Dear Up & Coming Artist, 5 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Record Label

Dear Up & Coming Artist, 5 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Record Label

Dear Up & Coming Artist, 5 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Record Label

5 Reasons Why You Don’t Need a Record Label

Dear potential Super Stars, are you depressed because you can’t find a Record Label to sign you up? Are you sad because no Record Label believes in your artistic skills? Here are 5 solid reasons why you do not need a record label to “blow”:

1. Record labels are just like banks looking to only loan you money

Very true, record labels are just like banks which are venture capitalists firms looking to only make profits on investments. What many recording artists believe is that when they sign a major distribution deal with a record label, they have “blown”, and that is not always the case. Signing a major distribution deal is not winning a lottery. With the rise of digital marketing, the cats have been let out of the bags because we now know that labels’ business model is dying.

Labels do exactly what banks do, that is the loan you money at interest, and when they can’t recoup all that money by sales, they would deep hands in your pocket and get it one way another. That’s when lawyers would be invited and law courts will become the new recording studio. You should know this; some of the artists that look extreme successful having sold CDs actually took their advances and invested it in some other businesses that had nothing to do with music in order to pay the labels to get off their backs.

But with the recent digital media boom, all these parasitic record labels and managements are becoming somewhat of worthless entities. The integrity of the music industry has long been compromised because of the greediness of record labels, sucking artists flat and hanging them out to dry.

Now that artist can market themselves easily online, we are able to see that record labels are exactly like banks.

2. Record Labels are dying off.
We have seen many record labels closing shops. Mass firings, offices closed down and folks out of work. All because music lovers are no more buying CDs, in fact, nobody is buying music in any physical format again. Music is mainly shared online now via streaming and downloading media like iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, MTN music online, Spinlet etc. and also free downloads on hundreds of music blogs like That’s just it; even people still buying CDs will soon drop the idea.

Record labels are now desperate to suck the last pennies out of their already established artists’ catalogs before they shut down for good. A lot of labels have already died. Struggling to land a deal is like struggling to find the best room in a burning building. It’s all still going to burn.

All music tracks are available for streaming and downloading, and hardly any music is being bought. Just check,, or Instead of accepting defeat, record labels have cried and whined to their corporate friends, coming up with ideas on how to carry on with their dying business model, and how to continue deceiving the artists and fans to still believe record labels are needed. It is over!

3. If Record Labels require you create a fan base before snapping you up, then you should profit off it first
You’d be wrong to think labels can do great things for you that you can’t do for yourself. You can do more for your career than they can, for real. If you ask why; it is because they do not care about your career as much as you do. It cost nothing to post your new banger on Jaguda and boost your plays. It cost little to start a trend on Twitter around you latest music download. It is also easy to increase your subscriptions on YouTube without Vevo.

If all these things mentioned above can be easily carried out by yourself, why would you let a label do it for you and scoop most of your earnings? Your fan base is yours and only yours, because they connect with you and feel your story. They gel with you because they feel and relate to your lyrics. They’d always support you with or without your record label. You should first benefit from the works you put out. Labels are created in such a way that the artists eat last, and that’s if there’s anything left. Reasons you have many popular Nigerian artists from the past still very poor.

This record label type of business model has thrived for a very long time because artists know nothing about business. Your business should go like this; your talent, your fan base, your money.

4. Record Labels support internet censorship because they still want to own your works
Labels are well aware that like art and movies, music is also an intellectual property. Labels are well known for controlling packaging and distribution of materials so that there are fewer leaks, less pirating, etc. Those days are over because most materials are now in digital forms and physical copies aren’t worth a lot more again except to collectors. Everything is shared and downloaded online these days, so nobody cares if a record label makes their money back by selling CDs except the label.

Once you signed with a label, they own all your works (as would have been stated in the contract details provided to you) and they limit you to some set of rules, like what and when you can release works. All these are up to them, and right now, all they doing is to try to stop all their materials been ripped off by online downloads.

Right now, records labels are working hard to put in place metrics to track people online and everything they do and download online. Since they now know they can’t stop your materials from been downloaded online, they try to own you and your materials. Does this sound right to you?

5. Record Labels can’t afford you anymore.
The moment you have a credible and substantial fan base, your singles going viral, your YouTube views racking up, and your artistic shine has finally taken off, some people come knocking. Guess who they are? The Slaving Record Labels.

They can’t stand to watch an Up & Coming artist making his/her own money in the industry without them reaping a piece of the action. So they will offer you mouthwatering deals like managing you, booking shows, promotion and getting you on high distribution platforms like iTunes, etc. and also promise you a house in Lekki, Lagos, and a Hyundai jeep.

They will take all the earnings for the little things you can do or have your own circle do for you (you should have a team by the time you are up and running, it could be your family members of friends). If you build your own fan base yourself, you control its growth and worth. Many labels will pay you advances based on their own forecasts of what they assume your fan base is worth and its growth rate. That’s exactly like placing a price tag on you by them.

Imagine going to a car dealer and putting a price tag on a car yourself, saying you can only pay that price. What will happen if you put a price tag of “10 naira” on a Toyota Corolla 2.2? We all know 10 naira won’t buy a Toyota Corolla 2.2, and that’s exactly what a record label will be looking to do.

There’s nothing a record label can do for you that you can’t do for yourself because marketing yourself and promoting your music effectively is now so inexpensive. The money spent on radio circulation is too costly for a budget to make substantial returns since many people do not buy music anymore.

More so, radio is becoming unpopular anyways just like labels are dying off. The money they will claim to have is probably all the money they have made many years ago and it is eroding away quickly. They will end up with excuses for you at the end of the day. 


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