Score another one for Brooklyn.
The music industry has changed. Gone are the days in which you’d have to ship around your demo tape, with the hope that by some miracle you’d catch the ear of an industry rep, who believes in you enough to help you get a deal with more stipulations than “F-bombs” in the movie Scarface. While the latter might not have changed a bunch, these days all it takes to go from a “nobody” to a household name is one great video on YouTube (just ask Bobby Shmurda).
Well, Brooklyn-based metal band Unlocking the Truth can be added to the list of musicians who can thank Youtube for their rise in stardom, as the trio just signed a $1.8 million record deal with Sony. Most importantly, they’re all eighth graders.
The metal trio consists of Jared Dawkins the 12-year-old drummer from Crown Heights, Malcolm Brickhouse the 13-year-old electric guitarist who resides in Flatbush, and Alec Atkins the 13-year-old bassist, hailing from Bedford Stuyvesant.
Last summer the troop took to the corner of West 40th and 7th Avenue in Times Square and performed for spare change. Their performance was filmed, and went viral on Youtube accruing 1.5 million views. A Sony exec called the band’s manager, Alan Sacks, after seeing the video, and offered them this seven-figure deal, which has since been submitted to a Manhattan for approval, as the group members are all minors.
According to the New York Post these are some of the details of the contract:
The deal includes 16 to 17 percent in royalties, a fee that’s slightly above the industry average, said entertainment attorney Richard Wolfe.
The deal is particularly impressive for artists without a track record, added Wolfe, who has repped Mariah Carey and Marilyn Manson.
But there is a hook on the exclusive five-album deal– the boys will only see the real money after an initial $60,000 advance if their first album sells over 250,000 copies.
So the tween rockers need to put up some pretty impressive numbers before they get the real dough.
James Sammataro of Stroock law firm, spoke to the Post to help put this deal into perspective, mentioning that this is an “extremely high” bar considering Beyoncé’s last album sold a little over 600,000 units. He went on to say ““The question is whether Sony is committed to seeing whether these precocious rockers can change the face of rock if their YouTube success does not – as often is the case – immediately translate into paid downloads”.
Only time will tell, how Unlocking the Truth will fare in the industry, but their manager is optimistic “because they are unique — black artists excelling in heavy metal, a genre typically dominated by white musicians.”
Rock on youngin’s.
You can find Khari Clarke at a bar in Brooklyn or on Twitter (@KINGCLARKEIII).