To preface this blog post, I understand very little of soccer but I do keep up with Kardashians. Howevers the parallels between the transfer market in soccer and the current plight of Kesha have intrigued me to explore further.
So what is going on with Kesha?
Kesha Rose Sebert, previously known to the world as Ke$ha, filed a lawsuit in October 2014 to void her contract with Dr. Luke. The contract she had originally signed prevented Kesha from recording and publishing music outside of Kemosabe Records, a subset of Sony run exclusively by Dr. Luke. In her lawsuit, Kesha accuses Dr. Luke of sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse over the past 10 years. Following the filing of Kesha’s lawsuit, Dr. Luke filed his own accusing Kesha of defamation and breach of contract. Last week in a New York court an injunction that would have allowed Kesha to record outside of Sony and without Dr. Luke as her producer was denied.
And what is a transfer?
Basically, when a player enters into professional soccer he or she signs their name to a team. By signing into this contract the player also enters the transfer market. The idea behind the transfer market is to put the best players on the best teams. But this of course does not always happen. Sometimes a player will not want to move because they like the team they are on, sometimes they are being paid too high a salary to move, sometimes the team they are on does not want to sell them. There are a multitude of reasons why a player may or may not move that are not limited to their relative skill. In 2002, transfers were been limited to two seasons, summer (July 1st—August 31st) and winter (January 1st—31st). The mechanics behind a transfer are simple: Club A has a player Club B wants, Club A and Club B come to an agreement on price, Club B and the player come to an agreement on salary, the player signs with Club B. Nowadays many players have these transfer prices pre-agreed as part of their original contract. It seems relatively simple but the reality of transfers is anything but. It can take months to come to an agreement and the transfer payments can take years to pay off. This is not including the added complication of signing bonuses, designed to get a player to leave, and loyalty bonuses, designed to get a player to stay, and selling-on fees and buying-back fees. To top it off there are also loans, non-permanent transfers which can last anywhere from weeks to seasons and function to keep a player technically in one club while they play for another. Also, transfers and loans only apply while a player is still under contract. Once that contract has expired the player is free to move how they want.
Now how are these two connected?
What struck me about these two cases is that the player or artist can have little to no say. In soccer, if you signed with a club and they want to keep you, all they have to do is up your transfer fee to a point no one else wants to touch you—Lionel Messi. Similarly, Kesha is unable to get out of her contract with her alleged abuser. Basically, it is the organizations that have the final say, not the people those decisions impact. While this protects the rights of the companies, it invariably causes harm to the players and popstars.
 Johnston, Maura. 2016. “Kesha and Dr. Luke: Everything You Need to Know to Understand the Case.” Rolling Stone, February 22. Accessed February 23, 2016. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/kesha-and-dr-luke-everything-you-need-to-know-to-understand-the-case-20160222
 Thomas, Andi. 2014. “The European soccer transfer market, explained.” SB Nation, July 28. Accessed Febuary 23, 2016. http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2014/7/28/5923187/transfer-window-soccer-europe-explained