Guest Star: "I Don't Like What Def Jam's Doing W/ Their Real Hip-Hop Artists"

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011 10:00PM

Written by SOHH for Matt Diamond

[With recent outbursts against major record labels by artists like Lupe Fiasco and Shyne, Coalmine Records CEO Matt Diamond speaks on the re-vamped indie game.]

I do not like what Def Jam's doing with their real hip-hop artists. They're just throwing them out fourth quarter as these tax write-offs. They're doing it to people who help them build the label like Redman and they let all these albums flop like write-offs.

I feel the projects where they have the most autonomy to do whatever they want and just turn in their album or the projects that are least pushed is becoming a problem. They want the artist on the label, they know they can't A&R them because if you have somebody like Redman, they know you can't go to him and say you need "this" kind of record. So they let them stay on the label for publicity purposes, the artists turn in whatever they've done and then they don't go in as much as they should to promote it. They treat it as more of a tax write-off.

On the flip side, you have labels like Atlantic Records which will have a talent like a Lupe Fiasco, a talent like Cee-Lo or Wiz Khalifa and there's a certain mold. They already have a template on what that album's "supposed" to be. They have "this beat" with "that sound" and then insert the artist so now they have the mold for how it should sound. That actually dilutes the direction the artist would go if they didn't have that or have to answer to that label.

The present is sort of becoming the future in the industry because there's so many social networks and artists have so many ways to take control of their own fan base. A major is having less control. They're not really as in charge and now the powers are returning to the artists. If they could generate their own movement, be in control of their own album campaigns, then they'll be able to generate fans that will stay with them through the span of their entire career. That's how you build a business model based less on the album, but more on the artist.

Instead of going gold or selling a couple hundred thousand units, sell 80,00 units without the major push. More money will end up in your pocket, you'll own your masters and make fans that will be with you for the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years. I think one of the best examples of that this model is Rhymeslayers Rhymesayers Entertainment because their fans are fans for life. They make music for the stage of life that they're living at the time and their fans respect them for it.

Diamond Music Group & Coalmine Records were both established by its founder & C.E.O., Matt Diamond. Over the years, Coalmine Records has amassed an extensive hip-hop catalog and has had the opportunity to work with several iconic as well as up-coming artists, producers and DJs in the hip-hop industry such as Pharaohe Monch, Kool G. Rap, Large Professor, Sean Price, Dilated Peoples, Emilio Rojas, Talib Kweli, Torae, Skyzoo, Termanology, Alchemist, JR Rotem, M-Phazes, Illmind, Khyrsis, Shuko, Domingo, DJ Kay Slay, DJ Revolution, DJ Babu and more.

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