Music Business Survival Series Pt 3: Publishing

These shady practices are mirror images of some of the sub-prime mortgage schemes that first time buyers fell prey to a few years back. In the same fashion that the mortgage mess almost swallowed the entire economy, these shady practices also have far reaching consequences well after most successful careers are done. Many artists end up as virtual slaves to the label and only get pennies for recordings that make the labels multi- million dollar profit share. For the savvy artist who wants to own his own music, there are two major Publishing firms in America BMI and ASCAP.

These two giants handle the bigger artists as well as the garage bands that may never make it big and may not want to. They monitor media formats for an artist’s music and then pay a royalty on a quarterly basis. Even though most artists get the shaft when it comes to publishing, there are a few hero tales like Percy Miller aka Master P who was the first rapper to demand and receive an 85% share of all profits. This mega deal was unheard of at the time even for white rock acts like the rolling stones and Aerosmith. Master P’s leverage was due to the fact that he had a popular following in his home town of New Orleans and all throughout the south.

 

 

 

Many artists are just now learning of ways to position themselves like Master P nearly 20 years later. Master p has sold over 75 million records has owned clothing lines, movie companies even gas stations and one of the most respected businessman in music history

Notorious B.I.G. (song)

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