Teen Musician Turns Down $3 Million Record Deal: No Need For A Label Thanks To The Internet

from the thanks,-internet dept

There's a pretty fascinating profile last week in Billboard magazine of teenage musician/rapper NLE Choppa who just turned down a $3 million record label deal. Choppa (real name: Bryson Potts) rocketed to fame thanks to YouTube, where his Shotta Flow video was uploaded just last month, but has over 10 million views.

When given the chance to sign with a bunch of different labels all bidding for him, he decided to take a very different deal -- one where he retains all the rights and just partners with a distribution company, UnitedMasters:

Within a month, Choppa, whose real name is Bryson Potts, had sparked a bidding war among record companies like Republic, Interscope and Caroline, with bids reaching as high as $3 million. This kind of story is familiar: Young, local rapper goes viral; labels pounce. But this week, the rapper tells Billboard, he turned down those offers to enter a distribution partnership with UnitedMasters, Steve Stoute’s independent distribution company, without an advance and while retaining full ownership of his master recordings.

And why doesn't he need a full on record label deal? Because of the internet and all of the various internet services out there that are already making him wealthy:

Stoute says that when the “Shotta Flow” music video caught the eye of UnitedMasters’ A&R team last month, he immediately reached out to Choppa and the rapper's mother, who was acting as his manager, offering distribution for the song. Choppa agreed. “Then, record companies are calling the guy and offering a bunch of money,” Stoute tells Billboard. “Here’s the issue: He’s already just seen, with him owning the rights and us doing distribution, he’s earning money on Spotify and Apple Music, and his song is growing on YouTube. What does he need a record company to do?”

Let's repeat that for those of you who are a bit slow in class:

He’s already just seen, with him owning the rights and us doing distribution, he’s earning money on Spotify and Apple Music, and his song is growing on YouTube. What does he need a record company to do?

Just last week we were talking about how many independent artists are embracing the internet to avoid the legacy gatekeepers.

Meanwhile, bureaucrats and recording industry lobbyists keep insisting that the EU needs Article 13 because the internet is unfair to artists? They're saying that there's a "value gap" because of YouTube? Maybe, just maybe, Article 13 has a lot more to do with the fact that the labels are losing relevance. When an artist like Choppa can retain his rights, build a massive audience, and make a ton of money thanks to internet platforms and does not need a label or all the downsides of a label deal, it certainly suggests that the "problem" Article 13 is claiming to solve might not be an actual problem. Indeed, the real "problem" that Article 13 seems to solve is the fact that the labels aren't needed as much any more. And that's not actually a problem for anyone who isn't, you know, a record label.

Filed Under: article 13, bryson potts, copyright, internet, nle choppa, record labels, shotta flow
Companies: unitedmasters


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  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 21 Feb 2019 @ 8:06am

    '...I need you WHY again?'

    “Here’s the issue: He’s already just seen, with him owning the rights and us doing distribution, he’s earning money on Spotify and Apple Music, and his song is growing on YouTube. What does he need a record company to do?”

    I'd say this serves as an excellent example as to why certain parties were/are pushing so hard for Article 13: Because open platforms like those listed allows creators to completely bypass them, making them irrelevant, since they refuse to adapt and transition from gatekeeper to enabler.

    Open platforms like those listed allow anyone to throw their stuff out there, to build up a fanbase, and to sell their stuff, all of this without 'advances' with terms that would make the most predatory loan-shark shake their head, requirements of handing over the rights to works, or otherwise terrible(for the creator) terms being required.

    Open platforms give creators options, such that it's no longer a case of 'If you want to be heard/make money from your stuff, you're going through us, and as such we dictate the terms.' Now creators can go it on their own and simply use certain companies to shore up areas where they might be weak/may not want to deal with like distribution, without having to sign everything over in the process.

    For the gatekeepers of before this risks putting them out of business, both in keeping people from foolishly signing with them and providing a lever for those already signed to potentially use to get better terms for their contracts. Given that is it any wonder they've sunk to attempting mass-extortion, straight up mafia style protection racket? 'Nice platform you got there, be a shame if someone were to upload the wrong thing. 'Course, you pay us a 'reasonable fee' and I'm sure that won't be a problem.'


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