Monday, October 13, 2008

Too Many Artists...Not Enough Hits!

Its been years since Master P and No Limit were putting out platinum albums nearly once a month. It seems even longer since Roc-A-Fella and Ruff Ryders were the hottest labels in music. Remember artists like G-Dep and Mark Curry on Bad Boy? Do the names Kane & Abel, Mercedes or Mr. Serv-on ring a bell? These artists may not be household names, but at one point there careers seemed like they were thriving. All of them and plenty of others like them have had the "privilege" of being signed to the hot record label of that time.

More recently, G-Unit Records, who saw multi-platinum success with their first six album releases, has seen every artist not named Curtis, flop in popularity and album sales. When popular artists are given record labels, they usually start off small. G-Unit was 50, Banks, Buck, Yayo & Game. Roc-A-Fella was Jay, Bleek, Beans and Amil. No Limit was TRU, Mystikal and Mia X. Popularity, however ended up becoming the achilles heel for all of these labels. As the fame and notoriety grew, every new artist wanted to sign to one of these labels. But how many artists is too many? Why can't label heads see that smaller is sometimes better.

It seems like every one of these labels stopped seeing how successful their small roster was and started to believe that anybody they signed was as good as gold. Nobody seemed to realize that high-quality depletes with high-quantity when it comes to signing music acts. There are a million artists who never got released because they got lost in the shuffle. Maybe they couldn't record a good single. Maybe somebody like Kanye West got signed to the label and overshadowed the other artists. But for one reason or another every flourishing label has some knee-jerk reaction down the line and signs a host of lackluster artists that end up becoming liabilities.

Probably no one realizes how successful Kanye's label, G.O.O.D Music is doing. Common has seen a re-birth in his career, and John Legend is a worldwide superstar. With new artists like Big Sean and Kid Cudi, G.O.O.D Music seems like its right on track to keep growing. However, does anybody know what happened to Consequence, Fonzworth Bentley and Sa-Ra? They were all dropped by distributor Sony BMG.

You can have a hundred acts signed but if only five are good, what happens to everyone else? What happens when Puff signs Danity Kane and forgets about Cheri Dennis? Who's to blame when Mercedes' album was "coming soon" her entire career? When a label reaches a plateau and starts adding dead weight the only direction they can go is down. It happened with No Limit, Roc-A-Fella, Bad Boy, So-So Def, Murder, Inc. and plenty of others. You can't be successful when you're signing more people than you're creating hits. Before you know it, you have more artists on the shelves than plaques, and a bunch of talented acts wondering if the world will ever get to hear their album.



  1. Great post...glad someone had enough insight to see it

  2. That Mercedes cd cover is classic! LMAO!!!!!!!

  3. good post man...Ive always said that!