Glickman/Marks Casablanca Contract Proposal, 1976

Glickman/Marks Management Corporation, namely Carl D. Glickman and Howard L. Marks, formally became Kiss’s business managers in May 1976, with the members of the group and assigning them general power of attorney to act on behalf of themselves and the Kiss partnership. Specifically, they were granted control on behalf of the group, investments and banking, insurance, record keeping, and business operating transactions. They were permitted unrestrained financial activity for transactions up to $100,000 (equivalent to more than $500,000 in 2023) but were to communicate accounts to the partnership’s legal representation.

By that time, the members of Kiss had signed directly with Casablanca Records, Inc., per a renegotiated contract dated May 1, 1975. Since it pre-dated the explosion of the band’s success following Alive!, it was an opportune time for the partnership to look at professionalizing many aspects of their business. One of the earliest steps taken was the wholesale reorganization of staging for the Destroyer tour. Many of the old crew were jettisoned, as Kiss moved on from the homebrew ethos which they’d hitherto deployed on the road. The Destroyer tour was also analyzed to determine savings and avenues of revenue exploitation, which generally defined the model for the group’s touring for the remainder of the ’70s.

The contract with Casablanca was the most pressing item, though it would remain under negotiation before the new agreement was signed Jan. 1, 1977. The first section of the June 21 memo suggests G/M wanted a five-year deal. The term of the 1975 contract had been 1 year, with three additional one-year options following the conclusion of the initial period. The group agreed to deliver 2 albums comprised of 25-50 minutes of studio recordings during the initial period, with two albums per first two option years, and one album in the final option year, thus a four-year, seven album deal. The 1977 contract was for 30 months with a single 30-month option, giving the group at least half the period of security they were looking for (more so in a sense, considering the solo album definition). The group agreed to deliver 5 studio albums of the same length as the 1975 agreement during the initial period. The agreement was also in line with the two albums per year they wanted, but Casablanca scotched the idea that the number could include live releases. The label also explicitly defined the release of any compilation, should Kiss miss defined delivery dates. Where G/M wanted a $250,000 signing bonus and non-refundable advances of $1,000,000 and rising from the first year, Casablanca instead agreed to $500,000 advance per album payable via $15,000 weekly payments. Either way, it was a staggering increase on the $15,000 per album for the first two releases under the 1975 contract.

Glickman/Marks recommended Casablanca be responsible for recording costs of up to $50,000 per album, or $5,000 per single, cash, linked with a cost-of-living increase), an increase from the $40,000 defined in 1975. While not explicitly defined in the 1977 contract, the figure was agreed (validated through the 1977 agreement that Casablanca and the group split the difference when Love Gun went over budget). G/M also wanted a $1,000,000 guarantee for advertising and promotion plus a yearly fee of $36,000 for PR. The PR fee was negotiated down by a third and advertising demand was split into $350,000 per album for group’s advertising designee and guarantee that Casablanca would also expend an additional $150,000 per album. Critically, these payments were not deemed recoupable against royalties, whereas the advance paid for each album was. As a result, G/M received what they wanted but only had direct control of 70% of the funds.

Notable changes to the 1975 contract start with the royalty rate, which was 12% on 1-249,999 units, and 13% for full royalty-bearing status. G/M wanted the full royalty-bearing sales level reduced to 199,999 units and the base royalty raised 2%. From that sales level, the royalty would increase according to performance, reaching 20% for 1,000,000 and above sales. A negotiated rate of 17%, backdated to Nov. 1, 1976, would be agreed. G/M also wanted defined for packaging deductions at $0.55 per single-fold album, $1 for a gatefold, and $0.85 per tape. The 1977 contract generally agreed with these container charges though adjusted to $0.50 per single-fold, $0.75 for a double-fold with single LP or $0.85 with two, and the tape deduction. The interest in this charge was that the sum was deducted from the suggested retail rate of an album prior to artist royalty calculation. G/M didn’t get what they wanted for LPs and the 1975 levels remained, with tapes lowered by $0.15.

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