Your Music Was Added to a Popular Spotify Playlist…Now What?

[Editors Note: This article was written by Sam Friedman and originally appeared on the Soundly Blog.]

 

It’s 2017, and album sales are sinking to historic lows. CDs are becoming obsolete. Even digital downloads are plummeting. But people are listening more than ever — they’re just streaming. The music-publishing industry is changing fast. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) reported that in 2016, streaming services were responsible for more than 50% of revenue earned in the music industry today. And the biggest player of them all is — you guessed it — Spotify, with an unbelievable 50 million paying users.

Spotify is known for its “discover” features, most specifically its playlists. Whether it’s “New Music Friday,” “Today’s Top Hits,” or “RapCaviar,” many of these playlists have millions of followers. If your music gets added to one of the biggies, that’s about as close to a Willy-Wonka golden ticket as you’re going to get in the streaming world. Overnight, your track can soar from a few hundred plays to tens of thousands.

Today, it’s just as important (if not more so) for indie artists to try to get their music featured on Spotify playlists as it is to get press coverage. Obviously, both are optimal, but Spotify can generate some serious revenue, especially if the artist owns the music.

And beyond getting paid, it exposes your music to thousands of new listeners. In many ways, it’s not unlike opening for a huge artist in front of a new audience. Spotify often curates its playlists based on genres or moods, so when your song comes on, it’s usually because someone was looking for or listening to a song like yours. But as much as artists (and labels) are competing for features, not many of them have a plan for when that magical moment happens.

Personally speaking, I didn’t even know my song was featured until an A&R rep reached out to me to talk about my music, mentioning he found me on Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” playlist. I had no idea what he was talking about, but I checked my Spotify plays and saw that one of my tracks, which previously had less than 1,000 plays, had suddenly increased to nearly 40,000! I had no idea what to do next other than just feel giddy that people were discovering my music. In reality, there are several important steps that every artist should take when his or her music is featured in a Spotify playlist.

Promote Your Feature

First things first: if you do get featured on a playlist, treat it like a good press feature and share that thing! This is a good time to do a sponsored social media post with a link to your song on Spotify. You should already budget for promoting your music on Spotify, but after your song is featured on a playlist, make a custom post and bump up the awareness. Be sure to share the playlist itself, too, not just your song.

Thank the Playlist Curator(s)

You may have to do a little research to find the names of the playlist curators, but that’s what Google is for, right? Get to stalking! If you can, find their emails, send them a genuine thank you, and establish a relationship. It’s also a good idea to find their Twitter handles and tag them when you share the playlist.

If someone out there likes your music enough to put you on a playlist that literally thousands of other musicians are dying to be on, chances are he or she is going to be open to hearing from you. Capitalize on their interest, and make a connection as soon as possible.

Search the Charts

Even if your song is added to a small playlist and you only get a modest bump in streams, the rate of growth can be enough to earn some chart action. Search Viral 50, Spotify US, Spotify Global charts, etc. Making it onto one of these is a huge opportunity to shine.

It’s also a great way to encourage your fans to share your song. People always like to help something grow. Ask your fans for their help, and update them every time you move up a notch.

Check Other Playlists

When a song is added to a big playlist, there tends to be a domino effect. You can typically find out which playlists feature your song under the About portion of your Spotify artist profile. Search daily, but also actively go hunting. Every Friday, check the “New Music Friday” playlist. Every Wednesday, check all of the “Fresh Finds” playlists.

Remember, each playlist that features your song is going to grow your audience and is worth raving about. In addition, people will find your music and add you to their smaller playlists — thank them.

Use Data to Build Your Press Kit

Take the data from your playlist feature — number of streams, cities where you’re most popular, etc. — and add it to your press kit or EPK. Today, new artists are introduced with press quotes and their streaming data if it’s impressive. Similar to a good quote from a reputable publication, notable streaming data helps sell your music to prospective bookers, record labels, A&R execs, etc. and is powerful ammunition to build your career.

Reinvest Your Earnings

Various studies report that the aggregate net average per stream is around $0.005 depending on how much of your music you own. It takes a couple months to get paid, but make sure you have a plan ready for how to reinvest that income back into your music.

For example, stash a certain amount of that money away for promoting your next single with Instagram ads and sponsored Facebook posts. Using your streaming money for cocktails over the next five weekends might not be the best investment to help keep your music career growing.

Keep an Eye on Your Stats

Obviously, you should pay close attention to your streaming stats, but watch your overall numbers on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram along with other streaming services like Apple Music. Unfortunately, people streaming playlists that feature your song doesn’t automatically mean they’re becoming fans — they’re just being exposed to your music. Look out for people commenting on your pages saying they found you on Spotify. Those are the fans you’re going to want to nurture and build a relationship with.

Another helpful stat to track is where people are listening. If you’re popular in Sweden, for example, plan to include that territory in your next promotion, or possibly think about planning a tour there. Spotify insights are crucial in helping you target new fans and nurture existing ones.

Pitch to Other Playlists

Now that you’ve been featured once, use that as an angle to bolster your single for inclusion on another playlist. When you’re pitching, mention your success and how your track is growing. Remember, a lot of Spotify is about credibility. People tend to only pay attention when you’re on the rise. Capitalize on that and keep pitching. Singles die off fast these days, so keep extending the life of your track until you release the next one.

If you feel overwhelmed by all this data gathering, that’s because it’s designed to be complicated. There are over 900,000 distinct royalty streams that artists around the world have access to, and between 20-50% of royalties generated never make into these artists’ pockets.

A Look At 360 Agreements: “Multiple Rights Deals” [PART 2]

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Justin M. Jacobson, Esq. Justin is an entertainment and media attorney for The Jacobson Firm, P.C. in New York City. It’s the second in a two-part series – read Part One here.]

We will now continue our examination of some of the pros and cons of entering into a “multiple rights” agreement as well as look at some other clauses utilized in these agreements that are rarely seen elsewhere within the music industry.

Another common agreement that is part of the “multiple rights” a label acquires is one that covers the artist’s “collateral” or “ancillary” entertainment activities. This clause applies to any stream of income not covered by the other existing agreements between the parties.

Typical language stating this is as follows:

Artist hereby grants Label the right to participate financially in the results and proceeds of the Ancillary Entertainment Activities. “Ancillary Entertainment Activities” refers to Artist’s activities in and throughout the media industry as a performer, singer, musician, writer, composer, author, lyricist, producer, engineer, mixer, DJ, or otherwise in connection with the Artist’s songwriting and music publishing, exploitation of merchandise and fan clubs relating to the Artist, but excluding Recordings exploited by Label pursuant to a Recording Agreement with Artist.

As discussed above, this paragraph entitles the label to a percentage of all entertainment related activities that the label is currently not already entitled to under any existing agreements. Typically, the percentages earned by the label for non-record income ranges from 10% to 25% of gross or net income, depending on the specific agreement and specific source of income. However, under some agreements, the percentage can be as much as 50% of the net income from each and every source of revenue.

One final “right” included in a standard “multiple rights” deal is an artist’s merchandise right. A typical clause granting the label rights to the artist’s merchandise is displayed below.

Merchandise – Artist grants to Label the exclusive rights throughout the universe (“Territory”) to utilize the Artist’s Identification Materials, in connection with the manufacture, advertisement, merchandising, promotion, distribution and sale and/or license of any Merchandise bearing Artist’s name and/or likeness. Artist grants the Label the exclusive right to sell Merchandise to wholesalers and retailers, including internet-based wholesalers and retailers, for resale. Artist grants the Label the exclusive right to sell Merchandise directly to consumers through the Internet, mail order sales, and CD inserts. Artist grants the Label the exclusive right to enter into License Agreements for Merchandise. “Artist’s Identification Materials” include: posters, stickers, patches, lighters, buttons, keychains, novelty items, souvenir tour merchandise, toys, dolls, lunchboxes, t-shirts, jerseys, sweatshirts, hats, and other apparel bearing Artist’s name and/or likeness.

This clause provides the label with the exclusive right to sell the artist’s merchandise to physical and digital retailers and whole-sellers as well as selling the items directly to consumers (“D2C”) through the Internet or “CD” insert offerings. It also grants the label the exclusive right to enter into third-party licensing agreements for the sale of the merchandise. It also lists the various artist branded apparel items subject to the merchandise agreement.

Merchandising income is often calculated in a variety of ways. Sometimes, the label receives a flat percentage, such as 15-25% of any and all merchandise income. In other instances, as shown below, the different items sold by the record label entitle the talent to different percentages.

Royalties – Label shall pay to Artist the following royalties on Net Sales of Merchandise:
(1) Wholesale/RetailSales

1. 22% of Net Retail Receipts for t-shirts;

2. 20% of Net Retail Receipts for hoodies and sweatshirts;

3. 15% of Net Retail Receipts for headwear and other items.

(2) Direct To Consumer Sales (“D2C”)

a. 25% of Net Receipts

(3) LicensingIncome

a. 60% of Net Licensing Receipts.

As depicted above, the amount the artist is entitled to vary based on the type of items and channels through which they are sold. This difference could be due to the associated production, manufacturing and/or distribution costs associated with each item. In these instances, a musician should try to negotiate the highest percentages they can in order to ensure they receive most of the monies grossed from the sale of their merchandise.

One final clause that provides protection for the artist is the inclusion of a “sell-off” period at the expiration of the merchandise agreement. An example of this type of clause is listed below.

Sell-Off Period – Label shall be entitled for a period of six (6) months after the expiration or termination of the Merchandise Agreement (“Sell-Off Period”) to continue to sell, on a non- exclusive basis, any already existing Merchandise in Label’s possession. Label will not manufacture quantities of the Merchandise in excess of the amount Label reasonably expects to sell during the Sell-Off Period. Label shall pay Artist in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement during the Sell-Off period.

This clause permits the label to sell off any remaining merchandise it has in inventory after the expiration of the agreement. It also limits the amount of new merchandise the label can manufacture. An artist should try to limit the time frame that the label’s “sell-off” period lasts for. In addition, the musician should try to ensure that the label does not sell the merchandise at a substantially reduced rate as to undercut any sales efforts taken by the artist after their exclusive merchandise deal ended.

There are a variety of reasons that an artist may or may not accept a “multiple rights” deal with an entertainment entity. The biggest reason for these extensive arrangements is to create a “partnership” between the label and artist. Since the label is now much more invested in the artist, due to the extensive financial investments (separate advances for each agreement) and all the potential avenues of possible return; the label may see the benefits of having a dedicated staff or representative(s) committed to collect monies generated by the artist, to actively pitch and market the songs to publications and music supervisors for potential placements in movies, television and video games. If the label is not as invested in the artist and does not foresee substantial returns, it may be hard for the label to dedicate their limited resources and time to build such an artist.

In contrast, there are several drawbacks to entering into such extensive agreements. One is that the label typically has extensive control and approval over the artist’s career, including the artist’s “image,” selection of songs, appearances and sponsorships. Another negative aspect is that although the label takes a cut of all a musician earns, most labels have begun paying much smaller advances than in prior years. They have also down-sized personnel, so they do not have sufficient staff to actively and vigorously work on behalf of all its signed artists. In an effort to balance this, an artist should work to acquire some sort of creative control over the label’s use of the artist’s name and likeness as well as who the music can be licensed to.

The music business has undergone a monumental shift caused by the decline in recorded music sales and aided by an increase in music streaming and illegal music downloading. In an effort to alleviate some of the traditional record label’s losses, they crafted new “multiple rights” agreements. These agreements have benefits and drawbacks; but, are here to stay.

This article is not intended as legal advice, as an attorney specializing in the field should be consulted. Some of the clauses have been condensed and/or edited for content purposes, so none of these clauses should be used verbatim nor do they act as any form of legal advice or counseling.

Five Tips To Increase Your Value as a Performer

By Mason Hoberg

 

Contrary to what you may believe, learning to play an instrument well is only the first step in becoming a musician who is commercially valuable. To really be an asset to labels, or even just other musicians in your scene, you need to constantly be improving your skills and marketability.

The five tips below are a great place to start, but don’t stop there. If you really want to make it, you need to be constantly increasing not just your musical abilities but your worth as well. After all, everyone wants to be a rockstar: but few are willing to put in the work to get there.

1. Learn Another Instrument

Learning another instrument opens a world of opportunities. Different scenes tend to have different populations of musicians, though most are pretty guitarist-heavy. Knowing how to play the bass in addition to the guitar (or, if you really want to gig a lot, the drums) for example gives you access to the opportunities available to both guitarists and bassists in your area.

Even better, if you’ve already learned one instrument you’ve got a huge head start when you go to learn another one.

2. Build a Resume of Performance

A resume of performance is a document which shows where you’ve performed. It also contains the contact information of the owner at the various venues you’ve played. This alone isn’t going to land you any gigs, it just makes you look more professional.

A harsh reality of any creative industry is that there are thousands of people who are amazing at what they do, all of whom are looking for work. And you’re probably not the best out of them. If anything, you’re lucky if you’re in the top 70%.

This is something I personally struggled with a lot while I was getting my writing career off the ground. There were all these people who were so much better than me (and still are), so I had a really hard time finding work.

A huge part of why I succeeded at being a writer is that I worked at it and got better, but the majority of the success I’ve had is because I pretend I’m a professional. Seriously. I’m just some guy who writes, and in all honesty I’m not awesome at it. But it pays my bills, because I’m willing to market myself as a professional. Thankfully, I don’t have to dress like a professional because I work at home (I’m writing this whole thing in just my boxers and fuzzy socks).

3. Launch a YouTube Channel (A Musician’s Portfolio)

In addition to being a musician, I’m also a freelance writer. Part of how I get new gigs as a writer is that I keep a portfolio. A portfolio is a collection of a person’s work, whether that’s music, art, or in my case writing.

In addition to showing off your work, your portfolio also shows how you approach your work. It shows your voice as a musician, your work ethic (shown by how much you post), and your creativity. A portfolio is a must-have tool for anyone in a creative industry.

In addition to showing off your work and how you approach it, a YouTube channel/portfolio also shows off how well you can build an audience. Having a loyal YouTube following shows that people like your music, which in turn shows venue owners and members of the industry that you have commercial potential.

4. Be Nice

Would you rather work with a musical savant who’s a jerk, or a mediocre musician who’s personable and reliable? When looking at it this way, just about anyone would say that they’d rather work with the person who’s not a drag to be around.

If you aren’t friendly to your fellow musicians, or are dismissive of the abilities of musicians in your scene, you’re going to get a reputation for being a jerk. So instead, just be nice. While it might be really cathartic to lay into someone you don’t like, or tell your friends how much you hate a local band, always remember that you’re a brand and you should represent yourself as such.

You want to be seen as the fun, friendly, and talented musician; not the jerk with an over-inflated ego.

5. Learn To Play Different Genres

Even if you’d never dream of stepping outside of your preferred genre, you’d be surprised at just how much overlap there is between the different genres that make up Western music. For example, sweep picking is used extensively in both Metal and Gypsy Jazz (Gypsy Jazz uses a picking style similar to sweep picking, even if it’s not strictly sweep picking).

These techniques are used differently in different genres, so seeing how other guitarists outside of your preferred genre implement them can help to boost your own creativity. You may also find that once you start getting into these genres you actually like them. It may even turn out that you get into the genre to the point where you join a band focused around it, which will give you even more opportunities to find gigs.

Wrapping It All Up

Music is a business, and if you want to make a living at it you’ve got to play the game. While it can be hard to transform yourself into a marketable musician, you’ll find that the effort you put in will pay off in spades.

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Quit Your Day Job Just Yet

[Editors Note:  This article was written by Hugh McIntyre. Hugh writes about music and the music industry and regularly contributes to Forbes, Sonicbids, and more.]

 

The vast majority of people creating music also need to find another way to pay the bills, at least at first. Making a living from any form of art, be it acting, dancing, singing, playing an instrument, etc., is incredibly difficult, and as the economy stands at the moment, only a certain number of people can be supported. There are plenty of ways to work your way into the biz as a musician, but doing so at the right time, when you’re prepared and truly ready, is an important part of ensuring this is correct for you.

There could be millions of people who want to do nothing but write, record, and tour all day long, and that means quitting the “day job,” which may or may not actually take place during the day. That sounds wonderful, but before you give your two weeks, keep these warnings in mind.

You Haven’t Saved Enough

No matter how hard you try, chances are you’re never going to have a huge nest egg sitting in a bank account somewhere collecting interest, even though we all wish we had one. Even those who are incredibly careful with their money have a difficult time making their savings grow substantially, so don’t feel too bad.

When you’re on your own as a working musician, the money doesn’t come to you in the same way it did when you had a “regular” job. Paychecks aren’t guaranteed, and sometimes you’ll wind up going long periods without earning a dime. You need to have as much cash on hand as possible, budget carefully, be diligent about your savings, and think like a business owner.

You’ll be planning for tours months in advance and spending a lot out of pocket for things like studio time and video shoots, but you also can’t run out of dinero before you actually start making any of it back.

Having said all this, don’t get too insane when it comes to saving money. As I said, it’s hard for everybody, and there’s a good chance that you may have overestimated how thrifty you’d be able to force yourself to be, and that whatever amount you set down in stone as a minimum that must be met in order to leave the working world behind might have been too optimistic.

Be smart and think many times over before you make the leap and quit your job, but don’t wait forever. If you hold off for the day when you have everything perfectly aligned and money to burn, you will likely be disappointed at how long you’ll be waiting.

The Hours

Many musicians complain at length about the hours they need to work between their regular jobs, whether that’s a 9-to-5 or a part-time gig doing anything other than creating music and building their careers in the field they desire to succeed in. It’s a completely fair gripe, and I don’t blame any artist for being less than thrilled about spending copious amounts of time away from what they love doing just to be able to pay the bills. That’s not how things should be, but of course we all know better.

Having said that, it needs to be said that just because you give up the position you took just to afford to live and eat, that doesn’t mean the hours are going to lessen and free time will suddenly become abundant. In fact, many working musicians will tell you that they put in truly insane hours just to make it all work.

Any artist knows it takes a very long time to craft something worthy of sending out into the world—whether that be a song, a painting, a film, a story or any other format—but many working towards doing music full-time don’t realize how much else goes into the career.

Musicians that support themselves based solely on their art only spend some of their time actually crafting tunes. Hour upon hour upon grueling hour can be devoted to a myriad of other tasks that need to be done and done well if the money is going to continue to flow in the right direction. Booking, accounting, all things social, merchandise creating, correspondence with fans and keeping in touch with members of the team (a manager, those in charge of syncs and licenses, lawyers, etc.) is necessary and time-consuming.

Don’t start thinking that just because you’re not reporting to a different boss you’ll have all the time in the world!

Structure

Being entrepreneurial sounds sexy and it’s made to seem glamorous by startup founders and those that brag about how they travel the world while still making ends meet, but at the end of the day, it requires an incredible amount of self-discipline and motivation, and the sad fact is that many people either don’t understand that, or they don’t have what it takes to run their own careers successfully.

The image of the rockstar that sleeps all day and parties all night may sound like a lot of fun, but it couldn’t be farther from what is actually required to survive. Before you can go out on your own and make a go at being your own boss, you need to both understand and respect how important structure is in your everyday life.

Waking up early to make it into a job may suck more mornings than not, but the musicians doing the best stick to the same type of schedule. They have a routine and they stick to it as much as is possible, and many indie acts at the top of their game will tell you that they have dedicated work spaces, hours set aside for this task or that, and enviable organizational skills. That may not be the portrait often painted of a rocker, rapper or pop star, but it’s the truth for many of those who have the career you wish you could.

New Music Friday: July 7, 2017

TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.

Is your hit next?

Follow Music Made Me – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


Urself (feat. Consuella)
A-OH

Electronic, Dance


Mr. Sensi
Eli-Mac

Reggae, Pop


Probably Wrong
Parker McCollum

Country


Bands Make Her Dance
Logan Mize

Country


All Access Areas
The AAA Girls

Comedy, Pop


All in the Mind
Sloes

Pop, Alternative


A1 / Day 1
DJ Cashflow

Hip Hop/Rap


Gone Too Long
The Rocket Summer

Alternative, Rock


I Didn’t Know (feat Elxse)
Bizie

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap


Testimony
Rudy Currence

Christian/Gospel, R&B/Soul


Time
Jack Eye Jones

Dance, Pop


Roses
Sal Houdini

R&B/Soul, Pop


Walking With Monsters
Zorgon

Electronic, Instrumental


Sunday Night Sessions
Passenger

Singer/Songwriter, Folk


Waayaha Cusub Compilation
Various Artists

World, Hip Hop/Rap



Sideways (feat. Clarence Coffee Jr)
Kasra V

R&B/Soul, Pop

A Look At 360 Agreements: “Multiple Rights Deals” [PART 1]

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Justin M. Jacobson, Esq. Justin is an entertainment and media attorney for The Jacobson Firm, P.C. in New York City. He also runs Label 55 and teaches music business at the Institute of Audio Research.]

 

UPDATE: Read Part Two of this series here!

With physical music sales evaporating and an overall decline in total earnings across the entire music business throughout the last decade; many music distributors have begun entering into more extensive arrangements with the talent they sign. There has been a shift from traditional record distributors “signing” artists solely to a recording agreement to now signing artists to much more elaborate contracts. These new agreements are commonly referred to as “multiple rights deals” and are also known as “360 degree deals.” We will examine some of the pros and cons of entering into a “multiple rights” agreement as well as look at some clauses utilized in these agreements that are rarely seen elsewhere within the music industry.

This new breed of music distribution deal provided by many labels is characterized as a “multiple rights” deal. They are also referred to as a “360° deal”, a “270° deal” or a “180°deal”, depending on which rights are contracted for. For example, a typical “360° deal” entitles the label to receive a set percentage from four of the artist’s revenues streams. These would include a portion of the artist’s record sales, touring and personal appearance income, as well as publishing income, and the merchandise revenues. A “270°” or a “180°” multiple-rights deal may only cover two or three streams of an artist’s income, such as the label solely receiving a percentage from the musician’s record sales and publishing monies (180°) or a percentage from the artist’s record sales, publishing and touring incomes (270°).

Additionally, some agreements include “catch-all” clauses, which entitle the label to a portion of the musician’s “collateral” or “ancillary” entertainment activities. Essentially, this means the label is entitled to a percentage of income generated from anything related to the musician’s entertainment career that does not fit into one of the above categories (touring, publishing, record sales, merchandise, etc.). Thus, the record company will not only be entitled to their traditional stream of revenue from recorded music (CDs, MP3s, Vinyl); but, they will also be entitled to percentages of all of the artist’s entertainment related revenues. This could include portions of the artist’s merchandise sales, endorsement and sponsorship fees, motion picture and television appearance fees, digital sales and music streaming royalties, tour and live performance revenues, songwriting and publishing revenues, ringtone and ring-back sales in addition to fan clubs. In a nutshell, the label receives a portion of anything and everything related to the signed talent’s entertainment career.

Generally, in these situations, an artist enters into a few separate agreements with separate contractual “advances” that encompass the entire “360°” arrangement. Similar to the recording agreements we looked at in a prior installment, all of these agreements are usually cross-collateralized with each other. This means that any income earned from the different revenue streams (i.e. recording, publishing, touring, etc.) can be used to recoup any advance provided by the label to the artist as opposed to the label solely utilizing the publishing revenues to recoup the publishing agreement advance and so on. It is advisable for an artist to attempt to negotiate that the different streams are not cross-collateralized. However, this is a hard sell, as most labels will not accept such an accommodation, as they want ample opportunity to recoup their full investment from as many income sources as possible.

Another important negotiation consideration is whether the company has an “active” or “passive” interest. A “passive” interest exists when a label merely earns their set percentage under the agreement without having any control over the rights involved. This means that the artist is free to enter into any deal, such as a publishing or merchandising agreement that they desire as long as they ensure the record label receives their compensation.

Conversely, an “active” interest is one where the company has rights over the work, which permits the label to insist that an artist signs with their publishing or merchandise company. In these instances, a musician should try to negotiate a smaller percentage for the particular stream of income that the label is “active” in. For example, if an artist is obligated to sign with a label’s publishing company, the artist should try to reduce the percentage the label receives under the “360°” deal from publishing revenues as the label would essentially be getting paid twice (once as a publisher of the song and once through the label’s “multiple rights” deal) for the same material.

While there are many benefits as well as drawbacks to these extensive “multiple rights” deals, it has become the norm for many major labels and entertainment companies. Since there have been many more unsuccessful artists than commercially successful ones throughout history, the labels started seeking new ways to attempt to best recoup the funds they expend. Robbie Williams is an example of one of the first artists to sign a “multiple rights” deal. Additionally, in recent years, top artists such as Jay-Z and Madonna have signed similar “multiple rights” deal with the “tour company” Live Nation. These entities justify the new agreements and the increased ability to earn from the artist’s non- recording revenues in a variety of ways. For instance, the record label feels that they take all the risks with minimal chances of recouping their investment.

This is true as a label generally issues a non-refundable advance of the recording costs to the artist. The artist does not need to pay back the advance(s) to the record distributor, even if the musician’s work fails to generate any income for them. The company would then end up losing all of the funds advanced to the artist without any recourse against them. The label typically supplies all of the upfront recording costs necessary to create the music through the recording costs “advance.” These advanced funds are then utilized by the artist to pay for studio time, production, mixing and mastering costs, which the artist typically would otherwise not be able to afford on their own.

Furthermore, the label may also provide “tour support” to an artist to cover any deficient touring costs to ensure that the talent can adequately perform as they envision. The label also expends substantial funds to market, promote and manage the artist’s released music, including on radio promotion and press. Since the label invests so much upfront money and the potential return from the traditional record sales has bottomed-out; they justify these new more extensive agreements as a way to recoup the expenses they invested in the artists they sign. In these instances, the label may envision functioning as a pseudo-manager by looking after and assisting in building the artist’s entire career rather than only focusing on selling records.

We have already discussed the recording agreement and we will explore publishing agreements in latter articles; so, we will now examine the additional agreements and clauses included in some of these new “multiple rights” agreements.

One common agreement included in the “multiple rights” deal provided by most traditional record labels covers the formation and operation of an artist’s official “fan club.” Standard language, such as that listed below, discusses the label’s right to run a fan club on behalf of a signed artist.

Fan ClubLabel shall have the exclusive right throughout the Territory to establish, register, maintain, control, administer, promote, and monetize the Fan Club, including the right to create, update and manage website(s) related to the Fan Club and to sell, advertise and promote the Fan Club and products and services offered for sale by the Fan Club on behalf of the Artist. A “Fan Club” shall mean any Artist-based subscription or registration-based subscription services.

Artist shall have prior approval over the so-called “look and feel” of the Fan Club. The parties contemplate that the Fan Club shall include but not be limited to a home page, message board, early ticket purchasing opportunities, exclusive merchandise, contests, unreleased recordings, interviews and VIP Fan Experience packages.

This paragraph means that the label has the right to create and monetize an artist’s official fan club; however, the artist shall have prior approval over the “look and feel” of the club. Therefore, the artist will have some creative input over the marketing and promotional materials created to advertise the club as well as the designs of any websites or other publicly distributed materials bearing the artist’s name. In addition, the clause mentions some of the fan club offerings such as exclusive merchandise, contests and early ticket purchasing opportunities.

Fan Club ObligationsArtist shall provide Label with timely information regarding Artist’s entertainment-related activities (including public appearances, endorsements, advertisements sponsorship, and performances). Artist shall provide Label with materials as Label reasonably requests for use in connection with the Fan Club, including but not limited to Artist Identification Assets, Special Greetings, audio and audio-visual messages. Artist shall also make itself reasonably available for a reasonable number of Fan Club interviews and to make personal appearances and participate in “Meet and greets” in connection with the Fan Club. Artist shall be responsible for answering fan mail; however, all reasonable out-of-pocket costs (e.g. cost of Fan Club stationary, postage, photos of Artist) shall be reimbursed pursuant to a mutually agreed budget.

As indicated above, the label imposes a variety of obligations on the artist. One such obligation is to inform the company of any upcoming appearances or tours, in order that the label can create contests or other “fan club” exclusive promotions tailored to those appearances. It is advisable to limit the number of appearances and “meet and greets” in connection with the fan club’s promotion. In addition, similar to the reimbursement of the artist’s “out-of-pocket” expenses in responding to fan mail; an artist should try to request some sort of budget to cover or mitigate some of their expenses in complying with the label’s other requests such as creating an audio-visual greeting or attending a fan “meet and greet.”

In addition to the artist’s obligations to the fan club, the artist and label typically have an equal 50/50 split on any income earned from the operation of the club. In these instances, it might be advisable for an artist to attempt to negotiate a larger percentage of the revenues earned due to all the obligations the artist has undertaken. Conversely, since the label normally advances most of the costs to run the fan club, it may be a hard sell to increase the artist’s percentage.

In our next installment, we will continue our discussion on additional agreements included in a “multiple rights” deal.

This article is not intended as legal advice, as an attorney specializing in the field should be consulted. Some of the clauses have been condensed and/or edited for content purposes, so none of these clauses should be used verbatim nor do they act as any form of legal advice or counseling.