Another Sad Warner Music Royalty Statement

in case you thought that Too Much Joy's absurd royalty statement from
WMG was an isolated incident, here's a sadly similar story from Christian metal band The Gaurdian as told by former band member and music industry veteran David Bach:

image from www.publicagenda.org This week (Nov.-2009) – I received another royalty statement.

"Wow!…we've gone backwards!

In May 2007, we were unrecouped to Warner Brothers to the tune of $174,073.84

Now…our balance is up to $174,717.56!

Talk about 'pushing forward back!'.

How is this possible?

Good question!

Even as a veteran record company exec…I thought I'd seen it all!

This is a phenomenon that is both sad and laughable.

Warner Bros. still makes money off our back catalog…but yet finds ways to implement 'creative accounting' to send us backwards…"

More on David's post "The Awful Truth: Royalty Shizzle".

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  1. I love these royalty statement articles. Please keep them coming.
    They just prove how perverse the music industry business model was and still is.

  2. Maybe there is a reason for this, what did WMG say? Or were they even asked to respond to this accusation involving a few hundred unrecouped (ie, immaterial) dollars?

  3. I’m curious if anyone actually read the full article in the kink, or just the top. He summarizes the post with this:
    “So…the big question…Do I feel like we got hosed on our first record deal?
    No—and here’s why.
    1. The odds of a band like us getting signed were probably a 1000 to 1 back in the mid 80’s.
    2. Later that same year, Enigma cut a deal with Capitol Records and received the resultant status upgrade—which came in handy for a young band on the tough L.A. metal circuit.
    3. It was a HUGE shot of encouragement to us. Every band needs that glimmer of hope—the proverbial carrot-on-a-stick to keep them going. We probably would have broken up without this deal.
    As far as the shelving theory—it is true that we were in “development” for nearly 4 years. Our debut album was not released until June of 1989.
    But I don’t buy the shelving theory. Wes paid for us to cut demos over those years and did a lot to push us forward—including introducing us to real managers etc. And when it came time to really start touring, Wes gave us the money to buy our first van & trailer.
    The truth is that we were simply not ready back in 1985. We had potential but were still green as the hills.
    I saw Wes Hein about five years ago in Nashville when I was a big shot VP of A&R for EMI. He and his wife (who he met at Enigma) came and visited me in my swank executive suite. I even took them to lunch—which was quite a switch from my days as a starving musician back in 1985.
    Wes told me that he was proud of me. And I thanked him for signing that silly little space metal band from Orange County all those years ago. I will always be grateful to Wes for that crummy record deal.
    The moral of the story is…ya gotta start somewhere.
    Everyone has to pay their dues. It’s unavoidable in business. The secret is to learn as much as you can during the journey.
    Hopefully, you will have made enough progress to get a better deal next time around. We did.”
    The royalty statement is PART of what this is about – but it’s also about why they signed this deal in the first place, which is just as interesting.

  4. Great article. Sorry to go on but everytime I see spelling mistakes on Hypebot it annoys me (“The Gaurdian” instead of The Guardian, “Mypsace” instead of MySpace). Hypebot is excellent and one of my favourite sites. Yeah…I’m one of the sad detail orientated freaks that regularly e-mails Gracenote in California and sends them my metadata corrections when going through iTunes. iTunes do employ “polishers” but some mistakes fall through the cracks. Indeed, a lot of accounting problems arise from the incorrect insertion of data, greed and the incompetence of interns speed typing figures.

  5. Paying your dues is not the same as getting FU**ED with no vaseline. Paying your dues is spending the “10000 hours” you need to hone your craft. If a record label did this to me, there’d be a lot of bodies and a big news story. When are these punk assed acts going to stop letting the majors rip them off and start “capping” a few record executives? This is no different than a home invasion where someone robs you at gunpoint.All the expenses come out of your royalties and the labels still make money while you never recoup? I say start shooting the bastards and they’ll quit stealing. Violence may be the tool of the ignorant,but if it works for George Bush and Dick Cheney,it works for me.

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