Naima Cochrane Profile picture
17 Sep, 29 tweets, 5 min read
Yes. Contract conversations can be hard even for people who’ve BEEN in the business because they can vary so much based on artist demand & leverage, deal structure (production, etc), label size, etc. There are few hard and fast rules across the board... except one:
That one is that the reason labels own masters is because the labels pay for everything that goes into creating the master (which is literally the tape/file of the song that’s used commercially). Wanna keep that? Cool. But you’ll need to pay for recording, producers, radio...
... styling, marketing, travel, band and or folks on the road with you.

For some artists, that doesn’t matter. For others, that’s a huge difference
It’s kinda like how the bank actaully owns your house until you pay your mortgage. And the interest is the recoupable spending (videos, styling, travel, etc) that accrues over life of album cycle.
Ye tweeting hard and fast but with the amount of samples he uses, the frequency of delays, the spends, period - He’s definitely unrecouped on multiple albums.
And I said this to someone else but believe it or not, not ALL artists want their masters - at least not while they’re still with the label. If you don’t know how to leverage master licenses outside of streaming, you’re just sitting on potential.
I’m all about retaining your IP, keeping as much of your creative control as possible, but the “we don’t need major labels” narrative only works for SOME artists, and I can’t remember who said this a few months ago, but ownership ain’t the answer to everything.
Here’s the secret - Labels don’t expect you to recoup, and if, in 2020, a recording artist - not producer, artist -expects to recoup quickly and make money on the back end, they should fire their lawyer.
Labels loose money or break even on more acts than they make money on. The lights are kept on by those one or two SUPERSTAR acts at every label. They plan entire financial years around them. At Columbia it’s Adele and Bey. New acts are more about mitigating loss.
It’s all their financial risk. If your album doesn’t do well, you walk away with whatever advance you got.
So that’s the TWO sides to it. It’s easy to hear successful acts talk about ownership, but successes are rare. The number of folks who get signed to the number that actually release an album to the number that actually hit to the number that end up with a CAREER? Risk game.
Rule #4080 is still the realest shit ever, and there’s a lot of things that can be annoying about “a building.” Most of that, though, is centered in a lack of appreication and understanding from exec to artist - the money’s part of that
The really really really trash deals you hear about tend to be production deals, smaller labels, management deals. Mad Unsungs is like artist was signed to somebody else who struck the deal with the label. And the artist was roped in while green and hungry - maybe literally
And that whole process of the label is paying a production company and then the production company does whatever... shade ensues.
I meant to give this a closing tweet:
Today, the actual recorded masters generate the least revenue in an artist ecosystem. Touring, synch and licensing (which is master put also PUBLISHING), merch, branding... those are (or were in old outside) the money makers now...
It’s why merch bungles and artist D2C stores became more popular around the early 10s (Tyler once told me his fans can’t download a bootleg pair of socks), why the live music market kept growing year after year, and why labels pushed for 360s.
Labels JUST started making money again like 16 minutes ago. And it’s still not back to the pre-napster disruption, nor is the revenue as fast as it was with physical sales.
But like someone said earlier, ownership means just that. You take on EVERYTHING. The risks and the losses. And the work. And the responsibility to understand it all. That all sounds sexy until that first hard L.
So while label contracts absolutely need to continue to improve; and a lot of it is an outdated model, the music business is still a business, not a family. When I tell you execs get calls from finance about the budget bc they’re not trying to bleed out...
I personally don’t think there’ll be a time in the near future the major label model goes away. Not as long as there’s terrestrial radio, at least. Radio promo is probably the biggest thing that can’t be duplicated the same way under a smaller/more independent structure.
That and coordinated efforts between international and domestic teams.
Yup. And Meg’s deal that she filed suit to get out of.
And a production company deal VS being signed to the JV or vanity label is different. You sign to a JV, you just signed to a label. Sign to a production deal you just promised someone 30-50% of your future earnings in exchange for them financing your artist development.
So the label pays them, they take their cut, then they pay the artist.
Basically, label, production deal, whomever, NOBODY is putting significant money into speculation without a guarantee on their return if it pays off
Also, if I didn’t clarify before, the master and the song itself aren’t the same thing. You can own 100% of the song (you wrote music and lyrics) but not the master. The master is the specific recording of the song the label released.
For example: Barry Hankerson & Blackground owns the masters for Jojo’s first album, and he’s sitting on ALL Blackground masters, so she re-recorded it so it could be on streaming.
On the flip side, when Taylor Swift talked about not being able to get her masters back after her label was sold, a crucial element of the sale was the revenue potential in her masters for licensing and synch opportunities
Or with something much simpler like copyright takedowns; live performances that aren’t from a televised event like. VMAs or the Grammy’s often fly under whatever algorithm the DMCA ppl employ, bc they’re mostly looking for master use. Ie, album version.

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More from @naima

17 Sep
(Just read that section of the contract and those “distribution fees” were part of his GOOD music deal....
because UMG is GOOD Music’s
I got strong “Ye just went through his deal terms with his lawyer for the first time in years” energy from all this. Those were the tweets of someone who didn’t read the paragraph in 2012 (the like 3rd revision of his contract by the way) that says when his masters revert to him.
Kanye posted 3 seperate contract documents; the last one looks like a summary of addendums and modifications. But I saw, without having read all the way through yet, the dates 2005, 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2019. That tells me they’ve been back to this contract MAD TIMES.
Read 30 tweets
23 Aug
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a story more illustrative about how women try to let men down gently and men are completely oblivious to it, become obsessive about it, and the world calls it “romance.”…
Like, she gave you a wrong number dude.

“But at least I know what kind of man I am..” DO YOU?!
He has posted over ONE HUNDRED letters on the street he thinks she lives on and gone to the newspaper... and people are calling him wishing him good luck.
I assure you their connection was not as instant as he believes. Her laughs were probably forced and answers short
Read 14 tweets
14 Aug
They're not only removing the mail boxes, but the MAIL SORTING MACHINES.

I don't even know HOW we can react to/combat this, but this is frankly some of the scariest shit Trump has done yet, to me.
I know most of us think paper mail isn't essential anymore, and maybe not for most in an age of electronic bill pay, etc. But think of how many packages you get some small business owners via priority mail.
Think of people who STILL need to receive physical checks.
Think of how many vulnerable people are about to be fcked bc they're missing court notices and/or paperwork they need to complete for already complicated social program requirements.
Read 18 tweets
13 Aug
I noticed today, not for the first time, that the primary insult from people under 25 is “You’re old.”

The thing is, for most of my folks at least, that ain’t an insult. At all. The greatest thing about age is you’re aware of how much you DON’T know...
... but the things you DO know, you know because you were there. Context of time and climate mean EVERYTHING.
I see alot of jumping on folks recalling the collective feeling in the streets when the crime bill came to pass. Not saying it was a good idea, not denying it’s harmfulness, but explaining WHY, at the time, it had Black support. Hindsight vs real time are two different reels.
Read 13 tweets
10 Aug
Beenie and Bounty, the significance of Sounclash, and them being a turning point of #Verzuz are in my story.

But lemme tell you about irony: BLACK WOMEN have been the main ones calling ME out for something a publication I DON’T WORK FOR decided to do.
Y’all don’t need to know the ins and outs of publications to know I had NO say on what was or wasn’t on the cover.
This is like asking a songwriter about an album cover.

This also lets me know alot of y’all typing hard without reading.
I wasn’t going to respond but I this is like the 10th time somebody has accused me of disrespecting or omitting etc Beenie and Bounty, and NAH. That’s what we’re not gonna do.
Read 10 tweets
4 Aug
Pretty sure this is literally spamming.
“Can we have a heart to heart? I neee to focus all my attention on electing these DAs, so I’m going to make the majority of this email about my book.”

“I need to call in a favor from you... I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need it. MY BOOK REALLY NEEDS TO BE #1 IN THE WORLD”

🙄 ImageImage
I guess when the formula works...
Read 10 tweets

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