People need to be paid – musicians need to pay the rent as do sound engineers, producers, designers, music equipment manufacturers and retailers, accountants and lawyers.
Art needs to make money. Fifty years of ‘subsidies’ for the arts has polluted our understanding of how 'great art' is created. Marketing and literature have brainwashed us into thinking great art simply happens: – the cultural fairy tale depicts a romantic collision of luck and talent – the talent often recognized only at the last minute by a Svengali (representing ‘luck’) who then enlightens the masses to their inept bigotry. It’s a great story but it's pure spin; it’s never once been true.
If Art can make money, it’s because, in someway, it’s good. To get there though, Art needs not only a measure of talent, but an awful lot of hard work – usually by an awful lot of people connected to it in one way or another. Art, money and profit therefore, are essential bedfellows.
Where this musical and production ethos meets the principle of our Business model is an interesting and challenging compound: if the music is good – the music will be played: if the music is played, then the label, and the artist, gets paid. The challenge is to make great music; and that takes time and money...
Sons does not attempt to con the artist out of all their artistic and financial rights with the lure of big record company advances (we haven’t got that sort of cash!). Instead, we share the financial and artistic responsibility of success with the artist – they have to pay financial subs (negotiated to be reasonable within their means) towards all the management, administration, recording and promotion costs of their careers. We invariably carry the heavier financial responsibility (professional recording costs at least £500 a day before counting all the other roles undertaken at SONS on behalf of the artist) and therefore receive the lions share of royalties until all costs of that musical/artistic production are redeemed. Once this is done, the royalties are split approximately 60/40 in our favour – the bulk of our royalty share will serve only to cover all admin and management costs over time.
The ‘subs & royalty’ model crucially places a substantial part of the responsibility for success on the shoulders of the artist – when cash is coming out of their own pockets people tend to work harder!
We are not prepared to employ technology to disproportionately ‘paper over’ poor studio performances. There will be no 'molly coddling' of the bands egos at SONS - they get to ‘play rock star’ whilst we battle to make it all happen despite of them. We expect bands to work as hard as us, to make equal personal and financial compromises as us (as are nearly always necessary) and generally work as hard for the opportunity as humanly possible.