360 Degree Deals for Artists


What is a 360 deal?

Also commonly known as a Multi-Rights deal.  This is a deal that usually encapsulates a portion of an artists income.  It can and include, but is not limited to: Licensing, Publishing, Recorded/Live Music Sales, Endorsements, Sponsorships, Touring Revenue, Merchandise, TV/FILM Appearances, Book Deals, etc.  The “financier”, in this case, can be a record label, a publisher and/or another music company or other entertainment entity.  These deals commonly have been financed by record labels, and major publishers and most recently by promoter and ticket giant Live Nation who secured multi-rights deals with Jay-Z and Madonna.

The primary function of a traditional record label was to find talent (A&R), finance the costs involved with production (hiring a producer, songwriters, musicians) post-production (mixing and mastering), manufacturing of the final product (tapes, albums, cd’s), setup and monitor distribution through retail and digital outlets (Best Buy, WalMart, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer, MOG, rdio etc.), plan and coordinate radio campaigns (both traditional and now satellite), finance music videos, create and implement promotional campaigns (all sorts of press levels) while having strong influence to TV appearances on major and cable networks.  The bottom line: A label is/was able to break and perpetuate an artists career by efficiently pushing the above.

It was very effective because traditional major labels had deep networks where it was easy to “influence”, whether done legal or not is for another blog, to get their artists impressions. Even though you will hear people in the music industry bash “majors” for having no influence anymore because of nefarious financials and historically tough relationships with artists they still do a pretty damn good job.  Take a glance at records in the top 10 or songs on the top 40 charts, they are dominated by artists who have a major label behind them.  I bet the numbers, although they are changing in the transitioning music industry, are somewhere around 99-1 where an artist can get a top 10 placement without a major label being involved someway, somehow.

The reason major labels want to be a part of you 360-degrees-of-the-time is because the recorded music part of the deal, which usually was the major revenue machine for the labels, has been shrinking over the last 15 years.  If the “label” is going to “break” you then its really only fair that they keep a portion of the extra-curricular monies you make!  Obviously if you can negotiate something different then more power to you, but labels are smart too and aren’t going to sign a new artist, finance a 6 album deal without insuring their investment has multiple revenue streams they can “take” from.  Imagine if a major was behind a band like Phish?  The album cycle would all but not matter.  Obviously the dream would be to sign a band like “Foster The People” who can command $30k+ a night now while continuing to sell records.  A band like M83 who will struggle to push 100k units over the course of a record cycle will do very well touring-wise so it makes sense for a label to grab a larger portion of their touring, endorsement and licensing revenues.  See the pattern here?

Its all a business and although the reputations of labels have worsened over the years they are still the premiere way for you to get the most visibility in the shortest period of time.  Not everyone is Mac Miller or Arcade Fire.  They’re 99 to 1.


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