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| 1 minute read

The lesson? Read the small print

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion has become the latest (but surely not the last) performer to become embroiled in a bitter contract dispute with her record label. 

Whatever the merits of each side's position, the situation almost always arises in the same way: a young, emerging artist signs a deal with a behemoth recording institution on terms very favourable to the company. Impressionable  artists, keen for a break and often poorly advised, find themselves locked into one-sided arrangements, where the fruits of their talents are shared disproportionately.

However unfair things may seem, often there is an inescapable counter: a contract has been signed and it must be respected. No one forced the artist to agree the terms offered, and the law should not protect parties from having entered into a "bad deal". 

The law does, however, consider inequality of arms and unequal bargaining positions, so all may not be lost for those trapped in unfavourable contracts. In the meantime, showbiz is full of examples of how tables have been turned, whether by purposely recording awful songs (Van Morrison), taking a record label boss hostage (TLC), buying yourself out of a contract (Joss Stone), re-recording old material (Taylor Swift) or swapping a name for a symbol (Prince).

Perhaps it would all have been far easier if time would have been taken to read the small print!

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion claims that her record label is preventing her from releasing new music. The star, who released the platinum-selling single Hot Girl Summer last year, says she's been frozen out since asking to renegotiate her contract. "I didn't really know what was in my contract," she explained on Instagram Live. "I was young. I was, like, 20."