A 360 deal is an exclusive artist agreement which grants a music industry company (e.g. record label, management company) rights to an increased number of an artist’s revenue streams, often including digital sales, tours and concerts, merchandise, endorsements, appearances in movies or television, publishing, songwriting, and even ringtone sales. In exchange for this, the artist receives additional services not provided with a traditional record deal (e.g. advances, financial support, marketing, promotion, touring, etc.).
Many major labels have turned to 360 deals in light of the drastic drop in music sales over the last few decades. Not surprisingly, there is a fair amount of controversy surrounding 360 deals, as many in the industry view the control of an artist’s entire “brand” as overzealous. Nevertheless, it seems that for the time being, 360 deals are here to stay, as labels and management companies claim that this agreement allows them to focus on fully developing an artist, rather than just seek to cash out after one big hit.