Getting ripped off by your manager is a fundamental and shameful part of Rock ‘n’ Roll history for many musicians. Add Sly Stone to the list. Beginning in 1976, he started signing his rights away to people he trusted. A jury has just decided that several of those trusted people stole at least $5 million from him. For 20 years, Sly Stone’s people captured his royalties and told him they were sent to the IRS for back taxes. If you “Dance[d] to the Music”, he never saw the money – instead, he lived in a van. Seriously.

Moral of the story? Trust no one  – no one – to act as you. Read everything. If you don’t understand something major, get someone to read it for you and explain it to you before you sign it. And, periodically, check up on people, even the ones you love.

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