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 known as Sugar Daddy and the Gumbo Roux. This was the peak of the “stagflation” period, when stagnating progress and skyrocketing costs have been wreaking havoc on the American financial system. The band collaborated with a singer named Earnest Jackson, who had written a music with lyrics that captured that period’s zeitgeist. The music was known as “Inflation.”
Sugar Daddy and Gumbo Roux recorded a demo of the music in 1975 at a well-known studio in New Orleans known as Sea-Saint Studios. The demo, nonetheless, was by no means launched. The band broke up. And the music disappeared. So did excessive inflation, after the US Federal Reserve hammered it down within the early Nineteen Eighties.
Quick ahead to 2021. “Inflation” is making a roaring comeback. And Kinny will get a textual content message from a good friend, Arthur Rouse. Kinny had given Arthur a cassette copy of “Inflation” many years earlier than. The surge in costs rekindled Arthur’s recollections of the music — and, it turned out, he nonetheless had the copy. Hastily this dusty recording had resonance once more.
That is when Kinny reached out to Planet Cash, and requested we do one thing with the music. After all, Planet Cash shouldn’t be within the enterprise of publishing information or selling musicians. We make podcasts. However we started to analyze the story behind the music and brainstorm what we may do with it.
Most of the members of Sugar Daddy and the Gumbo Roux went on to have strong careers within the music trade, enjoying in profitable bands, writing jingles, and scoring films. Essentially the most well-known member, Randy Jackson, went on to be a music govt and co-host of American Idol. However, sadly, regardless of his unimaginable expertise, Earnest Jackson (no relation to Randy) by no means made it. Even worse, he is felt burned, exploited, and solid apart by the music trade.
However now Planet Cash is making an attempt to vary all of that.
The creation of Planet Cash Information
As a result of we love Earnest Jackson — and we love his unimaginable music concerning the financial pattern of our occasions — 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 music and have become our personal report label. Planet Cash Information has the only function of releasing and selling Jackson’s “Inflation” music. The journey to create that label was a dizzying and intimidating leap into the unknown for us, and it gave us a novel alternative to discover the enterprise and economics of the music trade from the within.
In organising our personal report label, Planet Cash needed to keep away from the shady practices which can be all too widespread within the music enterprise. It is an trade the place artists commonly 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 realized that the standard report contract arms 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 totally different, which you’ll study in our sequence. You might determine 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 music. We even have hopes to create merchandise, plan a music tour, and determine how on earth to make this music well-liked. Within the coming months, we’re trying to discover subjects like how streaming has revolutionized the music trade, how payola works, and the way to manufacture a success.
We hope you may tune into our sequence. Maybe extra importantly, it’s best to try the music! “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 too sustain with us on TikTok and Instagram, and subscribe to our e-newsletter!