Why artists need to be treated better in the music industry
Ever since I was a kid, I have been fascinated by the lives of people within the music industry. All of the components of it, from the singer to the person who runs the soundboard in the recording studio.
It almost seemed like a fairy tale to me, but when I actually learned about how the industry works, the storybook life that I thought I saw started to drift away.
On March 6, 2020 rapper Megan Pete, known by her stage name Megan Thee Stallion, released her new EP entitled SUGA, and this comes after winning a legal dispute against her old record label and Carl Crawford, the CEO.
Pete had stated in a livestream that 1501 was preventing her from releasing her project, which led to her suing the company. She stated that when she signed with the label the terms of the contract were unclear, and when she asked to renegotiate she was prohibited from releasing any new music.
In the lawsuit, Pete sought monetary damages and asked for her contract to be null or terminated as she had been taken advantage of by 1501.
According to court documents, Pete accused the defendants of nine different charges including breach of contract, fraud by non-disclosure and negligent misrepresentation.
Pete’s contract stated that not only was 1501 entitled to a share of her income made from touring, but 1501 was also entitled to up to 60 per cent of her recording income.
The 40 per cent that was left to her, however, was expected to be used to pay featured artists, producers and sound engineers.
Now while she has won in the preliminary rulings with the judge allowing her to release SUGA and have a temporary restraining order against 1501, the case of terminating her contract could be more difficult, as the kind of fraud she is accusing Crawford of will be difficult to prove in court.
Pete’s lawyer, Brandon Clark, a music copyright lawyer, stated that the music and entertainment industry often have some level of inflating the truth and set out a list of what Megan is going to need to prove in court in order to terminate her contract.
He stated that “She’s going to need to prove that those false statements went beyond normal overstatements, that 1501 knew those statements weren’t true, that they were said in order to get her to sign with them, that she signed with them because of those statements, and she has since been injured by that relationship”
Megan Thee Stallion is not the only person who has had issues with their record label; in late 2019 Taylor Swift’s old record label denied her the right to buy her own music, and we often hear stories of what artists had to endure with their own labels.
Jessie Reyez wrote a song in 2017 called “Gatekeeper” that was on her EP entitled Kiddo, where she opened up about how a big producer said that he would sign her to his label in exchange for sex.
She stated that she was “so close to selling her soul that night,” but instead she signed with Island Records.
The music industry needs a change and it needs to happen now. The fact that Pete’s lawyer claimed that it is known that the music industry overexaggerates what it can do for people and then subsequently harms those people makes me feel sick.
Megan Thee Stallion has a lesser share of her own work – work that has her name attached to it.
Her music is a direct reflection of her and that should be enough to at least entitle her to half of her earnings.
The music industry needs to stop taking advantage of people who are trying their best to live their dream.
The industry needs to stop taking advantage of those who are young, unexperienced, potentially naïve and do not know what they are signing up for.