Why Indie Music Artists are Staying Independent
When it comes to signing with a record label, today’s musicians are becoming more savvy than every before.
With the ability to launch their own music across all streaming platforms, they are learning that signing with a record label may NOT be the best move for their careers?
I spoke with HipHop artist, A-Ron Da Ikon about his experience as a signed artist and discovered that there are some major pitfalls involved when you try to work from within the walls of a label.
For many indie artists struggling for recognition and validation, signing with a record label might seem like the answer to all your problems.
Perhaps you may get some start up money, your ego stroked, and even a shoulder to cry on.
But at what cost does this Golden package come?
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Let’s look at the reality of being signed with MOST Record labels…
(Not all label owners are like this, but if you look at this list and think about what YOU would do in their situation, it will probably make alot of sense.)
- You gain startup money but at high interest that you are responsible to pay back before you can leave with your creative future.
- You can’t always decide where the money is spent, how much is spent and who you want to work with.
- Label’s can’t be objective because when they are taking the risk, they typically want to make all the decisions both creatively and for your business.
- Label’s have a tough time trusting YOUR vision over their own ideas for the kind of Artist they think you should be.
- The cushioned and protective walls of a labels cocoon quickly feel like a prison killing your incentive and creativity.
- If you don’t get along with your point person, then your music has little chance of doing well.
- If a label has too many artists to push, you could end up waiting a long time for your turn.
- It’s human nature for labels to push the artists that are more agreeable creating a rift between label mates and putting pressure on artists to conform.
- You could end up growing 5X slower than you would if you were running your own career.
There are many stories of artists who have worked hard to reach an exploding point in their careers but experienced a quick hault after signing with a label.
Most small to medium size labels can’t move fast enough to keep that momentum going because they have to many artists to handle.
Even when you are signed to a larger label, the priority will always go to the big fish and you will be left waiting during your most productive years.
Understanding the bigger picture
When you look at artists that have risen from a unique and creative niche on their own, it’s important to remember that it took them years to rise.
They spent time perfecting their craft and developing their sound.
During the creative years, they found fans who loved them for their truth and authenticity. They were free to be raw and uncut because they were not yet being compared to the next big thing.
The music came from days in the bedroom studio with no pressure, no demands and time was at an abundance.
After the rise, when an artist gets thrown into the world of mainstream, they have to fight a different game.
They fight for status, control and to stay relevant.
There’s high pressure and harsh reviews. Everyone wants a piece of you until you can no longer write a song on your own. Creativity gives way under the hot spot of a microscope looking down into your soul.
Not many can stay under that level of stress without breaking down.
Most take long breaks away to recoup and get centered hoping to come back to adoring fans and another chance at the top. (Adele, Shania Twain, Rhianna)
But are they still the truthful creative voices we once loved before the rise?
The message is clear.
Be careful who you get involved with, think twice about signing any contracts and look at the bigger picture.
A musician can make at least 150k or more a year with just 1000 true fans staying independent with self management and a team you hire yourself.
You may want to think about that reality before you wish for something that doesn’t exist.
Nothing comes for free, including label money.. In fact, that’s the most expensive loan you will ever take.
Written by Jacqueline Jax
- *Come find me on Instagram @Jacquelinejax and Subscribe to our Youtube channel so you won’t miss more awesome industry focused content like this..
Listen to our hip hop playlist:
Top 20 Rap Caviar Indie Hip Hop Chart Playlist, a playlist by avaliveradio on Spotify
A-Ron Da Ikon — Da Vinci
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