Raw Deal: How Record companies exploit young artists | Teen Ink

Raw Deal: How Record companies exploit young artists

November 20, 2019
By MatthewS BRONZE, Thornton, Colorado
MatthewS BRONZE, Thornton, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The music industry is a monster source of money, between shows, streams, and sales. But with all of this money going around, is it the artists who are benefitting the most from there work? It is actually not the artists, but the label companies that reap the majority of the profits from the artists work. 

While the current state of record companies is filled with deception and reaps the benefits of unprepared young artists, a good record company can be very beneficial to the artist and the company. A perfect record company system is one that gives a young artist the resources it needs to grow, and a company that gives the artist freedom over there music. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. 

  It is obvious to understand why record deals take a part of the artists earnings but, it is less obvious to understand some of the ridiculous deals that artists are stuck in with their label companies. One example of these head scratching deal was a record contract with Tyga, who was 18 at the time. He was told to sign by one of his friends and didn’t think twice about it. He didn’t have any knowledge of contracts, and even let the record labels lawyer broker the contract. The record label hung him out to dry, and since 2009, he hasn’t made anything off of his hit singles. This shows just one way that record labels take advantage of young artists who are unaware of the consequences of these contracts. 

Money isn’t the only way that record labels take advantage of artists, they also limit their rights on their own music severely. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Prince compared record contracts to slavery due to how little control and insight artists have over their own music. There are contracts that don’t allow the artists to release the album unless if an individual song that is released is popular enough. So if the artists don’t meet the labels requirements, then they are stuck and unable to release music. 

  Now it is very easy to dismiss these shady contracts by record labels. You could just say that these artists are the one who sign with the companies, it’s their fault that they didn’t look at the contract. The problem with allowing that to be an excuse is that record labels know that young artists don’t know how to take the necessary legal steps to handle there contracts. Most don’t have lawyers, and take the first offer given to them. Artists do this because labels give big signing bonuses and with that much money offered, it’s easy to look past technicalities. One example of this is an artist Blueface, a 22 year old artist who when asked in an interview with the Breakfast Club, didn’t even know which labels he was signed with. He was signed with four. 

Fortunately this problem isn’t unsolvable. Although a solution is achievable it isn’t as easy as it seems. Young artists need to reach out to more experienced artists who understand the ins and outs of the business more. Young artists also need to be patient, if they don’t take the first offer thrown at them, they can figure out what decision is best for them, instead of signing something that could potentially throw their career away. If artists are given the right advice and direction by the right people, then artists can more properly handle their contracts and take the power away from record companies. 

Record labels have been taking advantage of young artists through their contracts for years, and they will continue to exploit these artists unless a change is made. Artists need to know that signing isn’t always the right choice, and there are other options available. If a new approach is taken then record labels will be forced to give artists reasonable contracts that make it fair for both sides of the deal. 

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