As the winner of the competition, Fostanes will be paid a monthly salary of NIS 5,000 ($1,400) for a year and a half, not including any revenue from music sales and personal performances. Those close to Fostanes say the money was a key factor in her decision to give up her job as a caregiver and make music her full-time career.
But she is the only one of the X-Factor Israel alumni to get a fixed salary from the show – sources close to the show say, this perk was given because of the network's insistence.
Other X-Factor alumni are entitled to less favorable management and employments conditions. Sources in the Israeli music industry were displeased by the terms of the contracts Ynet showed them. Even the participants expressed discontent on the contractual terms limiting their actions.
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The contract determined that "Aroma Music" is entitled to half of all the profits originating from the musical work of the artist – a significant slice, according to industry sources, but not a rare ratio. Definitely not for an emerging artist, they emphasized.
"It's a game of Russian roulette for the company, because an emerging artist costs a lot of money," a senior source in the industry told Ynet. "They invested money in artists that may not succeed, so for the first stage it's acceptable. But when the artist begins to make it, he needs to sit with the management and reopen the contract – it makes no sense they'd take half of his earning away."
Another source told Ynet that "the standard in the music industry is a commission of 10 to 40 percent. It's unclear why they allow themselves to charge 50 percent."
"Successful artists pay 20 percent commission," told a separate source to Ynet. "Fifty percent is not acceptable in the market, but today the industry is not in good shape and no one is willing to take a risk."
The source explained, "The artist prefers to accept this contract than to have someone's cousin come to manage him and to trick him out of his earnings."
Even the possibility of receiving these undesirable terms, whether they are fair or not, is not a given for these artists. The contract stipulates that "Aroma Music" has one month after the broadcast ends to decide if they are interested in representing the artists.
An industry lawyer claims the month delay is not fair to the artists who can use the back-wind from the show's appearance to perform and earn good wages. However, an artists' agency claimed one month is a reasonable period for a company to decide on taking on a client.
Industry insiders dish
A senior source in the music industry said that the artists the company really wanted had already been signed: "Eden Ben Zaken, the Carakukli sisters, and Rose – subject to her visa being approved."
Three X-Factor alumni are still waiting on an answer from the company. Several have even closed paying gigs, but cannot perform until they receive an answer from "Aroma Music."
If they perform today, they would need to fulfill the letter of the contract and pay 50 percent of their earnings to a company that hasn’t even expressed an interest in representing them.
The clause in the contract which drew the sharpest condemnation from industry sources treated the new artists' intellectual property, which according to the contract belongs solely to "Aroma Music."
"They can't take the intellectual property away from the artists, the artists is supposed to receive compensation from the Composers and Authors Society without any relation to this contract," said a senior industry source.
Nevertheless, most industry sources Ynet spoke to agree the contract is reasonable: on one hand it is beneficial to emerging artists, on the other it "sort of stinks, even if it doesn't illegally strong-arm the artist."
"Aroma Music" is owned by Benny Menashe, Michal Weisberg, and Aroma Israel. It manages and produces famous Israeli artists like Aviv Gefen, Archadi Duchin, Rami Kleinstein, and Shlomi Shabbat.
The company responded to the article, saying "the contract signed by the participating artists is the contract written in conjunction with the global corporation that owns the format of the show, and reflects the standard contracts given emerging artists in Israel and abroad.:
The company's statement rejected the assertion that the artists were left to await their fate: "A number of days after the show we informed the relevant artists of our wish to work with them, and the rest will be released in the coming days."
Addressing the intellectual property issue, the company said "it applied only to the recordings produced and financed by us – which is customary among record companies."