Chicago Musicians Allege Foul Play at Rosebud Allday
Written by Ayana Contreras on June 8, 2021
A growing chorus of Vocalo Radio mainstay artists are speaking out, claiming the indie label cultivated a toxic environment and unfair business practices.
Manny 10X, Drea The Vibe Dealer, Wyatt Wydell, Kai and Gem Tree are among the artists embroiled in a battle with Rosebud Allday, a label founded by Jayson Rose and Bill Ocean (William Giannopoulos) in 2018. The label bills itself as an art collective that boasts a “uniquely collaborative atmosphere… [thriving] on the creative contributions of each individual who in turn benefit from the unparalled connections, talent and development strategies of the collective,” according to its website. In an article on The Floor, Rose characterizes the label’s vibe as “friendship, kinship and us all being buds and having that connection with our fan group as well, that comfortableness.”
But Rosebud labelmates are painting a very different picture: one in which “we were constantly manipulated and whenever we spoke up and tried to block out the illusions we were gas lit,” rapper Manny 10X related on Instagram. He further stated that he intitially spoke with the owners in the Summer of 2020 “about how the label treats the artist and conducts business. The environment was so toxic for all of us.”
Over the weekend, Drea The Vibe Dealer also chimed in via an Instagram post:
“They sold themselves to me as a production/management company who would help me get a deal on an indie that would suit me. They even had me list the labels I’d wanna sign to. After they started distributing my stuff and seeing my sales and streams they convinced me to just let them handle me as a label. In good faith I did. I was still acting as co manager for my projects and getting myself opportunities.”
She continued, “Now [various labelmates have] exchanged experiences and realized we were collectively being screwed over, manipulated and some of us caught in co-dependency, cultivated by Rosebud.”
In full disclosure, Drea The Vibe Dealer (like many of the signees to Rosebud) is in rotation on Vocalo Radio. In fact, Vocalo’s Jill Hopkins interviewed Drea back in 2019: you can check out that conversation below:
Wyatt Waddell posted a statement to his Instagram over the weekend, expressing that he lived at the studio space “for a good chunk of 2020”. He described a “cult-like setting” suggesting that “a lot of pressure was inadvertently put on me to make some of my best work when I barely made anything at all.”
As of Tuesday June 8th, Rosebud’s Instagram account is scrubbed, save one post purportedly in response to the artists’ claims.
The uncredited statement suggests that “up to date, Rosebud has not taken a single dime from its artists,” going on to say that “As a producer and engineer, I have worked thousands of hours in the studio with our artists, teaching them about songwriting, production and engineering skills, lessons from years in the music business, and whatever else I could to foster creativity.”
Wyatt Waddell suggested a very different environment on his Instagram, further alleging that while signed with the label “there were shows I/my band didn’t get paid for and lots of empty promises along the way.” He added, “I have no check for my streams, nothing from my Bandcamp, [or] the little merch I sold.” He also repeated a refrain that echoed in statements from Drea The Vibe Dealer and Gem Tree, “I stupidly signed out of good faith because I thought these 2 white guys were good men”.
In statements on Instagram, many of the artists expressed intentions to obtain legal assistance to remove themselves from contracts and to obtain the rights to both unfinished music and masters. Ultimately, Gem Tree hopes that their experiences will serve as a lesson for younger artists in the community, concluding her statement with the following advice:
“Word to younger artists:
NEVER sign a contract in good faith. ALWAYS have a lawyer look over it. That’s just 💯”
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