Anita Baker is one of R&B’s most prolific artists of all time.
She like many other artists of her generation and before, released most of their music under record deal contracts that were mostly unfavorable to the artist making the art. Many Black artists like Prince, George Clinton and Frank Ocean have fought record labels to own the rights of their masters. For Anita Baker, her battle to regain the rights to her 5 albums released under Elektra Records came to a conclusion within September 2021. She previously urged her fans to not stream her music until justice was done.
During a show at her residency in Las Vegas, Anita revealed that she got help from an expected source.
That source was label independence advocate Chance The Rapper.
The nitty gritty of the negotiations between Anita and Elektra Records has not been disclosed, but Chance’s experience must’ve helped shape a better deal for Anita. From 2012 to 2019, Chance made it very difficult for publishers and record labels to get him to sign a contract. Chance’s first 5 albums were labeled as mixtapes to swerve the music industry politics of what could earn Chance the right amount of money for his art.
The “mixtape” era for Chance ended when he released his sixth album The Big Day, which was also independently released under his newly owned publishing company. The current era of streaming music saw some changes when artists admired and followed Chance’s approach. Anita Baker is a part of that change. The 1976 Copyright Revision Act gives artists who released albums after 1978 the right to reclaim their master recordings from their record labels 35 years after they were first released. Anita’s first 5 albums are now available through streaming and stores within her new deal with Rhino Records.
Chance and Anita further exchanged kind words to each other via Twitter after her sold out concert in Vegas.
It’s nice to see the kids helping out the artists that paved the way.