Rise of the Independent Music Industry

Advice and guidance, Independent Music Industry, Independent Musicians, Industry Insights, Infinite Vibrations, Innovation, Music Industry, Uncategorized

It’s time to join the new music revolution 

For years, the business of music has remained stagnant, unfair and in favour of corporate profits over art. However, that’s all about to change with the rise of independent music… 

After the impact of Covid-19, many are questioning the future of the music industry; but with this once in a lifetime phenomenon, comes a much-needed overhaul to the music business. Before the pandemic, this underlying trend slowly continued to grow, but this change in power received a massive kick in the right direction as the Corona virus forced musicians to re-think the way they operate their careers. Highlighting the un-justified lack of income after festivals and events we’re cancelled, and music streaming sites leaving musicians with a pocket full of pennies. 

Amid this adversity, we saw musicians adapt to Covid-19 by creating new content for their audiences, developing new income streams and writing more music than ever before… all setting artists up for the biggest revolution in music yet, the rise of the independent music industry! 

But where is the evidence this new, independent industry is growing? 

Well, since the dawn of the internet, many industry figures have entertained the theory of an independent music industry, but only now has this idea begun to see the light.  

“Between 2017-to-2019, the independent music market grew on average by 90%”

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Independent music market growth between 2017 and 2018 from MIDiA

In a recent report from MIDiA, a specialist media and technology analysis company, they found that: “independent artists generated more than $643 million in 2018, a 35% jump from the year before” as well as this, they also estimated that revenue generated from independent artists in 2017 was $472 million and in 2019 it was $873 million. Consecutively over that three-year period, the independent music market grew on average by 30% year-after-year. This meant that that the independent music market is growing at more than three times as fast than the broader global music market. 

As well as this, the Raine Group in America, a merchant bank that offers acquisitive guidance to companies in the music business said that: “our work suggests that the independent artist recorded music sector will achieve $2 billion in revenue in the calendar year 2020, representing approximately 9% of the entire global recorded music industry” this comes after the company invested more than $600 million in music-related assets, so they can see an opportunity here too. They projected that the independent music industry will grow at a premium to the broader recorded music industry, approximately four times what it is currently valued at, according to historical trends. 

Fred Davis, a partner at the Raine Group mentions that: “most of this growth will come from three factors” 

  1. More artists creating, uploading and streaming music 
  1. The rapid growth of international markets and DSP’s (Digital Service Providers such as iTunes and Spotify) 
  1. The success of more and more independent artists 

Although these are American statistics, it proves that the independent music industry is on the rise. America and the UK are some of the fastest growing music scenes in the world and the UK is never far behind America. This being the case, we are starting to see some significant changes to our industry, especially in the wake of Covid-19. 

Percentage of independent producers in The Music Producers Guild

One such change in the UK comes from The Music Producers Guild who stated that: “94% of its membership are self-employed” which means that the vast majority of producers, mixers, recording engineers and programmers who are part of the organisation, are independent of labels or managers. They conduct their careers via a path of independence and self-employment. 

On top of this, the Grime scene in the UK represents the forefront of this growing independent music market. This is because, in an article written by the Independent newspaper, they mention that: “The British urban scene at first struggled to gain recognition in mainstream culture and has primarily depended on independent media to help it reach its audience.” 

The Grime scene in the UK has been one of the fastest growing music scenes in the country, which is representative of the rapidly growing global independent music market. The Grime scene has relied on the same sense of community that comes with being independent. In order to grow, we could take a page out of their book and apply their ethos to other genres of music in the UK. 

“the shift in power from the corporate world to independent artists has led to many acts openly stating that they’re not interested in getting commercial support.”

Saquib Butt, social media manager and A+R representative at GRM Daily

Saquib Butt, a social media manager and A+R representative at GRM Daily, a British urban music outlet, says that: “the rise in the internet, social media and streaming means artists can now break the scene themselves” he also noted that: “the shift in power from the corporate world to independent artists has led to many acts openly stating that they’re not interested in getting commercial support. AJ Tracy said he wouldn’t join a major (label) unless they could “do something which he couldn’t”, while rappers such as Bashy have spoken about not signing a (record) deal as a positive thing” 

Lastly, he says that this rise in independence has had a direct effect on record labels: “Before, majors would primarily offer 360 deals and literally take a percentage of everything an artist made. But now, they know that they have to be fairer because artists can do it without them” 

However, what does this mean for you and how does it affect your career? 

This means that the independent music industry is growing at an exponential rate and to be successful, you need to begin implementing this independence into your career. With these new changes comes a wealth of opportunity as the definition of a ‘music career’ has been completely re-written.  

Having a modern career in music means so much more than just the music now and it’s your responsibility as a musician to learn new skills, develop your knowledge and equip yourself with the tools for success.  

Musicians need to develop their skills beyond that of a musician from The Working Musicians report by The Musicians Union

The Musicians Union itself identified this trend back in 2012 when they said “Musicians need to develop their skills in order to sustain careers, beyond those associated with being a musician. Such as, business, marketing, teaching and community engagement skills. Above all they need to be adaptable” This means that if you wish to pursue a successful career in music then you must begin to break the mould of what it means to be a traditional musician. You need to learn about business, entrepreneurship, marketing, teaching and many more new and exciting skills if you aspire to be like your favourite artists, as these are all the skills which they have learnt too.  

Analysis of musicians careers by the UK government department for digital culture, media and sport

In saying this, the government department for digital culture, media and sport also found that “Many music creators still find it hard to sustain a full-time career. This has resulted in a workforce where many juggle multiple roles within the industry. Their research found that more artists are self-releasing, self-managing and self-publishing, but this can put pressure on these individuals and leave them at risk when developing their careers.” Luckily for you, Infinite Vibrations streamlines this process and alleviates the pressure of self-employment within the music industry through support networks and confidence building. 

“a career in music is now 50% creativity and 50% entrepreneur”

Infinite Vibrations

But we get it, honing your craft is a momentous task already without beginning to learn all this new stuff. We’re with you, but a career in music is now 50% creativity and 50% entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean that the business element must be boring or tedious, infact, you can inject just as much creativity into this process as you can when creating the music itself. Being entrepreneurial is about being daring, innovative and trying something new – everything which music is about too! 

So, why should you choose an independent career in music? 

There are many reasons why you should choose to pursue an independent career in music, but let’s look at the pros and cons and breakdown what it means for you and your career. 

“The benefits of being an independent musician significantly out way the challenges of being an independent musician” 

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Pros of being an Independent Musician Cons of being an Independent Musician 
Join the fastest growing sector in the music industry Lack of financial funding in the beginning 
You retain 100% of the ownership over the music you create  
You retain 100% creative control over your music  
You retain 100% of the profits from your music  
You have the exact same tools record labels use to promote artists  
No deadlines or contracts  
Leverage your success to negotiate your own music licensing and publishing deals  
You can be your own boss through self-employment  
The pros and cons of being an independent musician by Infinite Vibrations

When you choose to be independent you are choosing to join the fastest growing sector in the music industry. This means that your market size is growing at an exponential rate and the risk of being unsuccessful is significantly reduced because of this. As well as this, you immediately retain much more control over your career than you would if you were signed to a record label. You retain 100% of the ownership over the music you create which means you have the freedom to leverage your own success for licensing and publishing deals and reap 100% of the profits made from this. 

Furthermore, being independent means that you retain 100% creative control over your music, meaning nobody is influencing your sound or production techniques. You can decide what your music sounds like and how you create that music; plus, you have no deadlines or contracts meaning your music is not restricted to a time frame or tied into any long-term contracts or 360 deals which take a percentage of all your income streams. 

Being an independent musician means you can be your own boss through self-employment. On top of this, you have access to the exact same tools which record labels use to promote their musicians and artists, but without having to pay the record label upwards of 80% of your profits. 

The only down-side to being independent is the lack of financial funding during the beginning of your career. When you sign a deal with a record label, they can send you an advance on your future sales – almost as a loan, which you can use to fund your recording sessions or lifestyle while you write the music for the record label. However, this can easily be subsidized by non-for-profit organizations in the music industry who are willing to award grants to musicians who require financial capital in the beginning of your career, just be sure to budget for marketing and promotion as well as writing and recording. 

In conclusion, the revolution you have been looking for is here! The independent music industry is on the rise and you must join this community if you wish to have a successful career in music. If you don’t, then the train will leave the station and you will have missed out on the biggest opportunity for musicians since the birth of the music industry. We are about to witness the most positive movement for artists in the history of music; it’s time to move on from the traditional strategies of the old music industry and move into a new, fairer and more inclusive industry that we’ve all been wishing for. Viva La Musique! 

Do you agree with this rise in independence? Can’t wait to join the independent music revolution? Let us know what you think below and share your thoughts on social media using #vivalamusique and #thefutureisindependent 

Statistics in this article are available here: 

  1. https://www.midiaresearch.com/blog/independent-artists-the-age-of-empowerment 
  2. https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/files/2020/03/The-Independent-Artist-2020.03.14-vEXTERNAL.pdf 
  3. https://www.rollingstone.com/pro/features/raine-group-independent-artists-2-billion-in-2020-967138/ 
  4. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/features/independent-artists-music-industry-stormzy-aj-tracey-stefflon-don-hardy-caprio-major-label-streaming-a8110936.html 
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/melissamdaniels/2019/07/10/for-independent-musicians-goingyour-own-way-is-finally-starting-to-pay-off/#297bdab14f26 
  6. https://www.ukmusic.org/assets/general/Music_By_Numbers_2019_Report.pdf 
  7. https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/Files/Reports/Industry/The-Working-Musician-report 

#thefutureisindependent #vivalamusique #independentmusicindustry #futureofthemusicindustry #independentmusician #entrepreneur #musicpreneur #indepreneur #covid19 #coronavirus #music #business #musicbiz #tips #tricks #guides #news #industry #insights #independent #independence #themusiciansunion #rainegroup #midia #research #statistics #themusicproducersguild #grime #grmdaily #departmentfordigitalculturemediaandsport #infinite #vibrations #uk #ukmusicscene


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