The Rolling Stone article claims more than half a dozen managers and lawyers reviewed Walker’s contract and said they would not have agreed to the terms laid out by LVRN and Interscope Records. Walker reportedly signed a deal that offered her a low advance and royalty rate according to industry standards. After negotiations, she ultimately signed a deal that gave her an initial $85,000 advance (The amount increases for subsequent albums.) and an initial 15% royalty rate — meaning she only collects 15 cents out of every dollar she generates once she has recouped her advance.
Summer Walker gave up her masters and is locked into the deal due to LVRN’s four “options,” meaning she’s committed to the company for however long it takes LVRN to release four albums and a pair of pre-album releases. Rolling Stone also reviewed a draft that would give the record companies the right to collect a sizeable portion of the singer’s non-musical earnings.
“[Walker] is locked into a low royalty structure for what appears to be a somewhat indeterminate amount of time,” said Peter Scoolidge, a tech and entertainment lawyer who reviewed the deal Walker agreed to. “She’s also locked into giving [the label] a substantial percentage of any other money she makes from product endorsements, acting, etc. — sources that are not music sales. On the other hand, as is typical in these deals, the record label isn’t really obligated to invest a ton of money into her career, brand image, or music.”
Industry experts who reviewed the deal were also troubled by Summer Walker being incentivized to let LVRN — who’s in a joint venture with Interscope — serve as her record label and management, creating a conflict of interest. According to Rolling Stone, “If the singer had a manager unaffiliated with the company, one draft indicated that she would give 5% of live earnings to Interscope as well as 15% of other non-musical income; if she was managed by LVRN, these numbers fell to 2.5% and 7.5% respectively.”
Summer Walker reportedly signed to LVRN in November 2017. Representatives for Walker, LVRN, and Interscope chose not to comment for the story.
Source: Rolling Stone