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Making Breaking the Band II

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Lots of rumors are flying about Da Band from MTV’s Making the Band II. Apparently there are questions about whether Sarah has quit the group and whether the group will ever make any money. Here are parts of the SOHH.com article ‘Da Band’s Grim Financial Future, Goodbye Sarah?‘ (emphasis is mine):

Sarah, a misfit from the onset who was said to be “not hip-hop,” was also a no show during the premiere of Da Band’s new song “Bad Boy This, Bad Boy the on DJ Kay Slay’s radio show in New York.

Show fans are also buzzing about the group’s recording contract after last week’s episode revealed Da Band conferencing with their manager over an apparent three percentage points they’d receive on every dollar their record makes. To put those numbers in perspective, even if they sold 1 million CDs at about $17.99, they’ll go home with less than $100,000 each after splitting the money six ways and less than $50,000 if they only go gold. And that’s before the group has to “recoup” (repay) costs such as the recording budget, the advance, half of the price of the videos, and half of all of the independent promotions.

This means Da Band will have to rely on other financial means including touring and endorsements to make a living. Wendy Day, CEO of Rap Coalition – a non-profit organization aimed at the unfair exploitation of artists in the music industry – says going platinum is a feat and puts her own spin on Da Band’s money shortfall.

“Here’s my educated guess: the label gave a 12% deal (standard) which got split between two companies involved in the making of the show (6% and 6%) and one of those companies (most likely the production company) then split their cut with the group (3% and 3%),” said Williams who started Rap Coalition (lots of good info here) in 1992. This appears to be similar to the American Idol show, which also takes a cut of the artist’s recording contract.

“Regardless, 3% is excessively oppressive, bordering on straight rape,” continues Day, who provides a detailed breakdown of “The Financial Realities of A Record Deal” on her website, www.rapcoalition.org. “Who is the scumbag behind that show? Puh-lease, it ought to be called ‘Making Rich Power Mongers Richer’ … And you can quote me.”

A few weeks ago I mentioned a bit about the contract signing scene. I was hoping that the scene was just for show, and that the group members had at least read their contracts before signing them. (Of course they should have had lawyers look them over too.) Not that they still wouldn’t or shouldn’t have signed, but at least they’d know what they were getting involved with. But after seeing (I think it was) Fred’s reaction to the ‘news’ that they’d be receiving 3 points (“I ain’t doin’ it!”), it seems pretty clear that they didn’t read the contracts at all. I’m surprised that these aspiring musicians haven’t learned how the industry works. They should have known that they’d be pimped on the records and that the way to make money is by touring. That’s been documented so many times that it should be common knowledge by now — especially for people trying to get in the industry. I guess these guys just believe what they see in the videos.

I have a question about the numbers calculated in the quoted article above. If anyone knows whether artists get a cut of (actual) retail, wholesale or list price/MSRP, please leave a comment and let me know. I always assumed that they got a cut of wholesale, but the article’s figures seem to be based on retail or list price/MSRP.

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About Trader Mike

  • You are right, I can’t find a link or anything to back it up, but they get a cut of wholesale. The MSRP minus wholesale is the store’s cut, so they wouldn’t get a piece of that. The other thing to keep in mind is that many labels have reduced the prices on the CD’s for their new artists to 8.99-10.99 in order to just get them in fans hands before jacking the price back up, so that 100,000 per person is a very high estimate in my opinion. It is common knowledge that they will have to make their money touring, and on subsequent guest spots, production deals, touring and endorsements. But, who knows how much of that will be available to a novelty act? They should all treat it like the Fugees and just try to create solo careers after this first wave dies down.

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Michael, very typical crappy recording contract, which is part of the whole ongoing “music industry deserves to go down the toilet due to greed, dishonesty, stupidity, etc” mentality. See the American Idol artists contract story I did last year for more of the same.

  • Dew

    Last I check Rape was illegal in this country. What amazes me thoough is where is the money going. If I have to give you back my advance (understandable), pay half of the videos, production and expenses AND this comes out of my 3% what the hell is the other 97% paying for?

    I know 10-12% goes to the Producer and so forth. Supposedly 8-15% goes toward Marketing. But that still is unexceptable.

  • Lynn

    I’m addicted to the show but I can’t stand none of them. All they do is fight and complain. They got a chance that nobody else can get. If I was Puff, i’d send all of them jokes home and get all those other people that didn’t get picked. I bet they would be more grateful than those tired looking thugs. Talk about some ungrateful, and ugly (on the inside) people. The only person I like on the show are the producers, Puff and Mr. Bentley… he’s cool.

  • andy

    those kids are pissin me off! They have the opportunity of a lifetime, and they can’t leave their ghetto antics behind and act like professionals….oh wait they aren’t professionals. Still, I would kill for an opportunity like that, and they’re f’in around and throwing it down the drain. They need to do a show called, “Band already made, let’s make them famous” where they take a certain already professionally minded garage rock band from Lancaster PA and give them everything they’ve worked their anuses off for for the past 6 or so years.

  • Lizz

    I agree with everyone’s opinions, but if you think about it, I think that everyone in Da Band just had it to easy. Anybody can walk to get a piece of cake for someone else and anybody can stand in front of a building and read a book,especially if you know that you have an audience watching(which clearly explains why they acted like untrained monkeys half of the time). But if P. Diddy had’ve put them on the real shit, like trying to get a deal(even though they already had one)but just to continually remind them of how everyone doesn’t have it as easy as they do. He should’ve made them stand on the stage in front of a real audience let them perform to see if they had what it took to be compared to any real artist. Istead of him making the decision of whether he thought they were good, he should have gave the fans that decision, because if you think about it what he thinks is hot to his ears or to his eyes may not be what the next person is thinkin. Sometimes you can look at a person’s attitude and tell whether they are taking shit serious or not. To be perfectly honest nobody but my girl Sara took the business serious, by the way she was handling the contract, she was going to take time and look things over, but then you got those dumb-ass butt heads like Chopper,Fred,Ness,and Babes who don’t use their brains when it involes the next few years of your life financially. They were so excited about getting paid and if everyone didn’t sign the contract they wouldn’t get paid so they were ready to go off on the one person who had her head screwed on straight(OVER MONEY). But they saw that she was about the right thing when their checks didn’t come in when they thought it was going to come. And if they don’t get it together, the music business will jip them every time. Now they see that they ain’t going to have as much money as they thought they were when they saw how the money would have to be split. If I were Sara I would rather go solo then to be in a contract all fucked over because of them FOOLS! So basically I am quite sure everyone can see that they are not in the business because its something that their heart desires, they are in it because of the money that they are not willing to work for and even thought they say that they dream about being famous all their lives and that they feel that they are destined to do this, well… thats what their lips say but actions speak louder then words and their actions tell me that they are not all heart.

  • jasmine

    For starters i kind of agree on some of you guys comments and responces but,being the best friend of babs and being close to band,it has been an on going learning experiance especially when your picked out of thousands of hopefuls and major exposure from day one,something other artists dream of(such as babs)to this day.Its not like they were schooling them about the industry,that was a tool an artist should have some type of knowledge of straight off the back ,but other than that,you have to have an hands on experiance to know what really going on like the Band,but that dosent mean youll really know unless your p.diddy. U know what i mean.

  • Passin’ Thru

    Is it just me or is Da Band’s “Bad Boy This, Bad Boy That” video bordering on the edge of segregation? Note that each “team” has absolutely no racial diversity and for some reason, they have to show a fight between the “black team” and the “white team” that seemed almost unneccessary for the video. It’s interesting that Sean Combs plays the bad boy image while at the same time exploiting these kids and basically turning his back on his race. Reminds me of a certain football star who had nothing to do with his race until a certain murder trial and suddenly he was black again. These kids in “Da Band” need to ride out the contract and get the hell out of the Combs’ gold digging grasp.

  • itsme

    I agree with you all that a lot of the contracts artists are signing are crappy. But most of you all aren’t looking at it from the label’s perspective. Someone asked where the other money goes . . .

    – Studio time has to be paid for
    – Producers, who not only get a royalty, but these days all the big name producers are getting large lumpsums up front
    – Songwriters, who get at least the statutory rate in royalties
    – Actual manufacturing of the CD
    – Marketing, all those tv, radio and magazine adds aren’t cheap
    – Radio airplay, cause we all know payola is still in full effect
    – Videos
    – Tour support for the artist
    – Other miscellaneous expenses such as the artist’s transportation, etc.

    And the label pays all of this upfront. So basically it’s a big gamble for them, which most times they lose because major labels don’t break even on 90% of the artists they release.
    – So some of the costs go to supplement other artists that aren’t breaking even.

    Aside from that, the label is a business that has employees that must be paid and receive benefits. They all have facilities that require light, water, a/c, etc.
    – So another portion is paying general overhead expenses.

  • Tabitha

    I loved the show, It was a hell of alot better than Real World Paris. My favorite member Is NEss. I love his sexy ass! Ness, if you read this write my back. YO # 1 fan