It's yet another way artists are getting screwed.
The business side of the music industry has always been tarnished by shady dealings, whether it be label executives screwing artists out of money or coercing musicians to “sell-out.” During a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of the iconic rock band, The Black Keys, pointed out a new dilemma, album bundling.
Essentially, album bundling is when an artist includes a copy of their record with a piece of merch or a ticket sale. You might remember the term from earlier this year when DJ Khaled complained about not beating out Tyler, The Creator for a number one album. He claimed his album bundle sales were not counted.
Around the 47:00 minute mark during episode 1354 of the JRE, Carney explains to Rogan an offer Warner Bros. made to The Black Keys saying, “You would give five dollars of each ticket back to Warner Bros. and then, you would get a record sale… It’s the only way you’re going to get a number one record, so if you want a number one record, you have to do it… You don’t get a royalty and you only get an album sale count if they click the link.”
Carney then explains how much money doing that deal would cost their band, “We’ve sold 250,000 tickets on this tour so, we would have to give back 1.25 million. Our record advance for this record was less than that.” Artists have to be willing to forfeit an immense percentage of their profits in order to reach the top of the charts.
The group goes on to discuss artists getting a raw deal on streaming services such as Tidal as well.