Why Musicians Are Becoming Independent


Key Reasons Why Musicians Are Becoming More Independent

As we are an avid enthusiast of artists – in general – we are extremely happy to see so many of them taking full control of their careers. Watching our favorite musicians tell their stories in documentaries and specials gives us hope and more appreciation for their hard work.
Between the early 1960s all the way up until early 2000s, the ultimate dream of a musician was to get signed to a major record label. From selling singles and EPs on tapes and CDs, to physically delivering their music to major recording labels, the anticipation could either be exciting or frustrating. Thankfully that is rarely the case anymore.

Many musicians are opting out of what was once considered “the dream.” Instead of signing on to a major record label that could manage their expenses and worldwide concerts, many musicians are now choosing to be their own CEOs.

Most notably from my favorites list – Tessa Violet (aka Meekakitty from YouTube) released her new EP “Halloway” this past October. During Tessa’s music career she has been able to tour the entire country with her friends and other bands.

Sounds like the perfect life right? Are these perks the key reasons why musicians are becoming more independent now?

Yes. But let’s break down the reasons individually.

Physical album sales decline = major record label revenue loss

Since the conception of digitally downloading songs and albums, consumers of music rarely buy physical CDs anymore. Although some still enjoy purchasing physical copies over digital. However, for musicians this affects their income greatly. If the major record label does not make money from physical album sales, then that trickles down to the musician not making money.

The third-party (major record labels) are no longer needed to distribute music locally and around the world. This gives the musicians more control of when (and how) they want to release new music.

Major record label artists have become “generic” 

Now this is not to put all major record label signed artists in one box, but let’s be completely honest here — the radio sounds like the same voices with different instrumentals. These artists are basically held under contract to produce the music that is catchy to their target markets.

Being held captive (creatively) pretty much shows how “authentic” the musician is. Independent musicians only need the approval of themselves, which is great for them and their fans.

Direct support and activity with fans

Concerts packed with thousands of fans is fun, but it just doesn’t do it when it comes to having fun with the musicians. Independent musicians have an amazing leg up on being active in their supporters/fans lives on a daily basis. Hosting small and intimate concerts allow for both sides to get to know each other and have a more personal connection.

This goes back to the beginning of the article. It doesn’t really matter if a musician has millions of fans or just a few hundred. If they do what they love and give/receive genuine support from their fans, that is more important than the fame and fortune of mainstream musicians. 

MUSICKenon ThompsonComment