Pink Slipped: The 7 Best Artists to Be Dropped from Their Label

Categories: Lists

Iggy Pop, front man for The Stooges, who got dropped in the early '70s.
Once upon a time, record labels were the most important thing to an artist who chose to work within the music industry. They could make or break anyone, and even world-renowned artists knelt at the feet of their masters.

Getting dropped from a label was, at one time, a death sentence. Even today many bands don't survive it, especially if they've been on a major label for a while and are suddenly forced to go indie again.

Some just give up the dream. Others have utilized new ways to sell their brand without a label. No matter the result of the dropping, though, here are the best artists whose labels have chosen to turn their backs on them.

Photo via The Bled's Facebook page

7. The Bled: In their time, the Bled were a hardcore force to be reckoned with. The Arizona noisemakers first came to prominence in the early-'00s boom of metalcore bands and kept up their brand for 11 years, before concluding their career this year.

A big part of their breakup may have been the fact that they were dropped from Vagrant Records shortly after their 2007 album Silent Treatment. They managed to snag a deal with Rise Records afterward, but sadly failed to gain back their momentum.

Simply Red on Facebook page
6. Simply Red: Though hits in America were fleeting, Simply Red maintained a devoted following throughout their 25-year career in their home country of England. Front man and only consistent member Mick Hucknall ended things in 2010 to continue on as a solo act.

One of the band's greatest achievements was that in 2000 they were dropped from EastWest Records due to poor sales of their previous record. Not to be dissuaded, Simply Red took up that newfangled Internet-selling concept, creating to market their music themselves. It was remarkably successful and innovative for its time, coming seven years before Radiohead would make the concept an everyday occurrence.

foxy brown.jpg
5. Foxy Brown: Foxy Brown first came to prominence through her work with Def Jam Records in the '90s, performing guest spots for the likes of Jay-Z. She later joined The Firm, a hip-hop supergroup with Nas, AZ and Nature. Though her album sales went down, she remained with Def Jam for years to come.

It was only in 2007 that she was dropped, reportedly for a jail sentence she was set to serve for violating probation, which she was on for assaulting a manicurist. It's unfortunate because Brown proved for years that she could hold her own with the boys, a rarity in the rap world, and influenced other female rappers to come such as Nicki Minaj.


4. 50 Cent: A long way from his glory days of Get Rich or Die Tryin', a young 50 Cent recorded his debut for Columbia Records called Power of the Dollar.

The album was filled with guest appearances by the hottest rap and R&B artists of the day, including Houston natives Destiny's Child and Bun B. But Columbia got scared after Fitty's memorable shooting that would pattern his lyrics for years to come. They dropped him from the label and shelved the album, casting his future in doubt until Dr. Dre and Eminem picked him up on Aftermath/Shady Records for his smash hit official debut.

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Rhymes & Reasons
Rhymes & Reasons

If you like hip-hop, you might like my blog, Rhymes and Reasons. It’s a series of interviews with hip-hop heads who discuss their lives and a few songs that matter to them. Pretty powerful stuff. Check’em out here:



Didn't Rakim get dropped from Aftermath? Or did he leave?

Huey Bosco
Huey Bosco

Another thing about the Wilco release:

They were dropped from Reprise and signed by Nonesuch and both companies are owned by Warner Music Group. Essentially, WMG paid for Wilco to make Yankee, cut them free, and then paid again once the album blew up, paying twice for the same record + what the band was now worth. 

One of the great early stories (before things like Radiohead's In Rainbows release) of an artist fucking over a mega-label. There's also a great documentary called "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" about the entire debacle. 

Cory Garcia
Cory Garcia

Jimmy Eat World got dropped after releasing Clarity, wrote an album on their own dime, got resigned, and released Bleed American.

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