Everyone knows being signed to a major record label has its benefits as they give the artists
money for recording in the big studios with a big producer, tour support, the artists have better
chances getting exposure by many people, and more. Many people may think a DIY artist or a
the band signed to an independent record label makes it hard to survive as an artist because
they don’t have those benefits like a band signed to a major record label does. However, since
the invention of the internet, social media, a program like Kickstarter, and some more additions,
an indie artist does have a good chance of surviving and even succeeding, sometimes even
having a better chance than artists signed to a major record label.
Social Media has made a big impact on indie artists because it gives them more exposure.
The major record labels always had good chances of getting their artists more exposure through
radio, big tours, MTV shows (when music was featured), big press outlets, and more. Not only
did those things get their artists more fans, but they also kept their existing fans updated on when a
new album was going to be released, or when they were going on tour. The indie artists never
had those luxuries up until social media started to get big. Social Media allows the artists to
keep in touch with their fans giving them updates on new album information, new tours, music
videos, interviews, and more. All the fan has to do is follow the artist or become a fan of them
on their social media platforms and then they get the information on all of that.
Some of this already existed from the internet alone, but you might have had to do some hard research to
find it. It is easy on social media to be notified about everything they post. Also, the artists have
the opportunity to keep their fans more engaged when there is no new album or tour by talking
about their day or something like that. With this setup, a good amount of indie artists have as
much of a chance to survive as the major label artists and sometimes even a better chance.
Major record labels have screwed artists over and over in the past with money and contracts
and with no major label, they don’t have to worry about that.
Indie artists also never had the opportunity to record their albums in big studios with big
producers as well as not always having enough money to tour. A campaign on Kickstarter and
similar campaign programs give the artist that opportunity by having the fans donate money
or give money to get something in return. Sometimes it could be a lot of money for fans to get
involved with this, but a lot of fans are willing to do it such as getting a private concert or
something like that. This doesn’t involve the record label at all and it gets the artist money to
tour and make a good album.
Another benefit of being signed to a major label was having their artist’s albums sold in the big
stores. However, since music piracy services like Napster, iTunes, and streaming services, it
doesn’t really make a difference. Piracy platforms like Napster caused record sales to go
down, so it didn’t matter if their CDs were at the stores anymore. Even if fans want to pay, they
could just do it through iTunes which sells mostly every artist’s CDs. Streaming took that even
further getting more money to artists when fans stream their songs on Spotify, Apple Music,
etc. CD stores was one of the big ways artists signed to a major label would make money.
Now it doesn’t matter and indie artists are in the game too.
Being an indie artist really isn’t bad at all these days. Instead of focusing on what major labels
are interested in, artists can focus on just making the music good. That won’t guarantee an
artist’s success, but they have to start like that. It is still challenging for an unknown band to get
noticed, but that’s the nature of the game. Previous major label artists who were once popular
10-20 years ago and now are indie, have an advantage because they already have a built-in
fanbase. It is not impossible though for new bands to get noticed and have success.