360 Deal Wonders Paramore Called “A Manufactured Product Of A Major Label” By Former Members

image from www.planet.com.mm Paramore represented the epitome of 360 deals.

In an interview with Billboard, Lyor Cohen, the CEO of Recorded Music for WMG, confided that he thinks, "Paramore is going to be very special and demonstrate what we mean by alignment." Similarly, in a New York Times piece, writer Jeff Leeds wrote that executives and talent managers "cite Paramore as a promising example of a rising new model for developing talent, one in which artists share not just revenue from their album sales but concert, merchandise and other earnings with their label in exchange for more comprehensive career support."

There's trouble in paradise. On December 18, Paramore announced that brothers Josh and Zac Farro were leaving the band. According to the published account, none of the remaining members (singer Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis, and guitarist Taylor) were surprised, as from their perspective, it seemed as if the brothers no longer wanted to be a part of the group. The founding members of Paramore left Paramore. And yet, Paramore pledged to continue on with their up-and-coming February tour commitments and plans to record a new album.

This happens all the time. Band members leave bands. Relationships go sour. And suddenly, all of the things that they loved about being a part of a particular group evolve into a convoluted mess of hurt feelings and misunderstanding. The story doesn't end here. And it didn't take an interview with Rolling Stone to tell it.

Josh Farro published a statement on his own blog. It isn't pretty. He expressed remorse that the remaining remembers of Paramore released an explanation of the situation to fans before he could tell his side of the story. He goes on to call Paramore a "a manufactured product of a major label" and confides that Hayley Williams treated the group as her solo project. What follows is a damning portrait of how the band was somewhat falsely marketed as being indie when they were signed to Atlantic and why Paramore isn't a great example of a 360 deal after all:

"We travelled to LA a few weeks later for a showcase and it was a nightmare. Hayley’s manager would tell the band to be in the lobby of the hotel at a certain time, but he and Hayley wouldn’t show for hours. We found out that they had been meeting with record label executives all morning without us, which is totally weird given that this wasn’t simply a solo artist, but we were a band. The band was in the dark the whole time.

After many meetings between Hayley, her manager and the labels they decided to sign her to Atlantic records. We didn’t understand why Hayley was the only one signing the contract since we were told this was a “band”, but we were too young to grasp all of this. So far, Zac and I haven’t signed with another label, although I guess our part of Paramore sure could. Next thing we knew we were having a signing party for Hayley.

Our next move was to rerecord her solo demos with our own music rather than studio musicians to make it sound more genuine. Meanwhile, we tossed around band names. I wrote out a list of names, including “Paramore”, a name my old band with Taylor and Jason Clark had thought about using. Obviously, we settled on that name. The label received the rerecorded demos and once again tried to fire the entire band, saying we were terrible. Thankfully Hayley and I had been writing some new songs together (Hallelujah, Here We Go Again) that the label was pleased with so that acted as leverage for the band to stay. The label and management then decided to build our band up the grass-roots route. They put Hayley on Fueled by Ramen not making it known she was signed to Atlantic as well.

All the while we still questioned whether or not we were an actual band, but Hayley continued to insist we were, despite our being ignored and pushed around by the label.

They then sent us all to Orlando to rehearse and write eight hours a day for our first record. Half -way though this process, Jeremy decided to quit. We were all really upset about it. So we finished the record, replaced Jeremy, and hit the road with Hayley’s father as our tour manager/driver of a twelve-passenger van. Her dad would constantly threaten to “pull the plug” on the whole band if we complained about anything, suggesting that we were hired guns and Hayley was the real artist, when in reality we were also part of the band. We’ve always been treated as less important than Hayley. It’s been obvious how her family views things.

Jeremy ended up rejoining and we toured non-stop for two and half years building our fan base, pretending to be a band that started naturally. In reality, what started as natural somehow morphed into a manufactured product of a major label, riding on the coattails of Hayley’s dream."

(Read on.)

And yes, that picture is intentional. It's a picture of Paramore. The whole group.

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  1. As always, thank you for catching the error. It's not uncommon for headlines to be re-written after the fact. Thus, Typepad doesn't put a red line under such faults. Luckily, we have readers who kindly point such misgivings out. Cheers, -kb

  2. As soon as I read “Hayley’s manager”, that was it for me. The girl has a manager apart from the band. Says it all. What a sleaze-ridden snake-pit the music business is. Call me a closet utopian, but didn’t it used to be The MUSIC business, as opposed to The music BUSINESS?
    Hope the girl gets what she wants.Watch out for those stilettos as she tippy-toes across all your backs now, guys.

  3. Clever, signing to Atlantic, but releasing the music under Ramen to appeal to the indie crowd.
    I wonder if keeping Hayley Williams under the Paramore banner is a better strategic choice than a solo artist image. There was a lot of success with the Airplanes collab with B.o.B. (It was “Airplanes feat. Hayley Williams”, not Paramore, after all).
    I suppose as long as fans don’t view Paramore as a “fake” band, it’s an OK choice. That way, they don’t have to change up the music formula too dramatically.
    What do you guys think?

  4. He disagreed with her lyrics because they contradicted the bible?
    Has American kiddie music got religion that badly that a statement like that goes un-remarked-upon?

  5. There’s absolutely nothing new here. Separate managers, deceptive marketing, etc etc etc. The music business is, first and foremost, a business. Who gives a fuck about this happening to Paramore? It’s happened before, and it’ll keep happening.

  6. Who gives a fuck?….kids…Kids care…and the more this happens the less they do. Have you not seen that occurring over the last 20 years?
    Real shame to as it it completely unnecessary. But please explain…Why are “Separate managers, deceptive marketing” required for business success? See, I think it’s just about greed, not business, and so do the kids after watching this happen, which is in turn, bad for business.
    The Jupiter EP is pay-what-you-like at http://wheatus.com

  7. I’m not sure how this shows Paramore isn’t a good example of a 360 deal. At the end of the day, the group has still been successful.
    If anything, this just reflects the difficulty groups/bands experience. It sounds like from the outset he and his brother weren’t as attentive to the business side of things as Hayley and her family. And,now, they’ve outgrown the group (at least on a personal level).

  8. I don’t think it’s an inattentiveness, I think it’s more of a “Oh, we’re on the verge of being able to to what we dreamed of. Hayley has her own manager, should we get our own manager or lawyer? Maybe if we do they’ll force us out. Yeah, maybe we shouldn’t do that.” And then they rode the wave, grew discontent, and life will be life. More importantly, business will be business. I blame Britney….and Obama (of course).

  9. This is just plain business. Lead singers win every time in the battle for the spotlight, and women lead singers even more.
    If you can write and can really play you have some weight otherwise, one rapidly becomes excess baggage.
    This seems like what happened. Its happened before notably Beyonce, Diana Ross and it can fail when the lead singer ain’t all that (pussycat dolls)
    Josh might want to read Keith Richard’s autobiography for some lessons

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