View Full Version : Record deals, musicians behaving badly, etc.

09-10-2012, 07:06 PM
Obviously doing research on my own, but throwing this out there in case anyone has experience that might come in handy...

I have a character who is a has-been pop star and is trying to resuscitate her career. Her new album is released and does quite well, but around the same time, her personal life steals the spotlight because she's engaging in some scandalous behavior (nothing illegal, just enough to ignite media gossip and public criticism). Obviously that's nothing new for celebrities, and a lot of them get away with it, continue to make albums/movies, etc.

But could something like this affect her dealings with her record company? She's always been packaged and promoted with a squeaky clean type image, and what she's doing now is quite the opposite, and that image is vastly overshadowing the one her record company expects. Would a label threaten to (and possibly follow through) drop her if her personal life is attracting more attention than her music (i.e., the media's obsessed with her personal life to the point people are practically forgetting she has a music career) or is detracting from the image she's supposed to present, or would they look the other way as long as records/concert tickets are selling? Even if they're not going to drop her, since she's becoming profitable again, would it be realistic for the label to pressure her to behave according to the image they want her to have, up to and including ending a relationship?

Also, in general, would she interact mostly with a manager, an agent, or both? Or someone else?

Any other thoughts/input would help. I'm still learning about the music industry and want to make sure I've got my facts straight. I know plenty of singers/actors make more scandals than music/films and don't get dropped, but I'm not sure how much happens behind the scenes, if that makes sense.

Thanks in advance! :)

09-10-2012, 07:24 PM
It's possible her contract could have a 'morals' clause. A clause that says they can cancel the agreement in case of 'moral turpitude'. While this legal term has specific connotations in a legal sense - in a civil contract it can be 'wavy gravy'. Think "Pee-Wee Herman". So, depending on the exact nature of what she did - yeah, they could have a contractual ground for dropping her. You'll have to make sure it's in the contract that she not do anything that would 'alter her image'.

09-10-2012, 07:24 PM
She might well have a morals clause in her contract and so could find herself in breach. That might give the company an excuse to drop her. Sometimes they might do this just in order to look good, then rehire her later. In fact, that kind of thing goes on all the time.

ETA: c/ped with WriteKnight there :D

09-10-2012, 07:25 PM
Ooh, so they can have morality clauses? Good to know. *rubs hands together and cackles gleefully*

09-10-2012, 07:27 PM
No expert (by any means) but I'd said as long as she is making the record company a profit - by sales/appearences etc.- they'd keep her.

It'd also depend on how much and how bad her behaviour is. If it is illegal and bad enough, they'd perhaps want to get rid of her, maybe seeing her as a liability - especially if her sales aren't great and she isn't setting a good example.

Just my thoughts.

09-10-2012, 07:39 PM
The record company won't care a bit on moral grounds, but they might on commercial grounds.

If her behaviour is preventing her records from being stocked in shops, or is stopping her getting on magazine covers, or booked for publicity events, casts a negative light over other associated acts they have an interest in, or other things like that, then they care. Otherwise, it's just free publicity, which generally results in bigger sales = GOOD NEWS.

She'd deal with her manager generally - agents are a non-musical thing, doing the same job on the same terms, just with a different name. The label would likely have a dedicated team to deal with her as well if she's a big star.

09-10-2012, 08:15 PM
To be clear - the 'morals clause' - isn't about the moral standards of the company, it IS about 'marketing' - commercial grounds. It's a clause that gives the company a means to control the star's actions or an escape from their commitment.

So yeah - I could see the plot device as the following sequence.

"Mouseketeer squeaky clean pop star" - big record following.
She does something 'stupid' - small crime, whatever.
Sales drop - company drops her.
She formulates a comeback - company picks her up again - WITH the morals clause - she ever do anything to screw the image - she's out.

This gives them a way to manipulate her actions. It's all about who has the power. Is she a big enough star for them to overlook her actions? Or does she need them so badly, she can't afford to stray or be caught.

That's your story.

09-11-2012, 12:56 AM
Thanks for the info, all! This helps me a lot. :)