When discussing today’s popular R&B artists, Brent Faiyaz is one who enters the conversation. Whether it’s headlining shows or racking up hundreds of millions of streams, the Grammy-nominated artist has been on a consistent streak of wins.
In July 2022, Faiyaz released his sophomore album, “Wasteland,” which debuted at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200, Hypebeast reports. What’s more, nearly four months later, the album became certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Not only is the Maryland native reaching mainstream success as an R&B artist but also as an independent artist. His road to stardom all began with his focus on creative freedom rather than chasing money.
Back in 2014, Faiyaz met his manager, Ty Baisden. While Faiyaz was on his initial rise after receiving a Grammy nomination, he was receiving multiple offers from major labels including an alleged $250,000 advance, according to VICE News. However, after initially not wanting to be independent, Faiyaz stuck to his guns on staying on the indie course.
“I always said that it was never about the money. It was always about the terms,” his manager Baisden declared to VICE News about their goals.
“I look at everything from 100 percent of a pot,” he continued. “I’m thinking to myself, I’m like 18 percent [of royalties] out of a hundred. So if we do a two album deal, that means that if both of those albums combined makes, let’s say, $10 million in profits, I’m getting paid 18 percent of that. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
Faiyaz’s music journey started off on Soundcloud with him and Baisden utilizing streaming service data to build the musician’s fanbase. It appears that their strategy was successful as Faiyaz sold out his tour in the U.S. and Europe. After 17 tour stops and royalties from song placements, they raked in around $30,000 a month, VICE News revealed.
Despite his growing popularity over the past six years since his debut, it doesn’t look like Faiyaz plans on giving up his indie status anytime soon.
“When you talk numbers and percentages, it just doesn’t make too much sense for me to get in [the studio] with producers of my choice and creatively make all this music on my own, then give up so much of a piece of the pie on the back end,” the “All Mine” crooner explained to Variety about remaining independent. “It’s just common sense. I think a lot of those deals — like motherf–king 80/20 splits and [artists] getting 20-something-percent royalty rates on music that they write and produce themselves — just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s just simple math.”