The music industry is a dirty business right now, as it’s been said time and time again. With the digital age bringing about file sharing, streaming sites gaining a massive amount of traction in recent years, and physical releases quickly becoming more and more limited, money is tight. The business models of today’s music industry have changed to reflect that, where bands are trying to do whatever they can to sell records. U2 made a deal with Apple, Thom Yorke made a deal with bittorrent, Taylor Swift ended her dealings with Spotify, it was all kinda messy.
Now enter an unsigned band from Seattle, who go by the simple title of Numbers. Numbers were entered into a battle of the bands style competition, where they would compete with a bunch of other bands for the opportunity to sign a deal with Sumerian, and officially “make it”. It’s like something out of a live-action disney movie, huh? It gets even more like a Disney movie too, just wait. So Numbers, along with a couple other acts ended up winning the competition. When given their contract (which had some pretty heavy artistic restrictions according to the band’s vocalist: Kyle Bishop [see below]), and going over it with a lawyer, the band realized that all they needed were eachother, turned down the contract they were given and they lived happily ever after...
Here’s Bishop explaining the situation on a podcast called Abyssal Lair:
The tl;dr about his gripes with the contract were that, according to Bishop, control of the music they made would be take away from them, and given to Sumerian, as well as the control over who’s in the band going to Sumerian as well. It’s just word of mouth from Bishop, however, as Sumerian exec Ash Avildsen countered everything that Bishop was saying about the deal in the video’s comments section.
Honestly, paraphrasing the whole situation won’t do it justice, if you have 30 minutes to watch the podcast, do so, as Bishop covers the whole story in detail start to finish, otherwise you can also find the conversation between Bishop and Avildsen here, which gives an accurate representation of everything that happened as well. The conversation is insanely long as well, though, so make sure you have some time before attempting to tackle a read this long.
So, who was in the wrong here? Who the hell knows. While some people are saying that you’d be a fool to turn down any contract in this industry, which has some merit, others are saying that artistic expression and getting rid of potential industry corruption takes priority over getting a contract. Maybe both parties are fucked in this? I mean, they did have an argument in a youtube comments section...