Look at any artist or band you like and you will notice one important element. They are lifers in the music business. They are the people who have had million dollar highs. They are the people who have had million dollar super lows and losses. They are the same people who have reclaimed those million dollar highs only to see hard times come again. They are the same people who just keep on going, eventually achieving those highs again.
Dee Snider went through a long and drawn-out bankruptcy proceeding after Twisted Sister imploded. This is his big low from the platinum highs of “Stay Hungry” three years earlier. After bankruptcy he was free to make a new record and re-negotiate publishing deals.
The next high came when he signed a high pay deal with Elektra Records for the project that would become Desperado.
The next low started when Dee got that call that Elektra Records had dropped Desperado and shelved the album. That kicked off a process of more lows. Elektra didn’t just drop Desperado, they also prevented Dee from recording for any other label. Basically a record label that claims they are here to protect artists was destroying the career and personal finances of Dee Snider. Dee Snider is a SMF, so he just kept on going, trying to get out the rights to his songs returned to him. He kept on going trying to get the right to license the Desperado record to another label for a fair price. In the end, the only thing that Elektra Records would accept was full reimbursement of the money they’d laid out for the deal—$500,000, or $50,000 per song.
But, but, the record labels are here to protect their artists.
But, but, the record labels are here to negotiate longer copyright terms that will last on average over 120 years because that is the only way they can protect their artists.
The truth is, the record labels are there to make money from the lifers in the music business. It’s that simple.