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Why do musicians fight with their record labels?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Entertainment Law |

It’s possible to become successful in the music industry independently. However, this may take time. This is why musicians consider record labels because they have the funds to help them develop quality content. Further, they handle most of the work, including recording and distributing the music, giving the artist time to focus on creating. 

While this system works for many people, others have had bad experiences. You have probably heard of reputable artists in costly battles with their record labels.

Here is how this happens:

Contract misunderstandings 

Record labels invest in musicians. They give an artist money to release a record. – this includes payments for studio sessions, video shoots, song distribution and any other related costs. When the music sells, the label will keep the proceeds until it recovers its expenses and the agreed-upon profit. 

However, a contract may fail to specify how much profit the label can keep after recouping its expenses. This can lead to disputes, as the artist may feel the record label takes advantage of their creativity.

Another crucial detail that leads to disputes is ownership. When an artist learns they don’t own what they create, they may dispute with their label. Some record labels own artists’ songs even after they leave and keep making profits from them.

Unfortunately, most of the time, these details and more can be in the contracts, but record labels usually present a good deal, which can be challenging for an artist, especially an upcoming one, to turn down. Accordingly, they may sign up without understanding the agreement in depth.

What should you do?

If a record label approaches you with a deal, you may need to get legal guidance to determine if it’s in your best interest.