The Independent Artists: Why is it so important to release your own music?
The past several years have seen an exponential rise in recording artists and Musicians are going independent, so why is this?
With the music industry being what some would refer to as a complex melting pot of creativity, profit and legal issues, it's not unreasonable to suggest that many would rather look to break the shackles of how corporate music has transitioned over the years.
Its commonly recognised that in order to become successful as an artist, one has to be signed to a record label and be willing in some cases to compromise on a less favourable record deal to achieve some level of desired success and the accolades that come with that.
On the south coast, Portsmouth recording artists and musicians have acknowledged the issues associated with being tied to record labels and have an active stance on being independent and having the freedom the produce and publish their own music, Portsmouth based Mary Red singer and songwriter had said
“I feel like being my own boss, having my own rules and just having an overall sense of control of the style and vibe I’m trying to go for is so important”
she also said, “In my opinion, being an independent singer defo has its positives but a lot of negatives too, it's very difficult when you're starting out just trying to find your feet and to even get the opportunity to perform is a nightmare”.
“Not everyone dug my vibe at the start, but now I have the confidence in myself and I absolutely love what I do and people can see that”.
So how are artists becoming independent, what can you use?
With the likes of media streaming platforms such as Spotify, tidal and many others, music being released is easily accessible to the masses, which in turn enables an artist’s career to flourish.
So why are such platforms now recognised as being instrumental to achieving independence?
Well, there are various reasons as to why, but first understanding that when an artist becomes independent it doesn't necessarily account for the working 100% by themselves but rather being the fact that artists aren’t signed to multi-million dollar record labels but instead to smaller indie record labels are essential for careers to gain momentum.
- Acts have the ability to upload their own songs to Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes through services like TuneCore, DistroKid and CD Baby.
- “label services” deals with companies such as Awal, Absolute and Believe, act like record labels, spending agreed with budgets on marketing, distribution and promotion, crucially, artists aren’t locked into a long-term deal, and retain ownership of their copyrights.
How successful are the indies becoming and why?
In 2020, indie labels and self-releasing artists saw their revenues grow by 27%, compared to overall market growth of 7%.
In the UK, the sector represents 26% of the market, a figure that’s grown by an average of 1% every year since 2017.
Globally, the indies’ share of the music market is at an all-time high of 43.1% — worth a not-too-shabby $9.8bn (£7.19bn), according to MIDiA Research.
“Self-releasing artists and independent labels have an inherent advantage of being incredibly nimble,” says Paul Pacifico, CEO of the Association of Independent Music.
The concept of copyright ownership for independent artists are held in high regard, to an artist having an identity translates into how much control you have over your assets, work and contributions. Portsmouth Rapper, Producer and CEO of Portsmouth Media Group and PO1 Records — Falliey discussed, how being an independent rapper has worked for him. “I knew that the game was already hella competitive, so I needed to find alternative ways of standing out as an indie rapper and find strategies that are gonna work for me to get where I need”.
He also expressed that it is not enough to be solely a rapper in the industry anymore and said “When I set up PMG and PO1 Records, it was to go fully independent in its own right and to allow artists in the city a place to record and move up. Really and truly it was a way to bring more to the table musically, there is so much talent out there and we wanted to bring that talent together.
Afrobeats and RnB Rapper Dockem who worked closely with PMG also said “ I think if it wasn't for the whole pandemic people’s attitudes would still be the same. If anything it's given us a lot more time to focus and hone in on our skills as artists and has defo given me the perspective I need to be an indie rapper in Portsmouth.