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Issa Rae couldn't escape the "sh*t deals" for the artists on Insecure's soundtrack

  • Rae told the Los Angeles Times in December the music industry is "probably the worst industry that I have ever come across. I thought Hollywood was crazy. The music industry, it needs to start over. Conflicts of interest abound. Archaic mentalities. Crooks and criminals! It’s an abusive industry, and I really feel for artists that have to come up in it." Rolling Stone's Elias Leight reports "the music industry’s methods are deeply entrenched. Artists still complain regularly about old-fashioned, lopsided recording contracts. And while TV soundtrack deals — a primary connection between Rae and the music industry — are a less common source of public grumbling, more than half a dozen managers and attorneys agree that contracts in this sphere are not typically artist-friendly. For evidence, look no further than the soundtrack deals for Insecure: the show offers artists royalty rates as low as 12 percent, according to three people with knowledge of its contracts. This rate may be common for soundtracks, but it’s widely viewed as weighted against the artist. And at least one show on a different network provided an 18 percent royalty in a contract — better, but hardly stellar — according to one person who’s worked on multiple TV soundtrack deals. In several cases, the same sources said that an artist who lands an Insecure soundtrack placement doesn’t even take home the full royalty; he or she must give points to the song’s producer and mixer out of their share. On top of that, people with knowledge of the Insecure deals said that acts often cede ownership of their soundtrack contribution — a longstanding feature of many contracts, but one that is detested by musicians. At a time when conversations about artists maintaining their rights have breached the mainstream, some shows have adjusted: At least one Netflix series offered artists 50 percent ownership of the master they placed on its soundtrack, according to a source close to the situation. A solid advance might take the sting out of having to cede rights, but the same sources noted that advances for the Insecure soundtrack could be in the low thousands. (All three people spoke on the condition of anonymity, due to fear of going against a beloved artist whose work they admire.)"

    TOPICS: Insecure, Issa Rae, Music and TV