How do record labels screw certain artists/bands (“360 deals”) and push others to success?

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How do record labels screw certain artists/bands (“360 deals”) and push others to success?

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Record labels are there to make money – they help bands by providing capital to afford costs like recording, promotion and touring (that most bands cannot afford outright) and knowledge to do this well (the hired tour managers and marketing people that are experts in areas the band will not be), and then take a cut of the bands earnings in return.

A band does well and the record company make more money than they pay the band, a band flops and the record company loses that investment.

How record labels can help or screw over bands friends on how well they do their jobs – if a band relies on the label to provide marketing for their new album, or to organise a tour and screw this up, then the band lose money…

A lot will come back to contracts – before working together bands and labels will agree terms for the deal. Things like the expectations for the band (write X amount of records, your for X many months), and what the label will provide, and also limitations to try and ensure a fair deal for both parties (the band cannot release music for another label while under contract, or just meet minimum stipulations).

The problem is that contracts can be misused – is a band signs a deal for three albums but loses popularity when the second flops, the record company may not want to invest much money in a third record, but at the same time the band are under contract with that label so they cannot just leave and work with someone else.
You can also see problems like where a new band has released music under a small label, moved on and gained popularity, and now this early music is unavailable as the first record label own the publishing rights and may limit how it is sold