Record companies not paying artists royalties? That's never happened, has it?
Disclaimer: it's not for me to determine whether Mr. Fripp's allegations against EG and BMI are true or not true. I'm only trying to point out one of many pitfalls of being in the music industry as I see it from the many articles I've read and the artists I've interviewed.
From my own perspective, I have known club owners who were clearly not paying us (a band) what would have been a fair sum considering the crowd (consumers of alcohol) we brought in: i.e. the club was making $9,000 a weekend night and were were getting $350.
Or when we would play only for the money taken at the door and realize that perhaps the doorman was pocketing some of it.
My own ongoing source of disappointment is my only published work. The man who operates this Canadian publishing company has been openly hostile to any kind of communication regarding royalties and in one email accused me of thinking about sending legions of lawyers his direction. I have never considered this action, although no checks nor any explanation has been forthcoming for years. Maybe it's a strategy on his part to his own benefit or perhaps he is just a nasty man. I don't know.
The other bummer: transferring from Canadian to American dollars-there is a fee both ways because the company does not have a bank in the US.
But this is all small change compared to guitarist Robert Fripp's "endless grief."
From the RF diary:
"In one of the seemingly endless series of industry disputes, often revolving around royalties and their non- and under-payment, on the occasion about-to-be-reported the disputation was with BMG Publishing. BMG Publishing bought the EG Music publishing catalogue in 1991 (although they were asked by Mr. Fenwick to refer to this as a licensing deal, to maintain the fiction that EG were continuing as an industry player).
Some ten years later, c. 2001, it became apparent to us that BMG had underpaid publishing revenue by c. £100,000. David Singleton and myself went to BMG UK HQ on Putney Bridge for a meeting, and I suggested that to expedite a settlement, we agree the royalties owed were £100,00. Faces fell around the room. The figure BMG had in mind was £50,000. Detailed auditing later, the owed sum was shown to be £110,000 (173,612.64 USD apx.).
Mr. Power Possessor @ BMG UK Publishing called DGM HQ for David Singleton, who had just gone home, and spoke to myself. We had a short conversation before Mr. PP called David at home and asked: How much would Robert settle for? Ie what discount can BMG get on the royalties we owe him, and agree is the amount we owe him, if we actually pay him something?
David Singleton’s reply: I think Robert would like to be paid the amount he is owed."