On the heels of a new distribution deal with The Orchard (a subsidiary of Sony Music), platinum producers Arkatech Beatz (Mike”Trauma Dewar & Collin “Jugrnaut” Dewar) just dropped their first single off their Arkatech Beatz Ent (ABE) label, titled “On Fire” featuring Bria Lee, which already is getting grand reviews.
You worked really hard to secure the deal, and they finally sent over the contract. Congratulations! As you looked over the contract, you might have thought to yourself, “I can negotiate this without an attorney!” After all, I perpetuated the deal, and did all the legwork, why should I pay the additional cost?
Attorneys, (especially with regards to the entertainment business) are responsible for a lot more than just looking over contracts and giving their clients insight on the law. In my 20-plus years of experience, our entertainment attorney has always been very much involved in shaping our deals in a way which moved our careers forward. A lot of our successes could not have been achieved without the help of our attorney. Let me be clear, if you do decide to do your deal without consulting an attorney, you’re asking for a world of trouble. With that in mind, it only makes the best sense to really take the time to find an attorney that you’re comfortable with.
Here are 4 tips for choosing an entertainment attorney.
Common said it best, “I used to love her” Her being hip-hop. My her was the music business overall. You see, when I started my journey into the music business, I thought I wanted to be a rap star, nah fuck that, I wanted to be a mogul! But as I grew into the business, I quickly realized that wasn’t what I truly wanted at all.
My love for music started extremely young. Maybe that’s why my parents made my brothers and I take piano lessons. As I started to dive deep into the exploration of hip hop, my world changed. I wanted to rap ever so badly. I used to move from my friends cribs, who were DJ’s and had instrumentals and microphones. We used to make these tapes (remember those?) back in the day.
As an artist I felt I couldn’t be touched. I was from the Bronx, the birthplace of hip hop. I felt that nothing could stop me. That was until I realized that producers wouldn’t give me any beats. Guys who had equipment, wouldn’t part with their beloved beats. So I needed a plan . Fuck it, I dropped some money into some equipment and learned how to make beats with the help of an OG from my block. (Shout out to Infinity Phree!)
I would literally spend hours upon hours working on music. It was like the air I needed to become alive. Soon after I found out my cousin was also into music and we immediately started to share ideas. Fast forward, we started to achieve; scoring platinum and gold records from the most legendary artist hip hop has to offer. We had gotten a large production deal and we were working the best of the best in the business. When we were flying at our highest, I literally felt my lowest.
Independent artists have never had access to so many customers. A single distributor can get an artist’s music into digital services around the world. U.S. artists were getting Spotify royalties before the service was available stateside. Now they’re getting royalties from Deezer, Bloom.fm and other services not yet available in the States. Since distributors have added their catalogs to YouTube, independent artists can reach listeners through the world’s most popular video service.
The creative process can sometimes take place within a group of artist or musicians. It’s very common to be in a situation where you have some folks working on the beats/music, and others working on the lyrics. Other times, people get together during a studio session and create music/songs with such a vibe one just cannot deny. When it’s all said and done, and you’re listening to the next hot song, the big question lies. Who was responsible for what portions of the song? When creative collaboration comes about, a songwriter split sheet can help to determine everyone’s fair songwriting share.
At the time of this release expectations were pretty high. The single “Still Not A Player” was getting major radio rotation and things were looking pretty good. The album was received very well, and actually topped Billboard reaching #5 on the on the Billboard 200. It was also #1 on Billboards Top R&B Albums.
Not bad for a guy from the Bronx and his first album.
“Capital Punishment” went on to be nominated for a grammy in 1999. Although he didn’t win, the album was a success selling well over 1 million copies and cementing Big Pun in recording history as the first Latino solo rapper to go platinum.