5 Reasons Why Artist's Shouldn't Sign To A Record Label
Written by Yassine on Mar. 22nd 2019
Record labels are of zero importance today when it comes to living off of your music career full time. There are plenty of artists that are making six or seven figures a year totally independent that you’ve never even heard of. They are far less popular than mainstream artists who get all of this coverage but often make more profit than them since they don’t have to share revenue with anyone.

This has led to many people preaching independence to artists like you without understanding the benefits that the label shows you to try and persuade you to sign. The independent argument everyone is peddling to you isn’t strong enough to deter you from signing a deal with a huge advance that you will get right away so here are 5 reasons why artists shouldn’t sign to a label.

#1 - Freedom

As an artist you most likely hated school and working a regular job, throughout the day all you could think about was going home or to the studio and making music whether it was writing a song, producing an instrumental, or engineering a track. All of these things were distractions; even social gatherings felt like a chore, but if you thought that was bad it gets worse when you’re on a label.
Labels can tell you where to go, how to go, and when to go. You give up all of your personal agency and when you thought you’d have enough money to just record music and live wherever you want the opposite is usually true. You will have to go to meetings, do interviews you have no interest doing, talk to people you don’t like, wake up when they tell you to, and record when they tell you to.
This has caused many artists to start hating their craft because of all these other things they never signed up for. Think about it… when was the last time you saw a famous artist going on an actual vacation for more than a week? The only time they’re overseas is usually for a show or they’re on tour for work. You’re on the label’s schedule, not yours.

#2 - Ownership
When you make art, it belongs to you, after all you created it. It was your thoughts and feelings that went into making it so how could someone else say that they own it? Well that’s exactly what most labels do when they sign artists who don’t know better, they own all of their music.
All of the music you make while signed to them is owned by them and they even own your brand and likeness. If you want to promote something you need to ask for permission and if you leave the label and want the rights to your music you will have to buy it back from them.

#3 - Money
Artists drool when they get a “million dollar deal” and immediately go to the car dealership and get an exotic car, drive it to the jeweler and spend an insane amount on jewelry, and then go buy a house. They think this is free money until they realize they have to pay it back and that money was supposed to be used to fund their album.
Labels main deal they offer most artists now is the 360 deal where they take a portion of all the money you make. Brand deals, sponsorships, merchandise, touring, streaming, all of it. They’re getting their slice of the pie, even if they did nothing to help you sell merchandise or weren’t responsible for acquiring you that sponsorship deal, they want their cut and they are going to get it.

#4 - Control
The worst part is that you won’t have any control over your release dates and sometimes even what’s on your own album. Labels have scrapped entire albums by artists and told them to get back in the studio and make a new one because they didn’t like how it sounded.
Imagine putting your blood, sweat, tears, and months into a project that you thought was perfect only to be told you can’t release it. No artist should ever have to ask permission to put their music out into the world for their fans to support.

#5 - Integrity
Labels have exposed themselves and showed the different methods they have been using to promote artists from faking beefs to faking relationships. Many artists initially don’t want to lie to their fans and maliciously manipulate their emotions just to get more attention but you don’t have a choice. You are under their control and can do whatever they want with you, even change up your entire image or force you to make a certain type of music even if you have matured past that stage in your life.
We hope this has been helpful to you when making your decision on whether to sign to a label or any other company. Make sure that you are overlooking all of the details and know what you are getting into, remember these people are experts at what they do and have been doing this for decades. The only person that wants what’s best for you is yourself.


Yassine helps artists and influencers grow and profit from their fanbase. He is an expert at helping artists turning their fans into stans using online methods and making things super simple to understand. If you're interested in starting your career as an artist/influencer or scaling up and making more money then definitely reach out and request a strategy session today.
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