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-----Original Message-----
From Matthew Barton: "Artist ownership of masters has become relatively
common in recent years, but from what I've seen, that's been driven by the
indie labels and artists. A lot of major artists, often those at the
superstar level, do own their masters. As Bob points out, they often get
ownership when they re-up with a label, but does that apply to ALL of their
recording for the label, or just their work from that point on?"

It depends entirely on the deal they make. Plenty of artists have owned
their masters from the very beginning when they were virtually unknown
including the Stones and Elton John. There is no such thing as a "standard
record deal." They are all different. It was probably driven by indie labels
during the early 1950s but it was not unprecedented even then. This was also
why the major labels couldn't simply sign over the digital rights to their
catalogs.

The deals that sound draconian generally turn out to have a manager and
lawyer taking a quarter to half of an immense advance from the label and
telling their artist the self-fulfilling prophecy that the advance needs to
be that big  because it's the only money they'll ever see from the record
label. Needless to say more front end payment will always mean less back end
payment. Artists who have been ripped off like this by their managers are
generally the ones who whine about record labels. From a label's standpoint,
it's common sense that nothing is more profitable than great long term
relationships with their artists. It's also not unheard of for label
executives to take kickbacks from managers for going along with these
rip-offs and at the largest labels the artist often gets buried to cover up
the crime.


Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!
615.562.4346 http://www.bobolhsson.com http://audiomastery.com