Thanks to today’s artists ability to be successful while staying independent, record labels like RCA have been forced to give out more favorable contracts. With artist’s having access to the social media market their art and new distribution platforms to give the public access the bargaining power has shifted in their favor. SZA has recently became possibly the biggest beneficiary to date with her joint deal with TDE and RCA.
According to Jimmy Lovine, who is the co-founder of Interscope Records, SZA and Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) managed to leverage her accomplishments as an independent artist to get her a steal of a deal in which she owns the 70/30 split. Before the deal, SZA managed to gain a huge following and internet presence making it hard for any label to pass up. Her following is so big that she really didn’t need much support from a label to again nationwide attention that most seek help to gain with help from a label.
If SZA was to get a deal about five years ago, she would have been lucky to get a 15% profit from a label. Usually a label gives out more 360 deals to artists due to the fact that they don’t usually get a full return on the funds that are put towards promoting and building up an artist. A return does not typically happen until an artist just about reach the three album mark.
Even though she could have been successful as an independent artist just like Chance the Rapper, SZA’s deal is the next best thing you can do as an artist. With it she can focus on being an artist while her label handles the tours and other business without controlling her career.