Fat Joe said the independent route is the way to go in the music industry and branded the major label system a “Ponzi scheme.”
During an appearance at the Wall Street Journal‘s The Future of Everything Festival, the NYC icon opened up about why he left Atlantic Records and chose to pursue independence with his own indie imprint, Terror Squad Productions.
“I don’t believe in these people. For one, I feel like the major label system is a Ponzi scheme and they do funny math,” Fat Joe explained. “Whenever you try to see something in life, they say numbers don’t lie. If you look at a chart and the numbers are so clear where you could say, ‘The price of this is this, the price of this is this.’”
Fat Joe Questions The Numbers
Fat Joe explained his difficulty understanding how artists sell millions of records with so little financial compensation.
“You had to be like the Fugees, who sold 30 million records, to make a dollar,” he added. “I was talking to [Jennifer Lopez] about it—and you know J.Lo’s a megastar—and she was like, ‘Man, you know these guys, they only give you this [amount] and you never recoup.’ So, it’s a funny math.”
After stating how passionate artists are about their creations, Fat Joe continued. “I would have to go walk into an office to a guy who didn’t even really understand our art and culture. They just knew how to market, how to promote and make the most profit. I used to beg ’em: ‘Are you gonna push my record? Are you really gonna press the button? Are you really gonna go for it?’”
However, Joey Crack finally realized he could make more money as an independent artist by investing in his career.
“Then I figured out, ‘Hey, I got money too,’” he said before adding, “I’m self-funding everything. I would go on tour for a month or two—Yugoslavia, China, anywhere you name—save all my money and then invest in making the album, making the videos, promoting it. And even though I went independent, I kept that same look.”
Check out a clip below and watch the interview here.