February 19, 2008

Oh, Happy Day (open thread)...

by Chris Randall

Today is the day we assemble all the digits for the tax man for our various companies, and get all that shit sorted out. Today is also the day that TVT Records filed for bankruptcy. I can't decide which I'm happier about. I mean, I feel bad for 45 people losing their jobs, but frankly, about 40 of them were pricks, and I know good and god-damn well the boss was.

In any event, this is a Business Of Music open thread. Have any music business questions you need answered? Good news? Bad news? A burning desire to start a publishing company for your new Grindhouse project? Let it out. We're all friends here.



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Feb.19.2008 @ 11:27 AM
TVT sold all their masters and what-have-you a while ago, right? So it was more or less inevitable. At least those five other people now have encouragement to get jobs with a scrupulous company.

Feb.19.2008 @ 11:33 AM
raoul duke
Yeah i have a question... is the tax man in the US as much of a scum sucking bastard as he is in the UK? The family business pays around 40% tax in total per year (i think; im no expert in this kind of thing). Which probably all goes towards funding some 17 year old chavver to have another 4 kids, and a nice big pay rise for the MP's due to all the hard work they have been doing.


Feb.19.2008 @ 11:44 AM
Chris Randall
Our tax rates in this country aren't even close to those in most other Western nations. That doesn't make the IRS any less scumsucking; keep in mind that we generally make less money here than other first-world nations, and our money is worth less than yours, as well; the standard of living is about the same as the bigger nations (France, Germany, the UK), and a bit lower than the Scandinavian countries, with their low populations, homogenous racial characteristics, and high education.

That said, a normal small business won't have to pay much, if at all. A self-employed person (e.g. professional musician) has a pretty high tax rate (in the mid 30% range) but, as a self-employed person, you get a lot more deductions so it evens out; the working population pays around 15-20% on the average.

Viz. TVT, they actually put the masters of many of their early records, as well as the Wax Trax catalog, up as collateral for a loan which they then defaulted on. The masters in question were then auctioned by the bank that held the loan, and went to various places. (For the record, I have absolutely no idea who controls the rights to my Wax Trax recordings at this point. I just know it's not me.) Their stock in trade for the last few years has been their token emo bands and their rap imprint. Today, all that went away too.



Feb.19.2008 @ 11:57 AM
Then, let me tell you about the 69% i pay on all of my icomes / year to the French government HeH

Fortunetly, this will change & not more than 50% will be requested, from next year :)

Let me get a double scotch!


Feb.19.2008 @ 12:27 PM
I've been recording my and friends' bands on weekends; basically hauling my shit over to their practice hole, doing the best I can for tracking, and overdub/mix in my apartment. Mostly, just cause I enjoy it and want to get better at the whole process. However, I've been doing it for free, as I'm pretty inexperienced and also don't want to set expectations that people are getting the same level of quality they'd get at a "real studio".

I'd like to keep doing it, but not for free, mainly just because it takes a lot of time and, well, I think I might soon approach "better-than-free" in terms of product. So, how do I price these sorts of things without a) gouging people and setting unreasonably high expectations and b) charging peanuts and advertising low quality via a low price.


Feb.19.2008 @ 12:32 PM
raoul duke
69%! Thats unbelievable... I wont be moving to France in a while then...

I have to say that for standard of living in the EU i think Germany has to be at the top of the list.... the place is cheap, clean, friendly, modernised and they pay electronic engineers what they should be paid (ie. similar to a doctors wage). I went travelling for three months with my girlfriend and it was the country that we both agreed would be ace to live in. Im seriously thinking about moving there when i become a chartered engineer.

In terms of tax on income it isnt that bad for me but my dad for example pays 60% on his total income. The Bastards! Revolution i say....

Thanks for the info Chris and PuRpLe; its nice to know that the UK isnt as fucked up as we all like to think it is. Ill shut up now...


Feb.19.2008 @ 12:39 PM
davetron5000 -
You could start with a small fee since even you admit that you are partly doing it to "get better at the whole process". Are the bands at least buying you dinner or a few drinks? That is an absolute minimum and common decency. Maybe charge a simple $50 fee, which is still almost nothing for your time and transportation costs. You're production will only get better as you'll be able to afford better mics etc. Then you can start charging $100. Most bands just don't realize how much it costs to GRIND THE HOUSE DOWN!

Feb.19.2008 @ 12:41 PM
And yes I meant "you are production". :)

Feb.19.2008 @ 12:47 PM
I have a music biznazz Q...

From what I gather, the point in "signing with a label" (beyond a perverse desire for self-abasement) is for the label to promote and distribute your music (or, more to the point, to distribute shiny plastic discs that happen to have music on them, not that the executives really care). Ignoring the distribution side (as that's well covered here previously and many, many other places), is there a point anymore to signing with a label for the promotional end, or is that something that could be as well accomplished in this day and age with a good manager, good contacts, etc?

The reason I ask is I read that The Polyphonic Spree are on the TVT roster; given that Lil' Jon thinks TVT sucks complete ass at promotion (and pretty much everything else), I can't imagine they'd have the first clue about how to promote the Spree. Not that I'm particularly a fan, but it just got me thinking: how could these big, soulless companies possibly understand how to market anything, let alone a quirky indie-rock band with a freaking choir, to an increasingly fragmented consumer base?

Of course, I ask this mostly out of curiosity...I can't think of any contemporary releases I have bought or even considered buying that came from a true "major" record label since Kid A.

CR, I figured you'd have some insight on this...


Feb.19.2008 @ 12:55 PM
Yeah, they will get my some food or drinks, but I'm just envisioning the day where I want to record some more bands, and have to work with someone I don't really know as well. Be nice to get some cash toward a new mic or plug for my time....

And, as for Polyphonic Spree; they were on an episode of Las Vegas. How much better promotion can there be?!?


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