(UPDATED) There is a long and illustrious list of artists who have complained about major label accounting practices; and almost every audit or lawsuit that I've ever been aware of results in at least some additional payment from the label. But the problem rrally hits home when you see it in black and white, as we can thanks to VP of Music Programming for Rhapsody America Tim Quirk.
Back in the early 1990's, Quirk was a member of "Too Much Joy" and signed to WMG subsidiary Giant. What irks Quirk is not so much that his WMG royalty statement still shows the band almost 400K in the red, but rather that the label is failing to account for thousands of dollars earned each year from digital sales.
"I don’t ever expect that unrecouped balance to turn into a positive number, but since the band had been seeing thousands of dollars in digital royalties each year from IODA for the four indie albums we control ourselves, I figured five years’ worth of digital income from our far more popular major label albums would at least make a small dent in the figure," writes Quirk on the band's blog. "Our IODA royalties during that time had totaled about $12,000 – not a princely sum, but enough to suggest that the total haul over the same period from our major label material should be at least that much, if not two to five times more..."
"There’s a theory that labels and publishers deliberately avoid creating the transparent accounting systems today’s technology enables. Because accurately accounting to my silly little band would mean accurately accounting to the less silly bands that are recouped, and paying them more money as a result."
"...It is also possible that labels are evil and avaricious AND dumb and lazy, at the same time."
More @ Too Much Joy