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

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3. Wilco: Indie-rock group Wilco had a very similar story to Simply Red's and around the same time. In 2001, Reprise Records chose not to release their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and offered them the rights to the album and their release from the label for free. They agreed and decided to put the album up on that Internet thing for free so their fans could hear it.

Unexpectedly, it became a huge underground hit and garnered mass-media attention for their poor treatment by their label and their groundbreaking way of releasing the album. It not only got them a deal with Nonesuch Records, but it made Wilco a household name among indie music fans.

2. MC5: One of the single most influential garage-rock and protopunk bands of the '60s, it's almost incalculable how many bands followed in the MC5's footsteps, particularly in their attitude. The result of that attitude was "kick out the jams, motherfucker" being printed on the album sleeve of their first album, Kick Out the Jams.

Hudson's department stores raised a fuss and, in true punk fashion, MC5 took out an ad for the album that simply said "Fuck Hudson's" in big, bold letters. Considering all this was being done with the Elektra Records logo in the fine print, Elektra had finally had enough and terminated their involvement with the band for fear Hudson's would no longer stock their records.

Hudson's went out of business in 2001, but MC5 and their punk lineage live on today.

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1. The Stooges: The Stooges were "that" band for so many people. They were a result of the same prototypical punk attitude and sound that had birthed MC5. If most of punk owes its origins to MC5, it owes even more to the Stooges. But the Stooges had similar problems with the Elektra Records label, and just a few years after MC5's shameful dropping, they also dropped the Stooges.

The Stooges went on hiatus briefly before being picked up by David Bowie and recording their heaviest album to date, Raw Power, for Columbia Records. Though the mix is legendarily bad, it had become a staple of any music fan's collection and continues to inspire bands today.

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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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