3 years ago1,000+ Views
Last year, The Dream had enough with Def Jam and left to form his own record label, Contra-Paris, through Capitol Records. During an interview with Billboard, The Dream spoke on the evil in within labels. “When the Atlanta Braves were owned by Ted Turner, he was very passionate and did whatever it took to do something good–and eventually he made money,” said The Dream. “Labels used to be the same way. Now they’re corporations, and it’s only about their stock. For me, that’s where the evil started…artists are treated like slaves. We have terrible contracts, we have streaming services that pay one-tenth of a cent per play, we have no laws to protect us.” His quote got me thinking, are the record labels treating artists like slaves?
I have a bunch of friends who were signed to major labels, and I don’t think any of them are/were pleased with their set up within the major. Most artists would like to be in a situation in which the label they sign to protects them and their interests. Many complain about that the percentage cuts aren’t fair and they receive a small amount of the kickback that their music makes.
The Dream may be on to something, as the labels are putting themselves first at all times. With that being said, times are changing in the music industry. The internet has leveled the playing field for many independent artists. Musicians can create music on platforms such like Youtube, build a solid fan-base and go on tour. They can sell albums on ITunes and receive a strong return in profits. Guys like Mac Miller have shown that you can be an independent artist and make a lot of money. Mac made millions on tour and through music distribution with Rostrum Records. By the time Mac signed to a label, he built his bankroll and fan base up to the point where he only needed distribution.
I think everyone knows that labels are taking advantage of artists, are the current deals doled out to emerging artists slave deals?
@christianmordi yes I can agree with that, that is also true.
@jibarito I think deals can be catered to help an artist grow though, provide some new resources. I think the big issue is many artists don't manage the advances well.. Just because you are signed doesn't mean you stop moving you know?
Well, some deals handle just distribution. Those don't always require that you take an upfront advance, but they are given a % cut of physical sales for handling distro.
Any record contract or deal to an artist is essentially a bank loan, which for any profitable return, the artist must produce some good content or be a hit in order to pay back whatever they owe the record label. So yeah it could be looked at as a slave type deal