Once upon a time, it was all about the major music label deal. But today, as every type of business is taking a loss, some business-savvy artists are doing things their own way with independent labels. Here are some of rap’s richest who continue to thrive in a slow economy with their own label imprints.
The legendary rapper-producer is also one of hip-hop’s savviest–unlike many who sell away the rights to their songs, Dr. Dre hangs on to most of his. and still collects royalties on multiplatinum albums like the 1992 classic The Chronic, which sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide. He also rakes in cash from his headphones line Beats by Dre, a partnership with Interscope Records. He served as executive producer for Eminem’s “Recovery,” which sold over 1 million U.S. copies in its first two weeks; solo album Detox is slated for release this fall.
It’s been a good year for Aftermath Entertainment. The Dr. Dre founded label is enjoying the fruits of Eminem’s latest release with the Detroit rapper earning 10 Grammy Award nominations for Recovery, capping a comeback year for the once-troubled rap star.
Aftermath operates as a subsidiary of, and is distributed through, Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records. Upon his departure from Death Row Records in June 1996, Dr. Dre quickly launched Aftermath Entertainment through Interscope Records (which at the time was Death Row’s distributing label). It was founded as a “boutique label” that prides itself on “quality over quantity”, focusing on small numbers of high-profile releases.