Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment: David Crosby : Right On!




David Crosby : Right On!

The Minister isn't sure if he could pick David Crosby's music out of a lineup, but he is sure that David Crosby's interview fron Frontline is great. In it Crosby traces his path through the music industry, and specifically is called on to point out when it changed. His insight into the way musicians are treated by their labels is a unique one, and worth reading. An excerpt (with the interviewer in bold):

… I'd like to know the nature of a deal, a record deal. You don't have to be specific about the money if you don't want to be, but it would be interesting to know about recoupment, how it works, how much money you guys would get at the beginning, and how long would it would take you to get it back. …

A record [label] is essentially two things. It's essentially a vendor and a bank. What they do, in terms of working with artists, the old days -- and still to this day, to some degree -- is they give you the money to make the record, for which they charge you what amounts to a million percent interest. They give you the money to make the record, but when they get the record, then they own it and they do everything they can to cheat. Everything. Recoupment.

They'll try to cross-collateralize it to everything you ever made. So if they don't succeed with this record, they can hold up your royalties on everything else you've ever done, to recoup. They try to get some of your publishing if they possibly can. Of course, we don't give it to them. They try to be able to sell your stuff in packages. In other words, take pieces of your album, put them with other people's pieces, and make package albums. We try not to let them do that. They try to only pay you publishing on 10 end songs, which means, if you had 13 songs, you can't put the other three on because they won't pay you.

I think one of the most glaring examples of what they do wrong is they cheat as a matter of policy on paying, because they know that you'll have to, first, hire an accountant and audit them. Then, when you get the audit figure, and they owe you $486,000, they'll offer you 30 percent, 30 cents on the dollar in settlement, knowing full well that you'll ask for 100 percent and that you'll settle somewhere around 50. The other 50 percent is free money. They knew it going in. They intended to do it from the beginning, so that they could get the other 50 percent for free. Hence, just a little bonus thing, thank you very much, and it's from heaven. And they do it, and it's totally dishonest. And they all do it. And they do it as a matter of policy. They know they're going to cheat, going in. …