So, is this a scam?
No, but I can hardly blaming you for asking, and why I am putting this question first. The traditional compilation scam is a company charges artists an upfront fee to place a song on a compilation which is sent to record labels or radio stations as a promotional copy. The problem is, if the company even bothers to make the compilation in the first place, any copies sent out almost always end up in the garbage. We charge nothing up front (or in back or on the sides or any which way), the compilations here are being sold and the artists are getting paid from that revenue.
So how much will I get paid?
That will ultimately depend on a few things. Rendez-Vous Digital (the company in Europe we deal with) works with several retailers, each with a slightly different deal. Each compilation can have anywhere from 20 to over 50 tracks on it and the final retail price will vary for each compilation. Once the retailer and distributor each get their share, the rest will be sent to Chaos and the amount set for the musicians will be divided evenly among every artist on the compilation. For example, if the amount for the artists is $2.00 and there are 20 artists on a particular compilation, each artist will receive $0.10 per compilation sold. In addition, some revenue is being generated from paid streams which adds a little bit for each artist. So far, on average, some artists are generating between $5 and $20 per pay period with a couple who are on multiple compilations earning more. So hold off on the down payment for that Porsche.
Do I have to sign a contract or agreement?
Once accepted all artists will have to download, sign and submit an agreement that sets the distribution terms. We have tried to make it as clear and concise as possible, and we will be available to answer questions that you may have. Once an artist is accepted we include a plain language document that breaks down and explains the agreement point by point.
How will the compilations be organized?
Mostly the compilations will be organized by genre (metal, country, punk, hip hop, dance, R&B, etc.) but some comps might be organized by theme such as club music or love songs or Christmas tunes. Finally, compilations might be organized by a common connection amongst various artists, such as artists from a particular city or area. Because these are digital compilations the distributor can experiment and offer different selections, which will allow them to use songs multiple times on different comps, giving you greater exposure and chances to make money.
Will my music be used right away or just sit in the Rendez-Vous catalog and not used?
While Rendez-Vous Digital is seeking independent artists for these compilations there may be circumstances where your song(s) may not be placed right away. For example it may take time to gather enough songs of a particular genre or style to justify a compilation. While every effort will be made to place songs there is no guarantee that even if accepted your music will be placed immediately.
I'm already on iTunes so people in Europe can buy my music already, so why do I need this?
We love iTunes, we think every independent artist should be on iTunes if they aren't already (I believe both CDbaby and ReverbNation have programs to get your music sold on iTunes). But once you are there, people have to find you in order to buy your music. These compilations will be marketed directly to retail music consumers internationally. By organizing them by genre and theme it will allow fans of a particular style of music to find new acts that they may like. This is simply extra exposure and distribution on top of your existing plans, such as iTunes, to increase your revenue and fan base. Additionally, Rendez-Vous Digital, as part of their marketing efforts, will be translating the compilation information into appropriate languages to better tap into regional markets.
I am signed to an independent label, am I eligible?
You will need to check with your label to make sure this doesn't conflict with your contract with them. If the label is interested we can include their entire roster. Any label with less than 10 artists should contact us for distribution. Larger indie labels can contact us and we can forward you along to deal directly with our European counterpart, Rendez-Vous Digital.
How will artists be paid and how often?
Artists will be paid quarterly by Chaos Music via Paypal. If you do not have Paypal you should sign up for it. It is free and a great resource for indie artists. The minimum payment threshold is $10, so if you have earned less than $10 in a quarter, that money will simply roll over into the next payment cycle. If the two quarter total then equals $10 or more you will be paid the total amount owed.
Can I cancel distribution?
If you need to cancel for any reason (you get signed to a label that requires exclusive distribution rights, for example) just let us know and we will stop including your songs on future compilations. You will still receive payments for existing compilations you are already on.
Seriously, this isn't a scam, we don't have to pay for anything?
OK, I know I am harping on this, but there are so many scams out there that I want it hammered into you that we do not want your money. We will never ask for money or charge a fee for this. Ever. I don't know, I am still not sure. If you are still skeptical, I don't blame you.