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"If the artists get what they want, most of the label money will go toward keeping their superstar acts, which means there will be less left over for new-artist development."
SEVEN-YEAR BITCH:
THE INDUSTRY VIEW
Manager/Label Head Miles Copeland Tells
The Other Side of the Story
Industry heavies haven't exactly been stepping forward to stand up for the music-business exemption in California's seven-year statute. Most label heads would prefer that the RIAA's Hilary Rosen do the dirty work, lest they offend artists.

Veteran manager and Ark 21 chief Miles Copeland, who's seen this debate from both sides, has been one of the few willing to speak out on behalf of the industry's argument that long-term deals are needed for labels to earn back their investments. "In order for the label to put an unknown recording artist in business," he says, "there is a start-up cost—a substantial investment of money and time. If the artists get what they want, most of the label money will go toward keeping their superstar acts, which means there will be less left over for new-artist development. If artists really want to be treated by the labels as partners, why don't they give the companies a piece of their ancillary businesses, like touring, publishing, merchandising, etc.? Record companies have created that value, so why can't they get their fair share—especially considering the continued erosion of CD sales? I think the labels are open to creative deals, to sharing the risks, but the lawyers insist on their artists getting the money up front."

Copeland's name was the first signed to a letter dated Jan. 7 to California State Senator Kevin Murray, which also included the signatures of BMG's Bob Jamieson, EMI's Alain Levy, Sony's Thomas D. Mottola, UMG's Doug Morris, WMG's Roger Ames and Zomba's Clive Calder, among others.

The missive read, in part: "Artists routinely sign contracts and accept huge advances based upon their commitment to deliver a specified number of albums... They should not be able to walk away from [these] commitments without any liability for damages... This situation is particularly inequitable given that recording artists are in a unique position to determine whether or not the delivery commitments under their agreements are fulfilled within seven years... If record companies lose their ability to sue to recover damages from artists in whom they have invested but who refuse to deliver the albums they have agreed to produce, companies will be unable to invest in as many new artists in the future."

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