Macklemore has an amazing story, fourteen years in the making. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis seem to be an overnight success, but blood, sweat, and tears have been poured into their careers. They have moved to the top of the charts, all on their own. There is no record label, just a few dudes with the drive of following their dreams. When I heard that they were self-made I had to do some research for myself. This isn’t the way the music industry runs, one needs managers, agents, producers and someone backing the group financially. Ryan Lewis has produced every aspect of Macklemore’s album. They did it there way, right down to uploading their music videos onto YouTube.
Ben Haggerty, better known as Macklemore, has been writing music since he was a teenager. In 2005 he met his producer Ryan Lewis on Myspace. They began to collaborate, but something was in the way. Haggerty developed a serious drug habit. He worked hard to get clean, pouring his soul into his music. Macklemore has spoken greatly about his trials with sobriety saying, “It takes soul searching, it takes using the paper and the pen and turning that into a form of therapy.”
This duo became unstoppable, producing mixtapes and exploiting themselves through social media. “Thrift Shop,” made us all want to “pop some tags.” Macklemore has been number one for six consecutive weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold over six million copies. He has been seen on Saturday Night Live and multiple award shows.
These guys can make you believe in your dreams again. They had a dream and went for it and said screw the music industry. Macklemore is proud to have control of his music, “We have the leverage, we have control of our music. Why would we want to give that to somebody else? If we would have signed to a label, I can almost guarantee you we wouldn’t have had the success with ‘Thrift Shop’ and with ‘Can’t Hold Us’ and with ‘The Heist,’ in general.” Macklemore and Ryan Lewis use YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumbler to promote themselves. They did not need a label, because they went straight to the fans.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis cut a major break when Miller Beer Company decided to use a song in their European commercial. Having this deal made it easier for the duo to pour their money into producing ‘The Heist.’ Since they were not working with a label they found Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) to do their distribution. Technically ADA is owned by Warner, but is not the same as having distribution by a major label. ADA only distributes albums for a fee, but do not market the artists or give advances. This shows you that record labels can and will be phased out and I’m sure music executives are definitely taking note.