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Royalty statements, digital downloads and the evilness of publishers

By on December 10, 2009
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Too Much Joy have published their royalty statement from Warner Bros. It’s ten pages long,but the summary looks like this:

=== Summary ===

Beginning balance: . . . . . . . . . . $395,277.18-

Total digital earnings . . . . . . . . .$62.27

The whole post explains the nature of the “recoup” system, which will be familiar to most developers.

But it goes into detail arguing that major record labels don’t track lots of small transactions well (either through laziness or avarice). And this will be a very big problem in the era of digital downloads and lots of small bands (as opposed to a few superbands).

Will this problem emerge in the games industry? Has it already? Are major publishers set up to handle digital distribution for independent developers? I really want to hear from anyone who can talk about their experiences or opinions.

(Thanks to @alexandraha for the story)

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: thecurveonline.com