That being said, let’s look at what the value of a record label is in this day and age. We’ve already cut artist development, so you need to get your music right on your own without A&R guidance.
Promotion and marketing: Labels are good at going from 60-100, but not 0-60; artists still need to get their buzz going themselves.
Videos: Labels can provide the true budgets needed for traditional videos, but now with technology, artists can team up with great up and coming directors to create visuals for next to nothing.
Radio: Labels again are good at going from 60-100 but often look for early starts they want the artists to contribute.
Setting up distribution and monetizing: Selling/getting your records in stores is obviously important, and, to their credit, labels have gotten better in the last year at monetizing other avenues, yet still aren’t great—a good manager and team is much more crucial in this role, in my opinion.
“Buzz so big I could probably sell a blank disc,” Drake, “Best I Ever Had”
By the time “Best I Ever Had” reached the top of the charts, Drake had already successfully done everything a major label could by himself (even if Cash Money/Young Money and Drake’s team did put some paper behind him to promote the single at radio, and gave him a huge platform with Wayne on tour). At this point, there was nothing a label could do for Drake, and everyone knew this.
Here is where it all went wrong, in my humble opinion.