Making money in the music industry seems to be getting harder. At least, it’s harder to make money by exclusively selling albums -and not partaking in any other activity. That’s why record labels turn to 360 record deals.

360 record deals allow a record label to take a slice of the pie from all income earned by a musician or band, rather than just their album sales. Therefore, it’s crucial you understand a few things before you sign a 360 record deal.

Such deals allow a record label to receive a percentage of the earnings from every activity a band partakes in. Other contracts just pay a percentage from sales of a recording, or from money-making activities that the record label actively has a hand in. If you’ve been offered a 360 record deal, you should ask what the label what they’ll do for you in return befreoy uo sign.

Typically, record labels promise to promote the band or artist for a longer time, and they’ll actively look to create opportunities for the artist too. This means that a record label in question operates as a manager of sorts for the band or artist. One that looks after the career of the band/artist, instead of focusing on selling records only.

A visual demonstration of how a 360 record deal works. 360 record deals allow record labels to tap into all revenue streams that were once solely owned by the artist.
A visual demonstration of how a 360 record deal works. 360 record deals allow record labels to tap into all revenue streams that were once solely owned by the artist, Source: Pump It Up Magazine

Run Your 360 Record Deal By Your Lawyer Before You Sign

If you’re in the process of or may one day be in the process of signing a record deal, the are a few crucial questions you should ask. You should seriously nail down the specifics of what the 360 recording contract in front of you is stating. The best way to approach any contract signing is to have a good lawyer in with you at all times. A lawyer can help you understand what the contract is saying and whether the label is going to screw you for their own interest.

360 deals are not simple. If you’re not careful, you may well sign the rights of lots of revenue streams away. And for most, this never ends well.

Never assume to understand everything in a contract. Don’t be afraid to get legal advice from a professional. It may be a high price in the short term. But in the long term, it will save you a hike load more.

Befpre You Sign, Know What Income Avenues Your 360 Deal is Specifiying

A 360 record deal is built on the idea that a record label can take a cut of most and in some cases all, of a musician or band’s revenue streams.

Your goal should be to keep as much of the pie of revenue that the label is not helping you earn. They’ll suggest that their promotion and distribution is expensive, but they’ll almost always ask for more than they need. Especially when they have 360 deals with a multitude of artists.

Who Handles What?

Record labels are be turning to 360 deals like there is no tomorrow. But record labels are gradually laying off staff. So labels are taking on more work to earn more revenue while are reducing the workforce within.

With this in mind, beg the question: Do you (the label) have the manpower to uphold this contract?

Make sure to get some assurance that the label has both the labour force and the expertise to manage all corners of your career that they are seeking to draw revenue from.

If they don’t meet these conditions, this deal will not work out for you as best it could. What may happen is you’ll have to build your own team, bring on help, and pay them to do work that you’re supposedly paying the label to do. 

What About Percentages?

I’m sure that we don’t need to tell you this part, but you’ll want to know exactly how much money the label plans to take.

Has a flat rate been proposed? Do you have the freedom to negotiate your own deals externally that they can’t touch?

A label is unlikely to offer you much wiggle room here as labels usually have a standard deal that they offer across the board and don’t negotiate with individual artists. But don’t let this discourage you from prodding them on every detail. You need to be aware of what you’re looking at.

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