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In 2015, Prince voiced his dislike of record labels saying "Record contracts are just like — I'm gonna say the word – slavery." He concluded "I would tell any young artist ... don't sign." At the time he advocated seeing artists paid directly from streaming services, cutting out middlemen.

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Tom Petty was so popular his record label wanted to charge $1 more for his 1981 album "Hard Promises" than the standard $8.98, but they backed down after he considered naming the album "$8.98"

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  1. The vocals for Hozier's Take Me to Church weren't recorded in the studio. He recorded a demo in his parents' attic and the record label found the vocals to be so powerful, they left them alone.

  2. In 1997, Eminem went to L.A to compete in the Rap Olympics, a nationwide battle rap competition. He came in second, losing to rapper Otherwize, but impressed Interscope Records who brought a copy of SSEP back to Jimmy Lovine who played it for Dr. Dre who signed him to his label Aftermath.

  3. Scott Swift is a wealthy Merrill Lynch banker who purchased a 3% stake ($120,000 ) of the independent label Big Machine Records, the label that first signed his daughter Taylor Swift.

  4. Kesha, when auditioning for record labels, presented two demos: a "gorgeously sung, self-penned country ballad" and a "gobsmackingly awful trip-hop track", allowing the label to decide which sound she should use as an artist.

  5. In 1993 Creedence Clearwater Revival's record label sued former lead singer John Fogerty because his song "The Old Man Down the Road" sounded similar to "Run Through the Jungle." Although Fogerty was awarded attorney fees, the judge found that "an artist can't plagiarize himself."

  6. Atari programmers met with Atari CEO Ray Kassar in May 1979 to demand that the company treat developers as record labels treated musicians, with royalties and their names on game boxes. Kaplan said no and that "anyone can do a cartridge." So the programmers left Atari and founded Activision

  7. Punk label Stiff Records released an album called "The Wit & Wisdom of Ronald Reagan" that was blank on both sides. It sold 30,000 copies.

  8. An MIT geek in the 70's convinced a record label he had a band recording an album in LA. In reality he mixed the entire thing himself from old homemade demo tapes in a run-down basement in Boston. It only cost a few thousand dollars to create, and sold more than 20 million copies worldwide

  9. Sara Bareilles wrote "Love Song" in response to her record label demanding that she write a "marketable love song"

  10. In 1999, They Might Be Giants became the first major-label recording artist to release an entire album exclusively in mp3 format

record label facts
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Freddie Mercury was seated behind billionaire record producer David Geffen on a flight when Geffen turned around with his cheque book and said "I want you to sing on my label, just fill in the amount yourself!". Freddie refused.

Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis was the first song since 1994 to reach No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart without the support of a major record label. - source

In the 1940s the musicians of America went on strike against major recording companies. Eventually, the major labels ran out of back catalogue to release and settled with the musicians, but the years without royalties effectively ended the big band era. - source

A Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig received a takedown notice from a record label threatening to sue after his lecture on Youtube was flagged as containing their song. The lecture topic was copyright and fair use. Lessig, a prominent copyright attorney, successfully sued them back

After Marvin Gaye recorded “What’s Going On”, he played it for Motown’s Berry Gordy Jr. who said it was “the worst thing I heard in my life.” Only after Gaye threatened to leave the label was it released, becoming massive hit and considered 4th greatest song of all time by the Rolling Stone. - source

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When Johnny Cash realized his record label of 30 years was not properly marketing him, he recorded an intentionally awful song called "Chicken in Black" about his brain being transplanted into a chicken, as a protest. It turned out to be a bigger success than any of his other recent material

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Madonna and her record label leaked songs from her album - American Life before its official release on Torrent sites. The tracks featured Madonna saying, "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" followed by minutes of silence.

Before releasing Nine Inch Nails' debut album Pretty Hate Machine, Trent Reznor took a job as a janitor at a recording studio. Using the recording equipment during his breaks, he near-singlehandedly wrote, played, and edited a demo, and was signed to a record label soon after.

Following the death of Elvis, his record label made millions with Orion—a masked performer who sounded exactly like The King, leading many to believe he never really died

Justin Bieber's mom almost passed up the opportunity for him to record his first album because the agent that discovered him was Jewish. She said "God, I gave him to you. You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label! God, you don't want this Jewish kid to be Justin's man, do you?"

Twisted Sister did 3,000 club perfomances and sold out the Palladium theater in NYC all without a recording contract or radio airplay. No one in the biz would touch them. TS ended up pressing their own albums and before finally getting a deal with a small UK punk label.

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Insane Clown Posse were once on a Disney owned record label. On the scheduled day of release for their record "The Great Milenko" however, Disney recalled all 100,000 shipped units upon discovering the graphic nature of the album's lyrical content.

Before Van Morrison began his solo career he was contractually obliged to produce 31 songs for his label. He recorded 31 minute long, nonsensical songs in one afternoon, such as 'Want a Danish?' a song about wanting a danish

Queen's record label, upon hearing "Bohemian Rhapsody" in 1975, suggested it should be cut down prior to its release. Freddie Mercury and his bandmates refused.

A Tribe Called Quest once made a song called " Georgie Porgie" that was so homophobic their record label refused to let them put it on the album

David Warren, the inventor of the black box, was buried in a casket labeled "Flight Recorder Inventor; Do Not Open"

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Eighty years ago Snow White was labelled "Disney's Folly" and expected to bankrupt the studio. It then went on to break industry records.

Before being sentenced to prison, rapper Meek Mill's judge allegedly requested he abandon his record label to sign with her friend, and that he cover a Boys II Men song mentioning her name. At the same trial, the court clerk passed Mill a note asking him to help pay her son's tuition.

Stripper anthem "Cherry Pie" by the '80s hair metal band Warrant was an unplanned song written in fifteen minutes under record label pressure, and was despised by the band.

The classic rock band Boston secretly recorded their debut album in Tom Scholz' basement, while they pulled off an elaborate ruse to make the record label think they were actually recording it in a state-of-the-art west coast studio.

Chumbawumba, known in the U.S. for the one-hit-wonder song Tubthumping, is an anarchist punk band with a long history of anti-fascist demonstrations and questionably-legal stunts, like smearing blood on a record label's building.

Brian Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys, was quoted saying “Once you've been labeled a genius, you have to continue it or your name becomes mud. I am a victim of the recording industry. I didn't think I was a genius. I thought I had talent. But I didn't think I was a genius.”

The Backstreet Boys were nearly signed to Mercury Records until John Mellencamp threatened to leave the label if it got involved with boy bands.

Alan Price receives all royalties for The Animals' "The House of the Rising Sun" as there wasn't room for all 5 band members' names on the record label ("Alan" was first alphabetically). When Chas Chandler proposed that they all split the royalties equally, Price told him to go fuck himself.

Waffle House has its own record label, Waffle Records

Rapper Rakim, universally considered one of the greatest rap lyricists ever, quit Dr. Dre's record label because Dr. Dre wanted him to rap about things like "killing somebody", while Rakim wanted to rap more about "bringing somebody to life".

The Weeknd originally only wanted concert dates on Friday and Saturday to stay true to his name, but was denied by his label, Republic Records, in order to maximize profits

Mike Oldfield's album "Amarok" was specifically made to piss off his record label. It was 60 minutes of uninterrupted music from which a "single" could not be cut, and contains the phrase "Fuck Off RB" in morse code (directed at Virgin Records president Richard Branson.)

In 1979, song "Ready 'n' Steady" by DA, reached 102 in the Billboard Bubbling Under charts, Then, it vanished. As did the band, and the record label. Song has never existed. Was never recorded. Was never released. Had a fictional record label.

In North Carolina, a woman discovered that her doctor had labelled "lesbianism" as a medical problem on her record.

The Rolling Stones wanted to move on from Decca Records in 1970 to start their own record label. Decca refused, claiming they were owed one more single. To spite Decca the Stones recorded a vulgar single which Decca could not use, but which released the band from their contract. Lyrics inside.

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