‘No One Should Own You’: Pharrell Williams Slams Record Label Advances

Pharrell Williams

 By Victor Omondi

Pharrell Williams is among the many artists who are sickened by how the music distribution companies have pocketed money from artists’ record labels, leaving them with heaving debts. Throughout music history, there have been artists who have had to find their way to the top without ever having received even a penny from their record labels.

UnitedMasters hosted a 2-day Selectcon digital conference. Steve Stoute, founder of the distribution company that has helped many artists reach new audiences, sat down with Williams to address matters affecting the industry, the issue of record labels’ payback included.

One big challenge that newly signed artists encounter is the inability to pay back their labels’ advances that they received when they first signed up for the deals. Some of the artists have had to toil so hard to pay the advances, even after their albums are released.

Stoute asked Williams what he had to say about these deals.

“You shouldn’t walk into a company and say, ‘I’m gonna make this record.’ They give you an advance then for the tenure of that, the entire time your album’s out, you’re working to pay back that advance,” Williams said during the conversation. Stoute interrupted, stating, “It’s illegal.” Williams then said, “No bank gives a company a loan to start a company and walks away with the trademarks.”

“No one should own you. No one should own your actions. No one should own your creations but you,” Williams continued. “We’re so used to getting owned in some way, shape or form. You know, our debts are owned. Sometimes you find you’re paying a debt to one person you thought you was actually paying it to somebody else, but somebody else bought that debt. We’re really good at that in this country. It’s like the concept of, like, ownership.”

Last year, music mogul Kanye West compared the issue of labels to modern-day slavery. He later declared that he was not going to put out any “more music out til I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal.”


About Carma Henry 21268 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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