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Re: [ARSCLIST] artist fees and contracts (was: 78s relatively ine xpensive? I disagree)

Exclusive contracts must have existed pretty much anywhere competition
between companies existed. My research into commercial recordings In the
Caucasus and Central Asia pre-1917 shows that until 1909, the Gramophone Co
paid modest one-off fees to all their artists. At around that time though,
Pathe entered the scene and made moves on the same artists. Gram Co
responded by signing their biggest contracts up under exclusive deals -
sometimes on a royalty basis, sometimes for a fixed fee over a certain

Deals varied widely, but the biggest stars did well. Around then Fred Tyler,
the Tiflis branch manager covering the whole of the southern Russian Empire
and northern Persia, received a salary of 6,000 roubles per year. Levi
Babukhanov, the court musician for the Emir of Bukhara, received half that
for 3 or 4 day's recording work.


Will Prentice
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Art Shifrin wrote:

(...) Well represented artists received royalties.

Steven C Barr responded:

Not so much well-represnted, as those who sold well enough they could
the record firm with leaving, or at least recording for other firms. These
artists were usually put on exclusive contracts (which were heavily promoted
as such) which often included royalties...they include Caruso, Armstrong and
a few others. In fact, the idea of artists recording for one label wasn't
standard until the mid-thirties, when younger record buyers wanted not only
a song but a given version of it, making it advisable to have artists under


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