It’s been neat to see these guys popping in to leave their .02:
I sometimes hear the criticism that bands can mitigate these effects through negotiation (I’ve read such criticism in comments here), but this ignores another point of the article, that the result of negotiation is a contract, and contracts provide no protection for the weaker/poorer party signatory to it.
Contractual protections are only enforceable by the application of money, lawyers, courts and time, and record companies have such an advantage in all these areas that they may simply ignore their obligations to bands, while stringently enforcing the bands’ obligations. Such a contract is essentially worthless to the band that signs it, but remains an important coercive tool for the record company. I’m sure you can see parallels in the software and web worlds, but the disparity was most obvious to me when watching my peers navigate the music scene.
So that’s it. A contract is meaningless unless you have the wherewithal to enforce it, and can endure the time (sometimes years) it takes a dispute to wind its way through the courts (during which time you will be earning nothing).
For this reason I don’t use contracts in any professional dealings, and I am convinced this is the best way to maintain transparent and amicable relationships.
Thanks for the mention. When designing Etsy, 37signals was one of the sites I looked at for UI guidance.
Shows you how much these guys are “on the case” and want to be in on the conversation.
Now, does this mean Steve Jobs is gonna chime in on our next Apple-related post?