Is Chance The Rapper an Independent Artist?

Chance The Rapper sits down with Joe Budden to discuss whether he is considered independent. He explained from his perspective of what makes an artist independent and warns against artists signing away their masters and publishing. Joe then expresses why he felt Chance wasn’t an indie artists citing the Apple Music deal; which Chance The Rapper was paid $500k for a 2 week exclusive release.

All artists should consider their intellectual property and how signing away their rights could impact their future. As mention in a previous post, most new artists are signed into a 360 deals and may not fully understand the consequences of that decision. Artists like Prince and Michael Jackson fought hard for this right and we as creatives have take the time to understand why its important.

Epik The Dawn has been vocal about why he doesn’t, in his words “F*#$ with the music industry. He has explained countless times that artists don’t need labels anymore. Labels are like an loans, everything is recoupable and they take the rights to the music. In todays time, the resources are available and the audience is at your finger tips. Epik has made it his mission to provide independent artists with the best quality instrumentals online as well as passing down the knowledge he has used in order to live off his music and remain free.

Chance The Rapper is only one of the many artists out their doing it themselves and we believe their will be more to follow. Stay #DFRNT

Spotify Lets Independent Artists Upload Music Directly!


Yesterday Spotify announced their new beta feature which allows independent artists to upload music directly from Spotify for Artists. Independent artists will have more control over their releases and will have access to their meta data. The feature is available via invitation only to a few hundred artists at the moment but will roll out to more artist in the future.

Before this feature, the only option for artists to upload was through a label or a third party digital aggregator.  Companies like  Tunecore and Distrokid have been used by independent artists for a long time and they do charge for their service. Luckly Spotify has stated that this feature will be free and payments will be send directly to the artists monthly.  According to The Verge,

“Spotify will offer artists 50 percent of Spotify’s net revenue and 100 percent of royalties for the songs they upload”.

For now, most artists will still need to use a third party for releases but the company is working to figure out what artists need. Hopefully we will see this new feature rolling out to more artists soon. If it does come about, this will change the industry drastically. Shout to Spotify for listening to the creatives. Check out the official announcement here!

What are Royalties and Publishing?

Royalties and publishing

Whether you are independent or signed it is vital to your future to understand royalties and publishing. You don’t want to be like R Kelly and have the rights to your music taken from you due to your ignorance. Heres a basic understanding of royalties and how you are paid.

What are royalties?

Royalties are a percentage of a wholesale price. For example, if you have 10% royalties and your album sells for $10,  then your royalties are $1 per album.

Theres a few type of royalties every artist needs to understand.

  • Mechanical Royalties for artist
  • Mechanical Royalties for songwriter, composure, and publisher (Know as “Publishing”)
  • Performance rights royalties
  • Synchronization Royalties
  • Print Royalties

Whenever you record a song in the studio, the original file is consider your “masters”. Each recording has two components; the sound recording and the composition (melody/ lyrics). No one can copy that record without a license called compulsory license. Once they obtain the rights to distribute copies of the master file in the form of cds, vinyl, etc, you are paid out mechanical royalties. Pretty much mechanical royalties are monies paid to the copyright holder for reproduced songs.


Mechanical royalties for the sound recording are paid to the performer (artist) and the copyright holder which is usually the label. If you are not signed to a label then you would receive your full percentage. If you are signed then your percentage is based off your deal. (example approve)

Mechanical royalties for the composition are paid out to the songwriter, composure, and publisher. These mechanical royalties to the songwriter (50%) and publisher (50%) are usually called the “Publishing”. If you have registered as a publisher then you would receive both percentages.

Performance rights royalties are paid out to the writer anytime the record is performed publicly .This includes nightclubs, radio stations, streaming services,  live events and even elevators. These royalties are collect through performing right organization (PRO)  such as ASCAPBMI, and SESAC.

Synchronization royalties are paid out to the songwriter and publisher anytime a song is in the background for movies, tv shows, and commercials.

Print royalties are paid out to the songwriter and publisher whenever sales are made on printed music sheets.

Understanding royalties and publishing can be confusing but I hope this information helped. If you would like to dive deeper into understanding royalties and the music business , I would suggest reading, “All You Need to Know About he Music Business” by Donald S. Passman. 

What is a 360 deal in the Music Industry?

What is a 36 deal in the Music Industry?

Whats a 360 deal?

A 360 deal is a contractual agreement that allows a record label to collect a percentage of all streams of revenue generated by the signed artist/s. The label will take a percentage of not only the record sales but digital sales, touring, merchandise, publishing, endorsement deals, and your right leg. Ok maybe I took it a little too far.

At the end of the day, labels are not generating as much income due to the decline of physical sales(CD & etc). In order to survive in the streaming world, labels will insist on taking a piece of all earning, hints the 360 degree reference.

Labels justify taking these percentages by stating they provided financial support into launch the artist’s into stardom. Because of their investment, these artists can create incomes from touring, merchandise, fan clubs ,and even endorsements. Whether its a major or a independent label, these deals are not going anywhere. The problem with 360 deals is that artists are affected in the long term. Unless they have massive clout and leverage, they wont own the masters to their music. Once out of their deal, without the copyright to the music, they will not be able to redistribute the music.

Labels will offer a large advance but will recoup from royalties earned. My advice would be to stay clear of a 360 deal unless your in it for the short term If artists want to own their music and remain free the best option is to stay independent or until they have gained enough leverage.

Epikbeats has been working with independent artist for more then 11 years and we will continue to provide the best quality beats and instrumentals online. It is our mission to offering information to help artists understand the music industry and how to build independently.