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Before I start my rant I wanted to give a definition as according to Wikipedia:

  • In the music industry, a 360 deal is a business relationship between an artist and a music industry company. The company agrees to provide financial support for the artist, including direct advances as well as funds for marketing, promotion and touring, as an investment to the artist’s lucrative potential. The artist agrees to give the company a percentage of all of their interests, including sales of recorded music, live performances and any other income.
    The business arrangement is an alternative to the traditional recording contract. During the first decade of the 21st century, revenues from recorded music fell dramatically and the profit margins traditionally associated with the record industry disappeared. The 360 deal reflects the fact that much of a musician’s income now comes from sources other than recorded music, such as live performance and merchandise.

Lupe Fiasco was one of the most recent artists to complain about being forced into a 360 deal by Atantic Records.

Now I know Lupe’s train of thought is that the label is already making money off his album sales, and that’s all they should get.  When record companies were making money hand over foot, that was a decent enough rational.  However times have changed, and people aren’t really buying records anymore.  So Atlantic wants a piece of his touring.  Lupe needs to ask himself why people are even willing to spend their money to see his live show?  They are willing to do that because Atlantic Records has spent large quantities of money building his brand.  The reason a lot of people even know who Lupe Fiasco is has to due with he fact that Atlantic has probably spent millions of dollars on radio/television programming and other marketing endeavors.  Now as much as we like to hate on record labels, isn’t only fair that they re-coup that branding investment?

This also goes for sponsorship deals and the likes.  Companies want to attach themselves to the image of certain artists because record labels have spent lots of money building those images  (I also made a post on this phenomena) .  Once again it’s only fair that the labels get a return on their investment.

I think there is this preconception that record labels are trying to force artists into 360′s because they’re greedy.  No.  They are doing it in order to survive.  When you really break it down, Labels are investors.  However as opposed to most investors, they are investing in an individual person or group and their art.  Basically they deal with the commodity of culture.  Record labels did a great job of controlling and manipulating that commodity in a profitable manner for a really long time.  Then the internet rolled through, and changed the way you monetize the commodity of music.  So that is really what a “360 Deal” is.  A new way to monetize music for record companies.  Never forget that at the end of the day this little thing of ours is a business.  We all have to eat.  These companies aren’t in the business of losing money for the sake of art.  As terrible as that is to say, that is just the reality of the situation.

That being said I think at some point artists can get so big they don’t even need a record label.  Look at Jay-Z for example.  He is now at the point where he is such a big artist that he can create his own oppertunities.  He doesn’t have to look for handouts.  So artists like Lupe need to stop complaining, and step their game up if they don’t want to share a slice of the pie.  There is nothing worse than the free money mentality.

  • CLSKS99

    Dem Naggers.

  • Blahblah

    nice article sam, lupe my boy though

  • TheLL6

    lupe's album lasers drops march 8th, 2011. and fuck that lupe will never be as big as jay-z because ppl who listen to his music are too dumb to understand so they stuck listenin to toot it and boot it by yg and shit
    u a damn joke if u think atlantic has spent millions on lupe

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/XFV3IB4PZNN6TKMN3YJNCHVB4Q Victor

    AGREED!

  • J1_one1

    the industries the PIMP

  • jussayin

    atlantic didnt push no lupe singles….bad examples my dude

  • hesedvbt

    Thats it?

    meh

  • Hammer

    Lupe Did not complain about being forced into a 360. He simply expressed that he was hit with more roadblocks, after denying his 360 offer. Just because you've become an online label, please don't attempt to contribute to the greed. Because thats what its looking like. You what ever business model works for you, go with it. But don't play Devils advocate. The only artist with serious potential that i have heard of you signing or even showcasing is Trademark the SkyDiver. That was a very good call, but don't get cocky. This internet shit is a 50/50 Coin. Today your business model will work, tomorrow someone will turn your business model into an even bigger factory and exclude you before you realize. This is the practices you promote when you co-sign such harmful values.

  • http://twitter.com/Catch22ForU Catch22

    This article is irrelevant and you seems to biased. Which record labels paid you to put this article out? You should be ashamed of yourself. Artist been getting raped for years by labels and as soon as one comes out and says something you make a claim like this. Sam you got some fucked up values and morals son.

  • http://twitter.com/SamPattillo iHipHop Sam

    I'm talking about the bottom line. We can pretend to ignore the reality of the situation. My point is that it's a business. Who operates a business at a loss? This is happening right now. You can call me an asshole. Just don't call me a liar.

  • QBiz

    You sound like a mufuckin biaeeeaaaitch. You know Atlantic only pushed about 2 Lupe singles in his time with their label. And you're wrong!!! We would've heard and known who Lupe is regardless of Atlantic. His underground prowess came right before the height of internet music hustling. Think wiz khalifa, nipsey hussle, currensy…GUCCI MANE! No major deal but still fucks with em off the strength of them being nice and/or their buzz. So a 360 deal isn't for hiphop artists anymore, niggas want to own it if they want it, not break Atlantic a percentage of everything they do. And especialllly not Lupe Fiasco who happens to have a superbly unique fanbase that will stick for years to come. Sam…get it straight. You sound like a hater famo.