Since the fall of the record industry in the past decade, there has been a popular idea that the golden age of “making it big” in music is over. People think that since major labels are rarely signing artists, they don’t have a chance of being successful in the industry. Many people blame this on file-sharing and the death of intellectual property.
However, the complete opposite is true, because under the tradition paradigm of music distribution, with record labels and contracts, artists were regularly ripped off, and ended up penniless after selling millions of records and attaining global fame.
There are countless examples of artists who have gotten ripped off, especially in pop music. The legendary R&B group TLC famously announced that they were broke during an awards ceremony at the height of their career, and then shortly after declared bankruptcy as the result of an unfair record contract. R&B artist Toni Braxton also had to declare bankruptcy under similar circumstances.
Collective Soul earned almost no money from “Shine,” one of the biggest alternative rock hits of the 90s when Atlantic paid almost all of their royalties to an outside production company. The list of successful multi-platinum artists to end up with barely any money goes on and on.
The famous recording artist Prince said in a recent interview that record contracts were like slavery.
“Record contracts are just like — I’m gonna say the word – slavery. I would tell any young artist… don’t sign,” Prince said.
In today’s market, artists and musicians have the power to cut out the middle man and take control of their own income, something that artists in previous generations had no opportunity to do. Now artists have the power to get paid every time someone watches their music video on YouTube, they have the ability to retain most of the revenue from their tours, and the actually get paid from their merchandise because they produce it themselves. Not only that, but the barrier to entry has been lowered, meaning that it is now easier for artists to reach the masses and promote their music.
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John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com.