The story behind the music business
Ever since I was young, I was fascinated with the idea of “fame”. Fame was seen as this surreal lifestyle that everyone who is of artistic upbringing, desires it, feeds off of it, and accepts it as their life goal. However, as seen by many throughout the centuries, fame has created turmoil for some, as the subject of fame is painted as a toxic entity.
As I waltzed my way into the current entertainment industry through many artistic outlets, I slowly began noticing aspects of the industry that could be destructive and uninviting. I always have a vivid flashback to these times, as I hear my mother’s faint voice land upon my delicate eardrums.
Mama, I stated proudly, I want to be famous!
My mother has always been a hard-working woman, with determination flooding in her bloodstream. My mother fought for the success she has and continues to be an inspiration, not only to me and my lovely sister but for all that crosses her path.
“Isaac” she muttered in curiosity as every mother does about her offspring’s distant future. “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. To the question, I always responded in a triumphant cry of joy and assurance. “Mama,” I stated proudly “I want to be famous!”. My mom would produce a smooth chuckle as she nodded in disbelief.
I wasn’t sure what spanned this notion for her, as she then began to justify the strong response. “Isaac, you can be famous for anything! You can be famous for being a serial killer, a very crude and horrible person, or a ditsy socialite, making fame off of their stupidity. You, my dear boy, have to be specific in what exactly you want to be famous for. Do you want to be famous for good, or for bad?”
My mom presented the smile that always made me critically think of a response that seemed thought out and poised. At that moment, I reflected on the countless things that have been presented to me in the world of television and cinema. As many mothers are, she was right. There were various versions of fame that I did not particularly like or fond over. There were people such as “Prince”, which exudes this musical confidence and persona of musical intelligence.
I changed my answer as I muttered with half confidence, “Mama, I want to be an entertainer! I want to sing, act, and dance. I want to make art!” I carried this conversation throughout my life in times where it seemed to fit like the last puzzle piece. I was lucky to have such a distinct conversation at such a young age.
Many artists struggle with their identity through the world of social media and struggle to create a clear and concise brand centered around their personal endeavors. Many musicians and singers like myself grew up in the inferiority complex that is the music business. Depictions of the mainstream music world and its sometimes prison-style nature, prompt an alternative route for inspiring musicians everywhere.
Independent artists are finding ways to manifest a structured, stable career without the help of a proper record label. Through the advanced world of social media outlets, there is less need to conduct a career through the robotic machine of the music industry.
Move Over, Record Labels!
An Independent Artist is an unsigned artist, band, or musician who is not under contract with a record label. The implications of building a solid music career is an option worth dissecting. A great example is “Chance the Rapper”. The hip hop royal gained major success from his 2016 mixtape “Coloring Book”. The monumental project received three Grammy Awards including Best Rap Album.
The album was the first only-steaming album to win such an award. The plus is that the rapper was an independent artist who projected success without a major record label. Through independent outlets such as digital music distribution and online marketing, independent artist entities help talent release music and reach multiple fans.
According to ICON Collective, self-releasing music gives the artist 100% creative control. With the artists’ hands in many aspects surrounding their musical efforts, this concludes that the artist would also keep 100% of the profits. With the artist’s individual profits continuously generating through streams, licensing deals, merchandise, and music sales, ownership of the music is completely the artist’s property.
Because of the worldwide web expanding into multiple hemispheres, online music services offered to independent musicians have expanded opportunities for talent over the years. This digital era conducts a variety of tools for independent artists. Distribution services such as TuneCore are global marketing services that pertain to the success of growing artists.
Self-representation through the music world however, can be costly. With limited resources and budgets, independent artists must make executive and strategic decisions when it comes to marketing expenses. Time must be spent heavily on self-representation as creating a proper fan base is apparent. Regardless of the negatives, full control over music and brand endeavors is important for the current and future success of the artist’s creations.
“Being an Independent artist in today’s world is great because you are able to reach a wide range of audiences. The listeners feel proudly obligated to support independent artists and are able to be on the musical journey with them.” Pablo Gardu.
The Prague-based electronic DJ is accurate in his statement. The global music world has tremendously benefited from the values of artists entering the independent sector. With the importance of artists making a proper career off of their joy of life, the global music environment creates a value of support and creativity.
As I represent myself through the eyes of an Independent artist, I find that no one knows my brand better than myself. With the visions and ideas my cranium creates, I am able to implement my passion through various outlets. Fame may eventually surface in my career, but fame will be in my control and on my time. Independent Artists are the next chapter of artistic excellence.
Photos: by.kaca, Saranellieart and Mischel Warenits
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