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Too Much Joy, Four Sad Cents

Posted by on Dec 2, 2009 | Comments (1)

The name Too Much Joy might not ring any bells, or, if it does, it’s a tiny bell also sounded flatly by forgotten major-label bands like Dog’s Eye View, Cry of Love or Butt Trumpet. Being forgotten by the public is manageable‚ÄĒmaudlin drinking can provide acceptance of failure for most ex-stars. But what about being forgotten by your record label, an entity that’s contractually obligated to keep records of your dead band’s meager sales?

Tim Quirk, the singer of Too Much Joy, shares an irresistible story over at Gizmodo, “My $62.47 Royalty Statement,” chronicling a thirteen-month battle to convince Warner Bros. to report his band’s digital sales. The three Warner Bros. albums by Too Much Joy haven’t been in print physically for ten years, but Quirk knew that nostalgia-driven downloads of his band were a very real thing, because he works for Rhapsody. Not too surprisingly, his royalty statements from Warner Bros. reflected absolutely zero downloads.

In the course of a few tangents involving a Warner Bros. employee laughing that “$10,000 is nothing!,” a primer on how unrecouped bands such as his have actually earned a profit for their label, and lots of keen insights into the world of digital reporting, Quirk gets his next statement. It shows the sum of $62.47. Quirk:

The sad thing is I don’t even think Warner is deliberately trying to screw TMJ and the hundreds of other also-rans and almost-weres they’ve signed over the years. The reality is more boring, but also more depressing. Like I said, they don’t actually owe us any money. But that’s what’s so weird about this, to me: they have the ability to tell the truth, and doing so won’t cost them anything. They just can’t be bothered. They don’t care, because they don’t have to.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. Sara Bir
    December 3, 2009

    Ahh! I used to love Too Much Joy. I still love them, to an extent. It’s hard to find “Cereal Killers” (featuring some of the worst album art of the 1990s!) in any format (I have a dubbed cassette), and so some day I myself may do nostalgia-driven downloading, which will apparently benefit the band to the tune of a zillionth of a cent.

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