The Challenge Facing Indie Musicians

Here’s a good piece from Music Think Tank on the plight of the independent musician:

Before I get started on this missive, I’d like to put what I’m about to write into context:  A few months back, I posted a video on my band The Microdance’s Facebook wall, it was shared 60 times and seen by more than 20,000 people. Off the back of this, Right Chord Music have asked me to write a piece on the subject of the video; an offer which, given the gravity of my message and my enjoyment of this site, I thankfully accepted; so here I am!My aim for that video was to convey the difficulties currently being faced by independent musicians. The word ‘independent’ is ambiguous; so, to clarify, I use it here to refer to acts of a similar stature to The Microdance – i.e., on the periphery of significant renown and either signed to small, independent labels or unsigned.My choice of the word ‘renown’ rather than ‘success’ here is important because the primary issue that I addressed in the video was the disparity in the perception of success – gleaned from an artist’s healthy online profile, good press etc – and the actuality for the musicians: which is that not many people are buying their music. All of the good press, viral videos, gushing praise and devoted fans in the world do not equate to revenue. And if musicians are not recouping their costs (let alone making a profit) then music is not a viable career for them, as they won’t be able to afford to make it. Let’s eliminate a common misunderstanding and clarify this matter here: It is uncommon for a record label to pay for its artist’s recording these days.With quantification, my message becomes very clear – and it’s a frightening reality for The Microdance and those in a similar situation to us. Here is a case in point:

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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