What are the pros and cons of being an independent musician?
I want to be an independent musician and have my own label (unless a really big label wants to sign me so I can get richer) and yeah!
"I want to be an independent musician and have my own label (unless a really big label wants to sign me so I can get richer) and yeah!"
Great question! Or more like a statement :)
For the first part of the question--- "I want to be an independent musician and have my own label " ---it's important to remember that music, like all careers, is all about the long game. Big picture. Relationships. And continual learning. Doing everything yourself as an independent musician/label owner certainly gives you the ability to make your own choices as an artist. Don't forget, it also means doing everything yourself. Creating the music, recording, mixing, mastering, distributing (upkeep with all streaming platforms -Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer, etc), registering your songs(BMI, ASCAP, SEASAC), finding a publishing partner to collect mechanical royalties( Songtrust, CD Baby, Tune Core, etc),booking(for live shows) funding (that is paying for all the equipment, promotion, travel, etc) and the lists goes on.
So don't forget, being a completely independent artist include lots of moving parts and wearing many hats (having many different responsibilities) not just being adored my fans.
For the second part of the question --- " (unless a really big label wants to sign me so I can get richer) and yeah!"--- I think there is a lot to unpack.
Let's start with the first part "unless a really big label wants to sign me ". There are a number of reasons a label would want to sign an artist, most revolve around how much money they can make from that artist. If you had a post go viral on TikTok, followed by several more and have millions of followers, a label might want to exploit that for their ability to make money from it. Or if you have a really loyal following, millions of streams of multiple songs on multiple platforms, a really robust and active social media presence, then you might get a meeting with a label. But it is almost never the case that someone is "discovered" .
Now let's look at the last part- "so I can get richer) and yeah!" I think this is perhaps the most relatable for almost everyone. If getting rich or richer is your goal I would urge a career path that makes that a bit more likely. Entrepreneurship? Hedge fund manager? Being a musician, or any kind of artist, demands much sacrifice with very little garuntee of financial gain or even stability.
If being an indie artist is something that you feel drawn to like a moth to a flame, and you feel like nothing could stop you from achieving that goal, then it is important to clarify a few things about yourself as an artist.
Who am I?
What makes me different or separates me from other artist?
Do people like my music when I play it for them?
Am I willing to put in the work to achieve my goals?
What is my superpower as a musician? Or what do i do better than anyone else?
Music can be the most joyous hobby anyone could ever hope for. It is wonderful to be shoving joy for others to feel as well. But if you want to be a full time musician. Buckle up. Its a bumpy ride. And get ready to do the work. And don;t forget to have some fun along the way.
Adam recommends the following next steps:
Kevin recommends the following next steps: