For as long as civilization has existed, there have been musicians. And for as long as musicians have existed, there have also probably been people who exploit musicians.
Pop music is no stranger to this. Whether it was Phil Spector getting authorship credits for songs he didn’t really compose, or Beatles rights being owned by — of all people — Michael Jackson, the music industry has always found new and creative ways to rip off the people who create the actual music.
Now a new tactic has been added to the exploitation tradition: “going public.”
Brothers Mark and Jeff Bass, who produced many of Eminem’s early songs, also own part of his publishing catalog, and now they’re taking that ownership public by selling it in an IPO (initial public offering).
The company handling the IPO is called Royalty Flow, which — despite sounding like a laxative endorsed by Queen Latifah — actually specializes in this stuff. Managed by Matt Smith and Jeff Schneider (their real names, not their MC names), the Denver-based company hopes to raise $11 million to $50 million from the offering… and you can personally invest!
That’s right, you can personally give your money to Matt Smith and Jeff Schneider, who are selling part of the rights, previously owned by Jeff and Mark Bass, to music created by Eminem. It’s that simple!
So if you’re angry that when people pay to hear music created by Eminem in Detroit, a chunk of that money goes to his former producers in LA and from there to a company called Royalty Flow in Denver — which is managed by a pair of MBAs who, if they had a rap album, would surely rhyme “Detroit” with “exploit” — well, now you have recourse.
Yes, instead of shaking your head and in bitter despair, you can invest, and triumphantly become part of the problem!