Fat Joe believes the “major label system is a Ponzi scheme”

Courtesy of SHOWTIME

Fat Joe is independent, and it’s because he thinks the “major label system is a Ponzi scheme.” The rapper, once signed to Atlantic Records, spoke to Wall Street Journal about his decision to leave the label years ago.

“I don’t believe in these people. For one, I feel like the major label system is a Ponzi scheme,” he told WSJ’s Jason Gay, noting artists “never understood” their pay or the label’s accounting methods. “You had to be like the Fugees, who sold 30 million records, to make a dollar. 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.”

He also noted the executives, lacking knowledge about the artists’ culture, were more concerned about the business than the art. 

“Artists, we’re so passionate about our story, we’re so passionate about our music,” Joe said. “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?’”

He says he decided to leave when Atlantic, disappointed by his album sales, switched the poster of him on their wall to T.I.

“I remember I went home … thinking, ‘You know what, if you go independent and you sell an album, you make $7 profits,'” Joe said. “So I go back in [the office], and I go, ‘Man, you’re right, I suck. You ain’t gotta worry about me.'”

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