Stark white. Lou Reed was the 1st piece I painted with white acrylic straight from the tube, no gray. It was on a demo record, which I thought was appropriate at the time. Demos usually have a white label.
I hadn't thought of sharing the importance of the label until I was commissioned to paint on this Matisyahu album which also has a white label. The art of the record label is wonderful. It has its size constraint like what I do does as well. And it seeks to both brand the album, connecting it to the record company, and unify the record with the album cover art.
Historically, usually, the record labels seem to simply be a connection to the record company like those shown at http://dj-spyder.blogspot.com/2008/11/text-less-record-label-artwork.html without any album text. I love these because they are often instantly recognizable and add that nostalgic element to my composition.
Ones like the Matisyahu though make for a unique composition and sometimes a more artistic piece. I just finished painting all five members of The Strokes, each on a different album, each with a unique label. The grouping, then, has a different feel than, say the Zeppelin grouping shown at the end of http://superhypeblog.com/?p=5758, all with the standard Atlantic label.
I try to work with the label when figuring out my composition. I like to draw attention to specific songs or the album artist with the placement and size of the portrait. In this Matisyahu, his name becomes part of his eyebrow. In this Zach de la Rocha, one of my favorite pieces, the label became the camera lens.
When the label is light, or white even, sometimes I need to use black paint instead of white. Usually it's for the eye, like in this piece and that Lou Reed. Mick Mars is another that ended up with a cool composition highlighting the album title and using black on the label.
A goal I have for my Vinyl Art is to celebrate the creativity that has gone into producing the artifact, the record. The design and content of the label is a big part of that. They are, after all, part of the record.