Navigating the artist-label relationship: artist perspectives on working with record labels.


  • Rob Cannon University of Sydney IASPM-ANZ


Record Label, Artist, Music Industry, Organizational Culture, Artist-Label Relationship


The relationship between artists and record labels is instrumental in developing successful artist careers. Such relationships are periodically discussed in the popular media, with a narrative that often casts them as disadvantageous for artists. However, there lacks formal research into the nature and quality of these relationships, and the factors that influence their outcomes. Numerous published videographic media were analysed to investigate artists’ perspectives on the nature of these relationships, and the extent to which such perspectives aligned with media narratives. Analysis showed that artists expressed both negative and positive perspectives. Pertinent factors included: the competence, expertise, and value of labels, the contract, the nature of interpersonal interaction between artist and label, and the alignment of expectations and goals. In many cases, the behaviours and characteristics of specific individuals within a label had significant impact on whether artists’ experiences were positive or negative. Organizational and systemic factors were also influential.


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