30 Seconds To Mars’ Jared Leto hits out at former record label in new film

The frontman exposes hardships of artists in his documentary 'Artifact'

Jared Leto has launched a scathing attack on the music industry in a new documentary.

The actor and 30 Seconds To Mars singer says he shot the film while on tour instead of producing a standard ‘the making of’ documentary.

Leto decided to produce the documentary, he tells Forbes, after facing a lawsuit from his former record label Virgin/EMI. 30 Seconds To Mars were sued for $30 million in 2008 after the label said they’d breached their contract by delivering only two of the five albums they were bound to record. The band agued that their contract was void under Californian laws which negate contracts after seven years. The case was eventually dropped and the band released their 2009 album ‘This Is War’ through EMI.


“We had more success than we ever dreamed,” he said. “We never expected to get rich, but we certainly didn’t expect to be millions of dollars in debt.”

Artifact focuses on what Leto perceives as an imbalance of label contracts and how they can cause musicians to accumulate debt. It also considers how artists’ income appears to be disproportionate to the money made by managers

It features industry insiders including 30 Seconds To Mars’ own manager, as well as fellow artists such as Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington and System of a Down’s Serj Tankian.

“I hope people are inspired that if they feel they’re in a situation where they believe they’re treated unfairly, to fight for what they believe,” Leto said.

Artifact won the People’s Choice documentary award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and is available now through iTunes.