This list comes from the horse’s mouth. Three artists who were signed to major labels give their view of their experience.
In an excellent piece at vice.com, Russell Dean Stone interviews Little Boots, JMSN (formerly Christian TV) and Oh Land.
Together, they reveal the shocking truth that the record companies don’t want you to know.
You’ll be amazed by what they expose.
It’s why I am so passionate about being in charge of my own music career – and why I’m on a mission to ensure the same for you.
1. The labels have you over.
“My first deal was terrible, and if I’d understood the small print I would not have signed it.” – Little Boots
2. You’ll become a commodity not an artist
“They wanted me to repeat what I did last time.” – Little Boots
3. Success still loses you money
“For my first record I probably made over a million quid but I was in the red because they spent so much on marketing and that was out of my control.” – Little Boots
4. They’re in charge of spending YOUR money
“It’s not like you’re a business partner really, it’s more like someone’s running your business for you, and they are doing it badly.” – Little Boots
5. And they spend it on themselves
“They were spending the money your record’s earned on anything from five star hotels for marketing people to presents. They just spend without my permission on things I would never spend money on.” – Little Boots
6. So even if you make it big, you’ll just be their debt slave
“You’re playing shit corporate gigs to pay off this massive debt that you’ve got from someone else.” – Little Boots
7. 360 deals mean they own every bit of you.
“Any work in the entertainment industry that could be connected to my brand they would take the profit.” – Little Boots
8. You’re a staff change away from being a nobody
“The people I worked with got laid off one by one so the whole system got completely replaced – new President, new A&R, new marketing, new everything. Suddenly there were all these new people who had no idea who I was.” – Oh Land
9. Labels only want you when you no longer need them
“An artist gets it to a point where they’re already self sustainable and then labels swoop in and there’s going to come a point where these artists realise the reason why they’re swooping in and giving them all this money is because they can make ten times as much if they just keep doing what they’re doing. Take Chance the Rapper, he’s been offered million dollar deals and turned them down because obviously if they’re offering you million dollar deals then labels know they can make a whole lot more than that from you.” – JMSN
10. Labels have nothing to offer that you can’t do yourself
“When I meet with labels I ask, ‘What can you provide me that I’m not able to do myself?’ and more often than not there’s not a solid answer besides radio. Who the fuck is going to radio to discover music anymore? We live in a different time.” – JMSN
11. You lose your freedom and gain a boss
“Now I can do whatever I want, I don’t have to satisfy anyone else apart from myself and my listeners. Their opinions mean everything to me, I don’t have to put something on the album because of politics or their relationship with a certain producer. That’s the reason I started making music it gave me freedom and when you let go of that it’s not as fun any more.” – Oh Land
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