What the record companies do not tell you!
This is the third blogpost in this true story. Music producer and composer of royalty free music and hip hop beats Mike Peters writes about all aspects of the music business. In case you’ve missed the previous posts start reading here. We saw how Chris thought it would be easy for him to be released from his contract. But he didn’t know what a record deal really involves.
And here’s the catch, my friends: In general, when you sign a deal with a record label it doesn’t mean the record company has the obligation the make records with you. Strickly, all you sign is an agreement that states that the record company has the right to ask you to make a record and during the agreed period of time you are not allowed to make records with any other label. In oher words, Background Records could force Chris to make records for them, but there was no obligation from their side to actually give Chris a budget to make a record. Sounds weird to you? Well, that’s how it really works in the music bizz. A record deal gives the record company the option to ask you to go into a studio and make a record they can sell. And this means the record company is at the steering wheel of your career and has full control over you.
Chris was a direct competitor of John on the european market. It was better for the record company if no one ever heard back of Chris. And that’s exactly what happened! Chris wasn’t released from his contract. The company used it as a legal instrument against him. And there was nothing Chris could do against this. The contract was made for five years, and strickly they had the option for another five years. Extending the contact with another five year would probably not be acceped in court but during the first five years Chris was unable to create or release any recordings.
Five years passed by and when Chris was finally a free artist he tried to relaunch his career. But his comeback failed. His teenage public was five years older and not buying this kind of music anymore, and the younger kids had found new idols. His music career as an teenage idol was over.
This story proves once again that the music business is a hard industry. Through the eyes of the record companies, artists are seen as products they put in the market, sell and make profit from. Is that bad thing? Not necessarily if it’s a win-win situation. But again, as an upcoming, independent artist it is extemely important to be cautious about promises that are made and papers that are signed. As as I stated before these kind of stories shuld not scare you of – but it is extremely important to be aware of the pitfalls of the industry.
Oh, by the way, the good news for Chris: he still performs and still make his living from going on stage and singing his one hit. He hasn’t a real career anymore but it still able to make a living from his music.