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360 Deals: The Changing Landscape of Recording Contracts

 MSK Client Alert
June 2008

As the music industry grapples with the economic and technological challenges of a rapidly evolving marketplace, artists and record labels increasingly are seeking creative ways to maximize their collective earning potential. This search has led to the rise of multiple rights contracts, often referred to as 360º deals, whereby artists and record companies attempt to make the best use of their efficiencies by aggregating a broad assortment of rights in one place. Under these 360º deals, the artist typically grants the record company a percentage of the artist’s income from live performances, merchandising, licensing, publishing, endorsements, and/or fan-club fees. In exchange, the artist receives some combination of larger record royalties (including from downloads), a larger advance, more tour support, and/or a greater record company commitment to promoting the artist. These 360º deals present a number of new considerations for both sides and there obviously can be a great deal of money at stake. Points to consider include: 

The economic and technological challenges of a rapidly evolving music marketplace will continue to cause the various players to rethink what they want from a particular deal. As with the preceding questions, these issues and many others presented by the emergence of these new 360º deals will require the advice of experienced counsel. 


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