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The Koch Graveyard

As Fiddy mentioned yesterday on the Angie Martinez program, it’s pretty well accepted that Koch Records is where artists go when they can’t talk any major label into spending money on them. I wonder though if it’s really that much worse than being signed to a major label.

For starters, not every artist on Koch is a major label reject – just the vast majority of them. For example, Team Rocket capo Jim Jones bypassed the whole “trying to make it work at a major label” thing altogether and started his career as an MC with Koch Records.

His Hustler’s P.O.M.E. has sold about 300,000 copies since it was released in November, which is hardly a staggering figure, but still fairly impressive by today’s standards. By comparison, how many major label artists sold as many albums in three months last year?

Probably not very many.

Granted, Jim Jones is the exception in the sense that he actually made a song that people like, but isn’t the whole point of being on a major label in the first place to get your song played on the radio ad nauseum regardless of whether or not anyone actually likes it? Correct me, if I’m wrong.

In general, the main argument for being on a major label is that they can promote your album so much better that it’s worth only getting paid $.90 per album sold. But most major labels these days can hardly push anything past a few hundred thousand copies sold anyway, and that’s if you’re lucky.

Lupe Fiasco’s album, to use an example, has been out way longer than Hustler’s P.O.M.E. and yet it hasn’t sold as many copies, despite being one of the better promoted rap albums of the year. What’s more, Jim Jones will make a lot more per copy of his album sold than Lupe Fiasco.

Rappers on Koch Records like to claim that they make $7 per album sold, which sounds like a whole lotta BS to me. But, even if they’re only making half that much, they might still have the better deal. If these major labels can’t promote your album anyway, why pay them for it?

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