More specifically, technology companies own the online storefronts and streaming services, but they are not much different from the major labels and are considered their full-fledged competitors in the music industry. In the previous articles, we talked about how all these structures again close business processes on themselves – they buy up indie distributors and build their own marketing departments for authors and performers who collaborate with streamers and labels on an exclusive basis. Today we continue to discuss what options for development in this context remain with independent authors and performers, and most importantly, we are talking about who should be among them.
Is there an indie
Distributing music independently is not a business you can do in a garage and make millions. It does not have a high margin, and it needs to be built in an atmosphere of fierce competition. Therefore, most of the indie distributors see the future in cooperation with major labels, media holdings or technology platforms. Even if an independent player makes significant distribution success, he often expands the scope to the functionality and tasks of a full-fledged label in order to discover additional earning options and increase profit levels.
Due to transactions in this market and the digitalization of the industry, the very concept of independent music is changing. Some believe that indie authors should have all the rights to their works, while others are convinced that they should not deal with major labels in order to maintain their independence. Still others ask indie proponents to combine both approaches.
However, it is very difficult to understand how many musicians actually comply with at least one of these conditions. There are no such statistics, and the data on listening to Spotify, which we talked about last time, does not reflect the real picture of what is happening at the level of individual authors and performers. Therefore, new interpretations of indie music appear.
There is an opinion
Alternative sight on the definition of independent composers and musicians, offers six principles that they should follow in their approach to doing business:
Monitor data, metadata, and wiretap analytics.
Know how their income from creative activity is formed.
Understand how and at what expense third parties and organizations make money on it.
Be able to choose a distributor and understand what services he provides.
Examine the transformation of the music industry and new business models.
Be independent in making creative decisions.
Such a coordinate system expands the concept of independent music and takes it away from simple restrictions to a multifactorial assessment system. In it, it is impossible to immediately knock out a hundred out of a hundred points on each item, but you can gradually move in this direction. The main thing that a musician who strives for independence in this way gets is freedom of choice and the ability to make independent decisions about his career and future.
Today, few people can be lured into a multi-year contract with a label offering incomprehensible terms and small payouts. On the contrary, independent development looks much attractive – promotion, publication of tracks and concert tours at their own expense, but with full control over what is happening, rights and earnings. Of course, this approach does not imply an easy walk, but there are practically no restrictions here: if you want, record and distribute the records yourself, or upload everything to YouTube and take money exclusively for performances. It is also possible to combine with exclusives for streaming platforms – the decision about this and about what tasks to direct the efforts to should be made by the authors and performers themselves. Fortunately, the opinion of the higher structures is no longer decisive. But a significant role is still played by how skillfully musicians interact with their audience.
Do not think that independent music will in any way harm the interests of labels, corporations and streaming sites. On the contrary, indie creativity increasingly resembles entrepreneurial activity, which means that the risks – along with all the costs in the early stages of career development – are borne by musicians. For larger players, this is an opportunity to free themselves from commitments, reduce staff and investment in young artists who have not decided on a style, audience and plans for life.
That is why the indie segment will not fade away, but transform along with the transformation of the “tip of the iceberg” and most likely in its interests. How this process will progress, we will discuss in the following materials in our Hi-Fi World.
What else do we have in the Hi-Fi World:
We have on Habré: shelf acoustics of the middle segment – three notable pairs.