In a bold move that defies industry norms, David Ireland, the enterprising owner of Ireland Records, stood his ground by refusing to sell the masters of the summer dancehall sensation “V6” by artist Malie Donn. This decision, despite causing the artist to miss out on a potential deal with a major international label, has ignited a buzz on social media and raised questions about the evolving dynamics of music ownership and distribution.
A video featuring Malie Donn has been making the rounds online, where the dancehall artist expressed his disappointment in not being able to sign with a major label due to the master rights holder’s refusal to license the track. While the video refrained from naming the owner, it was later confirmed by David Ireland in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
“Ireland Records owns the masters; I am the owner of Ireland Records. We had a vision for ‘V6’, and selling the masters didn’t align with it. We even had an offer to remix the track with Stefflon Don, which wasn’t pursued. The track has been thriving independently, proving that we don’t need a major label’s involvement,” Ireland revealed.
Ireland’s stance is a testament to his belief in the self-sufficiency of the dancehall genre, citing examples of other tracks like “Talibans” by Byron Messia and “Drift” by Teejay, which soared in popularity without the influence of major labels. “Major labels are often at a loss when it comes to handling dancehall music. We’ve achieved success on our own terms, so what additional value could they possibly bring?” Ireland questions.
The label owner’s confidence in his decisions and his label’s capabilities is unwavering. “I won’t allow a label to dictate our moves. Ireland Records has proven its mettle internationally, and I am certain the artist will appreciate the long-term vision,” Ireland stated, hinting at a belief in the enduring value of retaining ownership rights.
Despite foregoing the initial licensing deal, Ireland Records has not been short of attention. “We’ve been inundated with offers, not just from major labels but also their subsidiaries. It’s a testament to the label’s value rather than just the work we do,” Ireland said, emphasizing the importance of understanding one’s worth in the industry.
Ireland Records, established in 2017, made its foray into the music scene with the Riddim 21 project, featuring a plethora of artists including Beenie Man and Raine Seville. Since then, Ireland has navigated the industry not only as a label owner but also as a manager and collaborator, working with names like D Clubz and Waifuzion, and producing hits such as “Glock and Middle Day” by Chronic Law and “Oh Jah” by Jah Cure.
David Ireland’s resolve to maintain control over the masters of “V6” serves as a powerful narrative in the discourse on music rights, value, and the evolving role of major labels in an industry increasingly characterized by its independence and self-reliance.