A number of small and large independent labels have been doing 50/50 profit share deals for years. In most cases the costs paid before profits are extremely transparent and easy to understand. None of the bullshit "packaging deductions" and "new media" reduction of royalties.
The list includes Merge who have sold more than a few records in their 20+ years.
It remains to be seen if some of the larger labels are willing or able to make the transition.
Interesting observations, and some that missed the point entirely. This day in the studio with Jill and John is just one of many past, ongoing and future events that create (so far so good) an ecosystem in which Jill can survive and flourish.
In her own words she's "a lifer". She's not going into another line of work so we try to leverage lots of ideas on many different financial levels to a) speak to her core fans, b) acquire new fans c) find interesting ways to finance / create projects that Jill is interested in *artistically*.
In this instance it means recording an EP with musicians that Jill loves, with the great Dave Way and having her pal John Doe do the same. What we end up with is a couple of EP's worth of material where otherwise none would exist and we give fans a chance to see what recording is all about.
Again: this is one event out of many that fulfill different needs for the artist, reach different groups of fans and allow Jill to continue to survive. All while providing goods and services that people seem interested in purchasing or being involved with.