Probably an unfairly maligned thing. Yes, there are many horror stories, including that Steve Albini
tale that has circulated on the internet, and yes, an unknown rarely can waltz in and sign The Best Possible Deal
, but the bottom line
is this: sell a lot of CDs, and you will receive checks from the record company
with a lot of numbers on them, preceded by a dollar sign
symbol of their choice). This is one reason why people sign on the dotted line
. Get a good lawyer
, and you won't get hurt. Too much.
Some people whine about this, either the "ripoff" of bands by The Man, or the "ripoff" of consumers, by selling CDs "which cost 10¢ to make" for $15 or whatever. But do those people apply the same sort of rigor to, say, clothing manufacturers? The Man pays people two dollars a day (at best) to make some item of clothing or footwear, only to sell it at a price far above "what it cost to make". But I guess you can't download a pair of Jordans or Gap khakis.