Taking Care of Business: Artists Who Launched Record Labels
They say if you want something done right, do it yourself.
That's why several recording artists have chosen to take matters into their own hands and forgo the traditional route of releasing their music through a major label, sometimes after years of dealing with the bigwigs. Instead, they've launched labels with the intent of maintaining full ownership over their work and the direction of their career.
"We want to set up a system whereby people who just want to make a film about anything, don't have to go on their knees in somebody's office," John Lennon said in the press conference where the Beatles announced their Apple label. "The aim of this company isn't really a stack of gold teeth in the bank. We've done that bit. It's more of a trick to see if we can actually get artistic freedom within a business structure."
That's not to say forming a successful record company is easy; there's a lot of legal work and money issues involved in the running of such an enterprise. And as everyone knows, the music business is anything but predictable. "I never know what's going to happen with Third Man," Jack White, co-founder of Third Man Records, told Nashville Scene in 2018. "I hope it lives on long after I’m gone, dead and gone."
In the below list of Artists Who Launched Record Labels, you'll find acts that span genres and backgrounds. The one thing they have in common is that none of them lack ambition.