Episode 8 – Do you need a record label?

Internet and downloading music

Question: As a recording artist right now, do you really need a record label?


This is a very interesting topic right now if you are an artist or if you are trying to start a record label. We first need to understand what record labels do and can do for you. Record labels can help you sell units (we will use the term units since one can buy CDs, records and now MP3s). They can also provide you with national and international distribution as well. They are great machines in the promotion of music. Some have the infrastructure to make you a star but some demand you give up creative control in the process. What if you did not need anything a record label had to offer…then what? Prestige, the ability of offload all that stuff to the record label or just to say your on a major or minor label. Hmmm

Usually I just give my opinion on the topic but let’s see what local artist Sean-Touré who is in the process of putting out his music has to say about this…




To maintain my artistic integrity I decided to sign a distribution deal. In my opinion in my situation I didn’t feel like it was important for me to sign with a major or indy label. I felt like it was important to start my own record company but what I really needed was to partner with a digital distribution company or a distribution company period. I need to work with a company that was gonna allow me to sell my music but put it out through digital or through physical copies where people could have access to it and also a situation where my music could be distributed be it nationally or internationally. I don’t think it is important to sign with a label anymore. I think we have too many vehicles out there through the Internet. You have different websites like your Juno’s, your Amazon’s your Itunes CDBaby’s places like that and also in my genre of Hip Hop you have your foundation media, your Fat Beats you have so many different companies you can work with so if you want to do it on your own the best thing I can say is just start your own company, find a good distribution company and cut that middle man out so that way not only are you happier as an artists but your also happier as a business person when you’re bringing in more revenue to keep the company running.


Sean-Touré is trying to make money of his music but what if you are just trying to get it out there. Maybe you want to give away a free album. Bandcamp.com along with some internet promotion could be your solution. Would a record label help you give your music away?

All of this is a preface to whether as an artist you need a record label or not.

The internet has changed the way people generally obtain their music. People don’t go to stores any more to purchase music. People just go online and download music (and for the record, we will use the term “download” in a very general sense.) So, with the Internet and some promotion and maybe some luck too, it is possible for anyone and everyone in the world to obtain your music.

I usually leave my blog closed-ended with but this time I’m going to leave it open-ended. The question is: As a recording artist right now, do you really need a record label? Depending on your ultimate goal, I don’t really think you need one unless you are an established recording artist and you need a record label to handle the usually stuff a record label handles so you can focus on other things that effect your music career. But hey…”What do you think?”

If you have any discrepancies to what you just heard, comments on what you just heard or have new ideas on who or what changed hip hop and I will challenge your ideas too then send an email to patrick@patrickscientific.com

Special shout out go to Sean-Touré for his contribution to this episode.

Until next time peace

Audio Version as heard on Strictly Hip Hop on WEAA 88.9 FM below

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