The topic of artists striving to regain ownership of their music—after signing it to a label—has been pushed to the forefront in recent years. With the barrier to entry to promote one's music at an all-time low, artists are more comfortable than ever with the previously daunting prospect of going independent and taking this responsibility into their own hands.
Alan Walker is the 115th most-streamed artist in the world on Spotify at the time of writing. However, six years ago when he signed a trio of songs to NoCopyrightSounds (NCS) this was hardly the case.
NCS is currently one of the largest digital music labels on YouTube with over 31 million subscribers. The platform has been instrumental in breaking the careers of unheralded artists over the years, including Walker. With such a substantial audience, NCS' hub is a virtual slingshot to popularity.
NCS has taken to social media to release a statement detailing that they were unable to reach an agreement with Walker to renew the rights to three of his songs with the label: "Force," "Fade," and "Spectre." With the contractual deadline having lapsed, Walker now retains full ownership, but the videos NCS published promoting those songs, which have amassed tens of millions of views, have been removed.
"This certainly isn't what we wanted, and we tried incredibly hard to avoid this," reads a statement release by NCS. "We sincerely hope that all the arrangements that we put in place as a label that provides free music for crators will continue to be respected on these tracks in the future."
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Walker acknowledged this tradeoff in a response statement to NCS. Standing on principle, he said the decision was "solely about taking control of my own music and creations."
Though NCS fans will no longer be able to discover Walker through perusing the label's extensive catalogue, this is an outcome Walker can accept as he is in a far different place now compared to where he was when he first began his journey with the imprint six years ago.
"NCS has played an important part in my life and career - and the extraordinary community of creators have given me friends for life," Walker continued. "I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the joy and excitement you've brought to me and other producers out there."
You can read Walker's full statement on the matter below.