Independent Artist - Title Image

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Who is an Independent Artist 

An unsigned artist or independent artist is a term that describes an artist, musical band, or group that has no contractual obligation to a record label. In the past, it was only common for independent artists to make an income from performing at live events because of the cost of producing and distributing their tracks to relevant publishers like radio and TV stations and selling vinyl or CDs.  The situation is very different now, as a growing number of people are using social media platforms, making it possible for virtually anyone to launch a career and achieve success in a relatively short amount of time. 

An unsigned artist is an artist, musical band, or group that does not have any contractual obligation to a record label. 

Landing a record deal with a record label has many benefits, especially for an artist looking to break through in the music industry. The availability of massive funding for artists signed by a label is a game changer and will surely make a huge difference, especially if such artists are diligent.

Working with a record label has also proven to be a huge regret for some artists; in fact, in the long run, an independent artist can amass great wealth compared to a signed artist. In that light, let’s take a look at a few important things to keep in mind as an independent artist. 

Making it big as an independent artist

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Facts about choosing a career as an independent artist:

  • Higher chances of making more money

The first thing to note as an independent artist is that, despite the fact that an independent artist might not sell as many albums as a label artist, the chances of making more money as a prominent independent artist are very high because no agency is trying to recover and make profit from the amount they have invested in the artist.

An independent artist would have access to the majority of the revenue from his or her music business. Most labels would only give the artist about 20% of the income until the label had fully recovered its investment. 

Independent now have the opportunity to distribute their music to music streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Audiomack, and BoomPlay. All these streaming apps send regular royalties to the artist’s account through the music distributor they use. Some very reliable music distributors are Tunecore, Distrokid, CDbaby, and Ditto Music

  • Total right over personal music 

Another beautiful part of being an independent musician is having total control over your music. This means that you have the freedom to sell your song to any organisation, use it for filmmaking purposes, or use it as a jingle, and earn a lot without having to be bothered about sharing it with anyone. 

It also means that you can choose to make demands or negotiate for collaborations. Because you have the full right to your music, you get your performance royalty directly and will not need to send a share to any label. 

  • Ability to specialise in one’s strengths

Freedom is one of the characteristics of true success, and as an Independent (indie) artist, this is one of the benefits that come with the package. An indie artist has complete creative control over the genre of music they want to make. 

Most mainstream artists start out with a big bang, but their music gets old quickly because they focus on the moment rather than the lasting connection it should make. This is because most mainstream artists do not have creative control over their music. 

Indie artists, on the other hand, will get to niche into their creative strengths, and eventually, as time passes, their listeners will continue to listen because of the bond that has developed. This, in the long run, means more streaming royalty for an indie artist. 

  • You can create a personal brand that connects with fans

Social media has made it possible to reach thousands and millions of people, building a connection that goes beyond music. People want to connect with their celebrity star at a deeper level, and as an indie artist, this is very possible. The fun part of this is that fans can give their favourite artist luxury clothes, shoes, cars, and houses.

Independent Artist performing to Crowd

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  •  Ability to pick and choose collaborators

Being successful also means that you can choose the people, groups, or brands that correspond with your values. As an indie artist, you get to decide if it’s worth more than making millions of dollars. You can choose to reject offers from brands that do not represent your values and principles if you are the type who loves to build a legacy alongside a music career.  

Bottom Line

Building a music business, like every other kind of business, needs capital to become an established business that rakes in millions of dollars. Being an indie artist will not eliminate the need for capital. Hence, the hard work that is required to build a successful music business as an indie artist is no less than that of a signed artist. This means that as an indie artist, you will need the support of friends, family, and even an angel investor if you do not have a massive sum of money sitting in your bank account.