The Spoiled Hip Hop Dream
This is the fourth and final part of a real story called “Hip Hop Beats Reality”. I you’re new to this blog and want to find our about the whole story go to the introduction page here: A true story: Hip Hop Beats Reality.
I was surprised how Jack The Publisher claimed all the rights on MC Stevens music, but the last article was really was over the top: Jack had the right to claim a thirty percent share on every income MC Steven maks with his music. If MC Steven gets paid for a hip hop live performance or for a DJ set (on some occasions he did DJ gigs as well), if he would sell a T-shirt with his name on, if he receives royalties from a record company,.. for everything he had to pay thirty percent of his income (not of his benefit !) to Jack.
Even if Jack is not involved and doesn’t do anything besides lying in his sofa he will get about a third of all the remunerations this young artist would receive. MC Steven phoned me back an asked me if I had the time to read the contact. “Yes, I’ve read it”, I said. “What do you think about it?” asked Steven. I didn’t want to spoil the poor boy’s evening, his week or even his month, but I remember how it went silent at the other end of the line when I spoke out the two words that described the contact to it’s fullest extent: “This sucks”.
MC Steven should never have signed a contract like that! And he is still struggling to get away from it.The reason I took the time to write down this whole story is because I want you to see how things may work in the music industry. It’s nice to getting signed and it may be real adrenalin kick to find your own signature under some kind of contract. But as a young artist in a state of euphoria you don’t realise the long run importance of the paper you are signing.
You may think “Well, that won’t happen to me”, but unfortunately this happens to young artists every single day. Now I am not telling you you should never ever sign a contract, but the deal has to fair. I have made a checklist that may help you to determine if a deal is fair to you or not. If the deal is slightly unfavorable to you there may be some margin to negotate for a better one but if you find out a proposed deal is really unfair to you I have only one advice: run away from it as fast as you can. You are dealing with some kind of Jack The Publisher.
In the near future I will publish my checklist in a blogpost. In the meanwhile,
Take care and stay tuned!