He has explained that his refusal stems from the restrictive terms offered by these labels and the advice from a mentor and legal counsel to steer clear of exclusive deals that could compromise his autonomy.
“The proper term is exclusive licensing. I have a mentor who would’ve taught me that I should stay away from the exclusive deals… all major labels reached out. They put up a certain amount of money; they also have a certain requirement of myself and one of the thing is, yes we would’ve agreed that we wanted to do the licensing. But, when we got lawyers involved, they told me that persons want to sign me…I am an independent producer and artist—I don’t want to be signed to anyone,” Ireland told DancehallMag.
He also criticized the industry for often not fairly compensating producers, especially when their music becomes highly successful. “I’ve looked at past deals where some big song come outta Jamaica and the producer don’t get anything because some man come low ball them and give them some likkle US$5000 and US$10,000 fi dem song and den di song go on go sell all Platinum and I cyaa do dat.”
“Yuh see just like how di artist have a career? A suh fi producer have a career to enuh,” he argued.
“What most people don’t understand is that the producer is the one who link the artist on most occasions and charge a fee, and when you pay the fee, they want you to purchase their clothes, they want you to shoot their video and sometimes them even hands on wid di video and it cost yuh a big budget…I want individuals to know it nuh cost nuh $100,000 and $200,000 fi produce nuh song…”
Ireland Boss also pointed out the financial disparities in deals offered by major labels, which often do not match the potential earnings from streaming services.
“Persons tend to look at the artist’s perspective and not the producer’s most time. Dem woulda seh the producer a hold back di artist. The producer is the one who give the artist, for the most part, the opportunity. It’s a collaborative effort…mi have big song already—Tip Inna It… and yuh know weh dem offer fi di song? US$5000 and when me do my research, just 1 million streams on Spotify alone pay US$5000 and you wah give me US$5000? I don’t think that is fair,” he said.
He remains hopeful that there will be other future opportunities that will benefit all parties.
“Just for the V6 thing alone, I retained three lawyers. It’s just a pity that things neva work out for that deal. This is one of the biggest songs come outta Jamaica fi 2023 undoubtedly. Persons compare it to Drift or Mad Out…those songs are nowhere near. I think it is a one time opportunity for now. We’ll have to put in a lot more work to see if things like this happen again.”
In the meantime, he’s confident that his latest venture, Ghost Gun by Chronic Law, will be a hit, citing his successful history with VPAL Music, the distribution label, as a basis for his optimism.
“When this track does above average, it looks good on the label that distribute it, and it also looks good on the production label,” Ireland Boss said.
“I find that since 2023, I have over 11 million streams on Apple Music. It’s been a while since any single artist had that. It is hard for our music to even get one million streams on Apple Music, and over on Spotify, I have about 13 million streams… I see where I can maintain over 500,000 monthly listeners. So, I said you [VPAL] is gonna have to push this to some playlists,” he added, also stating that he would in turn play his part by facilitating the necessary artwork, music video and ‘quality-sounding’ song that matches up to international standards.
Ghost Gun is set for release on November 24, 2023.
Ireland Records, founded by Ireland, first made waves in 2016 with the release of Riddim 21, featuring artists like Dexta Daps, Beenie Man, and Vershon. In 2018, he established Ireland Recording Studio, which has since been frequented by artists such as Jah Cure, Mya, and Spice.
One notable success from the studio was Laa Lee‘s Tip Inna It, which has amassed over nine million YouTube views.