Warner Music Group To Sign All New Artists To 360 Deals

Warner Music Group CEO Edgar Bronfman told the Web 2.0 Summit audience that his group now requires all new artists to sign 360 deals.

Already, about one-third of Warner’s artists are signed to these deals, said Bronfman. Warner’s artists include Rob Thomas, Gnarls Barkley, Phil Collins, Death Cab For Cutie, Lupe Fiasco, and Huey Lewis and The News (of American Psycho fame).
As the third-largest major US record label, WMG wields a lot of power in the industry. Their decision is setting the pace for the three other major labels – EMI, Sony BMG, and Universal – and is following in the footsteps of Live Nation.
The controversy over 360 deals is as such: These deals give labels not only standard cuts of CD and digital download sales, but also some profit from the sale of event tickets and merchandise, endorsement deals, and any use of an artist’s brand or music. Label executives say that these kind of deals are necessary in a time of decreased CD sales; artists view the deals as unfair and invasive.
Are labels unnecessary in today’s music industry? Even worse, are labels keeping the industry from progressing? As music becomes easier to share, the idea of paying for a song is growing archaic. Can labels survive without enforcing these draconian rules?

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