Kevin Reynolds is musician and CEO of KRMB Management. In a career spanning over 25 years, he’s worked with the likes of Usher, Take That, Lionel Richie and Phil Collins amongst many others. His management company boasts artists from across Europe. In November 2008, Kevin was selected from over 250 applicants to be one of 20 REACH National Role Models who aim to raise the aspirations and achievements of black boys and young black men.
‘The music industry may be constantly changing but it’s still a minefield out there. As such, I’ve always stressed the importance to black youngsters of being on top of their business game.Only then will you have the tools to build, expand and maintain success.’ Here is Kevin’s latest exclusive column offering valuable inside tips on how to get and stay ahead in an ever-changing music biz.
I’ve just read an article about how much pop stars have earned over the past year. They all seemed to have paid themselves a salary from companies that they had set up. Why do they do that as opposed to just using money they’ve earned out of their bank?
If a band has earned a large sum of money then, often to avoid tax on the whole amount, you can set up a Ltd Company. Within this company you can keep your funds and only get taxed on what you draw out as salary. In all matters of finance it is essential to seek the advise of professional accountancy services. I can’t emphasize this enough!
My company currently deal with several tax regions around the world as our artists are located outside the UK. For instance, there is a double taxation agreement between European states. So, if an advance is paid in Germany, so as not to get taxed twice as a UK citizen, you have to apply to the UK tax office for a stamp on a German Double Taxation form. You will then be paid 100% of your German advance and then you are liable to pay tax on that in the UK.
There are many complex and simple ways to offset your tax liabilities, but be aware a lot of these loopholes are currently being closed as the UK Government seeks to tax fully everyone, especially those with large sums of money. Again always seek professional advice.
I recently left a group I was in and I’m unsure if I have any claims on any future money they might earn. I formed the group, came up with the name but we never had any written contract – only a spoken one amongst ourselves as we were really close and grew up together. Where do I stand?
This is a hard and emotional situation to be in. This leaves for you the burden of proof that you actually had a verbal agreement between the band members. If you went to a court over this you would have to prove this was the case. If the band is signed, then as a group you all sign as individuals, this is usually to protect a label or management if the band breaks up. In this situation any income will be divided amongst the band members once all costs are recouped.
This example highlights the need for written agreements – even between the best of friends. You must always be prepared for the worst and wish for the best. Contracts exist to protect us all.
Always have some kind of written confirmation drawn up when you form any kind of group or business partnership. Even if it’s a simple one page document confirming how funds are to be divided, who owns the name, who owns any online domain names etc.
I would advise any band to hold onto as many of their rights and names as possible. This means if you have problems between yourselves you can work it out and also if you have problems with your label you can also walk away with your name and domain names.
Again simple cheap advise from the Musicians Union if you are unsure will help you avoid such heart breaking situations in the future or at least ease the pain and confusion.
I want to get my music video on TV – any advice on how I can do that? People tell me that Channel U take all the rights to my music if I sign their contract. Is that true?
This is a very difficult task to achieve, especially with the decline of music television recently. In terms of Channel U, please read through carefully any Licence Agreement which should have a link on the video upload section. After reading their agreement briefly it is a non exclusive deal, meaning you can sign to other download or video distributors. Channel U actually take 50% of all income from any videos played after they have subtracted any costs. If you sign up to PRS (performing Rights Society) and PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited) you will, of course, get your royalties direct to you, as Channel U are not publishers on any airplay. PPL is free to join (www.ppluk.com). They collect and pay out on actual performances on records, so this is really important for the musicians and artists who do not compose.
Most significantly – and I can’t emphasise this enough – read through and get legal advise before you have any contract signed. The Musicians Union (www.musiciansunion.org.uk) provide a very cost effective legal service when you join.
The best way to get a video played on mainstream television is with a plugger, but they cost money and sometimes don’t always deliver. YouTube still remains a great outlet, but they are currently refusing to pay any license fees so no payments would come from PPL and PRS to you. In reality, like any other action in the music business you have to keep chipping away until you reach that tipping point where the industry takes a serious look at what you are doing.
We’re a group who’ve recorded a few tracks but haven’t got a lot of money for promotion. Do we really need to hire somebody to promote our stuff and get us in magazines or is best to do it online through websites?
Promotion is, of course, key to the success of any record or artist. This can be hit and miss and a mixture of online and real world promotion is needed. There are many professional PR companies out there looking for work. In a market where budgets are getting smaller you can actually negotiate some great rates for promotion. Some companies start with small sections to promote to, ie students. You can get this for as little as £200 – £500 per month. You should always negotiate a deal where they are paid on results, ie how much coverage and press they actually get you.
As with any project there has to be some financial commitment to compete with signed acts etc. It is also important though to use all the social networking sites out there – MySpace, Facebook and BEBO etc. These also help with promotion and making business contacts. Three of my most recent signings came through MySpace and also a large amount of business contacts, so they remain important, so long as you filter out the time wasters, of which there are many. Good luck in your search.
If you have a question or comment for Kevin please leave it below in the comment box and you could read the answer next Monday. To read Kevin’s last music business advice click here.