Selectors defend label signings - Rivals insist the practice is unethical
It is rapidly becoming a trend for local record labels to sign selectors to their companies, as they try to secure a footing in the competitive dancehall space.
The practice may seem unethical to rival labels, which are often left to scrape for objective airplay since they don't have signed selectors at their disposal. However, Foota Hype, who was signed to Downsound Records for several years, told THE WEEKEND STAR that selectors must be allowed to expand their brands by signing to labels.
"If somebody think because we sign to a label wi play only one artiste, you are stupid. From a label reach out to a selector to sign dem, that means the selector is powerful. When some selectors help some artistes, they don't give back. They instead get foreign DJs to go on tour with. Look how DJ Khaled used to tour with Fat Joe, and so did DJ Clue with Jay-Z," he said.
The selector, who is now signed to I-Octane's newly formed label, Conquer The Globe Records, also admitted that there will be a bias in favour of the label he is signed to, but he does play music from various artistes.
"I have a method I use, which is to mix new songs from the label am signed to with songs from other artistes and hits. That way, people can enjoy themselves and hear the new music. At the end of the day, you can’t force music down people throat, he said.
"But I advise [dancehall] selectors to sign with labels and take payola because artistes don't give us enough respect, and we don't get pension nor profit from royalties to eat a food."
During the 'Gaza vs Gully' feud several selectors took sides with rival camps. However, none were officially signed to Mavado or Vybz Kartel. High-riding selector Boom Boom, who was known to side with 'Gully', said he supports selectors signing to labels, but the contracts must be objectively drafted so the selector has a level of freedom to protect his integrity. He also noted that he has never signed to Mavado's camp.
Record producer and publicist Karl Durrant admitted that he has worked with selectors to market his label, but he insists that the practice is not payola.
"All the labels across the world do this in some from. When they purchase radio stations, what is that for than to get their songs played? It's marketing when you sign a selector, and I don't see nothing wrong with it, a label signing a selector to get their songs played in the streets,' he said.
Young producer Lando Genius of Tech Genius Records, however, begged to differ.
"When a label signs a selector, we as young producers are at a huge disservice because we are left with little or no options to get our music played. Man fi eat a food, yes, but what about us? How wi a go eat?" he said.
Other selectors currently signed to labels include Bishop Escobar and Ikel Marvelous. Chromatic, on the other hand, currently works close with Popcaan's Unruly camp.