Do musicians make good record label CEOs?

Some years back, an artiste got into a terrible fight with his record label over contractual issues. Although he ended up honoring the remaining part of his contract and then left the label, the fight was messy and of course the public got involved and accused the artiste of riding on the label’s resources and then ‘dumping’ the label when he had attained success.

Someone came out later to speak for the poor boy and the explained the real bone of contention that caused the discourse and it wasn’t pretty. According to this source, the boy who had a huge talent but wasn’t given any shot was delighted when this record label picked up an interest in him and was over the moon when they decided to sign him as an artiste that he just went through the contract and signed what he thought was a life changing piece of paper, and yes it changed his life, he had the fame but he was miserable and broke.

The label got 50% of his proceeds while he and his manager, his management team, band mates and himself were left to share the remaining 50%. All this was clearly stated in the contract he signed meaning he agreed to it, so why would he want out?

Using the story narrated above as an example, many artistes are now owning their record labels because most of them have been burnt by this same ‘fire’ and they conclude that being on their own would be more rewarding and gratifying than being under a record label not run by them where the chances of them getting ripped off is high as they would later see the light or rather the darkness in their contracts. Others make this decision after being affiliated with a record label, falling out with them but then can’t get another label to pick them up because they  have been  considered a persona non grata as no one wants a ‘troublesome artiste’. These artists are forced to start a label with little or no business acumen becoming sudden CEO’s. Amazingly, they go on to sign other artists mostly up and coming ones who forever remain in the shadow of the CEO.

There are so many talents who haven’t been able to flourish due to the fact that the label they are on is owned by an artiste. I honestly feel being an artiste is a full time job so is being a label executive and some people just cannot merge both and make it work.

So as an artiste, before you get on a label owned by another artiste, there are things you need to put into consideration. One of them is the fact that your CEO might not be able to run a label and be an artiste effectively not for lack of will or drive but for lack of business sense.

An artiste is always an artiste first before a business owner so his/her career comes before yours. There is almost going to be an invisible competition to get the best producers, song writer, DJs etc and since he or she is your boss, they automatically get first pickings relegating you to make do with second best.

And most importantly, before you sign anything, run it by a lawyer, understand it because you might just be saving yourself a lot of heartache in the future .

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