Share/E-mail This Story

Email This



Epic's 'Music First' Approach: Delay Album Release; Drop Band When They Leak It

from the uh-what? dept

Last month, we wrote about how the band Death Grips, an indie sensation who had signed with Epic Records (owned by Sony Music), had decided to release their latest album for free all over the internet, after some sort of dispute with Epic over the release date. The band was already considered one of the top authorized downloaded bands on BitTorrent due to earlier releases it had put online for free itself. However, with Epic trying to take a standard "slow down and wait" approach, the band posted its new album to various file lockers and started tweeting out links, noting that "the label will be hearing the album for the first time with you."

Last week, the band posted a screenshot of an irate email from the label about this. Epic notes not only that is it absolutely furious about the leak, but that (1) the release is a breach of contract; (2) since Epic owns the copyright, the label considers the leak to be infringing; (3) the band's decisions have "financially damaged Epic"; (4) even though Epic still intended to release the album, the album would not count towards the recording commitment in the band's contract and (5) while Epic still intended to collect money for the sale of the album (which, again, would not count towards the recording commitment), Epic would not cover the cost of recording the album.
Those last two points are the really interesting ones to me. If it's not counting the album towards the recording commitment, and it now refuses to pay for the cost of the album, it seems wrong to then still consider it something that Epic gets to sell and to keep all the revenue from.

Either way, it appears that won't be an issue, because just a few weeks after that email was sent, Epic officially began the process of dropping Death Grips from the contract. This probably won't surprise many people, though it will be interesting to see if Epic retains "ownership" of the work in question or if Death Grips is able to get back control of its masters. That said, Epic's "statement" about this move is absolutely hilarious for being obviously, blatantly, false:
Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists. That is our mission and our mandate. Unfortunately, when marketing and publicity stunts trump the actual music, we must remind ourselves of our core values. To that end, effective immediately, we are working to dissolve our relationship with Death Grips. We wish them well.
First of all, Death Grips had already "broken" without Epic's help. Second, since when has a major label ever really cared about "the actual music" as compared to the ability to make money off of it with marketing and publicity stunts? And, really, if it were just about "the music," then why would it have freaked out so much when the band made "the music" available for free?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 7:51am

    unfortunately, politicians will take all the relevant bits from Epic's statement, remash them and use them as a 'typical example of why the industry needs major labels' and is then able to condemn what the band themselves did as 'piracy'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 7:52am

    OMG record labels are the Devil! Rabble rabble!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    "Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists. That is our mission and our mandate. Unfortunately, when marketing and publicity stunts trump the actual music, we must remind ourselves of our core values."

    This made me howl with laughter. The major labels do not give a damn about the music anymore (if, indeed, they ever did). The only thing they care about is making a fast buck from a product that is easily marketable but equally forgettable. Making a long term investment doesn't even enter their minds.

    I applaud Death Grips here and the sooner other articles realise just how much they are being stifled the better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Music First is one of two things

    Music First is either:
    1. a typo, and should be Money First
    2. a euphemism for Money First

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:03am

    Clarification

    Let's clarify:
    "Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists"

    Epic Records takes the music from the artist first and then breaks the will and spirit of the artists

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:05am

    Re:

    So, not interested in the real points huh?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    out_of_the_lube, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:06am

    By Break they mean Destroy

    presumably

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    Don't like Epics rules? Then watch as it cries that you're being mean and not playing right. Boo Hoo, they didn't get to abuse their contracted band.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Androgynous Cowherd, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:15am

    Epic Records in a nutshell

    Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists...


    ...on the wheel.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:15am

    And Death Grips needs Epic because... ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:17am

    Re: Clarification

    Beat me to it, I was thinking the same thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:21am

    The Truth In Words.

    "Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists. That is our mission and our mandate."

    Indeed, while others break in new artists, Epic breaks them.

    No wonder the band made a choice to serve its interests.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:23am

    Epic is losing it's death grip on music

    The problem Epic has is they are losing their death grip on music and this infuriates them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:24am

    Re:

    It sounds like they really need to update these statements they spit out. Half the time, I feel like it's a bot writing these kinds of things, which may explain why the statements always presume no one knows what they're really after.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    icon
    Jeff (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:24am

    Re: Music First is one of two things

    I was thinking along similar lines - execpt my thought was "Music Fist"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:25am

    "(4) even though Epic still intended to release the album, the album would not count towards the recording commitment in the band's contract"

    This is the one that gets me. Do we need any further proof of how one-sided major label contracts can be? The label not only gets to determine when and how the music is released, they also get to choose which releases actually "count". This should be simple - if a band has a contract with Epic to release 3 albums, and Epic has released 3 albums then it's fulfilled its contract. To say "well, we can release 3 but you still owe us more because that last one didn't count" is... arbitrary to say the least.

    I'm sure some trolls will be by shortly to defend them (or to tell us how the band are actually dirty pirates for distributing their own work). But, unless they come up with a good reasoning for once, it seems wrong. Yeah, it's a contract dispute ultimately, but this isn't right from where I sit even if there's a clause somewhere that makes it OK. While labels have their uses, this is one extra warning to be very careful in who you choose and what you sign...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:29am

    They break new artists the same way cowboys break horses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re:

    "Half the time, I feel like it's a bot writing these kinds of things"

    Judging from my experience with people who work in marketing, you're probably not that far off. They certainly don't tend to have a full human understanding of the product compared to those outside of their bubble.

    That's probably part of the reason why this situation occurred in the first place (e.g. marketing people insisting on "windows" and "optimum releases per quarter" or some such nonsense, while the band themselves were far more in touch with their fans' actual needs).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Colin, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:30am

    Re:

    Or in the way Bane breaks Batman.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    "(4) even though Epic still intended to release the album, the album would not count towards the recording commitment in the band's contract and (5) while Epic still intended to collect money for the sale of the album (which, again, would not count towards the recording commitment), Epic would not cover the cost of recording the album. "


    We're not going to pay for the album or count it toward your contract, but since you're under contract, we own it. In other words, we're going to get as much benefit as possible out of this but give you no credit for making us money.

    WTF?! Then they turn around and say:

    "Epic Records is a music first company that breaks new artists. That is our mission and our mandate."

    We're going to smack you (the artist) down, then say that we're doing this on your behalf?

    In what line of work do you work for someone who has the right to lawfully smack you around like this? I thought slavery was abolished 100+ years ago?


    (OK so they may have breached the contract, I don't know, but still this was way mishandled by the music label....)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Keii (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    I look forward to Death Grips making a million dollars without Epic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:46am

    Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    Because this is total breach and now Epic is entitled to recover its costs. They paid for the product, and now own it. That point fits not at all with the notions you pirates hold, but it's reality.

    "Epic Records is a music first company" -- You miss the key point that it's a "company", Mike, NOT a bunch of drug-dazed hipsters who make "music" to avoid work. A company has to make profit on its products. -- I'm not against companies the way you are, see "Big Media" as having no right to exist, while excusing and building up those which you choose (Big Search, Big Grifters): you're a partisan of some sort, I'm even-handed, just want to limit all companies down to reasonable excesses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    JWW (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Literally

    Wow. That an "EPIC" fail. Literally.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    JWW (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, you have to wonder if their statements would pass the Turing test.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:53am

    Re: @Keii" "I look forward to Death Grips making a million dollars without Epic."

    How exactly is the band going to "make" money by GIVING AWAY its product? HMM? -- That's the "Step2" question, and the only answer given is still "??????".

    By the way, all of 72 posts on Step2 last I looked. Brilliant "initiative" there, Mike. And that despite the mysterious awards of $11,000 for no discernible value.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    copy troll, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    WE HAVE TO DESTROY THE ARTIST TO PROTECT THE ARTIST DAMMIT!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    icon
    ChrisB (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:59am

    Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    Google is a natural monopoly, because they are the best search company, as voted by users (i.e., democratically). (I put this in because no one gives a crap about your opinion of Google. The majority disagree. That's democracy.)

    Media companies exist under an artificial monopoly, created by governments, who are captured by lobbyists.

    In case I have to spell it out for you, the first is good, the second is bad. The solution is to get government out of the business of business (or severely limit its involvement).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    lul and lul, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: @Keii" "I look forward to Death Grips making a million dollars without Epic."

    How exactly is the band going to "make" money by GIVING AWAY its product? HMM? -- That's the "Step2" question, and the only answer given is still "??????".

    publicity blue. the good kind AKA not yours.

    way to protect the artist brother!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:04am

    Re:

    To be fair here, Death Grip may (I haven't read the contract) have been in breach of contract. Offering up a settlement solution such as saying: 'this album does not count' may actually be a reasonable solution rather than starting a dispute in court or through arbitration.

    It is, however, pretty crazy to be claiming you care about what artists want in a statement condemning an artist for taking an action that they disagreed with.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    icon
    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I did some digging, and came up with this...

    Progressive Insurance was involved with a "twitter bot" SANFU - http://money.cnn.com/2012/08/14/technology/progressive-tweets/index.html.

    They apparently stepped up to defend a guy who ran a red light and killed another man's sister so they wouldn't have to pay out under an insurance policy to the victim's family.

    After the family hit the net with the story, they got bombarded with negative reactions and tried to calm the storm with one twitter post. That exact post was repeated in 6 replies as if it was a spambot re-posting the original message.

    It'd be poetic to see that happen to Epic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    icon
    Lowestofthekeys (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Music First is one of two things

    That sounds like Chuck Norris' new band.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: @Keii" "I look forward to Death Grips making a million dollars without Epic."

    They're certainly going to make more money than they would under Epic, now that Epic has made its position clear.

    Why are you against artists making money, out_of_the_ass?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Jeff (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    even handed?!?!!????!!
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH AHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAH...

    [breathe man! breathe!]

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH AHA!

    [wipes eyes]

    That's some seriously funny shit there...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    They paid for the product, and now own it
    (5) while Epic still intended to collect money for the sale of the album (which, again, would not count towards the recording commitment), Epic would not cover the cost of recording the album.
    Reading comprehension fail... or have you now become so out of touch with humanity that you were actually referring to the band itself as "the product"? Could go either way...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re:

    This is what I was thinking as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    "They paid for the product, and now own it."

    Except that they are now claiming that they will not pay for the product, but they still claim to own it.

    This could work out great for Epic, if their claims hold. The album has now gotten a ton of free publicity. They don't have to pay the production costs, and they still get to sell it and keep the profits. I'm sure Death Grips will do very well out of this in other ways, but what are the odds they'll ever see a dime from Epic selling their album?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    "They paid for the product, and now own it"

    Actually, they are explicitly saying they are not going to pay for it - and now they own it.


    "NOT a bunch of drug-dazed hipsters who make "music" to avoid work"

    Then they should stop claiming that they are there to make music and support artists. If they were honest and simply said - 'hey! we want to make money, not art - quit giving things away!' their position would be supportable.

    "A company has to make profit on its products"

    I'll give you that most companies 'wants to be profitable', but what does that have to do with this situation?


    "I'm not against companies the way you are, see "Big Media" as having no right to exist"

    I hate to speak for anyone, but I don't think Mike is against companies. In fact, don't you routinely (wrongly) complain that he constantly supports Google? And no company has "a right to exist", if the market does not support them, it is economically best to let them fail. Oh - and I just saw the 'big search' reference - so he's against "companies" but supports...I've gotten lost in your crazy rant...


    "I'm even-handed, just want to limit all companies down to reasonable excesses"

    What? Then why wouldn't we start by ending all of these record companies profiting off of the work of these abused artists?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    "They paid for the product, and now own it"

    Ok, then. I paid for my digital music and DVD collections so I now own them. I will now proceed to enjoy and share them however I see fit. Thank you for that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    JWW (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    Breach of contract breaches the contract, period.

    While Epic probably contractually has the right to act like rat bastards and screw the band out of proceeds for this album, if they're claiming breach and the band is claiming Epic is breaching the contract (see not counting the album towards their contract commitment), then the contract should be null and void.

    The end of this then should be:

    1) Epic keeps the masters and does what they want with them. (Although human beings with actual souls recognize this as a vile evil, especially if they're just going to shelve them).

    2) The band is required to have no more dealings with their former record company.

    That record companies continue to berate customers on morality and then do things to artists that would make the Devil himself blush. Hypocritical bastards.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    You have it wrong.

    They said: "We are not going to pay for it - and now we own it"

    So, if you have pirated any Epic music, you apparently now own it. I assume, if you paid for Epic music, you probably have a piece of DRM-filled garbage that only works in a Sony Walkman on Thursdays.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    As much as I hate these music companies, I think Out of the blue has a point here. Epic paid for the development on the album and Death Grips, having NOT paid for the album, gives it away. So now Epic is in the whole because of what Death Grips chose to do. Thats not right no matter who it happens to

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    JWW (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: @Keii" "I look forward to Death Grips making a million dollars without Epic."

    Concerts*

    *See Grateful Dead

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    Contract law is infinitely more complex than that.

    A court would essentially attempt to make the party that did not breach the contract whole again - or as close as possible. That does not mean either party would get out of the contract, but in a situation like this, it is difficult for the court to attempt to force a party to remain in a contract if they are unlikely to fulfill the remainder of it.

    Epic's crazy email is not necessarily a bad starting position (from their perspective) for negotiating a settlement for the breach. It is certainly not a mandate that the band would have to follow (assuming their contract does not allow for Epic to re-write it in the event of a breach).

    The fact that they claim they are there for the music or the artists is certainly laughable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Lord Binky, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: @Keii" "I look forward to Death Grips making a million dollars without Epic."

    T-shirts, coffee mugs, and fuzzy dice that hang from your rear-view mirror.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    I was just responding to his assertion that the label owns something they pay for not pointing out that this is not the case for Epic and Death Grips ;-)

    Actually, I buy my music from Amazon or 7 Digital which is DRM free so I can enjoy it anywhere :-P

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    "I assume, if you paid for Epic music, you probably have a piece of DRM-filled garbage that only works in a Sony Walkman on Thursdays."

    Only if it doesn't rain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:39am

    ...and (5) while Epic still intended to collect money for the sale of the album (which, again, would not count towards the recording commitment), Epic would not cover the cost of recording the album.

    No, this doesn't follow from Epic's email. Epic has already paid for the album via the recording advance. This is how recording deals work. Epic is saying that they will not count net sales toward that advance or pay royalties on top of that advance, because the artist breached the contract in numerous ways. That seems fair to me.

    In addition, it should come as no surprise to those on this blog that Death Grips actually BENEFITED from this situation. The label LOST their entire advance (likely around $200k), Death Grips got to use that advance to make and release an album, and now that they have been dropped, Death Grips owes the label NOTHING. Funny how there's no mention of that crazy record label accounting in this story...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Michael, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    If you are still listening to a Sony Walkman, it's pretty much always raining.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    varagix, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Music First is one of two things

    Or a potentially disturbing sexual technique.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Shadow Dragon (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    Me too,with Amazon

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Re:

    Twat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 10:41am

    Re:

    I agree to a point. They should be able to recover the money plus interests for what was done but also after all debts have been paid then return the copyright back to the band.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    "...and now that they have been dropped, Death Grips owes the label NOTHING"

    I find it hard to believe this. If this is true, whoever set up the contract is a moron for not having any clauses in to prevent this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 11:46am

    Re: Re:

    What could the label do? The money has already been spent by the band to create the album (and the corresponding masters that the label invested in).

    Moreover, I have a hard time believing that you would support the label owning the masters AND asking for the band to repay an advance that was already spent. Around here, the labels are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 12:27pm

    Has anyone listened to this yet? You're fooling yourself if you think Epic spent anywhere NEAR 200k to sign them. It, like their first release, was most likely self-produced in their in-home studios.

    Give me a real number and maybe my sympathy for Epic will surface. Honestly, most likely not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    DG

    I'll say this. It's well known Epic paid a boat load of cash to these guys. Everyone questioned the signing, pointing to this happening. You can say they got what they deserved, but in the end, DG knew what their end of the bargain was too.

    Should have done everyone (including me, a fan) the favor of never signing up there.

    Epic also needs to do a better job of figuring out who is major label worthy. Between this, and the turd of wallpaper(who I am also a fan of), LA Reid is spending high and delivering low. The only thing they have going is Cher Lloyd, who came via X-Factor UK, so I guess he owes Simon a bj as a thank you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Alex, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Or maybe Death Grips should have read the contract that they signed. If an artist and the label aren't going to work together then they're wasting each others time.
    Artists sign for X number of albums and each album has a cycle of so many months that the artist has to tour and promote it. They recorded an album before their previous cycle was up so Epic wouldn't release it yet. Epic has every right - because of that contract - to drop Death Grips after leaking it. This isn't new for record deals.

    Not all moves by record labels are villainous just as not all by bands are righteous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anon, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    Yeah, Epic sucks. But you know what? The band signed the contract. They have a lawyer representing them. They knew exactly what they were up against. If they're claiming ignorance or that they were taken advantage of, it's their own fault.

    It's not rebellious to sign a one-sided contract just for the express purpose of ripping it up. It just shows how stupid they are at managing their own career.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Any Artist who signs with the Big Boys have already put themselves into a real Death Grip.
    I do not feel any sympathy for this band of traitors who sold out and in turn got punked by the Label.
    LOL !
    Stay away from the MAFIAA !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    jonny, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

    Maybe they could have written "SLAVE" on their faces like Prince did all those years ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Re:

    unfortunately, politicians will take all the relevant bits from Epic's statement, remash them and use them as a 'typical example of why the industry needs major labels' and is then able to condemn what the band themselves did as 'piracy'

    And then, labels will sue said politicians for being pirates and remashing their statement without authorization. And the world rejoices.

    Well, I can dream...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 2:54pm

    Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    I think Out of the blue has a point here. Epic paid for the development on the album and Death Grips, having NOT paid for the album, gives it away.

    Actually, it appears they hadn't paid for the development, and they say they shouldn't have to in the email. See #5: "(5) while Epic still intended to collect money for the sale of the album (which, again, would not count towards the recording commitment), Epic would not cover the cost of recording the album."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    Actually, it appears they hadn't paid for the development, and they say they shouldn't have to in the email. See #5

    Except that's not correct. I hope you understand that Mike wrote "#5," not Epic.

    Epic has already paid for the album via the recording advance (likely around $200k). This is how recording deals work. Epic is saying that they will not count net sales toward that advance or pay royalties on top of that advance, because the artist breached the contract in numerous ways.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    Google is a natural monopoly, because they are the best search company


    I think I know what you're trying to say, but please forgive my pedantry here. Being "the best" is not what makes something a "natural monopoly".

    A natural monopoly is a situation where, by the nature of the product itself, it can really only be done efficiently by a single company. The usual examples of this are things like supplying water (it's not efficient to string a neighborhood with many different sets of water pipes) or electricity (ditto electrical wires).

    Search is not that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually, that's pretty normal record contract stuff.

    Epic paid the band money. From their perspective, they purchased the master & rights with that money. They consider the contract breached, which just means that planned future business will not happen -- but the business already done is still done.

    Technically, Epic owns the masters & rights, as they paid for them.

    My question, though, is who breached the contract first? Could it be argued that by failing to release the recording in a timely manner, Epic was in fact the one that breached the contract? I don't know, as I can't see the contract, but it's possible. Even if that's the case, Epic would probably still come out of it owning the masters & rights, but would also owe the band more money (to cover the value of the business that never got done).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), Nov 6th, 2012 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    If you yourself understood contracts you would understand there is no such thing as a "total breach" only specific breaches of specific terms or Forfeiture.

    Also without looking at the specific contract in question there is no way for anyone to know (other than statutory conditions if there is any) what terms if any were allegedly breached nor if there are any defences like unconscionability, frustration (which is a big one in this case), or maybe even doctrine of clean hands.

    Also a company does NOT have to make profits either, in fact there are a few thousand (or more) Non Profit organisations that specifically DO NOT make profits nor are they allowed to. They are Still classified as companies (corporations).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 7th, 2012 @ 11:00am

    I still want to see a "real" number associated with their signing, instead of conjecture on this "200K" number that's being thrown about.

    People can say they got paid a "boatload" but in reality, unless you have the contract or were directly involved in it, a "boatload" is a subjective quantity. I see some model ships that can't hold a roll of quarters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 8th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    Epic has already paid for the album via the recording advance (likely around $200k). This is how recording deals work. Epic is saying that they will not count net sales toward that advance or pay royalties on top of that advance, because the artist breached the contract in numerous ways.

    I hear what you are saying, but I don't think you understand what I am saying. If they loaned the band $200K with the intention to use the net sales to pay off the advance, and then do not apply the royalties to that advance, then what they have done is loaned $200K to the band, NOT paid for development. It would be the same as the US Government loaning me $200K to go back to school, and then claiming that they paid for my education. If I paid them back, then I paid for my education.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    If they loaned the band $200K with the intention to use the net sales to pay off the advance, and then do not apply the royalties to that advance, then what they have done is loaned $200K to the band, NOT paid for development.

    I do hear what you're saying, but it doesn't change the result. As you suggest, until that advance is repaid by the artist, it is very much the LABEL that has paid for the development of the album. And the artist chose to breach the parties' agreement as to how that repayment was to be carried out (i.e., that the label would have first rights to sell the record) in a way that severely undercuts the ability of the label to recoup its expenses. If you agreed to repay the government's school loan in 2 years, and then after you graduated you decided that the loan should be repaid IF and how you choose, would you similarly argue that the government absolutely did not pay for your eduction? Semantics aside, isn't it important to recognize that the label has made a significant investment in the artist that the artist has put at risk because of its breach? There's no mention of that in this article.

    The artist received professional marketing, guidance, and an advance all on the basis of a contract that the artist has willfully (and childishly) breached. My point is and was that the artist made out pretty well by screwing over its label. And yet, everyone here (including Mike) still attacks the label.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 8th, 2012 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    If you agreed to repay the government's school loan in 2 years, and then after you graduated you decided that the loan should be repaid IF and how you choose, would you similarly argue that the government absolutely did not pay for your eduction? Semantics aside, isn't it important to recognize that the label has made a significant investment in the artist that the artist has put at risk because of its breach? There's no mention of that in this article.

    I am not entirely certain this is a correct analogy, but instead if instead of deciding if and when to pay them back, instead I completed my course of education online early instead of in the classroom, and then all of the sudden the government comes back and says because I chose to complete the coursework online, then I didn't really follow their contract and thus not only do I still have to pay them back, but I need to go back to school and learn something else without their help. It is the government deciding, by themselves, that I somehow violated their contract and what my penance should be. Keep in mind that in this case, the label didn't fulfill its end of the bargain either, in actually distributing the content.

    We attack the label because it isn't entirely the victim here either. It decided it didn't want to release the album, despite being contractually obligated to do so. If the label had released the album, instead of dragging its heels, then the band would have "childishly" breached their contract and released the album, would they?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 8th, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    At this point, I really don't follow your analogies any longer. The label is out about $200k and has nothing to show for it but a record that likely won't sell because of the artist's actions.

    Keep in mind that in this case, the label didn't fulfill its end of the bargain either, in actually distributing the content.

    That's patently false. If you read the original article, you'll see that the label delayed the release, they didn't refuse to release it. This happens all the time for marketing or other business reasons, and is expressly permitted in record contracts (if you don't believe me, look it up). If the artist wanted absolute discretion over release dates they shouldn't have signed the contract or taken the money.

    It decided it didn't want to release the album, despite being contractually obligated to do so.

    Nope. See above.

    If the label had released the album, instead of dragging its heels, then the band would have "childishly" breached their contract and released the album, would they?

    Really? So the fact that the label made a business decision that was entirely in their legal discretion under the contact (that the artist signed) justified the artist breaching the contract and threatening the label's $200k investment? Amazing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    At this point, I really don't follow your analogies any longer.

    Not a problem, analogies suck.

    "Keep in mind that in this case, the label didn't fulfill its end of the bargain either, in actually distributing the content."

    That's patently false. If you read the original article, you'll see that the label delayed the release, they didn't refuse to release it.


    You have a different definition of "not distributing" than I do apparently. My definition of "not distributing" is not offering the item for sale at that particular moment. I never said they refused to distribute. I said they didn't actually distribute the content (was it available for sale at that time?) The problem I see with this is there are plenty of examples of labels burying the content never to be seen again. Hopefully, as more artists become aware of the stupidity, they will cut out the middle-man, or at least sign with one that is interested in their future.

    Really? So the fact that the label made a business decision that was entirely in their legal discretion under the contact (that the artist signed) justified the artist breaching the contract and threatening the label's $200k investment? Amazing.

    Have they offered the album for sale yet? Aren't you making the assumption that they won't make $200k or more off of the album even though it was released by a third party? Others have been able to sell their product despite piracy, so you are telling me that this label, if it were to offer this album for sale right now, wouldn't make back their investment? Isn't that the point of this whole thing, they couldn't recoup their investment anyway when they didn't release the album, so why are they now crying when they decided themselves not to recoup the costs by not distributing the content?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    icon
    Wifezilla (profile), Nov 9th, 2012 @ 7:10am

    None of this adresses the issue that their music really sucks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 9th, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Do you not understand contracts, Mike?

    I never said they refused to distribute. I said they didn't actually distribute the content (was it available for sale at that time?)

    Well you certainly implied as much when you said, "It decided it didn't want to release the album, despite being contractually obligated to do so." I think you're backpedaling.

    Aren't you making the assumption that they won't make $200k or more off of the album even though it was released by a third party?

    Yes, I am. Or at least that it will be much, much more difficult for the label to make that back.

    Isn't that the point of this whole thing, they couldn't recoup their investment anyway when they didn't release the album, so why are they now crying when they decided themselves not to recoup the costs by not distributing the content?

    You don't see the difference between the label delaying a release and releasing once the artist has already made it available for free to millions online? Really... no difference?

    And, no, that's not the point of the whole thing, and the label isn't "crying." The artist willfully breached the agreement with the label. The label did not. The label lived up to its end of the bargain, and complied with the terms of the contract. The label only chose to terminate the relationship once the artist breached, and publicly released confidential information. I'm not convinced that the label would have terminated if the artist hadn't publicly derided the label, posted confidential messages, and generally acted like a horrible partner. And yet, still, after releasing the artist from all of its obligations (recording commitments, exclusivity, etc.), and potentially losing its investment (yes, potentially), the label is still the only party attacked here. That's the problem. That's the point.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This