Monday, September 23, 2013
“He asked to see my door, but I wouldn't show it to him…”
I am pleased to announce that after a long period of simply going up to people and asking if I can play at their pub, showcase, campfire, party and/or Christening, I now have representation. Henceforth my musical affairs will be handled by James at Blue House Music, who has offered very reasonable terms under which, basing a projection of next year’s earnings on my turnover for the fiscal year to date, he already owes me thirty five quid.
Obviously we haven’t actually signed anything legally binding as we’re not the sort of people who rely on such things, preferring as we do a manly handshake, an almost imperceptible inclination of the head and a knowing tap of the nose. We had a pretty similar arrangement with High Barn Records around the time of the release of Songs from The Blue House’s album Tree, when we were advised that they would rather not be involved with the sort of people who insisted on ephemera like contracts. Nevertheless they got us on to Amazon, iTunes, the HMV website and into a movie soundtrack and so in the long term I’m not complaining that I haven’t been able to research my royalty rate at Companies House, and the £4.86 I got from the PRS came in pretty handy that time I was on my way to Subway and was out of loose change.
I’m no stranger to contractual wrangles, of course. My nascent career with Heavy Big Popsters As Is didn’t necessarily founder on our insistence on haggling with a big-shot American agent over a clause regarding image rights, but it didn’t seem to help seal the deal at all. I guess when your day job had been producing Winkler-centric sitcom Happy Days, dealing with the contractual minutæ raised by a bunch of mulletheads over in Blighty must have seemed like pretty small potatoes by comparison. Our heroic manager, who’d secured the offer in the first place, was informed in fairly short order that we’d better sign up as it stood or forget it, and consign our chances of getting our leather jackets placed in The Smithsonian* to the trash. And he'd had to pay a lawyer to explain what image rights were in the first place.
In the end, aside from the legalities which bound us to our manager (and he to us) one contract I did manage to sign during my time in the self-professed purveyors of Loud Love Songs was for the publishing rights for a single song in the territories of French-speaking Benelux and Switzerland, which sounds like a pretty market-specific sort of deal until you realise that these were the only parts of Europe a friend of his who'd agreed to drop off some copies of our single at whatever radio stations he passed during the course of the trip was going to be visiting. I’m not sure we had that much of an impact on the Swiss charts at the time, and I’m certainly not aware of any residual royalties having built up over the intervening years but of course if you’d like me to come to your pub/showcase night/campfire/party/Christening and play “(I Want to) Move (In With You)” – double parentheses please – then I’d be only too pleased to.
Speak to my agent.
*The original jacket worn by The Fonz in the TV series is now in a museum.