Streetlight Manifesto Can't Fulfill Pre-Orders Because Label Refuses To Give Them Their Own Records

from the labels-represent-artists? dept

A year ago, we wrote about how the band Streetlight Manifesto was urging people to boycott its own album, unless it was bought directly from the band, because their label, Victory Records, wasn’t giving them any of the money. Here’s what they said at the time:

We’re writing today to ask you to please boycott all Streetlight related items by not purchasing any of our records or merchandise from Victory’s website, any traditional CD stores, online third party retailers or any digital distribution service (iTunes, Amazon etc). Victory has a long-time reputation of pocketing all of the proceeds from a band’s music and merch, with shady accounting and generally bully-ish behavior. If you want to support Streetlight, our music and our ability to tour and continue to release music, please make all SM related purchases from our own webstore, The RISC Store (, or come out to a show and buy a shirt or cd from us directly. In regards to getting the music we make, you can buy directly from us, or, alternately, we’re sure you can find a way to get the tunes onto your computer that may not be, ahem, traditional… Speaking a Bit metaphorically, there is a Torrent of methods to accomplish this, and Google is your always loyal friend…

Believe it or not, things have now gotten even worse. Tim Griffiths writes in to let us know that the band was preparing to launch its latest album, and had even been taking preorders for the album through its own store as mentioned above… but now they claim Victory won’t even give them copies of their own album to sell:

Q: Why do I not have my record yet? I totally want it.

A: Simple – Victory Records has refused to send us any of Streetlight’s new album. Without that – we can not send out pre-orders. Classy move. Read on for more information about your order.

The issue is made more complex by the fact that the band’s lead singer, Toh Kay, also released a companion album to the SM album, with a very similar name. SM’s new album is The Hands That Thieve, while Toh Kay’s is The Hand That Thieves. When Toh Kay put up a video from his album, Victory claimed it infringed on their copyright and had it taken down.

Q: I wanted to hear the Toh Kay record. The music video – before Victory took it down – was beautiful and so was the song. My gosh. What happened?

A: Victory had given Streetlight a choice: either completely kill the Toh Kay record (their absurd reasoning was that its sale would “cannibalize” Streetlight sales, ha!) or hand it over to them so they can release it and exclusively profit from it. Streetlight has experienced and documented years of Victory not paying royalties while continuously profiting from their music, so it was a no-brainer. We had to cancel the record, no matter how much we all loved it and how hard the guys worked on it. That music video, by the way, is also “illegal”. So if you saw it – your eyes are criminals.

The band is offering to give back people’s money, or figure out other ways to satisfy various orders. As in the past, they’ve also suggested that alternative means to finding the album might be fans’ best path:

Q: The Streetlight record leaked online – I already ordered it through you – how should I feel inside about downloading it?

A: We can’t tell you how or where to download it – but if you already paid for it, and it’s being withheld from you by the band’s own record label – well, take that how you will.

And also, this:

Q: This whole situation makes me hate the music industry and I now understand why it – as a business entity – is failing across the board.

A: Yeah. I hear ya. I just downloaded Dredd 3D – wanna watch it with me?

Remember stories like this the next time labels pretend that they represent the best interests of artists.

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Companies: victory records

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Comments on “Streetlight Manifesto Can't Fulfill Pre-Orders Because Label Refuses To Give Them Their Own Records”

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Ninja (profile) says:

If they had issues with the label a while back why are they with the same label again? I’m guessing those absurd contracts unaware musicians are lured into.

But wait, Pirate Mike, are you really going to focus on exceptions and outliers*? 😉

* the definition of exceptions and outliers in the Tololoxford dictionary is still under debate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Remember stories like this the next time labels pretend that they represent the best interests of artists.

Yet there are lots of success stories of bands working with labels, which is why people still line up to work with labels. What’s the point of only talking about stuff like this that you can spin as a negative? I really don’t get why you’re so fucking negative all of the fucking time. These people are getting what they bargained for, are they not? Has the label broken any promises? Have you considered contacting the label and getting their side? I doubt it very, very much. I really don’t get your complete obsession with being so incredibly and absolutely fucking ridiculously negative with this shit, Mike. WTF is wrong with you?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Has the label broken any promises?”

You mean like the promise to pay them?

And again, no-one cares when it’s all positives. That’s when things are working and everyone’s doing their job. WTF is wrong with you that you don’t understand that it is actually newsworthy when someone writes a negative about a group?

Me!! (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As you say, no one cares when it’s all positives, because that happens all the time. So when something negative happens it’s newsworthy because it’s out of the ordinary. That’s what you’re saying, right?

I think that makes sense. However, the post ends with:

Remember stories like this the next time labels pretend that they represent the best interests of artists.

Seems to me the implication is that the situation discussed in the article is totally run-of-the-mill in the music industry; a claim that is demonstrably false by the newsworthiness of the very post making that assertion!

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Something negative about a group and whether or not that negative is actually usual for that group…are two completely different things. In fact, if it IS usual for that group to be negative in that way, that would make it even more newsworthy.
I facepalmed after attempting to process your unique brand of logic.

Me!!! (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

No need to get so vitriolic. I was only pointing out why someone might see these kinds of posts as mindless attacks on the music industry. If the last line in the blog wasn’t there, I don’t think there would be such confusion. As it stands, it seems to imply that I should remember the grievances of this band when I hear any label claim they support the interests of their artists. That seems overly broad, if you ask me.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Stories of artists being robbed by their respective labels are legion, so it sometimes takes a publicity stunt such as the above in order to make it newsworthy. If I may say so, Techdirt’s mission isn’t to referee contractual disputes between artists and labels, but it does highlight some of the more egretious examples.

That said, I’m interested to know if any artists have taken advantage of the termination clause which went into effect at the beginning of this year. I’ve yet to read a single story about it.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“As you say, no one cares when it’s all positives, because that happens all the time.”

No, no one cares when it’s all positives, because that’s what’s supposed to happen.

Sign a contract to get paid for your work, get paid, no story.
Sign a contract to get paid for your work, don’t get paid, STORY.

The Real Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Not always. A lot of smaller artists have been rooked by the system without it being publicized. It’s only when an artist decides to make it public that you’ll hear something.

What self-respecting artist would be stupid enough to sign with Victory Records now? I mean they had to know in advance that their actions would create bad publicity.

Anonymous Scumbag says:

Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on May 9th, 2013 @ 11:47am

Well, Tom was like 16 when he signed on, so he didn’t think about the consequences of his actions. His parents couldn’t give less of a damn, and probably approved it without any foresight into the contract.

Tony Brummell isn’t a scumbag, if you ask me. Just greedy. He’s well-aware that it is within his rights to withhold royalties to the band, and has done it so much that he’s insensitive to it.

jameshogg says:

Copyright never ceases to be intellectually dishonest.

If this were crowdfunding, it’d be impossible for a label to oppress artists like this. The artists would have them by the balls.

Also, there would be no way for labels to cheat on royalties. The money would be there for all to see, and labels would have to pay their share: no excuses, no exceptions.

Assurance contracts intellectually trump everything here. Tickets, crowdfunding, all verifiable and backed up by evidence. With no human rights compromises.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think ootb forgot to log in.

He didn’t forget. He’s been on that kick a couple of days now. I think he thinks if he doesn’t log in it won’t be recognized as where it comes from and he won’t get the report votes that typically hide all his trolling.

If that is the case he has failed dismally as his writing style is distinctive enough to be recognized whether he logs in or not.

Added my votes for report for good measure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Its simple. There’s only room for one conglomerate of third party entities acting as self-interested media distributors to the detriment of content creators. Any more than that and the system falls apart.

That is the argument the MPAA is making right?

What do you mean they claim its all wrong… have they looked in a mirror lately?

gorehound (profile) says:

I would never Sign to any Label and that is my opinion.I love Rock N Roll and have played in a bunch of Bands since I first did the Garage Jamming in 1972 when I was 16.I have put out CD,Vinyl,Tape, and various videos.Playing the Punk Rock…………rather have the Control than get ripped by any Label.
Sign with Victory is your kiss of Death ! Same as signing with the MAFIAA !

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: No unusual

Ah, you again. I thought you weren’t a regular commenter? Funny how you ignore the thing that apparently started the whole mess (Victory not paying its artists, among other misdeeds), and go straight to blaming the band’s attempt to bring the label’s practices to light. Who cares if artists and fans are screwed over as long as the label pockets some cash, huh?

It’s just another example of how labels are not only unnecessary in todays world, but often actively damaging to artists’ careers.

“these guys are idiots”

If by “these guys” you mean the labels pretending they’re anything but scam artists and the sycophants who defend them at every turn, I agree wholeheartedly.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: No unusual

” Funny how you ignore the thing that apparently started the whole mess (Victory not paying its artists, among other misdeeds), and go straight to blaming the band’s attempt to bring the label’s practices to light”

Horse With No Name is just following the Star Trek rules of temporal mechanics. Sometimes effect can precede cause.

Victory didn’t pay Streetlight because Streetlight was going to call Victory out over them not paying what was owed. You see?

Yeah, that episode of Voyager didn’t make any damn sense to me ether.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: No unusual

So the band signs with a label that at the time was seen as a good place to be. Turns out that’s not the case and a number of bands have even taken the label to court over legal issues with contracts including royalties.

Streetlight then say they are not being paid the money they should be getting from Victory and tell their fans the only way that the band will see money from their albums is if the fans buy from their store. In other words a band is reduced to only making money from their albums by acting as the store sell those albums rather than creators because a label is screwing them.

And you want to say that should have just kept their mouth shut and begged for more? That it’s ok for Victory to be vindictive assholes by not selling records to the store that will likely sell the most albums simply because it’s the bands store?

The label that pissed all over them while telling them that it was raining is now kicking them in the teeth for having the gall to question that?

junkyardmagic (profile) says:

If you think about all of those reports that “prove” how much money is lost to the music industry, maybe its time to produce an accurate report. I’m talking about the money withheld from artists by the companies. This should be quantifiable for a change. For a start there are all the court cases. Then there are the questionable adjustments – breakages for vinyl, based in shellac breakage rates. And Royalty rates based on the additional cost of CD technology, even when costs fell below vinyl production. Unlike the legacy industry’s figures, these are relatively easy to identity and quantify

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