Breaking Soundís Policies Still Under Fire

Breaking Soundís Policies Still Under Fire

Are they breaking sound or breaking contracts?

Breaking Sound’s policies continue to be questioned by local musos. It’s been revealed to Critic Te Ārohi that multiple Dunedin bands, including IVY and The Beatniks, have had issues of underpayment with the company owing to their odd policies. Discussions centred around their contract, which reports now suggest the company has been consistently breaking.

If you missed the last article, Breaking Sound is an LA-based company that gets promoters to find 4-5 bands to perform on a night. Looking to promote the “hottest emerging artists,” Breaking Sound traditionally caters to smaller bands and those with little prior experience in the cultural sphere. 

IVY told Critic that the butt of their frustration was when Breaking Sound didn’t pay them after playing a gig in May of last year, to an audience of “at least 100 people.” This is despite their policy that in order to profit from ticket sales, bands are required to sell a minimum of thirty tickets – which band members from The Friendly’s said is “just a bit shit” anyway. 

It’s been alleged that multiple other bands have not been paid by the company, including the widely renowned student band The Beatniks. They allegedly also played to a crowd far surpassing 30 people at Dive, and have not seen the profits from this.

Speaking to the issue at hand, IVY guitarist James told Critic Te Ārohi that Breaking Sound had “forced us to compete with our friends for money, which is dodgy. Then they didn’t pay us.” Caribou, another local band, have also had issues getting their money – which they did, eventually, only after frontman Mario “sent a lot of texts to them to get paid. We were lucky.”  

Following on from the incident, Breaking Sound reached out to IVY early this year to ask if the band wanted to play at another gig. “Can you believe that?” said James. In terms of their general interactions with the company, James said that for each show they would send in a “gig droid” who “posts a quick video of each band then fucks off.”

Not only has the ticket policy been widely questioned, but also a clause in contracts requiring bands not to perform three weeks either side of the gig with the company. The contract explains, “The reason we request this is that it becomes very difficult for both us and you as an artist to create any kind of buzz about the show if you are playing in another venue just down the road within a close timeframe to our event.”

Mario was sceptical about the six week radius clause, telling Critic Te Ārohi, “Everything seems so official and intimidating that you don’t want to run the risk of losing your money.” When he questioned the clause to Breaking Sound, they elaborated that they “do not want to interfere with other producers in the area booking the same acts.” 

Following on from our recent article reporting on Breaking Sounds policies, Critic Te Ārohi sought a reply from the company to opinions expressed by Radio One muso Dave Borrie that “their mission statement is not applicable [to] Dunedin” and that they’re “catering to a market they don’t understand.” Breaking Sound did not reply in time for print.

This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2024.
Posted 5:17pm Sunday 21st April 2024 by Jordan Irvine.