Are Labels Running Artists Into the Ground? The Rick Ross Question

This has always been a problem in pro sports, where teams will do anything to keep a player on the field.

But music? Look no further than the nightmarish medical emergencies experienced recently by Rick Ross while travelling between dates.  Instead of calling it a day after experiencing a seizure (while flying), Ross quickly turned around and jumped onto another flight, only to experience another seizure.

And, even after all that, Ross (or someone in the Ross camp) tweeted fans to expect him at a scheduled gig that night.  He never showed.

Undoubtedly, an overdriven artist may simply ignore the critical warning signs (like, a seizure).  Ross is undoubtedly driven, and his work ethic has a lot to do with his success – or excess.  But the question is what role labels are playing in all of this – and if they’re simply running artists like Ross into the ground with grueling schedules and commitments.

A few days after the medical meltdown, ex-girlfriend Elise Neal stepped forward and squarely blamed Def Jam for the situation.  “I hate to say this, but I saw this coming,” Neal told RumorFix. “I think Def Jam is pushing him too hard.  They don’t think about him or his health, pushing him to do all these videos, pushing tours and shows.  He is not 20 years old anymore — no one seems to care about him really or overall his health.”

Makes you long for the days of ample tour support, pot-smoking marathons on the bus, and screwing around backstage.  Sounds great, but nothing close to reality for most of the bands we’ve talked to.  Because despite endless waxing about lucrative touring revenues and revolutionized direct-to-fan models, most artists actually ‘making it’ consider themselves extremely lucky – and are only doing it with punishing itineraries and grueling schedules.

Like the one Ross is obviously enduring right now.