[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: (TV) Arista/Clive Davis (was Re: Kral comments)

"Michael Carlucci" <michael@recordsnyc.com> wrote:
>     On a smaller scale I can tell you what a nightmare my own bands
> situation was. We made our Chrysalis record for under $60,000 ... [and]
> ...after the first 2 months record sales were at 30,000 which isn't bad 
> for a first time out major label record. Certainly enough for the company 
> to recoup their investment. WRONG!

No, this is right.  30K records sold certainly covered the costs of making
the records, getting them to the radio stations and stores, and probably
the cover art as well.

> When you have to factor in costs for 2 different promotional posters, a 
> ridiculous contest to send someone on a skiing expedition in Aspen Colorado, 
> (snip) ear-muffs to give out, phone calls for promotional purposes

This is where it gets criminal.  Why is it that the artist, usually the
ones least able to shoulder the financial burden of a 6-pack of imported
beer, never mind a trip to Aspen, has to foot this bill?

(Answer - to keep the assholes from paying taxes on the money.)

> (The label...) considered the record over getting it
> to the #4 position in the Rolling Stone Magazine college chart which was no
> big feat since we had reached number 5 with our last indie LP. The idea was
> to have Chrysalis get us to cross over which they did not.

Again, if it ain't #1 with a bullet, the labels don't care.

In that light, I see why Patti would have a strong loyalty to Clive.  When
the predominant question in the industry is "What have you done for me 
lately?" (Van, you're cut.  Bonnie, you're cut.  Warren, you're cut.),
the fact that Clive kept Patti even though she didn't (couldn't) break
even against the evil accounting, shows that he *has* been committed to
the art (and artists).

Now, on a tangent....

Aspen?   ASPEN??   Aspen, fucking Colorado??  The only reason this came
into existence is that some A&R person (Roget gives weasel, asshole, slimeball
and douchebag as synonyms) wanted to go skiing on the company's dime.  Did
any of the band go skiing?  No, they probably couldn't get the time off
at the job that was paying the rent.  Did label execs?  You bet your ass.
How does this sell records?  How does this generate airplay?  It doesn't.
Never has, and never will.

I've been on the radio end of this at the college level - I've got some 
interesting stuff over the years, like an Orchestral Manoeuvres In the 
Dark (OMD) pillowcase that was pretty cool, and some excellent posters, 
but this stuff doesn't help much.  It's just a way for the label to spend
their money and write it off.

It's doubly sweet, in that they don't take the loss directly, but pass it 
along to the band, so rather than say "We lost $90K on Winter Hours" and
take the loss, they get to say it's the band's fault, and if they ever happen
to actually MAKE some money down the line, they'll be standing there with
their hand out.

So, though I may be boring some people to tears with this, how the hell
DOES the next Winter Hours or Television or PSG (or even those bands!)
use the new technology to bypass the corporate middleman bullshit?

I guarantee that whoever figures out a way will make a bazillion dollars,
and spend a good portion of that on legal fees battling the labels who
will bring suit because it's all they know how to do.  Keep that in mind
the next time you buy some blank tapes for your 4-track; the industry was
so sure that home taping would kill music that they got the US Gubmint to
put a surcharge on EVERY blank tape, since everyone just uses them for
piracy, right?  And don't even get me started on DAT...

The modern eqivalent to DAT is the CD-R.  Same argument - a perfect copy
will always lead to piracy.  Thus the new home stereo CD burners can't use
the standard data CD-R's at 35-50 cents per blank; you've got to get the
special CD-Rs that have the surcharge on 'em so that the label gets their
money anyway.  (Side question: does any of that money go to the artists,
who would get a piece of a CD sale?  I'll bet you a nickel none of that
money gets down to the artists, but I don't know for sure.)

There *are* some cases of serendipity, though:  Nick Lowe made a million
bucks off of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?",
not because Elvis did a brilliant cover, not because the world discovered
what a brilliant band Brinsley Schwartz was, but because an insipid cover
of it found its way onto the soundtrack album of "The Bodyguard."  Thanks
to the success of Twitney Houston's cover of a Dolly Parton song that was
bought by every slop-sucking idiot in the country, Nick made a few cents
every time that album was bought.  It made Nick a rich man 20+ years after
he wrote the song!  Unfortunately, that's the exception to the rule.

OK, I PROMISE I'll stop now.

       Joe Hartley - UNIX/network Consultant - jh@brainiac.com
     12 Emma G Lane, Narragansett, RI  02882 - vox 401.782.9042
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - FZappa

To post: Mail tv@obbard.com
To unsubscribe: Mail majordomo@obbard.com with message "unsubscribe tv"