At a Q&A session in Sydney on Sunday night, Diplo opined candidly about the music industry and hinted at the reason why his collaborative project with Skrillex (Jack Ü) is on hiatus.
“Right now I’m just doing a lot of new Major Lazer stuff and Diplo stuff. The thing with Jack Ü is complicated, because of Atlantic,” he said.
“Skrillex is signed to that label and it’s difficult to do anything with that. I hate major labels, so I don’t really want to do anything with major labels. So it’s hard.”
The quote was published in a story by Katie Cunningham, Editor of Sydney-based publication inthemix, yesterday.
But why would Skrillex, aka Sonny Moore, remain beholden to Atlantic when he has his own vanity label-turned-creative-collective-institution, OWSLSA? It could be because Atlantic is not only Sonny’s label, it’s also OWSLA’s parent company and distributor in the US.
It could be because Atlantic is not only Skrillex’s label, it’s also OWSLA’s parent company and distributor in the US.
Atlantic is, of course, a flagship label of Warner Music Group, which distributes the catalogue of Sumerian Records, aka the label From First To Last is signed to. Those playing at home will remember Sonny recently returned to his alt-rock roots and rejoined the band in the lead-up to thei release of their sixth LP.
Diplo is in a similar situation; he has own imprint called Mad Decent, but its distribution partners include Warner Music Group and Def Jam.
According to a post by journalist Sky Stack on Quora, both Diplo and Sonny are legally bound when it comes to Jack Ü.
“Major labels most always have exclusivity contracts, stating that artists will stick with a label for a number of years or releases,” reads the post. “It’s very possible too that Skrillex and Diplo were under contract when Jack Ü was formed, and had no choice besides continuing with a major.”
Diplo’s Q&A session held at The Giant Dwarf saw the LA go-to producer interviewed by Nina Las Vegas. It was held to celebrate 10 years of arts initiative Heaps Decent, the organisation set up by Diplo, DJ Levins and Nina Las Vegas to help emerging artists from diverse communities and indigenous young people.
During the chat Diplo also said some of the best music has never been heard due to misfired promotion: “One of my favourite artists from the last year was Francis and the Lights, and I don’t think anybody heard that album because it was just not promoted well.”
Diplo also believes artists who create pure bubble-gum pop are setting themselves up to fail: “If a pop star puts out straight pop music, it’s almost a death sentence. You have to be edgy; electronic.”