One of the reasons I’ve come to my full senses and decided to sever all ties with the octopus that is Universal records (specifically Universal Germany) is because I discovered that they were illegally shipping my records into unlicensed territories behind my back and profiting from them.
Yet the industry are the first to conveniently pin the blame on ‘pirates’ when they are routinely the biggest pirates artists have to deal with every day. This act of course is just the tip of the iceberg and is why they prefer to deal with young artists with more stars in their eyes than sand in their shoes who are ‘looked after’ by managers who function as apologists for the industry, by business managers who are themselves skillful at hiding things and discouraging the ‘wrong’ questions and by lawyers who are loyal to the industry that will continue to feed them as long as they play ball.
It is understood by these men that by and large artists have a shelf life of 3 to 5 years as long as they smile or emote for the camera and don’t ask any intelligent questions and who are supposed to be content with the once in a life time opportunity they are given to be on tv and seen by the ‘homies’ back in the ‘hood’, work with top producers hoisted upon them whether they fit or not, hang out with supermodels or other various starlets and allow themselves to be drained by the vampires of the industry until they actually have something to say or until the wrinkles show through all the strain.
Sony during my nightmarish experience with them (for I did not sign to Sony, I signed to Columbia and was not given a choice when the bigger fish swallowed the smaller fish ) screwed me so deeply (and then internally laughed about it as they were wiping the blood from the blade) that for a while I couldn’t see past my own trauma and by the time the wound in my back had healed I was finally able after an 8 year tug of war to free myself from their grossly immoral ‘standard’ contract simply because they, in their infinite wisdom, assumed that I had nothing left and wouldn’t embarrass them with success elsewhere, after defaming my name with reports of destructive activities and other outright lies and gross exaggerations.
All of this to keep one of their other artists happy, who of course himself buckled under the strain of then having to make up in the balance sheet for two careers : his and mine ( and the poor thing was already under a great deal of pressure already). In the mean time shadowed in the dungeon of their Darth Vader like empire I continued to count my blessings, nurture my wounds and hone my craft whilst they continued to Count Dracula.
Artists are routinely screwed and expected to just be grateful for the crumbs that are begrudgingly passed on after everything has been charged back to them anyway, due to the smug assumpion that we have no other choice and even what is contractually owed to us is often withheld and later enticingly presented as an ‘advance’ on future work obligating us to them even longer when it was in fact money owed to you anyway.
Their ‘books’ are a mockery, they are allowed enough time to hide whatever was not already hidden and you are expected to pay in order to audit them (as well as risk being ostracized by the company). The law allows them to get away with it as they cry the same tired refrain about financial risks when it’s a fact that once you have a distribution network a certain amount is required anyway just to keep it operational and paying for itself. They are also allowed to get away with it because they have a lobby and we have not. For the most part and with all due respect to the exceptions , they are pirates and leeches to their core and the end (such as they now exist) is in sight.
All praises be to Prince, George Michael, Courtney Love, Chuck D, Alanis Morrisette and other brave soldiers who have sacrificed a great deal of their careers in order to help liberate the slaves and grant us all a more equitable piece of the pie that we bake in the ovens of our passion and in the interest of bringing more of God’s light and truth into the hearts of humanity, since without the artists they have nothing to promote except the sound of their own bullshit. As it now stands record company accountants are far more creative than their artists are allowed to be.
There is a new blade in the guillotine and it is getting sharper by the day and will be coming to you more directly, no longer under the illusion, that in order to get what belongs to us, we have to go through robbers in pinstripes in order to receive it.
Your eternal friend
also on behalf of Terence Trent D’Arby