One of the purposes of this site is to share with you my experience, specifically as an artist in the music industry. Part of this music business, as in life, is dealing with scammers and con-artists that try to take advantage of musicians that don’t possess knowledge of contracts and business in general. That’s why Banski’s here – to test the waters and report back! Let me tell you about the Nu-Ricks LLC scam I recently encountered.
I was contacted on facebook by a username: “Sha Rk Citty”, via messaging to my FB music page, https://www.facebook.com/BanskiHipHop/, asking if I was available to perform at local shows in Oakland and Sacramento. Of course, I said, YES. A couple of days later, he asked for my number. Then one Saturday, I received a call from some guy named Nick Ulleseit, owner of Nu-Ricks, LLC. Now, the first red flag was that he asked me, “So, how did you hear about us?” (red flag #1) To myself I thought, “muthafucka, how the fuck did you get my number?” I played it cool, and responded, “Oh, some guy name Sha Rk City contacted me. And asked if I can perform at your shows…” He tells me that Sha Rk Citty is one of their “affiliates”, but in retrospect as I look back on their FB page, every single one of their posts is promoting Nu-Ricks shows, which tells me, it’s the same piece of shit scammer of a person, Nick, I’m talking to. I should have realized right then and there that this guy’s scamming me, but alas, I am a rapper with a dream, so I live it.
I made it clear to him that I’m not the type of artist that pre-pays to be in a show. He assured me he does not charge artists to perform. He replied saying they’ll give me 50 tix and all they do is ask that I sell at least 20 tickets at $25/ea., and I’d be able to sell the remainder of tix and keep the cash made. I asked him, “What would happen, if for whatever reason, I’m unable to sell or meet the quota of tickets he asked me to sell?” Although I know I would, I needed to understand all terms and details of this deal I’m entering into. He replied with the half-ass answer of: “we would hope that you would be able to sell at least 20 tickets.” This response leads me to believe that there’s no consequences if their ticket quota wasn’t met, and they would be okay with me selling whatever tickets I could, if that were the case. Although, I didn’t call him on it at the moment, he never actually answered my question. (red flag #2)
So after revealing he doesn’t know how the fuck I got on his call list, he proceeds to tell me that his company meets with all “the artists” to kind of “meet/greet” and asks my availability to meet him in San Jose or Oakland. We arrange for a Saturday meeting in Oakland and hang up. He sent me a promotional JPEG poster of the show with Keak da Sneak headliner pic, and just added my name to it, but I was later told there’s never an official flier/poster to use for the show. Now, at first, I was stoked because I love performing live. I made the huge mistake of jumping the gun, and promoting the show to my fan base too early. There was this uneasy feeling in my gut that I couldn’t ignore.
On the phone call, he mentioned to bring my I.D. to the meeting, which immediately told me he intended to sign some kind of contract. But keep in mind, he didn’t mention not one word about a contract on the phone. My uneasiness led me to research on who Nu-Ricks is, and promoter scams and normal concert practices in general. I googled “nu ricks llc reviews” and found 11 google reviews to read. There were 4 five star reviews by, Nu-Ricks themselves, Nick, Shark City, and his partner Brian Ricks patting themselves on the back. There was also 3 one star reviews by real people that have worked with Nu-Ricks. These negative reviews revealed that some artists don’t get to perform because promoters overbook shows, shows were canceled without actually informing the artist involved until a day before the event, after a large amount of tickets were already sold. One review tells us that Nu-Ricks “rakes in random artists and also doesn’t mention that the promoter himself performs at these shows.” And yet another revealed that their event was overbooked and disorganized. (red flag #3)
I also learned that in normal concerts, the artist’s representative is the one that sends the contract to the promoter, both reach an agreement on price based on venue capacity, how many openers, ticket price, promoter’s engagement in actual promotion of the show, etc., and then they finally sign the contract to seal the deal. I later called Nick and asked about these factors that go into deciding how much respectable artists get paid for a show. He told me that they generally have 6-8 openers for their shows, and as for the promotion, he said that’s their “secret sauce”, so he couldn’t tell me what they do for promotion. (red flag # 4) My research continued by friending people on Facebook that were artists who had performed in these shows and messaging them, asking specific questions about their experience working with Nu-Ricks. I asked Justin Brown, an artist that has been involved in multiple Nu-Ricks shows, how many openers performed at his shows, to which he responded: “Sometimes 15-20. I haven’t done a show through them in which it had one main artist and 3-4 openers.” Another artist responded to the same question with “there’s usually like 10-15.” Now, multiple people are saying its more than “6-8 openers” at each show, as scammer Nick loves to tell artists. (red flag #5)
After hearing feedback from other artists involved, my gut feeling only increased and continued to tell me this was going to be a business move I’d regret. My time is valuable, and I don’t want to waste it. I didn’t want all my friends and family to show up to an unorganized shit show and waste their money and time too, at the expense of my name, brand, and reputation. I want my fans to have an amazing experience when they come to my live shows. But I also want to be a man of my word, and I had already told my people I was going to do perform at this show. So after muddling this over for a couple days, I decided I didn’t want to let my fans down. I had already promoted the show, so I was going to follow through with this even though I had a bad feeling about it, under one condition: there was no funny business in the contract, a contract he hadn’t mentioned yet, but one that I expected him to present at the meeting. The Thursday before our Saturday meeting, Nick called to confirm our meeting and informed me that we’ll now be meeting in San Jose, not Oakland. Even though he emailed me specifically with an Oakland address and I thanked him for accommodating to meet closer to me in Oakland vs. San Jose, to which he replied “no problem”. (red flag #6)
On Friday, a day before the meeting where I would have spent over two hours driving to San Jose to meet him in order to discuss an unspecified agenda, I texted Nick and asked him to “please email me today, any contract you would like me to sign so my team and I can properly review it.” I should have also asked him to provide me with an agenda of the meeting so we can both make the most of our valuable time. A few minutes later, he called me. On the phone, all of a sudden, Nick was understanding and empathetic of the distance I’d have to travel, explaining “he doesn’t normally do this”(LMFAO), but he is now willing to email me the contract via Docusign, and I would no longer have to travel all the way to San Jose just to meet him. Because apparently, the entire purpose of the meeting was to sign a contract. He said he can ship the tickets and “show materials” to my mailing address.
Once I had the contract in my inbox, I skimmed through and immediately saw the deal breaker: a guarantee that I would owe the promoter $500 the day before the show, no matter what, no matter how many tickets I sold. It stated I was now getting 40 tickets, instead of 50, which means less profit I could potentially make on the backend. It also stated that even if I call Nick and tell him that it’s canceled and tell him I no longer want to be in the show, I’d still owe him because I didn’t notify him in writing, according to the contract. Not only if I don’t do it by writing will I still owe $500, if it’s more than only 5 days after I sign the contract, I still owe this scumbag $500, according to his contract. Even if I returned all the tickets. And just to make sure you know they mean business, the contract states they WILL, not may, they WILL sue me, or take me to collections. When was he planning on telling me all of this? After I’m tired and mentally exhausted from driving 2 hours to meet with him? (red flag#7,8,9)
Nu-Ricks expects the money the day before the show which is the same thing as me pre-paying for tickets, which is exactly one of the first questions that I asked him about when we had our first conversation, and I made it clear, I’m not the one that would pre-pay to be in a show. I ended up calling him and asking him if he’d be willing to contract with more agreeable terms where we receive 50/50- split profit on each ticket I sell. I thought that’d be pretty fair. Nick didn’t think so. On that note, I proceeded to let him know that I couldn’t responsibly agree to these terms for the reasons I’ve listed in this article. I ended on the note that it’s not even the terms of the contract that bother me the most, but the fact that he lied to me, misrepresented the situation, and didn’t tell me the terms upfront when I asked. Shortly after telling him he wasted my fuckin time, he hung up on me. I’m sure there’s plenty of unwitting artists that have gotten caught up in these guys’ bullshit and ended up hesitantly signing a contract that would legally bind them to a $500 liability. That’s an expensive lesson to learn.
I had to document this experience here on the site just in case other artists out there that have been contacted by Nu-Ricks LLC and want to research Nu-Ricks LLC, might be able to find this article and learn that you’re pretty much purchasing a, according the contract, maximum, 10 minute opener slot for $500. Sure there’s a possibility to make some extra dollars, maybe. If I have to sell a certain number of tickets and turn over that profit, I’d have to be working and hustling my close friends and family for their money, and putting that money directly into the promoter’s pocket. But as an artist, I’m working when I perform on stage. And I’m okay with working for free. But ain’t no fuckin way I’m going to pay a promoter $500 just so I can work for free.