‘Cash Me Outside’ Girl Signing Marks The Official Split of the Music Industry

Cash Me Outside girl Atlantic Records
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Cash Me Outside girl Atlantic Records
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Bhad Bhabie “These Heaux” music video

There are now two completely separate music industries.

And most don’t even realize this. It has been a long time coming.

One, you have the traditional music industry. I call it the Superstar Business. And it’s run by the major labels. For a while now, of course, they have been solely focused on how to make the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. This year. This week. This day. This moment.

Their vision and strategic timelines have been getting shorter and shorter. Gone are the days where a Columbia records sticks it out through two failed (full length) albums because they believe in an artist – like what happened with Bruce Springsteen.

Now the majors won’t even sign you unless you’re already proven — with the numbers to tout.

If you hadn’t lost all respect for major record labels yet, well you have now. Atlantic Records just signed someone who is not a musician.  Is not a rap “artist.”  Is not any more talented than the next 14 year old kid who can kinda rap.  But has a following. A massive one at that.

If you have been living under a rock the past week, you may have missed that Atlantic Records just signed (a 360 deal no doubt) Danielle Bregoli  (a.k.a. Bhad Bhabie) — who got shot to stardom by her colorful appearance on Dr. Phil.  The “Cash Me Outside” meme (and remix) was born.  And in true Kardashian fashion, she has since gained millions of Instagram followers.

Atlantic records doesn’t care about art. Doesn’t care about musicians. Doesn’t care about artists. All Atlantic Records (and their execs) care about is money.

We live in a capitalist society. So this is all fine and dandy I guess. But don’t think for a second that when you (or your artist) sign to a major that you will get some personalized attention because you have some artistic purity or integrity. Or because you think your music is great. Unless you’re going to make them a lot of money this year, don’t even bother walking in the front door

Let’s remember that Bhad Bhabi charted on the Billboard Hot 100, not because she has millions of fans. But because she has millions of people who wanted to see what all the fuss is about.

Myself included. You don’t need to buy records today to do this. All you need to do is head over to YouTube or Spotify and play the song for free. And Billboard tracks every stream. 1,500 streams equals a Streaming Equivalent Album (SEA) purchase – hence the Billboard charting. Let’s note that although she hit #1 on the US Viral Charts on Spotify, no one is buying her song on iTunes – she didn’t even crack the top 200 trending songs as of Monday (2 weeks after the release).

Yes, she has millions of Instagram followers. But I consider fans to be those who would actually spend money on their favorite artists. Attend concerts. Buy merch in a non-ironic way (see “Cash Me Outside” sold out Ts).

Or maybe she does have fans. I suppose she is perfectly emblematic of American culture right now: Led by a bombastic misogynist as President supported by an aggressively anti-PC base.

What do we expect? We live in a reality TV nation — where people believe the way to “make it” in music is to either win a TV singing contest or go viral and get signed to a major record label.

When in reality this doesn’t prove to be a path to sustained success in the music industry.

And the major record labels know this.  And really don’t give a flying fuck.  They are set up that way.

The major labels are in the business of making money — not developing or showcasing talent. Period.

So get rid of that misconception.

And what is the other music industry existing right now? I call it the New Music Business. And it’s much more encouraging.

It is an industry existing completely outside TMZ culture. One that is not being written about by any of the culture rags. Or even Billboard very often. Because it’s not very sexy.

It is the industry of the independents. The working musicians. The DIYers damning the system and proclaiming they are not in it for quick fame and instant success, but because music is at the core of who they are. And they would rather build a career than chase fame.

There are literally tens of thousands of independent musicians, managing sustainable music careers, making middle class livings (or oftentimes 6-7 figure incomes), who you have never heard of. And Variety or TMZ will never write about.

Every creator on Patreon. Every artist touring clubs and theaters. Every musician running Kickstarters and PledgeMusic and IndieGoGo campaigns. Every indie artist making a living licensing songs on TV shows, commercials and films. Every artist making a music career happen in a creative way in 2017. There’s no one way to make it in the New Music Business. There are a hundred. And you haven’t heard of 95 of those ways. None of them have to do with getting signed to a major record label.

Because this is the new industry we are living in.

The “other” music business. The New Music Business is not supported by the major record labels. It’s not about a hit, but a career. It’s not about capitalizing on hilarious memes, but building relationships with fans.

I don’t care about Bhad Bhabi. And neither will anyone else (especially not Atlantic Records) in 3 years time. I’m not going to trash a 14 year old. That’s not cool no matter what you think of her or her perceived success.

Getting signed by a major record label is NOT a marker of success.

When 99% of all acts that get signed to major record labels fail (i.e. do not recoup the cost of their advance and get dropped), the odds are actually worse for you if you attempt to work within the traditional music industry. You might as well go and buy a lottery ticket.

So, both of these industries are existing. Simultaneously. One run by musicians defining their own career destinies.  And the other by money-hungry opportunists.  Which do you want to be a part of?


110 Responses

    • Arlette

      I agree with you Ari! I’d rather my daughter take her time learning the new music business on her own. Learning to manage her own business so that she can continue to be successful. Someday she’ll be able to say she did the Ari way the right way to being a true singer/songwriter!

    • old dude

      been here before… bay city rollers, lief garret, unnamed female pop performer, etc, etc… this is not new…

    • cj

      Funny thing is that 99% of what you said has been true for a long time. Its no major discovery that labels suck and only care about money. But what the hell does it say that a total moron gets a record deal from being on Dr.Phil and the current state of Idiocracy supports it as well as dumb reality tv. BTW, how does any of this bullshit have any connection to the President.. Seriously dude your fishing the “look im cool, im anti-trump liberal agenda populist group” trying to score some cheap points or accolades.. Be a writer not a slave to popular thinking

      • Ronda

        The reference to Trump was absolutely relevant. Go back and read it again. How ironic you accuse him of fishing when you yourself used the tired ass “liberal agenda” reference. Politics aside, Trump is a lying misogynist whether you choose to accept that fact or not. Now, go read for comprehension this time.

      • Who Cares

        I thought the same thing. Just had to throw an uncalled for jab at someone who has nothing to do with this girl and would probably disapprove of her. This is just another disguised liberal agenda site. Good try.

      • Jones

        Exactly. American elected a guy with no experience and no idea how to run any type of anything as President. Why wouldn’t record company’s feed that audience more crap that they are already used to eating. Like Obama, Bhad Bahbie continues to prove that America loves talentless acts.

      • Wil

        Great article!!! This is the manual now moving forward for any new comers to the music industry/business!!

      • dennis rubenstein

        I have been in the Music Business for a long time(over 40 yrs) and I have a good idea as to what goes on in the biz. Ari is so right on the money with this and is offering this help as he always does to new artist. Your negative writing about him is off base. This business is a swamp, and one of the very very few people who understand this and try to help is Ari. By the way…..I have never talked to him and have no ties …….but I see what he does.

    • Jamie

      Atlantic records can go suck a big bag of dicks! Shame on America for making this talentless trash bag famous.

    • Scott Craig

      This is how we ended up with are reality TV game show host who pretends to be a billionaire as a President. Nothing is real anymore.

    • Bob

      I’m an independent musician. I’m 47 years old. I’ve sold more than a million copies of my best-selling tune. I have more than 32 million hits on YouTube. And you never heard of me.

      But I make enough per month off YouTube and iTunes to live in one of the three most expensive cities in America.

      Anybody can succeed, any time. Persistence.

    • TerribleTibor

      If the record companies care only about money and she has no real FANS who BUY her records but only folks who LOOK on Instagram, etc., your whole argument gets lost.

    • Jimmy Freakin Augustin

      What? You think this JUST happened? Warner was retiring their artist development and real A&R people 20 years ago because they saw the digital writing on the wall and realized they were too late to do anything about it.

    • Miss Represented

      Not sure how you never saw it happening! It’s started with Stock Aitken and Waterman in the 80’s!

  1. soundsezee

    Sorry to interrupt, but I have been working for 37 years on and off, to create the third Music Industry. One where all People as well as experienced Musicians can experiment with Music freely, with no fear of Copyright infringement as a 10% Royalty will be “Held in ESCROW” to cover any possible infringement’s. Visit http://MusicEzee.weebly.com for more detail. Have a browse and report back to me with thoughts please. Great for everyone including those with a #Disability. #Disruptive #Music #Applications #SoundsEzee #InstSongStar #SwishTones #Janston #TuneSomeThing Have a great Day and be #Creative!

    • old dude

      LOL, you think 10% covers any possible copyright infringements? No wonder it’s taken you 37 years…

  2. Caylam Castle

    This is probably the best article you’ve written Ari.

    It defines so clearly the two worlds that exist and how the canyon between them is getting wider and wider. At some point one of those worlds has to implode…. and the one left standing will be the one were people found purpose and meaning in doing it for the love and passion of music as apposed to the profit margin.

    • Chrome

      agree I was on board with everything in the entire article but this didnt connect- mostly because if anything liberalism is tied with moral decay/ anti christian family unit etc so while trump is crude I dont think the farmers in Iowa are bumping Bhad Bhabie like they are in Chicago..

  3. oh shut up

    why would a label that doesn’t care about art or music sign a band like Death Cab for Cutie? you don’t know what yr talkin about. have you even listened to the track? it’s no Paris Hilton cash in

    • ogrover

      And The War On Drugs, for that matter — an indie rock band fronted by a musician’s musician, who routinely and justifiably earns comparisons to Springsteen and Tom Petty, and who played a sold-out show at Terminal 5 in NYC last night. Things aren’t nearly as simple as you portray them.

  4. Bob

    Labels have always tried to make money. In the past the label had to do artist development. Now the artist can do their own development but it’s still about money.

    It’s Trump’s fault.

  5. Paul Resnikoff

    I wonder what is so different about this? Over history, major labels have signed everyone from Vanilla Ice to the Beatles. Same system.

    But there’s another wrinkle here for modern times. Spotify’s playlist algorithms apparently weight artists with strong Facebook (and I’m assuming Instagram) followings. Meaning, if you have a lot of FB/IG followers, you have a much greater chance of shooting to the top of playlists.

    So, this might be a very bankable artist with the right songs.

  6. The Iconoclast

    I’m going with the one that makes money. This is after all a capitalist society, as jay said “would you rather be paid or underrated?”. Here’s the truth though, good music is going to speak for itself regardless of marketing and any major label consign. The true danger is actually in the independent sound because there is no rules or regulation. The new industry of music where it’s independent is just expression and whether is good or not is simply subjective. That side of the music industry also needs help because in order to because those artists can’t truly eat for the most part. They aren’t booking any shows, or atleast not any profitable ones. So then a business that is not in business to make money is not a business but simply a hobby. We can than say that there is a hobby muscians and proffessional muscians. On that note shout out to the few artists that are making it without a major label, Dom Kennedy.

    • Not impressed

      I’ve been a musician for over 40 years, and in that time I’ve done 14 albums. All indie. I have turned down recording contracts with record labels twice because the terms are completely one-sided. I see no commitment from them to spend money on promotion.
      I have watched two of this girls videos. I see no value or talent there. I see only a bad brat of a kid speaking ghetto with bad attitude. But then most rap sounds like that to me. I just don’t get the point of it.
      This does not seem like something to play for enjoyment, play in the car sing along with, dance to at a club, etc. this is not art. It is mere spectacle. That draws only passing attention. Like a car accident at the side of the highway.

  7. Nelson

    There are real economic reasons, as in we’re meaning our economy to death via multinational corporation music. See TheMajorsSuck.com and this is just the lipstick on the pig.

  8. Anonymous

    This is not a new phenomenon, but simply the latest manifestation of something that has now existed for a long time.

  9. Ritch Esra

    Great Piece Ari. Your own career is a true testament to this reality. I have felt that this has been the reality for the last decade. Like you, I have encountered many artists/bands who are making a decent living doing their music full time – and no one has ever heard of them except their fans, but it doesn’t matter as they are doing what they love and are making a living.

    What I have found over the years regarding your comment “where people believe the way to “make it” in music is to either win a TV singing contest or go viral and get signed to a major record label” is that the reality of those TV Singing contests is that we can name on one hand (out of 15 seasons & 15 winners) how many went on to actually have a viable career in music. VERY FEW!

    It will be interesting to watch Bhad Bhabie as Atlantic launches her career to see if any of the “Attention” she has attained translates into being able to break her as a recording / performing artist.

  10. Captain Colours

    what you all have to remember is that major labels must spend all the streaming revenue they’ve been handsomely collecting over the past few years. atlantic, in particular, has also made a killing from the hamilton soundtrack. they need to spend the money. labels need “write-offs”. it’s always been that way. It’s business 101. this girl is terrible, but again, they have to sign deals to see what sticks and what doesn’t. and of course she got a 360 deal, that assures less risk on the advance etc. i highly doubt she got a huge advance. the PR around the signing is worth more than the $ and is obviously striking a nerve with purists of art. but, at the end of the day — it’s always about the money.

  11. Anonymous

    I love the fact that Chance the Rapper is unsigned and was just the first guy to win a Grammy while not being signed to a record label. He is independent, a mentor, clear thinking, provides leadership in support of the arts, supports the poor especially here in Chicago!! Bravo. He shows how it is done!!

    • Yawn

      Stahhhp calling him “independent” just because there’s no traditional label in the picture. He’s still signed to one of the largest corporations in the entire WORLD (Apple). He is the exception, not the rule.

  12. Fuck this Little bitch

    This skank gets a record deal while so many worthwhile artists toil in the trenches with Great songwriting & artistry. This is definitely the Trump Scumbag era of America

  13. Nick Concklin

    Oh sweet jesus, this isn’t news. This isn’t even new. The underground side of the industry has been around for decades. There is no “split” as a result of this. This shows no new side to the major labels or mainstream. You just wanted to complain and had to make it seem “significant” so you’re spouting off as if some great schism took place when really you’re just venting. Fuck out of here.

  14. One of the many Deplorables

    The article was good, up until that one, inevitable “always comes down to this with sore losers” point. With liberals, it’s always about President Trump. We had to put up with that douchebag, obama, tearing apart our Constitution for eight years, now it’s YOUR turn, Cupcake.
    (how’s that for “aggressively anti-PC”?) Stick to what you know. Politics ain’t it.

  15. Anonymous

    The record business is a strange one… but I get where the majors are coming from.. For a while they had lost the plot when the internet came along.. Indies were doing really well chart wise for a while… now when you look at iTunes charts it’s majority majors.. Atlantic has proven itself to be a master in this new age of creating big hits Spotify/Apple Music/iTunes hits.

    If you want to be a major pop star and be on TV, radio and in the press and have sell out concerts then it certainly helps to be with a major that knows it’s way around all these facets of the entertainment jungle. We all know it as The Major Machine..

    But to be this big (to quote Barbra Streisand) “you have to be commercial…”
    that’s why Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, Ariana Gomez, Justin Bieber.. they all do amazingly well with the majors.. It helps if you have a brilliant manager who can
    motivate and push the majors in keeping you their number one A-lister in their stable of stars…

    But this article is right.. you can carve out a little business as an independent
    using the tools of the Internet to your advantage and the beauty of today’s recorded music business is that the gates of distribution are open for all.. you can get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Beatport (and others) just like the big boys..

    Of course it’s the big boys that get the front page promotion.. I guess they need to enjoy some perks for being a major.. but everyone can still enjoy a piece of the
    streaming and download action..

    Streaming is probably the most fair system out there because listeners will play the songs that they want to hear and it doesn’t cost them any more or less to play your songs or someone else’s..

    To hold your music back from Spotify or YouTube is likely to do yourself a
    disservice, it’s like telling radio not to play your songs… and they don’t care because there’s a million others waiting in line to have their song played.. so ultimately the artist that misses out is the one trying to gate-keep their music within their own digital silo.

    Or worse are those artists still trying to flog their CD’s online and not releasing their music onto streaming and download platforms.. Nobody buy’s CD’s any more.. it’s like they’re desperately trying to hold on to the past.. The past is gone forever.. As Bob L says.. “those that aren’t being born are busy dying”..

    I still believe the more you can do independently the more likely you will see a $ return and you will have a sense of control of your business and it’s finances..

    If you want to be a Pop King or Pop Princess then it’s still best to be with a major and have The Major Machine behind you and a really good and tough manager..

  16. Paul

    This is happening all over the world, not especially in the USA. In the Netherlands the same thing happened with a Youtuber, who got a 360 record deal with Sony-BMG. The girl has never done anything with music, but had 300.000 followers/potential fans.

    But there are new record labels starting up, because they feel the same way about the music industry as you. Check trptk.com.

  17. Dino

    LOL. What’s hilarious is that the author is surprised. The music industry died a long time ago.

  18. Anonymous

    Dino the music industry didn’t die at all.. it’s got bigger and bigger.. it’s the ease in which to score a big hit that has become much tougher.. That’s where the majors are doing well.. it’s the small independent labels that struggle to keep sufficient levels of income rolling in.. But independent YouTube and Social Media stars can make the leap into music streaming success.. Today it’s all about Listens.. getting enough people to listen to your music.. it’s no longer about sales.. Listens are the new cash cow.. (I’m talking about 100 million plus..)

  19. Dru

    Was enjoying the article until you decided to pull a liberal tactic out of the bag and blame the president for this atrocity. Oh well…so much for journalistic integrity….

  20. Chris M

    Look up Marian Call. She’s all you need to know about the truly indie music scene. She’s perfect.

  21. KaalaJP

    I mean, yeah, I agree with the article, but its not as if there’s no precedent for this sort of signing. Who was the first, Bieber? There’s a bunch of them around these days who have already grown up in the spotlight afforded them by Instagram and Youtube and digital dipshittery hither and thither, and not their talent. That another gets sucked into the toxic gaseousness of the Music Industry shouldn’t at all come as a surprise. That’s like a detective announcing it was the 25th stab to the head that really killed the victim, and not the preceding 24.

    And really, that’s the audiences’ fault, isn’t it? Because yeah, Atlantic Recs and all the others are one thing and one thing only: vicious marketing hydras that pander to the least common denominator. If the shit didn’t sell, or get clicks, or (gasp!) have people writing articles about it, they wouldn’t do it. It makes them boatloads of cash, so they keep on keepin’ on because the human population has proven itself time and again to be quite similar to the Cosmic Background Radiation if the CBR monitored how modern humans’ intellect has diminished since, say, the Reagan administration. Don’t kill the messenger, even if the messenger is the one taking you for all your allowance is worth – It’s not their fault the vast majority of people (and I’m _really_ looking at you, America) are massively gullible, dimwitted Consumers.


    I’d also say the article doesn’t go far enough: citing the “other,” New Music Business is commendable, but it’s not as if indie scenes function identically across the globe. Case in point: America hates musicians. This is readily apparent in how poorly outfitted venues are, the astounding lack of affordable and common practice spaces of an acceptable quality, and the national infrastructure which is garbage. Everyone and their mother front-loads pretty much every imaginable cost onto musicians, and while this doesn’t make it impossible for people to get involved in music (quality bands do frequently pop up, after all), it doesn’t make it any easier. This is patently absurd for a country that so rabidly identifies with brands – I don’t care how pop or kvlt yr band is, if you’ve got a logo and you’ve got fans, you’ve got a brand. But with the success of the major labels (amongst other symptoms), its seems pretty reasonable to postulate that that good ol’ All-American Laziness has infected The Arts – people don’t want to identify with just _any_ brand, but only the hypersuccessful ones, the kind that you can’t create without the corporate bank accounts of Atlantic Recs et al.

    There’s a 3rd step that needs to be taken, what we’ve been working on for the past two years, and that’s sustainable creative ecosystem management. Bands aren’t the real moneymaker, its facilitating the interactive environment they exist in. This involves a whole lot of data mining, analysis, and automation, and while our systems are active they are by no means complete. But the results are there: have dynamic intelligence on the workings of the scene as it relates to geographic and cultural environments, and you’re able to boost pretty much the entire system’s revenue streams, bands included, while reducing costs across the board. This is the way forward, not calling a spade a spade.

    That the onus for success is on bands working and living like dogs, by-and-large taking whatever shit is thrown their way is lamentable to say the least. That’s not how this works, its not how its ever worked, but the greedy hands that think they run the scene got good at the game a long time ago and we got lazy and they managed to convince large swathes of the public with pageantry and spectacle and grammys and platinum albums that exploitation was the only way to go. Its only now that people are starting to realize that the _entire_ system is fucked, it’s not just our tastes, and while I wish it had started sooner I’m glad to see the cracks growing.

    Come on down to the underground, we’ll be there scheming and building. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, rock and fuckin’ roll without compromise, without end. All hail the new flesh \m/

    • Josh Doyle

      This is a great comment and it was a very good piece. My takeaway from the piece is that we are aborting all the new springsteens that could have been. But labels don’t care because they need the quick buck and in doing so are eating the future, which is fine because hopefully the intelligent can rise up when it all goes to shit.

      My takeaway from this comment are the positives about making a livable environment and infrastructure with the technology we have. There are still many smart people looking for good art, is anyone doing this yet? Having dynamic intelligence on the workings of the scene and using analysis etc, that’s what the majors are doing with stupid acts, it’s a way forward to find our people. So yeah who out there is doing this and making it work and how?

  22. Dave

    I lost faith in the music industry right around the time I heard of Macklemore. Granted, the only reasons he’s received any attention is because his parents funded everything he’s done, and because SJWs think he’s awesome because of the things he stands for.

  23. Philly Bob

    The reality of it is, that this unruly, foul mouthed, bad attitude sporting stain on society will be dirty stinking freakin’ rich and laughing all the way to the bank while we work our meager jobs to barely get by. Stew on that awhile.

  24. David Pears

    old man rants at cloud…

    Things change, musical ‘art’ used to have gatekeepers so the masses would be force fed what a few deemed ‘good music’, those barriers are gone and guess what, people prefer fast food over vegan, organic and with provenance. There is no accounting for taste, but there is room in the industry for the McDonalds and the haute cuisine. Its not an either or situation – its a pick n mix.

  25. Blobbo

    Spectacle of idiots has always been a business. There is nothing new or shocking about the worst people on earth being given a shot at a brief career for being a freakshow.

    What bugs me is there used to be two other concurrent industries – one for pop but still somewhat legitimate music.

    Then Finally, another for what was considered true art by a consensus of critics, fans, and professional music people in the industry like label owners and DJs.
    Many of these bands would become the mainstream stars like the Clash, or Nirvana, or even the Rolling Stones and Beatles, Who etc. This group could even be traced back into the jazz peaks of the 50s.

    However, what we’ve got now is 50% freakshow and 49% non-schocking pop with some competence, and 1% underground that noone ever hears long enough for it to gain any traction.

    This is partly because the media in this nation is owned by christian assholes who don’t want a major political band to break, but the blame must also be laid at the feet of the current generation, who seem incapable of generating any bands not just good enough, but broad enough. Arcade Fire? Maybe…..but stylistically, this generation doesn’t like distorted guitar and hard drums and screaming dudes much.

  26. Blobbo

    Also, sorry if this offends women, but I really don’t give a shit.

    how many damn female artists preaching their dominance over the world do we really need? Why are there a million bad rappers, and bad michael jackson imitators (weaknd), but no bands led by angry political white guys anymore? I don’t get it. Either they aren’t being allowed, or they aren’t interested, which could very well be the case. All the white male millenials are playing bad rehash disco and funk (I use this term very lightly) and bad 80s synthpop rehash and HORRIFIC bad folk rehash. Where are the fucking nuts? I don’t get it.

  27. Ten-Gallon Hat

    “Trump!” LOL. You know what Trump supporters listen to, idiot? Country music. You know, stuff that is written, produced, performed, and recorded by actual musicians who are paid well for their services and talents, and who make great livings?

    Nice try, but it was loser Hillary voters / liberals walking around in LA and NYC in their oh-so cool, ironic Cash Me Outside t-shirts while following half-wit on IG. Liberals are always the ones celebrating the sewers of humanity – Springer, Jersey Shore, the Kardashians, etc. You dopes own this one, too.

    This is why you’ll keep losing elections, pal. You still won’t accept who we actually are.

    • Uncle Jimmy

      I work in NY mass media. The “Liberal” dems are responsible for Trump. They wrote about him because he made good news and click bait. They have no morals except to keep people watching. They’d put rape and murder on live if they could. And yet they despise the President they made with all their reality TV exploitation.

    • Noella Rose

      Sigh, no. The Trump comment wasn’t about Trump voters but simply the reality TV connection. Also, I’ve seen pieces about Trump voters and they were actually quite varied, not a “type.” This article wasn’t about politics though. People seem butt hurt here.

      And Hillary supporters aren’t necessarily liberal, Hillary super isn’t. Liberal is far left of her. Real liberals don’t even want democrats anymore.

      I can’t comment about Cash Me followers because I know so very little about all that. Since you bothered to make claims though I hope you did proper research.

  28. Plates Records

    Nahh, all this attention just fuels the fire. An article like this is just as easily sponsored content aimed to make this gal more infamous. I feel sick enough commenting on it.

  29. Thesius

    It’s always been about money and power. The so-called art aspect is also bullshit. Sure music can be enjoyable and moving but it’s everywhere in nature, and so much so that paying for it is crazy. Carpe diem

  30. Jerry Hayes

    great article with a lot of truth in it. my only “for real”? was the still undying need to get shots in on trump. he has zero to do with her “Creation” (dr phill should get a finders fee then be forced to donate that to struggling musicians everywhere) nor is he a part of this story – so leave the political stuff out please, esp when it’s not needed, just a personal jab.

  31. Reece

    Who are these artists who are making these grand living in this new music industry? As I struggling artist myself I’d love to hear new and interesting people.

  32. Ca$h me

    Ari you are an old washed up musician still trying to make it. Why the hell would kids be intersted in what you have to offer over someone relevent.
    Concentrate on making your own music better and stop blaming everyone for your lack of success

    • Donovan

      Whoa there, slappy! Unless you’re joking, you’re way out of line here! The fact that you’re even here and know who Ari is…that’s a testament to his success as an independent artist. He has spent over a decade establishing a career as an independent musician and recently, as an actor. He’s the hardest-working musician that I know of. He tours incessantly, writes this blog, wrote a book that many popular musicians deem the quintessential guide for the working musician, landed numerous roles on TV shows, was in a feature film, and he’s successful enough that you know who he is. How exactly does this equate to “washed up?”

      Look, I don’t always agree with Ari here, and particularly not in political discussions, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for his hustle. So why don’t you enlighten us. How many gigs did you play around the country this year? How many TV shows did you appear in? How many movies? How many bestselling books did you write? How much income did you generate from social media and Spotify streams? How many people read your blog, if you even have one? I’ll wait.

      Bottom line: Ari works harder than anyone I know and makes his living doing it. He’s not even trying to “make it” in the industry, as you suggest. If you read his stuff, you know he’s not trying for major label attention, necessarily. He’s not “washed up,” and until you have a best selling book, a viral blog, 100+ shows a year, and over a dozen acting credits under your belt, maybe you should show a little respect.


    Sad thing, another multimillion dollar company supporting the degradation of family values , society and misbehaved children. She’s going to be haunted with this for many years to come once she decides to have children. The companies will wash it under the table while they find another way to exploit humanity’s negative naivety. Glad we’re independent.

    • Noella Rose

      Children are not inevitable, by the way. *sigh* Maybe she’ll decide to never have any. SMH

  34. abcd

    It could be said that the Pop Business has always been about
    1. Quick route to potential riches
    2. Having fun – the rock ‘n roll style
    3. Fancy cars, big mansions and girls on your arm

    There were songwriting/production teams going back to the 50s 60s creating the bubblegum sound of the day such as Kasenetz-Katz , Leiber/Stoller, Doc Pomus, Phil Spector, Jeff Barry/Andy Kim, Don Kirshner and others, especially operating out of The Brill Building in NYC.

    “Sugar Sugar” (J.Barry/A.Kim) (Don Kirshner Music Inc, BMI)
    The Archies
    Produced by Jeff Barry
    Music Supervision: Don Kirshner
    Vocals by Ron Dante
    Addition Vocals by Toni Wine & Andy Kim
    Year of Release: 1969

    “Sugar Sugar” was pure invention using session singers & musicians
    and the artist was characters from a cartoon strip..

    The promo video (available to watch on YouTube) was used as a promotional vehicle along with a Saturday morning TV cartoon series..

    So this shows that the pop business was always about trying any old trick/idea
    to sell a million records and make a million bucks… Now of course it’s all about listens and maxing your streaming numbers.. but at the end of the day it’s still
    the same old thing..

    1. You gotta have a great song
    2. You need a great artist or a great gimmick or novelty concept
    3. You need a great production
    4. And you need someone to push the wagon up the mountain top and let it rain down truck loads of beautiful cash…

  35. Charly Mann

    I have been in the business side of the music industry since 1969. I find it amusing to hear the labels are the bad guys and the musicians are the good guys. Throughout my life almost all the people I knew who really ate, breathed, and slept music were the “business” people. It is a a very hard business to make a good living in – and the wealthy on the business side are far fewer than this on the artist side. There are certainly snakes on the business side – especially in the 50s and early 60s, but since then the majority of the jerks have been on the music side.

  36. 4

    Funny…Maybe if the majors went back to signing acts with actual talent they would have a better success rate than 1%.

  37. Keith

    I’ve lived in and gigged Hollywood for 40 yrs… the internet destroyed the music biz… my teen children don’t need to come see us musos gig or buy our recordings… they download and file-share everything for free… including live videos of us in action… of course, they miss out on the communalism of sharing concerts and new releases together, but they don’t seem to care… digital tyranny precludes a sense of musical togetherness and interaction, preferring instead inorganic visualism, which delivers mediocrity… or worse…

  38. atl

    So as an employee at Atlantic I have to say you are 1000000% wrong about the label. The fact that this girl was signed by an IMPRINT of Atlantic called APG (which unfortunately was not mentioned in the press much) does not reflect the ethos of the entire company. In fact, most of us are horrified. Check out the rest of Atlantic Records’ roster. There are TONS of talented, hardworking, genuine artists that we work with to help develop their careers – and they’re not given up on just because they don’t sell or stream within a year.

    Check out Adia Victoria. Brent Cobb. Chappell Roan. Charlotte Cardin. Jaymes Young. LOLO. Matt Maeson. Max Frost. Meg Myers. Niia. The Orwells. Rayven Lenae. Sir The Baptist. These artists, and SO MANY MORE, write their own music and have a real vision that the heads of Atlantic (and the young, excited staff) respect and admire – they’re given time (years!) and funds that are made possible by the successes of the larger acts on the label. The co-chairs of the label really care about artists and music. They’re great leaders who foster a passionate environment that feels like a family.

    I get that this signing is gross, but it’s not cool to condemn and shame an entire company of people who LOVE MUSIC and work hard every day to break new artists because of it.

    • Josh Doyle

      Yeah that’s true, Atlantic out of all the labels have supported a ton of great artists over the years. Good to know there are people over there that feel the same way as a lot of us do about great music. Thanks for being a keeper of the flame.

    • Ari Herstand

      Shoot me an email and we can setup an interview. Tell your side of the story. Not sure how long you’ve worked there, but I’ve heard this from many young, hungry major label people who get discouraged and quit after about 3 years because their favorite artists keep getting dropped or ignored. There are passionate people who work at labels, no doubt. The problem is, it’s a corporation with shareholders who end up dictating the terms down through the chain of command. And when it comes to crunching the numbers at years end, someone is paying the price for lack of immediate returns.

      Would LOVE to be proved wrong. If Atlantic (or other majors) are developing talent and sticking it out with artists after their first few singles/album don’t perform as well as expected, I’m all ears.


    • Ari Herstand

      By Aton Ben-Horin (Global VP, A&R – WMG): “

      We weren't planning on announcing this for a while, but looks like TMZ beat us to it?. I've been doing music my whole life and have spent the last few months in the studio with this ARTIST. And I can tell you without a doubt that this girl is a real star, with undeniable talent. Welcome @BhadBhabie to the Atlantic Records family. And big congrats on already making music history this week: At only 14, you are the youngest female rapper to ever be on the Billboard Hot100 chart, you bumped Taylor Swift off of the #1 spot on the Spotify Global Viral Chart, and your 'warm up' song got 20 million YouTube views in 2 weeks. Not a bad start. #CashMeOutside #DanielleBregoli #BhadBhabie @AtlanticRecords @WarnerMusic @ArtistPG S/O @mikecaren @yougotgrant @djdroof @realadamkluger A post shared by Aton Ben-Horin (@atonbh) on Sep 15, 2017 at 11:27am PDT

  39. Dem

    First you are seemingly upset that we live in a capitalistic society and then by the end you are calling 99% of the signed artist failures because they could not make enough money to recoup their advance. Not sure what to think.

  40. Anonymous

    Thank you thank you thank you for not putting a link to her bullshit anywhere in the article. The last thing we want is for curious people who have no idea who this stupid piece of trash bitch is going and clicking on any of her music !!

  41. Roland of Aragon

    I saw the music video. It’s not bad, it’s catchy, but as professional musician for 30 years you can totally tell that she has zero music talent.

    But the key here is the marketing and branding part. You have to understand human nature. People love controversy and hating others. The more people hate you the more people watch you. It’s that simple.

    She had a pretty good producer though.


  42. SG

    This is true…
    I recently had a phone conversation with a major label boss about (I thought) releasing my new album; we spent an hour on the phone while I groaned my way through questions about my “niche” and my “marketing angle” etc etc, before I finally asked “but, you have listened to the album right?”.

    I was met with a bemused “no, not yet”, as if the idea of me considering my music to be the best depiction of me as an artist was completely insane.

    The music industry is fucked, I was with a major publisher for a year and they didn’t even register my rights or collect my royalties.

  43. Declan Daniel Di'Nventor

    Your just telling the truth ! Music for big labels is about money . Our Capitalist Society is not always good & I don’t see capitalism in a good light . In my opinion Capitalism = Greed . She is a gimmick , because of how the internet is set up . I hate YouTube !! All of my Music is on my webpage . Where I’m trying to become a Producer that makes an amount of money that I can live off of or better . I’m crippled & it’s my Music that is really all I have ,to try to sell to live . But, I don’t want to make a video for every song I create , just so I can get YouTube hits ! I’m tired of folks with barely any talent making it on YouTube ! Then falling off 2 months later . YouTube is a Thorn in Musicians & Artist sides ! At least that’s my 2 cents ! Until then I will keep putting out great music & trying to win on the quality & actual talent that goes into my instrumentals for sale. Some are free . I think that the true Artist will eventually shine through ! If the Big labels keep doing what they are doing with the one hit wonders . There will be no more big labels left . At least out of the few that are left anyway . Music is changing & I beleive good talented artist & producers who put the time in & originality in . Will shine through & are on the forefront of a Major Shift in Music ,as far as the internet & the quality of Home Studios like my own to put out great sounding material . We just have to keep pushing & eventually rise to the top of this new Music Industry ,that is miles away from what it used to be .
    God Bless & Much Success to every real artist, Producer & Home to pro Studio builder all over the world !

  44. Concernedforhumanity

    All of this music BS is trivial when you start to realize the effects of rising temperatures mean that we’ll all be moving north to escape the dead zones in the tropics, that cities like miami and bangladesh will be under 15 feet of water, and most places on earth will be unihabitable, that all of this.. consumerism, capitalism, socialism, social justice, are all done for when we are fighting each other for the last bits of clean water, and breatheable air. Global warming is a real thing, and it doesn’t matter how it got going.

  45. Seth Keller

    Yep, this was all about cashing in on Cash Me Ousside.

    Major labels certainly lean more commerce than art. This is an extreme example; and one can’t be defended on any level of artistic merit But to paint all majors as soulless, evil pricks and the indie sector as virtuous saints who are all about the music is a bit disingenuous.

    I currently manage a band none of you have heard of that’s on a major label and that just finished recording their second album. Not many people bought the first one and the label didn’t drop them. In fact, they viewed the first album as development. Now, they did make money on the band–a lot of money–from synch licensing. And if that didn’t happen, there probably wouldn’t be album 2. But the band and I knew that going into the deal.

    You’re right, the majors and indies are in different businesses–at least in the US. And the majors dominate the market with pop, hip-hop, and more commercial leaning rock. But that doesn’t mean everything they sign and release is garbage and everything indies put out or every independent artist is all about the art.

    I’ve had clients signed to indie labels that ripped them off. I’ve had more indie labels offer my clients shitty, money-grabbing deals than I’ve had with the majors–typically wanting all kinds of rights for no upfront money.

    There are plenty of independent musicians that are totally in it for the money (Tribute bands, anyone?).

    There’s no right path for an artist. If you do more radio-friendly commercial stuff–a major’s your best bet. If you’re more esoteric or in a niche genre like punk, jazz or bluegrass, you’re better off on an indie or on your own.

    If you think Atlantic sold its soul with Bhad Bhabie, I can’t argue; but be nuanced in your thinking about who the good guys and the bad guys are in this business.

  46. Mike

    Dude, seriously? No need to share your political beliefs in an article about this girl. As an artist, you should know that’s a great way to alienate half of your fanbase. And no, I didn’t vote for Trump. Just tired of reading someone’s political rants in an article about music.

  47. Paul Abruzzo

    Love the random shot at the president, Ari. Your tears mean a lot. There’s a reason you’re writing a music blog…those that can, do…those that can’t…well, they write blogs and hope someone’s listening. Keep on going, never was.

  48. An executive actually employed in the music business

    Kids, get off my lawn!

    Speaking in absolutes is dangerous. To assume that all major labels are bad and indies are good is idiotic. There are exceptions on both sides. Looking at one major label’s current roster (Columbia), you are claiming that Adele, Arcade Fire, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, and on and on are merely all about money and lack talent.

    People on the periphery of the music business need to stop attempting to vocalize that which they have little knowledge of.

    • Another executive actually employed in the music business (NOT a major label)

      ” The major label music industry has completely ruined every aspect of their business. At every step of the way they’ve had the tools offered to them to create an industry that works, and they’ve completely blown it. That’s why we never had any interest in signing a contract with one of these companies because they’re clearly completely clueless.” – Win Butler, Arcade Fire

      Springsteen, Dylan and Bowie were signed in the 60s and 70s VERY different industry back then. How about a current example of an artist who loves their major label signed within the past 10 years?


    I think cash me ousside girl is entertaining. She’s so ridiculous that I’m curious for the time being. Don’t see what everyone is freaking out about. She has people’s attention, her song isn’t even that bad. Makes sense t me a major would pick her up. Easy to create the music around her public image. Jokes on her in the long run.

  50. Surly

    In order for you to think Bhad Bhabie’s record deal is out of the ordinary you must have ZERO knowledge of the music industry.

    • Whatever.

      The music industry is full of a lot of people who have zero knowledge of the music industry.

  51. the end of the recording business as we knew it..

    To think this high yielding sound recording and video is garnishing so much attention and generating so many readers posts is quite amazing.. Obviously it’s had some kind of impact.. either it’s how rotten and hopeless the recording business is nowadays or wow it’s an amazing success in achieving huge streaming numbers..

    • Whatever.

      There is no impact for the creator/creators of a track when they get zero zero zero zero zero point a fraction of a speck from a crumb that falls out onto the floor when the thieves who did not create a track/song cut up and share the pie amongst themselves.

  52. Versus

    It’s hard to say who is more despicable in this scenario:
    1. The opportunistic labels producing this trash “music”
    2. The public who supports and follows the trash

    Do the labels manipulate the public to create the demand, or are they just giving the people what they want?

    Either way we are doomed.

  53. Dan

    This civilization is dead…..all that remains is to bury it.

  54. Dude

    Thank you for this rant and kudos to most of the commenters as well. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who is disgusted that someone like Bhad Bhabie with little to no talent can be exploited and produced into a superstar. I guess that’s what the music biz has been doing for decades now but what’s really disappointing is how many millions of people are into her music and her whole shtick. Good for her for cashing in on her 15 minutes, I don’t blame her at all, but the whole situation just makes me kind of sad for humanity.