16 Nov 2017
FCL vs Hannett - The final reckoning 
FCL vs Hannett - The final reckoning

Another day back in the cellar researching the AHW archives at the Museum of Science and Industry on Wednesday 15 November 2017 was very productive. Many thanks to Colin Torr for helping out. During this visit we targeted the legal documents from throughout the label's history plus a few other high value items.

On 19 July 1981, Tony Wilson wrote to Martin Hannett to explain how much money Factory owed the legendary producer who had fallen out with the label. Here is the full transcript of the letter:


Dear Martin,

I'm sorry it all had to end like this, but since this is the way you wish it then so be it . As of now Factory Communications Ltd ceases to exist. Efforts are being made even now to collect the totals of money remaining to you; obviously a little difficult with the FACT 40 outlay, but it seems that the approximate sum owed can be paid, probably within the week. It will clearly take some time for the accountants to come up with an exact figure, so to be going on with I have prepared a basic idea of the profits based on all records pressed by Factory between Jan 1st 1979 and July 17th 1981. You will remember that your share of the only record ever pressed before that date was in fact paid to you in the following year. Since many of the records which will fall into this pressing account have not yet been sold, the figure, though approximate, is also optimistic, but then why not be optimistic. Lets get down to figures.

For now we shall have to approximate running costs (bank charges, accountancy, legal fees, phone bills and all non record expenses) at a round figure of £10,000. This leaves from the period to FACT 25:

FAC 13(7)
FAC 13(12)
FAC 23
FAC 23(12)
FAC 22
55,000(due to excess stock)

£160,600 of which your 20% is 32,120. I remind you that this is an approximate figure and may bear no relation to the final sum. In fact in my final calculations I don't think I have taken into account Factory's special J.D. deal, anyway it gives you a fair not to say generous idea. For the period after 25 there is only the ACR album which has sold around 15, 000 over the profit line making £9,750 and FAC 33 twelve inch. The stop (dead stop) in sales at 70,000 of the 7” after the chart rush made us press 150,000 has left no profit on the 7”, but then single profits are irrelevant anyway to the big album sales. For the 12” which has sold 25,000 we are looking at approx £5,000. 23.75% of £14,750 is £3,503.12. This would make your total earnings in your time as Factory director and partner as 35,623 which after subtracting the £6,000 already taken out leaves you with £29,623. This is significantly higher than I had got in my original workings, which is nice, cause I've earned the same amount as you so I feel pretty good, but I think it is a rather hesitant figure and I would not like you to feel it is sacrosanct. Until the accountant does the full monte on the accounts we would like to give you £25,000 with the remnant payable within four weeks if the accountant can manage it. I worked out what you would have made on a producers rate for the 261,000 albums 260,000 singles and 60,000 12”s and it comes to £23,970 which would leave you owed £18,000. In case you were interested.

As for any future sales of work done by you, either of back catalogue of of 40, 45, 50 in so much as certain parts were produced by you, in similar proportion you will be paid 2% of RRP less VAT as is usual, or if the mean average of your last three non-Factory contracts have a higher points base then we will honour that figure. As to your 23.75% of the company, the company of course ceases to exist and from tomorrow morning will become entirely worthless. According to the "Ian Adams" SPECIAL contract signed with Joy Division in 1980 and ACR AND DCOL later that same year, those three bands (the only ones whose tapes are worth anything,) have withdrawn all their work from Factory Records (AH Wilson trading as) and also FCL. Clearly as stated above you will be paid on a simple producers work rate for those records future sales. Seems pretty straightforward. Bye.


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Blogger iainkey said...

Love the line "the only ones whose tapes are worth anything" - can imagine Tony saying that, but with a 'f**king' thrown in for good measure too

17/11/2017, 06:39

Blogger Unknown said...

What a sorry end to an historic time in British music history. Ironic that money is the theme here rather than art and creativity. Factory a financial disaster, but unquestionable musical legacy.

18/11/2017, 10:20


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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

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