The Esteemed Mr. Vincent von Neilstein has warned you all before about the shady business practices of certain record-exec scum, and now The Deciblog has a guest post by Impaled‘s Sean McGrath in which, using a fictional band he calls Feces Injection (“It’s copyrighted, so don’t get any ideas.”), the ways in which labels screw over the artists:

“Holy moly, they sold 6,000 CDs! There is much rejoicing. But wait, what’s this? The label keeps 9 dollars of every cd sold and gives the band 65 cents per cd sold? …They also charged for the cost of the ads out of the band’s royalties? And they pro rated the phone bill and internet bill and rent and took that from the band’s royalties? And they own the rights to the t-shirt designs?! And on top of that, they’ve been trading Injected Feces CDs for other CDs made by bands from other labels, and not reporting those traded CDs as sales?

“…What a disappointment. Injected Feces only sold 6,000 copies. Sounds like a lot to the band, but it’s well below the 40,000 estimated. I guess they should be dropped from the label. Not profitable enough. After an initial investment of 1,500 dollars, they only raked in 54,000 dollars for the label. The good thing is, the label owns Injected Feces’ entire catalog. They signed it away! The material will never see the light of day again if the label does not will it.”

As part of this same post, a link is provided to a column by one-time Nirvana producer Steve Albini, in which he actually provides a fictional financial statement to illustrate how a band could sell a quarter of a million records on a major label and still make bubcus – even as their manager, producer, lawyer and record execs all profit:

“The band is now 1/4 of the way through its contract, has made the music industry more than 3 million dollars richer, but is in the hole $14,000 on royalties. The band members have each earned about 1/3 as much as they would working at a 7-11, but they got to ride in a tour bus for a month.”

Scary, scary stuff. We strongly encourage you all to read both posts in their entirety.


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