A journey between heaven hell rita guerra
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A journey between heaven & hell Rita Guerra. hOW Thirty seconds to mars almost ended. End of the beginning. “ Despite rumors to the contrary, 30 Seconds to Mars is NOT calling it quits .   ” Jared Leto , August 17, 2008. End of the beginning.

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A journey between heaven hell rita guerra

A journey between heaven & hell

Rita Guerra

hOW Thirty seconds to mars almost ended

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning

End of the beginning

“Despite rumors to the contrary, 30 Seconds to Mars is NOT calling it quits.  ”

Jared Leto, August 17, 2008

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning1

End of the beginning

  • 30 Seconds To Mars formed in 1998, a creation of Jared Leto and Shannon Leto. They scored a record deal the next year, 1999, with Immortal Records.

  • Let’s bear in mind what kind of world this was: record companies had enjoyed decades of incredible profits, both with vinyl and CD. The revolution of the internet was yet to be felt in their business model. This was before the dot-com bubble burst. This was before Bush. Before 9/11

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning2

End of the beginning

  • Mars agreed to deliver 3 of the 5 albums required as part of a 9 year deal. We all know that didn’t happen: the first record, that was supposed to be called “Welcome to the Universe” but ended up self titled, was released in August 2002.

  • Alternative and somewhat aggressive, the album didn’t have stellar sales. MTV refused to play their videos

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning3

End of the beginning

  • Enter the Echelon. A street team that spread the word about the band,dragged people into their concerts, telephoned radio stations asking them to play Mars and handed out flyers in the streets. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube. Blogs were the hottest thing back then

  • In 2003, Tomo Milicevic joined the band as Solon Bixler dropped out

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning4

End of the beginning

  • By 2004, Jared had filmed “Alexander” and the band had been on the road. They went back to the studio and recorded “A Beautiful Lie”, the album that would define their career. Released in 2005, it took them one full year to get serious airplay.

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning5

End of the beginning

  • They almost gave up. But “The Kill” pretty much saved the band, winning several awards and helping boost the sales of ABL, which are currently above 4 million.

  • By that time, Virgin had taken over the contract they had signed with the now extinct Immortal Records. The people who bet on the Leto brothers were, essentially, gone

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning6

End of the beginning

In the next couple of years, the band toured. In 2007, Jared almost killed himself by gaining 60pounds to embody John Lennon’s killer on “Chapter 27”.

His health never recovered fully.

~

By Summer 2008, Jared and Shannon exercised their right to terminate the contract with Virgin, which was owned by EMI.

The record company sued

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning7

End of the beginning

“If you think the fact that we have sold in excess of 2 million records and have never been paid a penny is pretty unbelievable, well, so do we. 

And the fact that EMI informed us that

not only aren't they going to pay us AT ALL

but that we are still 1.4 million dollars in debt

to them is even crazier. ”

Jared Leto, August 17th 2008

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning8

End of the beginning

  • EMI sued 30 Seconds to Mars for breach of contract. According to the suit, the band failed to deliver the 3 albums they were supposed to release. EMI asked for 30 million dollars in damages

  • Everything about a record, a tour, promotional appearences and other expenses is billed to the band. They need to pay for EVERYTHING before they can start making money. In Mars case, they never did.

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning9

End of the beginning

“Most record deals state that all expenses are recoupable against artists' royalties. Every limo taken, every flight and hotel room, production costs of MTV Awards performances (they're usually paid for by the artist/label), as well as advertising and tour costs - it all adds up, and it's all recoupable.”

HelienneLindvall, professional songwriter and musician,

commenting on the lawsuit against Mars in “The Guardian”, August 2008

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning10

End of the beginning

  • Mars counter-sued. They defended themselves via California Labor Code Sec. 2855, which states that a contract cannot be enforced against an employee after seven years. The band had been under the original contract for 9 years.

  • This section has been used by the likes of Metallica and Courtney Love to get out of deals or renegotiate them. It was created in 1937 and is known as the “de Havilland law”, after actress Olivia de Havilland destroyed her career trying to get out of her oppressive studio contract

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning11

End of the beginning

“We would never consider stopping this just yet. These past few phenomenal years have been beyond imaginable and we owe every single bit of it to you. ”

  • In spite of what Jared wrote that August day to calm the fans, the journey could have ended. What if they went to court and battled for years? What if EMI won? How would they pay 30 million dollars in damages?

  • Before the suit, EMI told the band that the next record, already being worked on, would be used to pay off whatever debt remained (1.4 million dollars)

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning12

End of the beginning

  • Artifact was shot during this time. Jared wanted to document not only the struggles of the legal battle, but also the making of the third album.

  • “This is War” was recorded in Jared’s

    basement, independently, as the band

    fought the law suit. It was a journey close to insanity.

    Mark Ellis, the british producer, came to help

  • Representatives from the equity that owned EMI tried to prevent the filming of “Artifact” and recording of “This is War”

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning13

End of the beginning

At one point, in “Artifact”, Jared is playing a tune on the piano. He sighs.

“They own everything”...

“They own everything”…

“They own everything”…

EMI legally controlled their lives and their music.

And they hadn’t seen a penny out of their work.

And they were being sued for 30 million dollars.

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning14

End of the beginning

  • There are a number of reasons why they wanted to get rid of Virgin/EMI and it got so hard to deal with the once amicable business partners.

  • a) EMI was bought for $6,4 billion in August 2007 by Terra Firma Capital Partners, a private equity firm run by Guy Hands. Not savvy about the business, he fired long-term staff members. Over 2000 employees were gone. “There is not a single employee at Virgin records who was working at the company when we signed”, Jared noted

  • b) The band thought the so-called debt was a “strange scenario”. They couldn’t believe that million of albums later they were still in debt

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning15

End of the beginning

  • “The age-old battle between art and commerce”, as Jared describes it in Artifact, also depicts very naïve artists who learned a lot through all this process. Jared did not want to give up. And also did not want to compromise. But he had to.

  • The band proposed a meeting with the record company to try to solve things out of court.

  • They waited days and nights for an answer that wasn’t coming. That desperation alone would be enough to write a whole new album

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning16

End of the beginning

  • If they had pursued the lawsuits and went into court, we would probably be here today to remember a band we once loved and was gone.

  • But the answer came, and both Jared and the label found their way into the negotiating table.

  • The end of the lawsuit was announced in April 2009, 8 months after its inception. “This is War” was practically finished and they decided they still needed a label to release it. Eventually, they inked a new deal.

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning17

End of the beginning

“It was a long battle, and the time came for the fight to end. We’re certainly not experts at this. This certainly was the first time we had been sued for $30 million, and the first time we ever really had a battle with a business partner. We’re not a group of fighters. It certainly is not fun being in litigation. I would avoid it at all costs.“

Jared Leto, April 29th 2009, LA Times

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning18

End of the beginning

  • “Can a band sell 20 million records without a label?” The question answers itself. Possible, but hard. And what then? Is the internet enough to sustain a big band without the power of a label?

  • “Independence is a life commitment. It would be my job 24/7”, Jared told Shannon when considering going independent. They had to stick with EMI, the same company that tried to destroy them.

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning19

End of the beginning

SOLD MY SOUL

to heaven and to hell

SICK AS MY sECRETS

but never gonna tell

A million little pieces...

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning20

End of the beginning

“We fought and we made peace. There’s a time to go to war and a time to make peace and this was the most challenging creative and business experience in our lives and this is a film about that.”

Without this lawsuit, we wouldn’t have the badassness and fierceness of “This is War”

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


End of the beginning21

End of the beginning

No concret details of the deal with EMI were disclosed. “This is War” was released in December 2009 and has been the most successful album of the band’s career so far.

The band embarqued on a gigantic tour to promote the album, with several legs, that lasted for 2 years. They played 309 shows, got into the Guiness Book of World Records

Some speculation has risen as to whether this insane schedule had anything to do with the debt or the terms of the new contract

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


Welcome to the universe

Welcome to the Universe

A lot of people don’t understand why Bartholomew Cubbins is suddenly merch material

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


Welcome to the universe1

Welcome to the Universe

A lot of people don’t understand why Jared would draw funny ghosts and sell them

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


Welcome to the universe2

Welcome to the Universe

A lot of people don’t understand the concept of VyRT and say that there are streaming channels for free

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


Welcome to the universe3

Welcome to the Universe

  • The Hive, Golden Tickets (now Adventures in Wonderland) and VyRT are businesses created and owned by Jared Leto.

  • A lot of people cried out when The Hive started supported other bands, like Precious Weapons

  • A lot of people were furious about Golden Tickets prices, stating that the band always met fans for free

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


Welcome to the universe4

Welcome to the Universe

GUESS WHAT

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


Welcome to the universe5

Welcome to the Universe

No record company can put their greedy hands there

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


Welcome to the universe6

Welcome to the Universe

A band is a labour of love, but it is also a business. Mars learned that the hard way. Even though there are millions of fans around the world, that support has not been translated into sales. There is a reason why Jared keeps acting.

Everytime an Echelon buys a CD, a concert ticket or a tshirt, and refuses to ilegally download Mars content, they are helping the band that they love to survive

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


How thirty seconds to mars almost ended

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


Provehito in altum

Provehito in Altum

Thank you

and have a great ECHELON CONFERENCE 2013!

Echelon Conference: The Gathering London 2013


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