Adam Lambert’s Star Power from an industry perspective 55 On With The Show, New CD, AI Rules and Release Form, Monte Pittman, Crawl Thru Fire, Look to the future June 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm
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Your questions and Tom O’Neil’s answers were great, and we’ll have more special guests coming soon. This month has been a blur with multiple international deadlines but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. I can only imagine what Adam’s month has been like :) I’ve been following and reading your thoughtful messages and am so happy to see people participating.
The untimely passing of Michael Jackson is such a seminal event in music history that I’m going to post a separate topic to discuss a bit about the business of Michael Jackson. I imagine you’ve all read that he was preparing for a 50 concert series in London; the tragedy extends to everyone involved with the production… video on the Michael Jackson tour website: http://tinyurl.com/oc5etk - Dancer’s Auditions, heartbreaking to see them in this context. http://tinyurl.com/mcqaxw - Kenny Ortega and AEG CEO discuss the changes to the tour schedule, Michael’s health and the creative process. Yesterday the O2 concert venue in London had its second anniversary, http://tinyurl.com/nq6pf7 - such sad timing. What a day. There was no bigger business in entertainment than Michael Jackson and while it’s off topic Michael’s career and business decisions are epic. I’ll post this paragraph and add to it over the weekend.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
Let’s talk about “On With The Show” and put it in context. As we’ve discussed here and I’ve mentioned on the blog, recording contracts are intended to be exclusive and labels pay upfront signing bonuses, which they then recoup (along with every other expense under the sun) prior to paying Artist royalties. Sony/RCA/19 and Adam have invested a great deal of time, energy and money to present Adam’s dream. Nothing is going to stop that… EW just reported that http://tinyurl.com/mr4jxu “…a source close to the singer revealed exclusively to EW.com that Lambert recently met with acclaimed producer Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera, Pink, James Blunt); had writing sessions with Idol judge and in-demand songwriter Kara DioGuardi and Grammy nominated Sam Sparro (Black and Gold); and hit the studio with One Republic’s Ryan Tedder, the white-hot tunesmith behind Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love, Beyonce’s Halo, and Jordin Sparks’ latest single Battlefield. It was previously reported that Lambert laid down some tracks with Lady Gaga producer RedOne.” Go Adam!
So things are going along incredibly well with the new CD. One reason I’ve never worried about this process is that Adam is prepared and savvy. That was infinitely clear during American Idol… if you look at Miles Siggins’ blog on AI.com (which is great, http://www.americanidol.com/style/fashion/adam_lambert_top_2), back at “Ring of Fire” he wrote, “I think, out of all the contestants so far, Adam really has had his image nailed down from the get-go.” Adam knows his look, his groove, and his image, and that makes things very easy for songwriters, producers and management. This goes back to his statements that five years ago that he probably wasn’t ready; he’s had time to develop as an Artist and that’s critical for both short and long term success.
Of course while Artists are developing they make demos, record songs, network and anything else they can think of to succeed. That’s why AI’s Rules and Release Form (which I’ve posted in a separate topic) state: “I understand that if I am asked to audition for one (1) or more of the semi-final rounds of the competition (currently scheduled for January 2010), I will be required to demonstrate to the satisfaction of Producer prior to such participation that I am not a party to any agreement with a talent agent or manager; a music recording contract (either alone or as a member of a group); an agreement relating to the use of my name, voice and/or likeness; an exclusive acting contract; or any other contractual arrangement (written or oral) that, in Producer’s sole discretion, would prohibit me from participating fully in the show and/or entering into any contracts required by Producer, including an exclusive management contract, recording contract and merchandising contract. In addition, I will be required to represent and warrant to Producer that I will not enter into any such agreement(s) during the Election Period, without Producer’s prior written consent. I acknowledge that Producer may require me to sign further documents as a condition of my participation in the Program.”
While “On With The Show” is a hassle, it does not contradict the terms and conditions of American Idol participation and therefore it’s just something that needs to be dealt with by all the parties involved. There’s a fine line to walk with these kinds of situations, because official statements will inflame attention and publicity (note the difference in the Vatican’s response to “Angels & Demons” vs. “The da Vinci Code”). Frankly, I think this is already gone too far; if Sony had a basis to obtain an injunction against the release it would have happened already and/or Apple would not have released it on iTunes (they have no interest in damaging their relationship with Sony over a few tracks).
What makes this a bit more complex is that we don’t know the full history of these tracks. MTV.com has an important story http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1613649/20090610/madonna.jhtml about Adam and Monte Pittman: “Months before being introduced to the nation on “Idol,” Lambert had met Madonna guitarist Monte Pittman and the two collaborated on some original songs last year for the Los Angeles performance revue “The Zodiac Show.” Zodiac co-creator and director Lee Cherry told MTV News earlier this year that the two hit it off and came up with some mind-blowing music, including the viral-video glam-rock hit “Crawl Thru Fire.” Cherry said the very first night the two met they wrote an original song, and they quickly established a close partnership.”
It’s excellent that Adam broke through and became friends with Monte and met Madonna and collaborated together if that’s what happened! And if they wrote and recorded some tracks that are being released, well, it’s not ideal because of the new Sony relationship, but it is really immaterial to what Adam is creating to dazzle the world later this year. As many of you have mentioned, you’ve heard these tracks already, they haven’t been a secret. As a recording artist, Adam has created a body of work before American Idol, and it’s no surprise that this material will become more widely available. In the past few days, it appears that the releasing label intends to pay publishing to the authors of the tracks. That’s good if it’s true but I’d like to see clarification.
So with respect to the variations of the question “Should I boycott this CD?” I think that if you’re interested in all things Adam, once (if) it’s clear he’s getting paid, it’s better to buy the tracks legitimately vs. just downloading them for free. But these and other tracks that are likely to be released are the past; it’s the future that counts. From all accounts, Adam continues on his superstar trajectory. We should all be so proud of his courage, determination and creativity and think we should downplay distractions from the goal.
Thanks again for being part of this adventure, it’s been a great first act and here comes the Tour!