One Direction's Louis Tomlinson Is Starting His Own Record Label & He's In Good Company
One Direction is inarguably the biggest boy band in the world right now — a lofty position they've held ever since their appearance on The X Factor UK back in 2010. Since the competition, they've gone on to conquer the charts, steal the hearts of teenagers around the planet, and rack up a number of accolades (in addition to plenty of money) along the way. But 2015 has been a year of change for the group: Zayn Malik shockingly left the band, leaving remaining members Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson to continue as a four piece. Now, another band member is ready to embark on a change of his own: According to People, One Direction's Louis Tomlinson's starting his own record label. It's something many an artist before him have also tried, with varying degrees of success. But how will Tomlinson's label fare?
The label is said to be a project Tomlinson had hoped to start for years, as he likes the idea of launching new talent into the music industry. His bosses at Sony Music apparently have faith in his ambitions, as well, since they've backed the new imprint 100 percent. He's even signed his first act already in Jack Walton, an X Factor finalist from this past season. What will happen remains to be seen, but it'll be interesting to see whether Tomlinson's label takes off, or if he'll be better off sticking with One Direction.
Here are 7 other artists who've started their own record labels, and how that's been working out for them.
Jay Z (Roc Nation)
We all know of Roc Nation, as it's perhaps the most recognized artist-launched record label around. Founded in 2008 by Jay Z, it's home to artists including Rihanna, Calvin Harris, Rita Ora, Willow Smith, and WAY more. And Roc Nation isn't just a record label — it's also a full-service management, merchandising, touring and publishing company with headquarters in New York, Los Angeles and London.
Jack White (Third Man Records)
The White Stripes frontman formed Third Man Records back in 2001: first as a physical building in which to store his music gear, and then as a vehicle to release some of his band's 45s. The label has released 7" singles and LPs in vinyl format for other bands as well, including The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and Laura Marling, among others. The Third Man headquarters are part of the label's retail store in Nashville, Tennessee, which also includes a recording booth and performance space. Pretty cool!
Eminem (Shady Records)
Eminem — who was discovered by Dr. Dre back in the early '90s — launched his own imprint called Shady Records in 1999. The label has been at the center of several feuds over the years, most famously with Murder Inc., but has still managed to put out some pretty amazing releases from the likes of 50 Cent, Obie Trice, D12, and most recently, Yelawolf.
Kanye West (GOOD Music)
West founded GOOD (Getting Out Our Dreams) Music back in 2004, in cooperation with Sony BMG just shortly after releasing his own debut album. Since then, GOOD has signed and released albums from big name artists like John Legend (he was one of West's first signings), Big Sean, Pusha T and Mos Def. I'd say it's working out pretty well for West!
Prince (NPG Records)
NPG Records is Prince's second time at the record label rodeo, having previously created Paisley Park Records (which was subsequently shut down by Warner Bros. Records in 1993). He founded NPG immediately after to continue releasing his own music. The label has never signed other artists and isn't considered a full-fledged label because of it, but it has been a good way for Prince to retain some control over his own material.
Missy Elliott (The Goldmind Inc.)
Sure, it's been a long time since Elliott's been at the forefront of hip hop, but that doesn't mean she's not a legend. Distributed by Atlantic Records, The Goldmind Inc. was launched in 1997 and remains active today, having released all of Elliott's records to date as well as albums by Tweet and Nicole. Given that she's one of the best producers in the game, I'd love to see her get back into things and get some more music out.
The Beatles (Apple Records)
Tomlinson's not the only boy band member capable of starting his own label. The Beatles founded Apple Records in 1968 as an outlet for their latter, more creative work. However, they also released recordings from some other big artists of the day, including James Taylor, Billy Preston and Badfinger. While Apple experienced a lull for several years, it experienced a revival in 2006 and continues to release new and remastered recordings from its early artists in digital formats on platforms like iTunes.
Images: Getty (1); Wifflegif (7)