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We began a report label to study in regards to the music enterprise : Planet Cash : NPR


Text reading "Planet Money Records: The Inflation Song"
Text reading "Planet Money Records: The Inflation Song"

Earlier this 12 months, a musician named Kinny Landrum despatched Planet Cash an e mail, and he made an uncommon proposal.

Again within the Seventies, Kinny defined, he was the keyboardist for an instrumental funk band referred to as Sugar Daddy and the Gumbo Roux. This was the peak of the “stagflation” period, when stagnating progress and skyrocketing costs had been wreaking havoc on the American financial system. The band collaborated with a singer named Earnest Jackson, who had written a track with lyrics that captured that period’s zeitgeist. The track was referred to as “Inflation.”

Sugar Daddy and Gumbo Roux recorded a demo of the track in 1975 at a well-known studio in New Orleans referred to as Sea-Saint Studios. The demo, nonetheless, was by no means launched. The band broke up. And the track disappeared. So did excessive inflation, after the US Federal Reserve hammered it down within the early Eighties.

Quick ahead to 2021. “Inflation” is making a roaring comeback. And Kinny will get a textual content message from a buddy, Arthur Rouse. Kinny had given Arthur a cassette copy of “Inflation” a long time earlier than. The surge in costs rekindled Arthur’s reminiscences of the track — and, it turned out, he nonetheless had the copy. Swiftly this dusty recording had resonance once more.

That is when Kinny reached out to Planet Cash, and requested we do one thing with the track. After all, Planet Cash isn’t within the enterprise of publishing data or selling musicians. We make podcasts. However we started to analyze the story behind the track and brainstorm what we might do with it.

A cassette tape sits on top of its case, which reads "Sugar Daddy & The Gumbo Roux."
A cassette tape sits on top of its case, which reads "Sugar Daddy & The Gumbo Roux."

Most of the members of Sugar Daddy and the Gumbo Roux went on to have strong careers within the music trade, taking part in in profitable bands, writing jingles, and scoring motion pictures. Essentially the most well-known member, Randy Jackson, went on to be a music government and co-host of American Idol. However, sadly, regardless of his unbelievable expertise, Earnest Jackson (no relation to Randy) by no means made it. Even worse, he is felt burned, exploited, and forged apart by the music trade.

However now Planet Cash is attempting to alter all of that.

Earnest Jackson recorded his song "Inflation" in 1975, and never released it. He never got to hear "Inflation" on the radio. That's about to change.
Earnest Jackson recorded his song "Inflation" in 1975, and never released it. He never got to hear "Inflation" on the radio. That's about to change.

The creation of Planet Cash Information

As a result of we love Earnest Jackson — and we love his unbelievable track in regards to the financial pattern of our instances — Planet Cash has determined to again him (and the band) to attempt to proper the wrongs, and provides him his shot at stardom.

To make this occur, we licensed the track and have become our personal report label. Planet Cash Information has the only goal of releasing and selling Jackson’s “Inflation” track. The journey to create that label was a dizzying and intimidating leap into the unknown for us, and it gave us a singular alternative to discover the enterprise and economics of the music trade from the within.

The Planet Money Records logo, the letters 'PM' surrounded by rings resembling a vinyl record or moons orbiting a planet.
The Planet Money Records logo, the letters 'PM' surrounded by rings resembling a vinyl record or moons orbiting a planet.

In establishing our personal report label, Planet Cash needed to keep away from the shady practices which might be all too widespread within the music enterprise. It is an trade the place artists often get pennies on the greenback for the songs they create. That has at all times been the case, however the loss of life of bodily report gross sales and the rise of digital streaming has solely made issues worse for musicians.

We discovered that the standard report contract palms solely about 20 p.c of earnings to the artist and the opposite 80 p.c to the label. We determined to do one thing radically completely different, which you’ll be able to study in our sequence. You could resolve we made a horrible enterprise choice, however, to be truthful, we’re not within the music enterprise!

After all, it wasn’t sufficient to license Earnest Jackson’s track. We even have hopes to create merchandise, plan a music tour, and determine how on earth to make this track standard. Within the coming months, we’re seeking to discover matters like how streaming has revolutionized the music trade, how payola works, and easy methods to manufacture a success.

We hope you will tune into our sequence. Maybe extra importantly, it is best to take a look at the track! “Inflation” is a throwback funk tune that speaks to the present state of the worldwide financial system. Yow will discover it on Spotify and Apple Music.

Greg Rosalsky, Sam Yellowhorse Kesler and Arielle Retting contributed to this story.

Planet Cash explains the financial forces that form our lives. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. You can even sustain with us on TikTok and Instagram, and subscribe to our e-newsletter!

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