhere.. even in accounting! haha

    • http://www.facebook.com/wrmprofilepage Western Ranch Music

      But, Taylor Swift is not that old!  :)

    • JoPo

      As if there is is so much great “new” music to take the place of the best stuff from the seventies…

  • Nicnut

    Boo Hoo. As an artist who gets treated rather shittily by labels I am really not shedding any tears over this. I actually think it’s great that artists will be making more money off of their material. 

  • Astor

    I love it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/wrmprofilepage Western Ranch Music

    We are a record label and publisher for 59 years. We have writer and/or, composer rights on most of our  own recordings/releases. They do still get radio play worldwide and are available as digital downloads, etc.. I think 35 years is long enough for labels and publishers and they should automatically reassign all works to the appropriate copyright owners (artist/author/composer). I don’t have any problem with reverting; however, all of our own artists, except for one, that I know of, is dead.

    Who ever is responsible for this law, needs to issue details to all record labels and publishers to allow tem input. Example: Who gets the deceased artists royalties? Artists that have no successors? The collectors of royalties can and will, sit on those royalties of deceased artists; just as they do now. They will not distribute the collected funds unless there is a legal successor listed on file. 

    As I know of, after a period of time, most royalty collectors turn the money over to their own State, if the money goes unclaimed for a certain period of time. Even that method may be profitable to the collector. Ask yourself; “Who gets the interest of those holdings?” Or, can they invest it and keep the profits? Are they just responsible to turn over the principal and not any earned interest or dividends from investment of the holdings? Does this holding of royalties count as equity (value) of their own company? If so, that should not be allowed, because it is really not theirs.

    SoundExchange recently asked us to provide them the names of our artists, because they are seeing royalties come in from radio play. If your not familiar, they collect royalties for digital plays/streaming. They are mostly about protecting “the artist” and their royalties, and rightly so.. However, most of our own artists are passed away and most of them have no successors listed with societies. It is not fair to withhold royalties from the author and composer and/or, their successors, when everyone else is deceased and there are no successors to issue those royalties to.

    It would seem practical and fair to amend this current law to state that royalties of a particular song be issued to the artist(s) family/successors “first” and then, if no successors are found registered at the estates and claims division of the collection society who holds and issues the royalties, then, secondly they would issue the artist portion to the author(s) and/or, the composer(s) of the song “who are ‘registered’ with a society and are shown as a writer member and/or, a author/composer, of the song” ; and, only if the artist(s) are deceased and there are no successor(s) listed with “any”  collection society.  And, the amendment should state that this does not mean collection societies should go out and “search” for a successor, in order to stall from payng out royalties to the next copyright owner in line! If those unknown successors did not care about the artist(s) in the first place, what would make a collection society think that they would care about them now? Could unlisted successor(s) possibly be some “artist(s)”  choice of why they did not list a successor prior their passing?

    We have seen “no” royalty payments from performance and or, radio play from any performance collection society (worldwide)  for over three years now.  And, we are well awear that our songs have been, and are currently now playing on many radio stations world wide.

    Western Ranch Music

    • Tybolton

      absolutely,

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L4BE63DB5DOCC2HYCZNXHBRDA4 M O

    Actually, a solid producer CAN develop talent, and that has been the case many times with new artists.
    It simply isn’t possible for young artists to know everything an older person knows about recording until they get some experience. Producers also provide an extra set of objective, more judging ears to pick out the best songs to develop, encourage stylistic quirks in musicians, and suggest arrangements, backing vocals to make them really shine.

    The problem these days is that many labels don’t include these kind of producers. The other problem is producing artists based on their visual marketability, not their true raw talent.

    Anyway, whatever your feeling about labels, producers play a critical role. Labels, however, should release rights after 35 years. That’s been enough time to exploit works. Some less known bands and songs could use the pittance their one hit would bring more than a lot of labels who aren’t even trying to exploit it. Agents can still make a cut, but labels/corporations owning it in perpetuity? Forget it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/wrmprofilepage Western Ranch Music

      Right and good. The Author(s) and Composer(s) as song copyright owners, of the registered song itself, would be the person or persons who own “the song” rights, perpetually.

    • Max Grant

      “It simply isn’t possible for young artists to know everything an older person knows about recording until they get some experience”

      With the pathetic state of the industry today, I think the problem is largely what the “older persons” think they know about music in general.  Recording engineers are a dime a dozen.  That’s not the problem.  The problem is that labels are producing music tailored to a 7-second attention span.  It’s pablum.  The labels push product, and as far as I can tell constantly interfere with the actual artistic process.

  • Jaybe1333

    As far as I know (I’ve been inside the industry for over 40 years) The
    Record companies advanced the money to pay for the recording, but the investment was always to be deducted from the first incomes for record sales.  So, if the Artist is who pays for the recordings, then the
    Artist owns the recording, or I am crazy?

    • Anonymous

      no, it makes sense. which is why the major label contracts make no sense
      jeff

      • Western Ranch Music

        This is my own opinion, to help today’s “Artist/Composer” generation
        with being independent of big greedy labels and publishers. To me, it is
        a better business practice to be your own private/independent label and
        your own publisher. (Managing yourself). We record under our own label.

        This
        applies also, if you are active in the music industry but you can not
        afford recording equipment or, a studio and do not understand or know
        business management; in this case you my elect to sub-contract your
        recording sessions to a private sound engineer/independent recording
        studio, under your own management/supervision and your own recording
        license.

        Assure that all music files from those recordings are
        assigned and embedded with your very own recording label  “ISRC numbers”
        (this is very important) to assist in avoiding piracy and unauthorized
        reproduction/bootlegging, and to assign proper copyright credit
        (worldwide) for royalty payment purposes to “You”. Assure that your own
        copyright information is embedded into each music file. You can find
        this music file embed program on line, free of charge.

        Back in
        1952, my grandmother saw the writing on the wall; she was the author
        and/or, composer of most all of her over 200 songs that she also
        recorded under her own label. You can always contract with publishers
        and other labels later, if you do not want all the responsibility of
        management when and if, one of your songs becomes popular. If you are
        are both the composer and the author then you receive 100% of that
        portion of the  performance royalties collected by performance societies
        worldwide. And, if you are also the “sole” label, then you will receive
        100% of the portion of recording royalties.

        Lets face it, we can
        not be everywhere in the world at one time, assuring that plays,
        performances, sales and the royalties from them are all assigned
        properly to us. It definately takes a team that you can trust. This is
        why some artists opt to sign with labels and publishers; it just becomes
        too much of a headache to do what they love and do best, as an Author
        and/or,  Composer and/or, Performing Artist, and then to take all that
        other time managing.  They would never get time to enjoy their success
        “if they are lucky enough to become successful”. A hit is hard to get.
        It’s like playing the lottery. Some are in music for enjoyment and some
        are in it for fame and success. It really depends on how “You” as the
        Artist/Author/Composer, want to manage your own music business; this
        will certainly reflect your level of success.

        Keep in mind that
        big labels and publishers are investors. They have worth. When you need a
        loan for a home or car, you go to the bank. They have the money to
        invest in you. When you need your music exploited in order to gain
        exposure and success, you go to the people who have the money and power
        to do this. They are only as successful as “You” are, or, that you help
        make each other be.  If you sell out part of your copyrights/royalties
        for exposure and management, to chance becoming a success, then you have
        no right to complain about it later.  Keep in mind that a good artist
        and a good song are always that to the listener, and a bad artist and a
        bad song is always that also, to the listener. That would not be a
        publisher or label fault. It is a problem for the investor however,
        because they took risk on the artist/author/composer and lost.

        Just
        be sure to register all works with the US Copyright Office, with you as
        publisher (if you are, or become one) and as the author/composer, if
        you are. You may be able to leave that publisher information out
        initially. I’m not sure about that.  USCRO will ask for what it wants
        upon registration of each song. And be sure to then immediately register
        the songs with the ISRC numbers and pertinent copyright ownership
        information with the collection society who you have received your
        writer membership and/or, label license and/or, publisher license from.

        After
        my grandmother (WRM author/composer member and label owner) passed
        away, then I, as author/composer/label owner, member successor,
        basically asked our society for a publisher license and we paid only
        $20.00 for that.  I’m not sure what all the society qualifications are. 
        Anyways, I manage all of our own songs with worldwide copyrights as
        author/composer/record label and publisher.

        If you don’t want a big record label or publisher to exploit you, then just say “No”. Manage it all yourself.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say – I think Tunecore is probably how the industry will look in the future, This may be it !      Why even bother with the “major labels” today? There’s nothing stopping you from telling anyone, “You can buy my music on iTunes” – if they want it, they’ll buy it ! 
    I love being able to mix and release a song or “album” thru Tunecore to iTunes and Amazon – (though I still think the sales page on Tunecore is confusing)I’m an engineer/producer – and I ask young artists and bands the same questions when I consider working with them, the conversation goes the same way 9 times out of 10 – and ultimately ends up like this :Me: “what do you want to do?” Artist: “We wanna get signed !”Me: “Then what?” Artist: “Uhh, Umm …. silence” or “you know, be rich and famous”But they never seem to know “how” any of this is gonna happen -I’m not knocking Bands/Artists/Songwriters,but often they have little knowledge of how the industry works,But who does anymore anyway? I certainly don’t, I know artists and Execs at “major labels” that admit they don’t ! I know people who work at “major labels” – and they see it coming, things are changing. None of the major labels “embraced” computers early on,
    Then when the internet hit years later, they almost ignored it !  
    It seemed to me like they never knew what “to” do; so they did nothing
    I think they missed an oppurtunity to sell music to me,
    I probably would have bought music directly from a major label if I could have –
    I remember paying $17.98 for a CD, I’ve bought the LP, Cassette ,CD, and MP3 of the same Records !The major labels have made plenty of money, but they’re allowed to make money, its OK – They did provide artists with promotion, sometimes touring, and yes. a lot of recording costs -Artists, especially Indy artists, now have to take care of their own promotion, touring, and recording (you can call this creative expression as well) BUT, they now have complete creative control of Everything !Be careful what you wish for ! The major labels had a certain model or system with Producers, Engineers,Studios, Management, Sound Co’s, Touring, Merchandising, there’s a lot to do if you want to be successful, And few people get “lucky” – its hard work to be successful enough to worry about your “rights” to some degree, – You can as an independent artist achieve that level of success without a doubt. Unless you’re an artist involved in this mess there’s little you can do but watch- I think ultimately the artist’s will win – But I think from now on most people soon will buy music from iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, Rhapsody, etc., or download it in some form- and thats GOOD for artists and engineers and producers.BTW – from what I’ve read Azoff tended to be ruthless at times firing band members – and usually it was about money – 

    • Tybolton

      you seem to know what you are talking about,very good

      • Anonymous

        Thanks, trust me, I don’t know it all – and don’t pretend to either – I do know this after 23 years of making records I can spot a bullsh*tter a right away 9 times out of 10. If I wasn’t so into records and music I would’ve given up a long time ago – there’s a lot of great records out there that a lot of people will never hear – for a lot of different reasons, its not always record companies that are responsible – A friend of mine was fortunate enough to have a #1 record as a producer back in the 70’s – in fact, he had a few top 10 hits, but the record co (now defunct) wouldn’t give this #1 artist the time of day – “they didn’t hear a hit” – so my friend a writer and producer agreed to give up of his publishing rights for his next record if they’d just release this record, and as I said, the artist hit #1 and my friend still makes money of a record from 1973. 

  • Pat-Ric Nasty

    If an artist wrote, produced and arranged all the tracks in their library, then they have the right to get their work back. If you didn’t write something, then IT IS NOT YOURS!!!

  • Tesla

    That’s interesting stuff.  How much longer will the major labels survive after this?  Sure there is a lot wrong with them, but can Tunecore really do the job of promoting an act the way a major label can?  

    • Anonymous

      @tesla

      not following, what does rights reverting back to artists from 1978 have to do with the majors spending hundreds of millions in marketing and promoting and having a 98% failure rate?

  • Troxem

    The days are gone when labels took an unknown raw talent like Elvis, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, etc. groomed them, gave them the resources for recording, marketing, and distribution to succeed as a bonafide “rockstar”. Nowadays labels expect the artist to do most of the work and just want to step in and reap the benefits. Hence, no more “rockstars” or super groups that command global attention in the classic sense.  Today’s “rockstars” are primarily spoiled rich kids with very little substance and a much smaller share of the splintered market.  I don’t believe any artist should be at the mercy of a greedy corporate entity, especially now. Good artists can survive without labels, not vice versa.

  • Troxem

    Thank God somebody had the foresight in the seventies to enact a law on behalf of artists! Today’s digital music industry is a mere shadow of the former glory days when people lined up for blocks to purchase an artist’s new release at record stores around the country.  The excitement is gone and there is an overall lack of appreciation for the craft of music. The joy of music resides within the true artist and will always be an intrinsic reward whether or not others choose to share in it. Nothing good is ever easy or free.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robin-Armstead/1515343354 Robin Armstead

    This really makes me wonder as artist do I really want to deal with a major label. It seems most labels still are screwing people from the 60’s and 70’s and haven’t change their ways only their tactics. I guess that’s why it’s always best to get a lawyer with decent knowledge and don’t sign unless you understand your rights and position with the company. Not every label will make you a part of the family, maybe just a part of their pockets.
     

    • Tybolton

      the old guard is still in existence,meaning the old record labels, the only thing is they have new labels ,and younger execs to continue their devious ways.

  • SheWritesHits

    Wow! Thanks for providing this info.

  • Cantmissprod

    Labels are underhanded leeches. They have robbed, raped and pillaged and this is the beginning of the end for them.  Publishing has always been the corner stone of the industry and now with record sales vaporizing it’s almost all there is left.  The power has shifted to the artist. No longer dependent on the labels this is the perfect time to regain control over THEIR art and begin a new era.  Where blood sweat and tears are worth more than 10 percent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=509367800 Brian James

    The RIAA sucks such a fat bag of wangs, it can’t even be explained.  Oh, and I could care less about labels being screwed; they did that to themselves by offering up insane signing bonuses to artists, spending money like idiots, and not thinking more than two days down the road in their business. 

    Good riddance to labels, the RIAA, and the old way of doing things.

  • Mad DJ1

    Good for the Artist

  • Astroman

    Where would the labels be with out the artist,? the artist knows more about the art than the distributers. Imagine the guitar saying ” I own the song”