The Era of Independent Artists
Updated: Jan 10
Can Record Labels Survive?
With the development of new technologies such as NFT's, Music Distribution sites like DistroKid & TuneCore, and the power of Social Media like YouTube, Instagram & TikTok, you no longer need a Record Label to see the fruits of your hard work and talent as a Musician. Whether you identify as an Artist, Rapper, Singer or Band, if you are operating and conducting your musical business without a Major Record Label, you can consider yourself an Independent Artist.
Today, Recording Equipment isn't as expensive as it once was in the past, opening the flood gates for anybody with a talent and a dream to chase after their vision of success as a Musician or Artist. Heck, you can even record music on your Phone nowadays! I've seen it done!
You don't need to be a Professional Audio Engineer to mix your own music. If your music sounds good to you and your supporters, then you're pretty much good to go! Even so, you can easily learn DAWs like FL Studio, Ableton & Pro Tools to get your music mixed to a great quality. There are thousands of videos available on YouTube teaching you how to mix your own vocals, how to make your own beats, how to use FL Studio or Garage Band, how to market your music, how to create album covers, the list goes on and on and on. Anybody can grasp the basic concepts of recording your own music and operating as an Independent Artist almost overnight! In Addition, with increasingly useful platforms like Fiverr, you can hire an Audio Engineer online to do your mixing and mastering for you at reasonable and affordable costs. So even if you're stuck in a small/rural town with no recording studios, in some ways you do have access to recording studios!
The Music Industry has shifted and evolved tremendously in recent years. In the past, getting signed to a Record Label was equivalent to "making it" as a Musician. Of course getting signed to a Record Label can boost your career, no doubt about that. However, there have been countless scandals and stories of Record Labels basically screwing their Artists over in many different ways. Some Labels can legally bind you and require you to present yourself in a way that doesn't align with who you really are and what you want to be. For me, that's enough reason to stay independent.
There were 2 key things that gave Record Labels the advantage over Artists. Money and Distribution. A starving Artist (not literal, or maybe so) had to sign in order to get paid. How else were they going to earn money to feed themselves or their family? Also, Labels used to be the only way to distribute your music to the public in order to generate fans. That's all long gone now. Almost everyone and their grandmother is listening to music online. Whether that's streaming platforms or something else, the Internet plays a key role in shifting the leverage from Labels to Artists. Anyone can use it, in fact, everyone does.
Now, and for the past decade or so, you're able to upload your music to almost any Major Streaming Platform at insanely affordable costs (maybe not TuneCore). That includes Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Shazam, Instagram Music, YouTube Music, Google Play, Amazon Music, etc. You get the point.
(If you're an Indie Artist and you want to start distributing your music on these platforms, you can click here to sign up for DistroKid and get 7% off when you use my link. I personally use DistroKid and have for almost 3 years. It's an amazing platform with more to offer than just distribution. You get 100% royalties from each streaming platform and you're able to start your own Indie Record Label with the different plans they offer. Doing so will increase your chances of getting heard by A LOT, and by using my link you'll be supporting this Blog and me as an Artist! I go by the name of WOAHDANIEL. Click my name to check me out! Thank you!)
With that being said, I'd like to note that even though you can get 100% royalties from Streaming Platforms, they aren't paying much nowadays. It's a rising problem for Independent Artists today. A problem that many people claim NFT's can solve.
From selling merchandise and doing live performances, to selling digital NFT's of your own music or art, making money as an Independent Artist is a hot topic today. Everyone wants to know how they can start putting some Hot Cheetos on the table with their talents and ambitions. The power is now in your hands and no longer in the hands of the Labels. It's truly up to you as an Artist to decide how successful you want to be.
There truly are a lot of unique ways you can earn some cash, or crypto as an Artist. Selling NFT's is just one way, that can look differently for everyone. Music NFT platforms are rising and are being built and upgraded as we speak (there's plenty room to develop your own too btw, js). Where we are with Music NFT's is like landing on an island, and we haven't even left the beach yet. This is where creativity comes in. This is where you as an Artist get to be ambitious, spontaneous, and bold! It's up to us Independent Artists to pave the road for The New Music Industry. We'll have to take risks, and we may take L's as well, but the ones who give up easily won't make it in The Era of Independent Artists!
Can Record Labels survive The Era of Independent Artists? Record Labels haven't completely died off just yet. There are some Record Labels that actually do a great job of managing their Artists, although they can be hard to find. Not to mention there is a rise of Independent Record Labels as well, which I think is cool. (EYEZ OPEN AUDIO is basically my Record Label, that I created). However, Major Record Labels will have to make serious changes on how they operate today since they no longer hold all the power.
One thing I can be certain of is, Independent Artists will always survive and thrive as long as there is breath in our lungs.
-Written by WOAHDANIEL