Sub Pop founder Bruce Pavitt thinks Apple’s partnerships with Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean spell danger for major labels in 2017 and beyond. “I think you’ll see artists using labels as a stepping stone to total independence rather than independent labels as a stepping stone to majors,” he told MBW.
“Majors in particular are going to be tremendously challenged in the near future because the distribution advantages are becoming less and less meaningful as we go to digital… Apple is the most powerful player in music right now.
The game plan for somebody like Chance the Rapper is building his brand by giving away mixtapes, like Frank Ocean did by working with Def Jam, and then doing an exclusive streaming deal with Apple.”
Pavitt also cited rapper Macklemore as an example of independent artist success, while noting that he had worked with Warner Music’s radio promotion division on his album ‘The Heist’.