Artist Interviews

Joey Jewish talks major label contracts and independence

November 29, 2017

Joey Jewish talks major label contracts and independence

Taking the world by storm, Joey Jewish has seen both sides of the industry and took some time to sit down with New H2O for our Artist Interview Segment

Joey Jewish has been on an incredible path of growth in spirituality and popularity since his roots in late 2014 early 2015.

We got a chance to sit down with him and learn more about his experiences and what his journey has been like over the last 3 years.


NH20: Your brand has become incredibly strong over the last few years and you’ve mentioned to us that you have had multiple offers on the table from some of the bigger labels in Christian music.

Break down how some of these deals were structured for people who might not understand. What made you decide to stay independent?

Joey Jewish: In the last 18 months I’ve been fortunate to meet some great people and have some very insightful conversations. I thank God for wisdom and for those who truly were concerned for my well being. On my own I likely would’ve moved in haste and later regretted my decisions.

There were a couple of deals we sought hard after that closed on us. I was definitely sad things didn’t work out in those instances, but what I learned was invaluable. Plus, I gained the inspiration that helped fuel The Vantes Project 2.

Long story short, after being offered several contracts, my team and I decided to decline all current offers as we are entertaining partnerships from a few majors.

Prior to 2016 I hadn’t received any offers so I had no clue what was good or bad. Once I began to educate myself on music contracts, and all things related to the business side of music, I quickly realized that some of these offers were horrific.

A common thread with several of these trash offerings are better known as a “360 deal”. Basically a label offers a contract where they are able to take a piece of everything that encompasses you as an artist. Merchandise, distribution, performances, etc.

In a nutshell if a label is offering you one of these contracts, they usually are giving themselves 2-3 options which means 2 to 3 projects you must contractually agree to provide them with.

They may leave an additional two options on the back end of the contract to exercise in their favor if you’re blowing up as an artist.

Then they give you what’s called an advance which can be solely a recording advance meaning those funds are strictly allocated to the recording/mixing/mastering of your project, or they may also include an artist advance that goes directly into your pocket. Depending on the label that dollar figure can range between $20k-100k and sometimes more depending on how bad they want you and what type of budget they have for new artists.

A label will take anywhere from 60 to 85% of distribution leaving you with next to nothing from your music sales and streams online. Then they wants access to your publishing, and access to a percentage of your merchandise and performances.

The reality is that every dime that goes out must be paid back before you ever see any profit in your pocket as an artist. So to sum it up, A label might invest $20-50,000 into an artist for the initial project.

That means that before you see one penny, all of those resources must be first paid back to the label so they can recuperate their funds. Only at that point do the percentage splits kick in.

By that time, an artist may already fall into the deadline of needing to complete their second project which means more money goes out from the label to invest in that second project, and more time must pass in order for profits to be accrued to pay off the next balance before profit to the artist can be made via the percentage splits.

So as you can see, an artist must take into serious consideration what is most important. Although the idea of being signed seems attractive, the reality of it can be a nightmare if all aspects are not properly considered.Simply put, If fame is the goal, then a 360 deal is perfect. If sustainability, profit, and creative control is the goal, then remaining independent is the route to take.

That’s why I decided to stay independent.


NH20: The market is noticeably shifting towards a trend in streaming. Artists have been fighting this for a while now because of the low payout, while labels have embraced it and used it as the foundation of how they generate money.

What can an independent artist do to survive during this industry shift?

Joey Jewish: Streaming can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. If an artist lacks a strong online presence, streaming can be a roadblock to success. On the flip side, if an artist has taken time to build a following online, is engaging with their following, invests in themselves to market, and finds outlets for exposure, then streaming can literally change someone’s life overnight.

Understand that I am not fully against the industry as I personally know there are great labels out there who are run by people who truly have the heart to see an artist succeed. It’s just that an artist must know their worth, and understand they can do things on their own to pop if they’re willing to learn rather than get burned due to laziness.


NH20: What are the key areas of opportunity that you see now and in the future?

The key areas of opportunity I see for both now and in the future are utilizing every single platform available to you as an artist.

Invest, invest, invest!

Obviously be smart about what you’re paying for by educating yourself on that particular platform, but do not be cheap. If you want quality and results, you have to pay for them.

  1. Make sure your music is mixed and mastered correctly.
  2. Be sure to have dope photography, artwork, and the catalog videos.
  3. Build your image by being who you are.
  4. Trust God, pray, build a tight circle, and push like your life depends on it.
  5. Talk to you first, engage with them, ask them questions, and listen to what they say.
  6. Don’t worry about impressing, we’re getting the approval of other artists.
  7. Talk to your following, engage with them, ask questions, and listen to what they say. Don’t worry about impressing or getting the approval of other artists. Understand that the general public is your audience and their opinion matters. You make music for them.


NH20: Ok, so an artist gets hit by a label and gets a 360 contract on their desk. It makes sense for them, but before the excitement overwhelms them, what are some prayer-focused questions that they should ask themselves before signing?

Joey Jewish: Again, understand that my focus on this subject matter is in no way disrespect or to discredit any artist who has already signed or will sign a 360 deal.

I just want to shed light on the importance of full consideration before hopping into something that can either make or break a person.

With that being said, if a 360 offer is presented to an artist and it all makes perfect sense, I would advise these things:

  1. Do I have The greenlight from God?
  2. Do I have Godly counsel & leadership?
  3. Am I willing to consistently travel away from my family?
  4. Am I prepared to be a public figure?


NH20: As an artist, was there a tipping point that you knew things would start happening or was it not as clear cut?

How did you feel when those conversations started? Did you anticipate staying independent as you have?

Joey Jewish: Really didn’t know what the tipping point was. I honestly continued to trust God and kept grinding.

I learned to embrace the process and pay the price. I put in a lot of hard work, tried different things, consistently put out content, and analyzed the results to see what worked versus what didn’t. So by the time labels began reaching out to have those convos

I was ready.

I will always be independent but there are a couple major partnerships on the table and we are going to pick one soon.

Follow New H2O:

Be sure to follow Joey Jewish @joeyjewish

Akande is a serial entrepreneur and hip hop recording artist know as Davis Absolute. He is the owner and operator of New H2O, Digital Pew and the RCHGRV Collective. Connect with him @davisabsolute.
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