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As an industry veteran with six albums under his belt and more than 21 million albums sold in the U.S. alone, Nelly has learned a lot about the ins and outs of the business.
In an era where albums sales have been steadily declining the St. Louis rapper doesn't think it's wise for a new artist that is doing well independently to sign a deal with a major record label.
In a new conversation with VladTV, Nelly used Interscope artist Chief Keef as an example.
"Let's say we take Chief Keef for example. You take someone such as Chief Keef, young kid on fire. To me I said the worst thing Chief Keef ever did was get a record deal," Nelly said. "That's just my opinion."
Vlad then tells Nelly that Keef reportedly got a $6 million deal to sign.
"Well, if he got $6 million then it wasn't the worst thing. I'm saying as far as that $6 million going in his pocket and not being $6 million for everything in his budget and all that," Nelly continued. "My point being is that you look at someone that's got a great social media following. Dude is well over 3-4 million views on his YouTube [page] independently. And this was all under a year. You look at that and then you say to yourself in an era right now where it's so hard to sell records. Then I look at Chief Keef's following. It's more of a mixtape song type of following. I would have said 'cool on the record deal.' I'm just going to put out singles. I'm gonna strike my own deal with iTunes. Why? Because if I put out an album I might as well make it a mixtape because they're not really buying albums anyway. I can just keep putting singles out and touring. As long as my singles are selling and I'm getting radio airplay, I'm touring [and] making money. Now I done gave up this 360 deal. I done gave up part of my publishing, part of my merchandise, part of my touring [revenue] for this cut of money. Which I could have owned 100% of my merchandise. Owned 100% of my publishing and owned 100% of that. I may not have gotten all of the money that I got upfront, but I promise you in the next year or two I would have made that money and still owned everything I got."
Does Nelly have a valid point? Are new artists better off staying independent instead of taking a 360 with a major label?