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Rock’s Best Artist Vs. Record Label Disputes

Ask an entertainment lawyer to explain how artists and record labels interact, and he or she may tell you theirs is a “relationship in adversity” … and that’s putting it politely. The above gallery looks back at times when musicians feuded with their corporate overlords.

The fact is, the intersection of art and commerce means that conflicts are both frequent and inevitable, as artists seek to express their talents in new ways and label suits zealously guard the bottom line to ensure next year’s bonuses — or even their jobs.

In some cases, when these differing agendas clash, fledgling artists, who had no bargaining power when they first signed a recording contract, will demand new and better terms once they have achieved stardom. With others, labels seeking to guarantee that last year’s hits lead to more of the same tomorrow will try and tinker with, or outright reject, albums they view as taking too many chances or that simply seem to possess less commercial potential.

You’ll see how alternative heroes like Lou Reed, Wilco and Radiohead fought for artistic control, while the Sex Pistols‘ various exploits saw them dropped from two labels before they had even recorded an album. We also go outside the alternative world to show how artists as diverse as Prince, Ice-T, Ke$ha and John Fogerty handled their label woes.

Whatever their reasons, artists and their labels have always had their difficulties working together and finding common goals, and we’re pretty sure this will never change. So let’s look back at some of history’s most famous instances of artist/label disputes. Click above to begin.

Next: Bands That Bankrupted Their Labels

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