As an artist’s experience grows in the music industry, with their passion for music, their entrepreneurship grows too. Countless Hip-hop and EDM artists have started their own record labels. After being successful in their respective careers and facing much hardship in the cut-throat music industry, these artists aim to find new talent and sign musicians to their record labels hoping they can be their most authentic selves making the music they are deeply passionate about!
We all know of music industry icons such as Jay-Z, Kanye West, The Beatles, among many others, who launched their own record labels. However, there are some artists who have been inspired to establish their labels but some of us may have not known about their endeavors. The latest addition to the club is the ‘Never Forget You’ hitmaker Zara Larrson, who is also the first musician we’ll be talking about today.
Here are five artists you didn’t know that launched their own record labels –
Sommer House – Zara Larrson
The Swedish pop star Zara Larrson announced her own record label, Sommer House, earlier this month. The singer, whose songs have been streamed over 9 billion times, has acquired the rights to her entire recording catalog. Larrson has agreed on a unique deal with independent label TEN Music Group CEO Ola Hakansson. They originally signed the ‘Lush Life’ hitmaker in 2011.
“I really want to say thank you to Ola and everyone at TEN for giving me the opportunity to break out as an artist and helping me start my career,” Zara said of the deal.
“You are now also making something happen that is so, so rare for a woman in the music industry – the capability to own my own catalog. With that, it makes perfect sense that I would start my own record company. I very much look forward to my future and to continued collaboration with Sony as well.”
The ‘Ain’t My Fault’ singer’s label Sommer House will be licensed through Epic USA. It will be distributed by Sony Sweden for all of Larsson’s forthcoming releases.
Gingerbread Man Records – Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran officially launched his record label Gingerbread Man Records in 2015 with songwriter Jamie Lawson as his first signing. The imprint is a subsidiary of Warner Music. “I’m extremely excited to be starting-up my own label,” Sheeran said in a press statement at the time. “It’s something I’ve been planning for some time. I’ve always loved endorsing acts from the very beginning and I get to work with artists I truly believe in.”
The singer signed Jamie Lawson, Foy Vance, and Maisie Peters to the label. The latest addition to the Gingerbread Man Records label is Maisie’s, whose 2021 single, ‘Psycho’, was co-written by Sheeran and Steve Mac.
“Signing to Gingerbread is a dream come true,” Maisie Peters said. “I grew up inspired and in awe of Ed, like many other 13-year-olds who heard ‘Lego House’ for the first time. So, it’s kind of amazing and hard to believe that I get to be the 21-year-old who is able to call him and the whole Gingerbread team now friends, family, and mentors for life.”
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“Excited to announce that I’ve signed the wonderful Maisie Peters to Gingerbread Man Records,” added Sheeran. “She’s a very special artist who continues to push her storytelling in new directions. We had a few great writing sessions together and from there I knew I had to work with her. Can’t wait for you to hear her debut album.”
Paisley Park/NPG – Prince
Superstar Prince had so many ideas! He needed to launch a string of side-project bands to record and although distributed by Warner Bros, Paisley Park was Prince’s in-house baby. Its logo even appeared on Prince classics such as ‘Parade’ and ‘Sign “O” The Times’. This was along with some of the singer’s finest extra-curricular work. It was for the likes of The Family, Sheila E, and Jill Jones.
Paisley Park’s quality control began to dip when the star’s own ideas started to dry up. By the early 90s, there was a highly publicized fight between him and Warner Bros. This led the parent company to pull the plug. Undeterred by this, Prince pointed to the future for record labels run by musicians. He launched yet another imprint called NPG Records. The musician pioneered artist-driven mail-order and internet distribution in the 90s and 00s.
Safehouse Records – Nick Jonas & Demi Lovato
In 2015, Demi and Nick, along with manager Phil McIntyre, partnered up with Island Records to create a new label, Safehouse Records. Their goal was to give artists creative freedom and the space for authenticity. Safehouse Records’ first release was the ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ hitmaker’s fifth album, ‘Confident’, which featured tracks ‘Cool for the Summer’, ‘Confident’, and ‘Stone Cold’, among others.
Beastie Boys – Grand Royal
The Beastie Boys Label – ‘Grand Royal’ is a subsidiary of Capitol. It closed in 2001 due to mounting debts. While it was not a commercial success, it was a smash with critics! Grand Royal released some seriously great cult records by bands. This was in the gnarly punk spirit of the NY trio.