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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2019 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Youtube not so reliable as going to prison for drugs in 50s-

    no artists ever came to notice without the studio system or before teh internets.

    Not "no artists" but an extremely rare few, yes. If you believe otherwise I'm sure you can provide an equally long list of independent artists that made it big prior to the internet equivalent in number and money made to studio signed artists?

    Anyhoo, all ya got here is by some combination of talent, perseverance, and luck got noticed, after which it's easy.

    Isn't that every artist ever? Including those signed by studios? Why do we need studios again?

    Yes, you don't need the studios to promote you if already known.

    Or if you're unknown. Funny thing, you can promote yourself for free all over the world using the magic of, wait for it, the internet!

    Also one-in-thousands anomaly.

    Got citations for that? Because the millions of artists out there making money on the internet would probably disagree with you.

    As you pointed out recently, most Youtube "stars" get 400 bucks a year.

    Foul on the play! DB claims things were said that were not said. Neither Mike nor anyone else said they only make 400 a year. You did. Everyone else told you you were wrong and proceeded to explain why.

    Most Youtube "stars" (you know, the really famous and popular ones) make their living off Youtube, meaning they make quite a bit more than 400 a year. Also, that was an average of all creators across a variety of platforms. As I stated before, many make much more than, some make less, but as is the case with an "average", it doesn't too many poor data points to drag the whole average down quite a lot.

    My bet is that this person burns out on drugs and disappears soon

    What, can't stand that he actually proved you wrong so you just have to attack him personally now? You're a sad and pathetic human being.

    Especially if without professional handler to keep him working and make him save money for after his likely even quicker disappearance.

    Oh yes because individual people are incapable of saving money on their own, they have to have someone to force them to do it. The majority of the American population would like to have a word with you.

    Speaking of luck: where would YOU be if parents hadn't paid for Ivy League? Wouldn't even have a van to park down by the river.

    And back to personal attacks with no facts or data to back them up or respond to the discussion at hand. Be gone.


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