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Calvin Wong
Music Producer
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Record Contract is like a Marriage Certificate!

Alas, I got my first blog out of the way. Not sure if it's a masterpiece, but hey, everything gotta start from somewhere. It's interesting to be able to express oneself from writing a blog. Kinda cathartic. So what's next?

I was speaking and attending the recent Music Matters conference (some called it Music Mutters) where I got to know about this wonderful website. One of the most common topic that came out was how irrelevant record companies is for artist. Many artists (I believe Soler was one of them) saying record companies don't understand them and don't care. Edison said the same thing a couple years ago on the same convention about his record company is run by `old guys' who don't understand hip hop. Media lapped this up and start stereotyping record company executives as whoring, drinking, womanizing 50 year old types who don't listen to music at all. Suddenly we all start to look like Paco, Albert, Peter etc. Actually, I wouldn't mind being them as they ARE successful businessman. I also really don't blame them as they are entrepreneurs who take risks in business with a pure objective of making tons of money. Man, what's wrong with that? Isn't that what every artists and singers ultimately wants as well?

Therefore, the key lies on whether it's a good marriage or not between the artist and a record company. For every dissapointed act like Edison and Soler, there are many who are extremely satisfied with their company like Leo Ku, Hins Cheung & Hacken Lee. We don't hear about them as media loves a good (bad) story and controversy sells.

Record Companies are Dead? ABSOLUTELY!!!! If anyone looking for a deal and come across executive saying they are from a record company, run!!!!! They are dinosaurs and let's hope they are vegisauraus and not T-Rex. I definitely wouldn't called myself record executive. I'm a music executive. I know vinyl is back in vogue but what the hell are we selling nowadays. Everything is free. We can download any track we want, if we want for FREE. I may not endorse it but it's true and unavoidable. You want MP3, AAC, WMA files? You got it in 3 clicks with BAIDU. You want CDs, just put in a blank CD-R and you will get it in 3 minutes and you may even design your own artwork. Thinking back those days when I was young when I have to record songs I want from radio to a cassette. The finger is always at the record button all the time just in case I miss the song. How important was a deejay then to announce the song before they play it. Nowadays, it's way too easy and the excitement of getting music is GONE!

Music companies selling CDs or ringtones are all suffering including my company. None of the music assets are protected. The only thing that is pirate free is Mobile Ringback Tone (because the server is in the telephone company) and the artists themselves. You can't actually pirate `live' although Milli Vanilli did try. Look what happen, one of the poor sod committed suicide recently. Therefore, it is natural for anyone with any sense of commercialism to say we want a pie in everything you do. If you say no, it's simple, they don't sign you and you will be an independent/underground/niche artist or whatever you want to call it but small and possibly poor. So you get a lose lose situation.

So, before you commit to any `Music Company' that will take care of everything for you, I suggest the following procedure:

1) Get to know who are the power players in that company. Just because they are not as visible as Paco, doesn't mean they are not good. Some very good behind the scene low profile executives in some of the companies.

 2) Talk music with them. Don't just talk business terms but see if they understand you. Marriage is not all about money but about love. If you just want money, then stop complaining when they send you to do movies or modelling. If you want love, it has to be mutual. You will have happiness but you have a 50:50 chance of being prosperous as well.

3) Take your time. Some people talks well but do little. Get to know your `love one' more before getting married. Don't just listen to other people. Decide for yourself.

4) 360 deals (i.e. with management rights). Make sure before you sign the 360 deals, you are sure the company can deliver and ask for examples of success. Good news is that with major companies, they don't cheat you on management income and don't run away with your money. It's call company audit which must be done yearly.

So, if you use the same philosphy in marriage then you will make the right call. If you like `one night stand' or marrying to 'sugar dady' then be prepared for the consequences and stop complaining.

Therefore a "Record Contract IS like a Marriage Certficate"

So, if the big companies don't want you, what do you do? Coming soon...

almost 16 years ago 0 likes  1 comments  0 shares


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english, cantonese, mandarin, malay
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Hong Kong
Member Since
June 24, 2008