Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Counting Crows Go Off-Label

Tech Crunch had an interesting tidbit this morning:
The Counting Crows have ended their eighteen-year label relationship with Geffen Records (now part of Universal Music Group) . . . The band joins Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and others who’s explored releasing music outside of the normal label/distributor world, and more are sure to follow. Labels are pushing all of their artists to sign 360 music deals. defines a 360 music deal this way:
360 deals are contracts that allow a record label to receive a percentage of the earnings from ALL of a band's activities instead of just record sales. Under 360 deals, also called "multiple rights deals," record labels may get a percentage of things that were previously off limits to them, like: Concert revenue, mrchandise sales, endorsement deals and ringtones . . . In essence, the label will function as a pseudo-manager and look after the artist's entire career rather than only focusing on selling records.
The New York Times did a lengthy article on these deals in November, 2007. Here's an excerpt:
Like many innovations, these deals were born of desperation; after experiencing the financial havoc unleashed by years of slipping CD sales, music companies started viewing the ancillary income from artists as a potential new source of cash . . .

In return for that bigger share, labels might give artists more money up front and in many cases touring subsidies that otherwise would not be offered. More important, perhaps, artists might be allowed more time to develop the chops needed to build a long career. And the label’s ability to crossmarket . . . merchandise might make for a bigger overall pie.

Not everyone is sold on the concept. Many talent managers view 360s as a thinly veiled money grab and are skeptical that the labels . . . will deliver on their promises of patience.
This morning, Cory Doctorow had this tweet:
Labels can demand musicians hand over (c) for a deal: "artist's copyright" ends up "label's copyright," so stronger (c) makes artists weaker
Read The Times article here and the Tech Crunch post here.

No comments: