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Old 13th December 2002
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Curve Dominant's Avatar
 

Very cool thread.

Back to present era...

In Philly, if you are an artist/musician working the local scene, it's guaranteed that an "Entertainment Attorney" will get to you LONG before any major imprint A&R staff does. These are the guys who are combing the clubs and showcases and seminars scouting for "signable" talent. They sign acts they like to "brokerage" deals, and proceed to shop the act to the labels. Terms and conditions of these brokerage deals vary widely.

Since most of the more established EA's have existing relationships with the labels, there is inherent conflicts of interest in these arrangements. They tend to want to get the act signed for the quick $$$ and "PR Value" that comes with the deal, regardless if the deal is good for the artist or not. And since they don't want to bite the hands that've been feeding them, they usually get the artists ****ty deals.

As such, over the years we've seen legions of Philly acts "get signed," and then promptly disappear into the vortex, never to be heard from again.

As an artist I have personally been involved in a total of 4 of these arrangements with different EA's over the years, and each time I eventually backed out because the short-term mentality was too discouraging. I always figured that since I'm a composer, it was better to hold onto the accumulated intellectual property value of my works, rather than sign it away on a cheap deal.

But now that I'm too old to be the "star in the spotlight," I've backed off into the role of "producer as A&R" that Jules alluded to: I find talented young singers to perform my material, produce it, and farm it out, breaking a piece off for the singer for helping me "sell" the material. (I am still VERY new to this approach so no war stories in that regard yet, but stay tuned...)

Even so, under this "new" approach, it will be an EA I'll be calling on to help me market my productions, not A&R. Why? Because that's the way it's done here in Philly, and by now I know who to call, and what kind of deal to look for. The scenario that Jules posted about what to expect in a front-line A&R dork is pretty much the same here in the states, so why should I waste my time dealing with that? Not when I can hire a seasoned EA to call their bosses instead, and broker the deal, all in one shot (??).

Any thoughts?