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Unspoken Terms

Feb 18, 2021

Casey is an entertainment and digital media law attorney who helps influencers and creative entrepreneurs who struggle with navigating the legal side of their businesses and brands, specifically as it relates to contracts. She prides herself on helping creatives negotiate fair deals with Fortune 500 companies and leading entertainment brands, all while helping them build legally sound businesses that are built for generational wealth and impact. Here on the podcast, she normally does that by sharing the stories of successful entrepreneurs and influencers to help you learn from their mistakes. But occasionally, like today, switches things up and highlights popular culture. 



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Key Takeaways


  • Handshake deals and verbal agreements are a hard no. There are numerous public receipts that attest to this fact. There is just too much room for miscommunication and misunderstanding. Don’t do it!


  • Understand manager’s commission
    1. Commission percentage (10-20%)
    2. Commissionable income
    3. Post-term commission (sunset clause)


  • It’s important to stay in sync with your manager and the creative process. 


Show Notes


[0:38] – Casey opens the episode by saying, welcome back!


[3:45] – Casey introduces the Chance the Rapper dispute.


[4:25] – A brief background of the dispute:


Chance the Rapper and his former manager are feuding in a high-profile dispute over the manager’s April 2020 firing in the wake of the Chicago hip-hop star’s disappointing album and concert ticket sales.

In a lawsuit filed in Illinois on Nov. 30, 2020, Pat Corcoran, the former manager, is suing the rapper for a breach of contract, alleging he is owed millions in management commissions and unreimbursed expenses.

In a statement, the legal team for Chance the Rapper, whose real name is Chancelor Bennett, said that “Mr. Corcoran has been paid all of the commissions to which he is legally entitled” and that “most of the complaint consists of self-serving and fabricated allegations.” 

The dispute is a surprise for many in the music business because of how closely Mr. Bennett and Mr. Corcoran have worked over the past decade to build the 27-year-old rapper’s reputation as one of the most famous and successful independent artists.


Related Article:


[7:06] – Some specifics of this case:


  • One of the central claims of Corcoran’s lawsuit is this one: “In or around June 2013, Corcoran and Bennett entered into an oral agreement pursuant to which Bennett promised to pay Corcoran fifteen percent (15%) of the net profits on all revenues generated by CTR, Cool Pop Merch and CTR Touring in exchange for Corcoran’s management service.”
  • Corcoran says that he is still owed for a number of unpaid commissions across Chance’s businesses that in total amount to more than $3 million. 
  • Corcoran claims he should legally be paid a 15% net income post-term commission from Chance’s recorded music, merch, and touring for three years after the point the manager’s contract was terminated (on April 27, 2020).
  • Pat Corcoran also claims that Chance the Rapper fired him and replaced him with his father Ken and brother Taylor Bennett due to “fan disappointment in Bennett’s most recent album [The Big Day] and underwhelming fan support for its associated tour.” Corcoran and Chance’s relationship apparently began to fissure when Chance, in February 2019, announced a July release date for his debut album. Corcoran expressed serious concern with the projected release date Bennett had unilaterally announced for the album. Corcoran knew that in view of the commitments Bennett had in early 2019—including his own wedding—it was likely there was not enough time for the creative process that was involved in releasing an album, and Corcoran advised Bennett in that regard. Corcoran opposed announcing the release of any album before the recording or writing process even began, let alone was substantially completed. Compounding the issue, Bennett’s recording efforts were compromised by unproductive and undisciplined studio sessions. Procrastination and lackadaisical effort, perpetuated by various hangers-on uninterested in the hard work of writing and recording, resulted in a freestyle-driven product of sub-par quality, a complete deviation from the meticulous writing process that brought Bennett fame for his wordplay and wit. Instead of acknowledging the numerous distractions and artistic compromises that inevitably resulted from the time wasted in the studio, all of which contributed to a lackluster album evidenced by historically low ticket sales, Bennett ultimately blamed Corcoran for the judgment rendered by his fan base rather than accept that his own lack of dedication had doomed the project.
  • Corcoran says he recommended Chance “step away from the public and regroup” instead of performing on Ellen, Good Morning America, and The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Corcoran claims that the TV appearances “only forced Bennett to publicly address his album’s shortcomings, rather than generate excitement about a newly-released album, which is what such appearances are calculated to do. These appearances served only to further exacerbate the failure of The Big Day.” 

Related Article:


[12:20] – Key Takeaways


  • Handshake deals and verbal agreements are a hard no. 
  • Understand your manager’s commission
  • It’s important to stay in sync with your manager and the creative process. 



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