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A Grammy and $500 Left in the Bank Account

April 20, 2008

I found a video on YouTube featuring Jazzy Jeff (dj for Fresh Prince, aka Will Smith before he became a movie star). In the video, he discusses record label mathematics. The most poignant part of his talk was when he was accepting a Grammy and went home crying because he only had $500 left in his bank account. Here he was having all this supposed success and where was the money to prove it??

Grammy Awardnot equalmoney

RECOUPED by the label for all the costs involved. When you spend 100’s of thousands if not a million or two, recording and promoting an album, it’s going to take A LOT of records sold to get any money back into the artist’s hands. The deal they made with the company probably wasn’t the best deal either.

The argument for the label is that because they spent so much money promoting the album, they were able to make a lot of money on tour because people wanted to see the show.

Still, It’s a very interesting view. Thank goodness the old system is dying and independents are going at it alone and increasing their power by creating their own fan-base and careers via the internet. They can do what the labels are doing (if they are creative about marketing and write great music) . The simple fact they are doing this gives them that more leverage (bargaining chips) when anyone wants to do business with them (not just record labels).

Make Great Music,


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The New Rockstar Philosophy

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