The relationship between artists and labels has always been turbulent. Some artists love their labels while others despise them. It seems as of late that a lot of younger artists are embracing being “independent” while others desperately seek out an album deal. One aspect of music labels that has always been tricky and divisive is the idea of the label advance. While bigger artists might be able to fully recoup their advances, many smaller artists are left without a check from a label because their project failed to recoup the money spent. Recently, multi-platinum selling producer and fashion designer Pharrell gave his two cents on the label advance.

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Over the last couple of days, Steve Stoute has hosted United Masters SelectCon on Twitch. Recently, they had Pharrell on to discuss many things about the music industry, including label advances.

“You shouldn’t walk into a company and say, ‘I’m gonna make this record.’ They give you an advance then for the tenure of that, the entire time you’re album’s out  you’re working to pay back that advance,” Williams said. Stoute added “that’s illegal.” Pharrell then went on to say that, “No bank gives a company a loan to start a company and walks away with the trademarks.”


“No one should own you. Pharrell continued, “No bank gives a company a loan to start a company and walks away with the trademarks,” Pharrell added.

You can check out Pharrell’s criticism of label advances here.