There seems to be a trend in music of all genres nowadays of musicians choosing to be independent instead of signing deals with major labels. This trend can be attributed to a number of things. The evolution of the internet and social media has made it a lot easier for artists to advertise and promote themselves. We now live in a world where good exposure is a click away. However, some artists just want control over their careers.
There has always been a number of musical horror stories in the past when it came to record deals with artists like Toni Braxton, The Rolling Stones, James Brown and etc. This trend, unfortunately, have never ended because a lot of musicians face the same problems. I recently watched an episode of rapper Noreaga’s podcast, Drink Champs, where he sat and had a candid conversation with Steve Rifkind, a record label founder and music legend. During the conversation, Rifkind revealed that his father was one of the first people to discover and sign James Brown.
He also revealed that even though was discovered in the 1950s, his contract was almost the same as Akon’s contract even though he signed in 2006. This shows that practices remained the same over a number of decades. Recently, artists have been using social media to bring attention to their own label disputes. Bad Boy record star Mase recently came out and criticized Sean “Diddy” Combs for making him sign away his publishing very early for merely a few thousand dollars.
Currently, Lil Uzi Vert and Meg thee Stallion are dealing with similar record label struggles. Meg recently revealed the terms of her record deal and how they essentially cheated her out of her own earnings. These labels are now fighting the artist by not allowing them to release their own music, which is the case with both Meg thee Stallion and Lil Uzi Vert. Megan recently filed a restraining order against her label in an effort to regain control over her own music.
Artists like 21 Savage and many others are now going the route of remaining independent artists and signing very specific distribution deals with labels in order to have more control over their futures. Jay -Z’s company Roc Nation is spearheading a lot of rappers battles against their labels including Meg’s and Lil Uzi’s situations. Hopefully this trend continues….stay tuned for more!