It’s fascinating to see how much the music industry has changed in the last 20 to 30 years. Record companies used to hold all the cards and there was a time when artists were almost completely dependent on them to get to the mass production stage.
Now, all it takes is for someone to upload their music on Spotify and they get a chance to be heard by millions of people around the globe.
This has made record companies less important for artists, with some going as far as calling them obsolete. For some artists, going independent might very well be the best solution.
Let’s take a look at why all recording artists should consider going independent.
You Keep More of the Profits
Record companies can keep as much as 90% of your record sales off the top. You may think this predatory, but it’s very common, and you’ll be lucky to find a starter contract that will give you much more than that.
When you’re independent and release your music electronically, you get to keep almost all of the profits for yourself.
As you can imagine, the difference in income can be incredibly high. You might miss out on the label’s big marketing budget, but if you are just starting out, the labels are not going to help much.
If you believe in yourself, the independent option tends to make more sense.
You Get More Creative Control
One of the biggest advantages for an artist to go independent is that you’ll have much more control over your music and your career.
So many artists have fallen off the deep end because they were stifled by their record labels or forced to release music when they didn’t feel like it. Some artists even had to scrap entire projects because the record label or some exec didn’t like it. And the worst part is that you may be obligated to never release that music contractually, even for free.
So, if you want to be able to release whatever music you want, when you want, the best option is to go independent.
Closely examine the likes of Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and others, and you can find countless stories of record labels taking advantage of their musicians.
For instance, Taylor Swift ended up being barred from singing her own songs, which would not happen if you remained independent.
You Can do More on Your Own
One of the major advantages of signing with a label used to be that they would cover your recording costs and music videos. But you don’t need that when you can do most of that yourself, or get someone to do it on the cheap.
You could easily learn how to record your own tracks online either through specialized classes or YouTube videos. You could then learn how DAWs work and use Auto-Tune Pro for professional pitch to beef up your tracks.
Releasing a professional quality recording on your own is more viable than it’s ever been. So, don’t assume that you must pay for professionals to do the work for you.
So many artists simply go to the larger record labels as they think they will receive more production capabilities. This is not always the case. You only get what the label offers. Only the very big stars have access to everything they want.
Independent artists can save on costs by selectively investing in only what they want and need for their projects.
It’s a Great Way to Get Your Foot in the Door
If your goal is to get signed, know that there is no better way to get noticed than generating buzz on your own. Some labels won’t even look your way if you don’t have some sort of following.
So, going independent may not only be the best way but the only way for you to get signed.
Since you remain in full control of your career, you can release music and tour on your own schedule, connect with your fans on social media, and more, to keep growing your following at a pace that makes sense for you.
Whether you intend to remain independent, or to build a following for the purpose of getting signed, you must take your business seriously. You must set goals, create a plan, and follow through on your commitments to get to where you want to go in your music career.
Seek advice and mentorship when you need it. Whether it’s other artists who’ve gone before you, or musicians coaches who can steer you in the right direction, don’t be afraid to leverage the resources at your disposal.