Andrew Dector’s insight on the current issue of collecting monies owed from rap stars was the source of a recent Board of Contributors in the Daily Business Review. His article, “Creditors’ Rights: How to Deal With Debt and Today’s Hottest Rap Stars” was published with his byline and photo. It provided interesting information on the failure of these performers to pay bills and how this situation is approaching epidemic proportions.
Congratulations to Andy Dector on the publication! Click here to view the article in the Daily Business Review or read it below.
Bling and drama aretwo words that come to mind when one thinks of today’s rap stars. However, a third more common word seems to permeate this genre of musicians and performers –that is debt. Whether it is due to a feeling of entitlement, a result of being surrounded by inept handlers or just plain old theft can be debated, but the fact remains that the failure of many of such performers to pay their bills is epidemic. The artists include some of the biggest names in entertainment today.
In order to avoid becoming the victim, the burden is on the creditor to know who he or she is dealing with. Many of these artists just don’t pay those rightfully entitled to payment. It is easy for them to do so because for every creditor there are dozens of other vendors, prospective employees and service providers who so desperately want to be part of the scene, they are oblivious to the fact that they will fall victim to the fame and supposed fortune of these individuals.
Clearly, part of the problem stems from the fact that such artists do not make as much money as musicians and performers made years ago when record companies would throw boat loads of cash at the successful ones. The problem is further compounded by the fact that there are too many hands partaking in an ever diminishing pot. By the time the artist’s agents, managers, attorneys, co-writers and others get their cut, not much is left for the artist him or herself. Moreover, the artists themselves are part of a society where they are expected to exude wealth and project the image that they have arrived. To do so, they must be clothed in expensive and pretentious jewelry, live in expensive homes and drive expensive cars. All that takes money, which is in shorter supply than before.
Additionally, many of these artists came from humble backgrounds and have no appreciation for the money they are now earning. Others have had criminal backgrounds and even after they have left such lives behind, they still cannot detach themselves from the mindset of their past.
So how does a creditor of today’s rap stars address this new found reality? First, it is critical that a written instrument be procured and signed by the star or by someone with a power of attorney. Accepting the signature of anyone else leaves the door open to a defense that that person had no actual or apparent authority to bind the start. Second, and most obvious, is getting money up front. In reality, that might be the only payment the creditor ever sees. If the creditor is selling something to the star, a security interest would certainly be helpful. However, because there are too many other vendors who might be willing to do business without it, most likely one will not be obtainable. But more importantly, it is imperative that a prospective creditor gain an appreciation for the star’s background and those who are his or her handlers. There are numerous databases where backgrounds can be checked and the internet is a treasure trove of information as well. Court databases in the cities where these stars live and work are also replete with information as to lawsuits they have been involved in and many states have judgment lien registries to determine where you will stand in line if you are forced to initiate legal proceedings. If payments are not being processed by a star’s handlers, a creditor should attempt to try to reach the star directly. Frequently, celebrities don’t have a handle on their financial affairs.
If you are forced to litigate, you may be in litigation for the long haulSince the artists are always on the road and difficult to pin down, it is oftentimes difficult to serve them with process and then when that is accomplished, it is even more difficult to schedule their depositions and conduct discovery. Many of the stars who are intentionally not paying will direct their attorneys to put up every roadblock and use every delay tactic available in an effort to avoid payment including dilatory and meritless counterclaims. Another layer of difficulty a creditor must dig through are musician’s use of shell corporations for their management and production. The use of such entities requires that they be brought in as parties. Consequently, if a judgment if secured against them, additional effort is required to try to pierce the entity to get to its officers or managers individually or alternatively to find its assets.
Moreover, due to the publicity many of these cases get, the rap stars feel that they need to protect their image and be looked favorably upon in the court of public opinion. First, you have to deal with what are some pretty large egos. Second, you have to deal with a mindset where total exoneration is the only outcome the rap star will find acceptable, even if it is one that will never be achieved. At the end of the day, we all assume that justice will prevail and when it does, there will be plenty of bling to pursue to satisfy the judgment obtained.
Reprinted with permission from the November 21, 2017 edition of the “Daily Business Review”© 2017 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-257-3382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Mr. Dector, please click here.
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