Remember the article I linked to do with Badfinger and how they got screwed over by crooked managers and uncaring labels and how two members commited suicide as a result? Well here's another music industry horror story. You can read the entire article here.
I don't know how many of you might remember Carolyne Mas? She was a singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from NYC. Back in the late 70s she was signed by Mercury records and released a debut album entitled simply "Carolyne Mas". And that's when the fun started. According to the article
Carolyne's first single, "STILLSANE," makes BILLBOARD's Hot 100, but fatal mistakes in promotion made by Mercury Records alienate radio stations, and a live performance for WPLJ, booked by her manager, causes key station and competitor WNEW, who broke Carolyne's demo tape, to drop her from their playlist, creating a ripple that would erase her music suddenly and permanently from the charts at a crucial time. Her career would never recover from this.
Dispite limited success in Canada and Europe "Carolyne Mas" did very little sales in the US. In spite of this she recorded a second album titled "Hold On" to resonable critical acclaim. She tours extensively to support the album but Mercury is having administrative problems so the album goes nowhere.
The single released from "HOLD ON" is "HE'S SO COOL," but the record label is going through administration changes, moving from Chicago to New York, and after the promotion flubb done on the first album, little or no money is spent this time. As guitarist Landau put it. "That album never got out of the box."
Carolyne performs throughout the country non-stop, travelling in an RV, and breaks a record in the south for the ammount of colleges who request her appearance at a conference in Washington D.C., but Just like in Graham Parker's "Mercury Poisoning," her album is nowhere to be found in the stores in each city where she plays to sold out crowds.
Meanwhile she is getting popular in Germany where a 'live album is selling well. Unfortunately she gets no income from it.
A live KING BISCUIT FLOWER HOUR radio show recorded in July 1980 is purchased by Phonogram Records in Germany to be released as an album for the exclusive purpose of promoting an upcoming 2-hour live television concert, "Rock Palast," on January 20, 1981, and a concert with The Boomtown Rats two days later. Called "MAS HYSTERIA," the record cover is designed to look like a bootleg, and though it was originally meant strictly for promotional use, due to popular demand this 6-song "limited edition" is released and reprinted in Germany year after year. The 12:51 version of "SITTIN' IN THE DARK" becomes especially popular in clubs and on radio (and still gets much airplay there today). "MAS HYSTERIA" eventually sells over 250,000 copies, ironically making it Carolyne's biggest-selling record anywhere. Because it is sold at a "nice price," she is ineligible for the accolades that a Gold Record would normally bring. She will also never see a penny from this record, her biggest success.
Undeterred she releases a third album. But by now she's broke. Now this is what really kills me.
Mercury records offers tour support, if she will give them 100% of her publishing rights
100% rights? What kind of crap is that. She rightly refused their 'generous' offer but unfortunately she could no longer pay her band and had to leave the music scene for five years while trying to straighten out her credit and legal problems.
You can read the rest of this sordid condemnation of the 'music biz' in the main article. I really wish a few of these music execs would get turfed out on the street penniless to get a taste of what they do to some artists.