Let me just throw out all those words that I have to in order to get your blood boiling: bands. Labels. Contracts. Money. YouTube comments. OK, are you all sufficiently riled up now? Great, let’s put all that emotional chaos aside then and get to the facts because we really don’t want this to be just a shit smearing fight.
Here are the facts: Kyle Bishop is the vocalist/brain of Numbers, a Seattle based progressive metal-core that we like. A lot. Over a year ago, the band won Sumerian Records‘, who require no introduction, “Road To The Sphinx” where bands competed in several stages in order to land a coveted record contract with the label. Numbers, along with several other bands, won. Rejoicing was cut short by the actual contract presented by Sumerian. Allegedly, as far as Bishop says and the label confirm, the deal included signing over their previous releases to Sumerian, alongside granting them the power to control band members, changing any music they see fit and a non-too-lucrative sounding financial agreement.
OK, that’s the story so far. Head on over the jump for the latest episode in the saga.
So, a year passes. Lawyers are involved. Bishop says that Sumerian staff members were AWOL, deflecting requests for negotiation outright by saying that the contract is set in stone. In the meantime, the band release their debut full length, Three. More time passes and no deal is forthcoming. Then, yesterday, Bishop gave an interview for YouTube channel “Abyssal Lair”. In it, he aired out the whole story from his perspective, including the obvious aggravation he must be feeling.
Here’s where the plot thickens. Ash Avildsen, the label CEO, shirked not from replying to the video and I can understand that. However, I’m not sure the format he chose to reply is the one I would go with. He took to the notorious YouTube comments to reply directly to Kyle and a back and forth started forming between the two. As of the hour of the writing of this post, it’s still ongoing. We’ve gathered a few screen shots for you but head on over to the video itself for the full conversation.
Sumerian #1 – Ash’s Initial Response
Kyle #1 – Kyle’s Response To Ash
Sumerian #2 – Ash’s Point Made Clear
Kyle #2 – Come On, Man
Sumerian #3 – Ash Breaks It Down
Kyle #3 – The Conversation Settles
So, readers, there you have it. I am going to refrain from voicing my own personal opinion on this matter, although there is much to be said. However, it’s clear to all that this is yet another chapter in the ongoing renegotiation, in the intellectual sense rather than economical one, of the relationships between bands and labels. Are labels still a necessary breed? How should contract deals work and what is the role of inspiration and authenticity in a genre which is both business and art? We might be diving into this conversation in the future, with one of our editorials pieces, but for now it’s enough that we call you to think on these matters. You, the ultimate consumers of the products under debate here, should have a part in this discussion. How do you feel about this story and labels in general? Let’s have a talk.
We’ll keep you updated if this progresses any further. Until then, stay frosty.