When TVT Records filed for bankruptcy back in late February, it was easy to figure out what it would mean for artists on the label's roster, like Dallas' own The Polyphonic Spree: no more label obligations, monies owed, etc. But the fallout for those owed money by the label, which, it should be noted, was named Billboard's top independent label as recently as 2006, extends far beyond just the Sprees, Pitbulls and Lil Jons of the world.
The two highest claims are important, as their being owed so much money opens up a lot of area for question: - Kaye Scholer, LLP, an entertainment-based law firm is owed $4.7 million and change. - The Harry Fox Agency, which deals in licensing and distribution, is owed $7.3 million in change.
But even the smaller claims carry weight. Check out the Dallas area businesses and artists owed money:
- The Dallas branch of KPMG is owed $9,500 - DG Fastchannel, Inc. is owed $4,591.47 - Hal Samples is owed $3,750 - Upstart Promotions, Inc. is owed $2,499.30 - McKinney resident Krissy Kepford is owed $1,200 - Millenium Multi Media is owed $1,000
Can't say for sure what the others are owed for (although, with some, one can imagine), but for Samples, its for his work on the Spree's music video, "Running Away." Samples says he's never seen a dime from his work on the video.
"The contract was between me and TVT," he says. "I worked really hard on that project--harder than I had on anything ever before."
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The dispute for his claim has been going on for more than a year, Samples says, and the bankruptcy filing only clouds things further.
"That's a lot of money to me," he says, audibly disheartened when told that his claim wasn't nearly the largest on the list. "Right now, it's my rent. Literally. And it means a lot to us. It's unfortunate because I have a lot of responsibility with [his art gallery] Space, and what we're trying to do here. But with the support we have, we'll take it as a lesson."
As in: never to work with the music industry again? Not necessarily, Samples says. More so, it's a lesson in formality. Because, formality, it seems, makes getting paid easier.
"I do things without paper, and with passion, and with wanting to make people proud," Samples says. "It took me a lot to recover from that [trouble], and I'm still recovering from not having been compensated. As a working artist that means a lot." --Pete Freedman