Earlier this month, UnitedMasters founder Steve Stoute inspired a friendly debate among followers of the more business-centered side of music after sharing his assessment on how a fully independent Drake might impact the industry. During a recent Breakfast Club interview, Stoute was asked about those comments, which he explored further by comparing Drake to LeBron James.
Asked about 34 minutes into the interview if he truly felt Drake going independent could "kill the music industry," Stoute broke it down.
"100 percent," he said. "In fact, I went further to say Drake is about to get one of the biggest bags in the history of the record business. And I said this—by the way, if you look back in time I actually said this on your show six months ago—not only is he gonna get one of the biggest bags in history, but [if he goes independent] that's a big part of why he's gonna get that bag."
From there, Stoute imagined a hypothetical scenario in which Drake independently dropped new music.
"If Drake goes independent, what happens is: When he puts up 'link in bio' and his goes crazy and the money he makes off of that, it's going to show everybody that if you build an audience, the record company actually doesn't do anything at all except give you money to possibly shoot a video or do some marketing," he said. "But that's something that you could do with your own money or with some money. It certainly doesn't [need to be where] you sign away your rights and masters to do that."
Stoute argued that Drake, arguably for the last 10 years or so, likely hasn't been in close contact with any label officials anyway.
"If Drake goes independent, it will crater the record business because he will be a big artist in his prime defecting the system," he said. "It would be like if LeBron left the NBA and started a league or went to another league … Imagine if LeBron left and went to Ice Cube's Big3. It would change everything."
And while the world of radio still carried some undeniable weight during Drake's earlier years, Stoute noted that the need for record label assistance in getting a song on stations no longer exists.
"If you're Ed Sheeran, you need a record company," he added. "There's certain artists that need that but certainly not rap music. Not at all. Rap artists do not need record companies."
Later in the interview, Stoute addressed how age and wisdom affects any prior issues an artist or industry figure may have with another, specifically speaking on 50 Cent and Damon Dash. Catch the full discussion up top.