Keeping Your Nose Clean (Legally & Otherwise)
Unfortunately, I recently witnessed it with a 4-member group that had everything in place for it...a truly, once-in-a-lifetime dream come true. In fact, what could have easily become a music industry fairy tale.
Now, the parties shall remain duly unnamed in this article so that I may exercise my civic duty in protecting the guilty (and, the fact that I do not relish the idea of forced courtroom appearances).
After five years of "live" appearances and performances, numerous studio recordings, and even more radio interviews, this particular group was fortunate in attracting a major financial investor label ready to provide the means in musical production and promotion to release product nationally. This act was truly refreshing and contained a uniqueness rarely seen in the music industry.
In order to "sign" the act, the investor afforded the act a festive weekend complete with trimmings that major label acts would die for. With all the unfamiliar lavishness being bestowed upon the group, the members "freaked out." There is just no other way to put it.
Virtually overnight, the group began making all sorts of outrageous demands such as; the format the recording should be manufactured in, which radio stations should be contacted, costume allowance demands accompanied by ballooned production advances, and more.
Notwithstanding, upon the investor's discovery that, at least, two of the four members had tentative legal actions pending, the investor approached these particular members to discuss a workable solution to protect all parties concerned. This consisted of changes to be implemented contractually.
The investor proposed that, pending the outcome of the two member's legal problems, they would be placed in the status of "Work for Hire," and on a 6-month probation until legal issues could be resolved, even though they could and would continue to make appearances as a complete group. In my opinion, this was very sound and reasonable.
However, to my astonishment, after the members in question informed the investor label that their legal situations were none of the label's concern, then opting to toss colorful metaphors around like two-dollar horseshoes, the investor decided that the best recourse would be to simply forego the entire investment and involvement in this particular group.
There is a lesson to be learned here, and that is, should you find yourself in this unique situation, or a facsimile thereof, first of all, be courageous enough to admit to yourself that it is solely your fault, and not the prospective label's. After all, would YOU like to invest, financially or otherwise, in a product or service while being unsure of its practicality? Certainly not. Put yourself in the other party's place and be willing to arrive at any mutually beneficial compromise for all parties concerned.
The worst (and most embarrassing) incident that could
occur would be for you to be served with a warrant for your
arrest while performing onstage in front of thousands of your
fans then, subsequently, being led away in handcuffs. Then
again, in some music genres of today, I suppose this public
deed would also serve to sell thousands of more records.
Kenny Love is President/CEO of Sachja Productions, a national record promotion and press publicity firm. Sachja Productions accepts unsolicited recordings for review. You can contact the company at P. O. Box 701231, Dallas, Texas 75370. Or, call them at (972)390-0529, Fax to (209)755-8329, or Email them at email@example.com.
(C) 1999 - Kenny Love