They make millions from fans who love their music, but you’d be surprised at how many top Atlanta music artists are stiffing the little man by refusing to pay for services rendered. The perils of the music industry should be of no surprise to anyone these days. Recording artists, record labels, producers and managers are legendary for trying to get out of paying for studio fees, consulting fees, advertisement and marketing. Anything they can squeeze by without paying for they will. But its looking like music industry’s dirty little secret is getting exposed in a big way.
CBS Atlanta news broke an interesting story about Atlanta stars Polow Da Don, Jazzy Pha, Usher, Young Jeezey & more on their questionable business practices. Two industry professionals share their stories of how days spent working for records on Chris Brown and other international superstars resulted in enormous legal fees, homelessness and regret.
According to a Gwinnett County court judgment provided by recording engineer Tony Terrebonne, mega hit producer Polow Da Don owes more than $20,000 in unpaid studio services and attorneys fees.
Terrebonne said $8,0000 of that is for his work on the Chris Brown hit “Forever.” Terrebonne provided an invoice that shows he is owed $480 for Usher’s “Love In The Club.”
Terrebonne said he has stopped working for Polow because he was owed $50,000 at one point. “It’s a lot of hard work, I’ll be up for three days straight and I won’t get paid for it. It’s insane,” said Terrebonne who moved in with his parents and sold his car.
CBS Atlanta received a statement from Polow Da Don’s company, Zone 4. It reads “Polow always handles all of his business vendors with the utmost respect and timely payment, but this situation is a unique private dispute and as such Polow will not dignify any celebrity smear campaign by comment.”
“Unique private dispute?” what the hell does that mean? Call me a moron, but I’ve always viewed a judgment by a court to be the finale to any dispute one has with another. Personally I have never heard anything about Polow Da Don not paying invoices for services rendered. But I’ve heard, and even have personal stories, from other Atlanta celebrities who bank on their “celebrity” to garner free services. But lets move on.
Past due invoices provided by 11th Street Studio showed rapper Young Jeezy owed Butler more than $20,000. “I’m not sure why they’re not paying because a lot of these guys are multi-millionaires,” said Butler.Invoices and judgments show singer and producer Phalon Alexander –-better known as Jazze Pha– owes more than $135,000 to four studios including Zac Recording.Zac Owner, Jim Zumpano contacted CBS Atlanta about the issue because he said he is tired of his colleagues “getting dogged.”The music stars “are out partying on my money,” said Zumpano. “I’m looking for that money to help me run my business.” Terrebonne said he has tried to make sense of why these stars fail to pay up. “They’re super stars. They live in a different world than we do. Money means something different to them,” said Terrebonne.
However not every celebrity wishes to be publicly humiliated by being put on blast by the media. Butler says he received $20,000 from YJ Entertainment, Young Jeezy’s company. Zumpano received about $2,000 from TSG Financial Management on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. TSG represents Jazze Pha.
A small nudge in the direction of “good business,” but for all the aspiring music industry hopefuls heed the warning from the above testimonials. The are very mild cases of what you’re in for.
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