posted on October 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm

i been in the moosic biz for 32 years now

and people keep telling me that i dont understand it

usually i find the people telling me that are the people who are withholding my dough

i have the bizness acumen of a wet sponge

i admit it

but lemme toss around a few ideas here

first of all

the music biz is one of the only if not the only bizzes in the world

where the guys at the very centre of it are the guys making the least

most nights at a gig

you can be sure everyone there is earning more than the players

i aint talking about pink floyd or brooce springsteen either

im talking about the other 98 per cent (incl myself)

the first bit o money i ever made was in 1980 when i signed a fifty/fifty publishing deal

for 500 bucks

the company i signed with are still hanging on to me

but in 2015 i will be able to slip out

after 35 years of them dipping into me

all because of that one stupid day in 1980 when i needed the 500 bucks

izzat fair?

eventually a manager got it changed to a 75 25 deal

ie i get 75 cents of each dollar i make n they get 25

wow thats a lotta money they collected for me over the years

and they did alright from their measly advance so long ago

at the same-ish time the church signed a deal

and we were off making albums that never recouped their cost

ie the album cost say 150 grand to make plus a few 100 grand vids

so you can never sell enough to get any money

thats been pretty standard for almost all albums

i have had 4 or 5 record companies go bust and take all my/our royalties with em too

including carrere in england

stunn in NZ

thirsty ear in america(boy i’d like to catch up with that c**t in a dark alley)

and another mob who bought 20 thousand MATS from me n marty

then distributed em n got the dough n then went bust!

in 1984 i signed a pub deal with my then manager

when we quit with him

he sold the catalog on

and i was acquired and disposed of a few times

in the middle of the nineties a big pub firm did this to me

they sent my money round n round the world

each branch in each country would apply a handling fee

until they whittled a cheque that had been about 10 grand a six month period

down to $250 a six month period

this was perfectly legal

in fact it was a STANDARD PRACTICE until a few years back….

the said manager commissioned us at 20 per cent of the gross

which meant that in 1988   when we were earning around 100, 000 gross a week

he was getting 20, 000 grand a week while the band was on  800 bucks a week

which is still what the church pays itself

800 bucks a week (when we are on the road)

off the road=nothing

(in fairness we do occasionally divvy up small mounts if a tour does well)

so theres some real non -indexation of wages for ya

1988 800 bucks a week, 2012 800 bucks a week


when we left the guy in 1990

he jumped up n down and got even more money out of us

he claimed were unpaid commissions

but he never ever presided over a tour that made money

they all lost money a small fortune (he made while we lost!)

but arista records picked up the loss

and tacked it onto a minus position we could never escape from

i remember ringing up the slimy philistine hopeless manager and saying

“how come you get 20 grand a week n i get 800?’

he said


ha ha ha

so i still aint never been paid for any of those albums…only my songwriting royalties

(and then only if i was lucky!)

yeah guys

all those records you bought

very little if any at all came down the line to me

it still isnt

if this happened in any other business there would be an outcry

but we musicians are not very good at anything other than music


imagine this scenario if you will

(this is all imaginary from here on in)

some old veteran band eventually bumps into a very generous patron

now the patron doesnt wanna just hand out money to the band

that would be hopeless

but what he wants is for them to finally get some financial relief

some of the members were living below the official poverty line at the time

ie 35,000 grand a year in aust

so a couple of members of imaginary band go looking for a way to do it

they find some much younger guy who is a fan of this imaginary band

hes got a little label going and theyre impressed he aint some evil suit like in the old days

the kind and generous sponsor dips his hand in pocket a provides a “shitload” of money

for younger guy with his little sorry..i mean label to buy back said imaginary bands catalog

and put it on his honest john label called mom n pop records

wow at last n finally our heroes will get some $!! YAY!!

but guess what?

oh damn i bet you guessed

mr mom n pop still aint paying the old boys

hes a fan yep

he dont wear a suit, nope

but the boys still aint getting nothing

even tho quite a bit is coming in

i bet in this imaginary world and imaginary band too

that you would not expect mr younger mom n pop guy would also take 50 per cent

whoah! no way…i mean that would mean hes earning 3 times more dough

than stevie mainman who is the geeza WHO DREAMED THIS WHOLE FUCKIN TRIP UP!

(in this imaginary example natch)

hes pocketing dough from records

hes pocketing dough from kind imaginary patron

but he aint paying the guys properly (read ;AT ALL!)for records they made 25 years ago

when he was  just a little snotty nose kid

jesus…the irony!

stevie mainman does a quick knee jerk calculation n figgers out


boy no wonder the imaginary anger

so he decides to take the law into his own hands

he decides fuck copyright fuck libel and fuck everybody else

its time he finally made some frickin money outta his own music himself

(luckily he had taught himself to sculpt in the meantime or he woulda been broke!!)

this mainman guy realises he has some powerful allies

allies that grew up listening to his sweet music and are not impressed

and allies that maybe are anxious to see things put right at all costs

well mainman got nothing to lose (literally by now)

also hes released a few solo records and sold a few hundred copies

and hes AMAZED to see how much money a few records can make!

and when he thinks of mr mom n pop he gets real real angry n bitter

and confused

he blurts out this

he blurts out that

he leaves his band who are wonderful musicians n friends

but who seem to labouring under some delusion that they know what they are doing

after all

in our imaginary world they got mainmans band hitched to mr mom n pop

who now

as per usual

aint giving our tired old veterans their just desserts after all this time

mr mom n pop seems to be taking from both sides

(or thats how it seems to our hotheaded imaj. hero)


i hope you enjoyed my theoretical example of how your whole lifes work can go wrong

besides do musicians even need to be paid when they obviously are having such a good time anyway?

who cares if agents, managers, publishers and record company guys are getting all the cream?

(despite the fact they cant sing, write or play a note!!)


well there you go

judge for yerselves!



and watch this

the turtles (who sang on most of marc bolans hits explain the biz….)

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