The open world of the internet has led to a boom in independent artists. These artists come from all walks of life: Family men that are writers, daughters that are painters, uncles that draw comics, and many that make music. The dream of any artist is to create art and make a living doing what they love. This is possible with the internet, allowing any musician to create and sell music online.
The Benefits of Independence
Although many musicians and bands can reap the benefits of signing with a quality record label, the restrictions that come from being signed aren't for everyone. Being an independent artist means living a life that doesn't come with contractual requirements. Creating good music isn't matter of pumping out track after track, but of constructing a song from the debris of your own experiences.
Independence is freeing. Without the corporate overseer, any musician can create music that is full of passion and life. Independence also means that the artist can sell music online, sell music offline, and choose what places to play and what gigs to avoid.
There is a true freedom to being an independent artist. Many well-known bands have shunned the big labels and went independent. Many smaller artists are using the power of the internet to gain a loyal following. The internet has made it possible to sell music online and make a living, even without a fan base of millions. This is the why being independent is awesome.
Independence isn't easy
As with everything, there is a downside to being independent. A musician that earns a living without record company support can't be lazy. All too often, there are no off days. Every day as an independent artist is a workday. The artist must get up, learn the business side, learn to market work, learn promotion, and still create soul-moving productions. This is constant job where one lost day can lead to having to move out of the apartment or not paying the light bill. There may be times with an artist or band has to live on the road, constantly away from home and loved ones. The money doesn't come in without work and effort. Being independent requires a dedication to the craft that those working regular jobs don't have.
That doesn't mean being an independent musician or band isn't worth the price. There is also help that independents can find, both online and in the local community. Not all sides of the music creation process have to be handled by the artist; some can be farmed out to organizations with experience and desire to help.
Strengths versus weaknesses
An independent artist should take a step back and be honest. Every artist and band has strengths and weaknesses. With creative types, the strengths usually are creating music, creating art, writing music, writing stories, and anything thing else that takes imagination. The weaknesses are often on the business side: Promoting, marketing, distributing, and selling music.
Keeping the Balance
The best thing to do is to find people who can help in the areas that an artist is weak. Is there a friend that is a great promoter? See how they can help. Do the parents of one of the band members like marketing? Talk to them about it. What about distributing and selling music online? Many companies are available to help in that area.
Online distribution is the key.
With the internet as a free and open market, companies have started up to help the independent musician or band. Some of these companies are sharks, but others have a genuine interest in providing quality services without being a record label. One such company is called Ditto.
Started in a small flat in Birmingham, this company wasn't much in 2006. In the past seven years, the company has grown to help 30,000 artists produce and distribute music all over the world. Ditto isn't about controlling the music that an artist makes, but helping distribute the music to the various digital music stores on the web.
Ditto helps artists and bands so that creative minds can stay creative free. All royalties and sales belong to the artist, with Ditto only receiving a flat fee. Ditto Music doesn't control the rights to the tracks either, so the music stays with the artist.
Ditto offers many services for independents. These services range from helping independents start their own label, to generating bar codes, to helping the music get on the various charts. The founders of Ditto know what the independent artist is going through. These men are artists and have been in the same spot. With a foundation in helping artists and not fleecing them, Ditto has proven to be a friend in the industry.