Russ: How I Maintained Financial Control Over My Music | Forbes

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“Lawyers will try to take 5% from you,” says hip-hop artist Russell “Russ” Vitale. “Artists need to start taking back the power and start taking back the leverage. I am not giving you 5% of gross income for sitting in an office in L.A. while I am busting my ass on the road or in the studio.”

The 26-year-old may not be the most diplomatic artist, but his dedication is unquestionable. Unlike many artists, he got his start doing everything himself—rapping, writing, singing, producing, mixing and mastering—in his Atlanta basement as a teenager. After releasing 11 mixtapes in a two-and-a-half-year span, he’d gained enough leverage to land a multimillion-dollar advance from Columbia with a rare 50/50 profit split on future releases last year.

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