In the music industry, a 360 deal is a business relationship between an artist and a music industry company. The company agrees to provide financial and other support for the artist, including direct advances as well as support in marketing, promotion, touring and other areas. In turn, the artist agrees to give the company a percentage of an increased number of their revenue streams, often including sales of recorded music, live performances, publishing and more.
This business arrangement is an alternative to the traditional recording contract. In a 360 deal, a company typically provides support to an artist in more areas than covered by a traditional recording contract on the condition of receiving a percentage of revenue from these additional areas. During the first decade of the 21st century, revenues from recorded music fell dramatically and the profit margins traditionally associated with the record industry disappeared. The 360 deal reflects the fact that much of a musician's income now comes from sources other than recorded music, such as live performance and merchandise.
According to Jeff Hanson, head of Silent Majority Group, the first new artist 360° deal was created by Hanson along with attorneys Jim Zumwalt and Kent Marcus, and Jim's partner Orville. It was submitted to Atlantic Records for the rock band Paramore while Hanson, Marcus and Zumwalt were employed by the label. Hanson has said there was strong resistance to the deal by both label and band and that he had to fight to make it happen, but believes his efforts were vindicated by the band's subsequent success, saying: "How else would a label have been patient enough to put the band on three straight Warped Tours and down-streamed the band to Fueled By Ramen all while losing millions of dollars?"
360 deals have been made by traditional record companies, as in Robbie Williams's pioneering deal with EMI in 2002. They have also been made between artists and promoters, as with Live Nation's 2007 deal with Madonna and 2008 deal with Jay-Z.
360° deals have attracted criticism from various quarters. Panos Panay, CEO of online music platform Sonicbids, has said:
"If you want to find out the future of 360° deals, look at Motown in the late 60s. Motown was the pioneer of a 360° deal ... They owned your likeness, your touring, publishing, record royalties, told you what to wear, told you how to walk … It made for great entertainment but if you look at every one of those artists, what happened? Sooner or later they said, 'I’m not going to go on the road for 200 shows because you tell me so. I’m an artist! I’m a creative person!' Eventually all these artists left ... There’s two things we know about creativity: you can’t force it and you can’t really control it."
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