The Mismanagement of TLC: A Cautionary Tale

Like millions of other viewers, you probably watched the movie, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, about the R&B group TLC a year or so ago.  And you have probably heard how they are now using a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for their final album. The biopic documented the rise and fall of the group and became the highest-rated original cable movie of 2013.  The focus of the film was on the characters and the hardships they faced, but there was a major lesson to be learned for any new artist seeking to break out into the recording industry.

One of the low points of their journey included the group declaring bankruptcy in the mid ‘90s.  TLC was signed and managed by L.A. Reid, of LaFace Records, and Perri “Pebbles” Reid.  The movie describes the duo taking advantage of the group by manipulating, not educating, the group about the contract they pressured them to sign.  This was a critical moment in their career.  TLC should’ve asked for counsel before signing their contracts. But they were probably worried that they would be passed over.  Pebbles started the group out with a weekly $25 stipend while developing the group.  The group endured long hours and exhaustive schedules preparing for a successful break into the music industry.  It all paid off when the group’s debut album went quadruple platinum.  The group was excited to be successful but they were depressed about not seeing the fruits of their labor monetarily.  They eventually dropped Pebbles are their manager, but stayed locked into their recording contract with the couple’s label.

After reaching 11x platinum status with their next album, but overwhelmed in debt, the group decided it was finally time to take control of their own career.  Left Eye describes how a multimillion-dollar selling R&B group can go broke below.

We encourage anyone seeking to be a part of the music industry to learn EVERYTHING they can about the business first as it’s vital to your potential success.  Please get legal counsel and call on the advice of mentors already a part of the industry.  The story of TLC is a great study for new artists and seasoned artists.  Learn from their mistakes.


UPDATE: TLC is releasing that final album this summer... hopefully... probably... well, maybe.