Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Blackberry: Always Be Suspicious

I recently read an article on Amaru Don TV about a new business model that Blackberry has created for musicians. So many questions flew into to mind as to how and why Blackberry can do this. With the music business up in arms with the new DIY business model, it's not exactly the most profitable business for a company to go in if it's not their original business field. Firstly, I'm going to question the idea and then research to find the right answer. So, will Blackberry be a goldmine for unsigned artists or is there an ulterior motive?

Yes, I do have a Blackberry phone, which I love very much, but I can't just think positive of them because I like their products. You always need to question things with an open mind. Looking over the facts, it's hard to figure out why they are doing this; Blackberry are a business and businesses need to make money. For an artist to keep 90% of the sales there must be several clauses in the contract which favour Blackberry. The negative vibe between artists and managers/labels was created by artists not full understanding or reading their contracts and just signing away, hoping for the extravagant life style they've been promised. Whatever the way in which the artists perceive their work, once money has been exchanged for it, it has become a business; they've become a business. They can sugar coat it in whatever way they want, to their fans, but at the end of the day their fans are their buyers and the fans are how they make their money to live.

Artists need to understand that they are a business and which each business, every detail needs to be over-looked to ensure the up-most success of that business. What I am really getting at is that, contracts need to be fully read and not to trust the person on the other end of the contract. Artists get sucked in by the opportunity this 'Jesus' like person is offering that they think 'they would never screw me over'. WRONG. Always be full aware of everything written in that contract and ALWAYS GET A LAWYER.

Now, back to Blackberry:
As explained before, contracts needs to be read. The idea that someone is willing to let you keep 90% of sales is extraordinary that anyone working in law or the music industry will think twice. 90% of sales could mean 90% of sales in Belgium and 100% of sales in other countries goes to Blackberry. It could even mean 90% of sales on some obscure website that 5 people purchase music off, a year. Another could be 90% of sales for the first year and then 10% of sales until the songs copyright runs out.

BUT 90% of sales to the artist could mean 90% of sales to the artist, it could be the clauses in the contract that would screw you over.

Contracts can include clauses of exclusivity, meaning you can only work with them. In the case of Blackberry, it could mean you could only sell your music through them. In some contracts now, they can have wavers which waver your rights, such as moral rights. Rights of paternity come under the umbrella of moral rights. Rights of paternity give you the right to be named as the author or creator of the work/song. If you waver these rights then you waver the right to have your name on your work.
By wavering your rights you can also loose the right to say where your song can be used, e.g. your song could be used in a campaign even if you're against it.

So, in conclusion;

  • Be cautious
  • Don't get distracted by 'treats' when talking about business
  • Always read your contract thoroughly
  • Always get a lawyer

Hopefully in the future I'll be able to read a Blackberry 'unsigned' contract and report back.
Until then, let me hear your opinions

Article Link: http://amarudontv.com/2013/03/25/unsigned-advice-sell-your-music-through-blackberry-world-online-store-and-keep-90-of-sales/

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