If you create your own music and you’re starting to develop a small following of listeners and fans, you might start to wonder what the next steps should be. In the past, bands and musicians might have turned to record labels or independent record labels to help them take that next step up. But is that necessary these days?
Many would argue that the better direction to take comes in the form of working as a truly independent musician. Of course, there are costs and benefits associated with that decision, but today we’re going to take a look at the benefits and why it might be something that’s at least worth considering.
Ownership of Your Music
When you work as an independent artist, you have true ownership of your work and that’s pretty huge. When you work with a record label, they own your music, not you. That’s obviously something that can easily become a big problem and probably isn’t something you want to be dealing with later on if you get into disputes. So many musicians have had to take legal action against record labels they worked with. None of that has to enter the equation when you’re an independent musician though.
Flexibility with Live Performances
You also have more flexibility over your live performances and how you tour. There will be times when record labels pressure their artists to tour in order to generate revenue and promote a new album, for example. When you’re independent, you can make decisions regarding what’s best for your music and your career. Maybe you love live performances and want to do more of them or perhaps you don’t like performing live and instead prefer recording and sharing music that way.
Enjoy the Full Profits Your Work Generates
When you’re working for yourself and you create music independently, you can decide what you do with your money because you’ll be taking the full profits of the music you create. That’s obviously not the case when you’re signed to a label, and it’s one of the main reasons why many people choose to stay independent or revert back to working independently. It’s simply more financially beneficial for them to do so. No one likes the idea of other people taking a cut of the money that they’ve earned through their creativity.
Lots of musicians like the idea of being able to explore a range of different genres through their music. That ability to explore new avenues and new ways of doing things is something that can be massively beneficial for a lot of artists. Genre exploration is not always encouraged by record labels though. They often act more conservatively and prefer the idea that musicians stick to the ideas and types of music that originally allowed them to find success. That means there’s often less scope for experimentation.
Never Working Towards Someone Else’s Deadlines
When you sign a contract with a record label, you essentially owe them a certain number of albums and singles. That means that they expect the work to be done when they want it to be done, and that’s not always helpful from a creative point of view. Some musicians really don’t benefit creatively from having to work to someone else’s deadlines. It can sometimes lead to work being rushed and the wrong creative decisions being made. And you obviously don’t have to deal with that as an independent artist.
Making Your Own Schedule
Similarly, you also get to make your own schedule and have control over how you spend your time when you’re an independent artist. It means that you can travel and make bigger decisions about your life and career without worrying so much about how it might affect other people like a manager or record label. If you can make your own schedule, that means you can make your own decisions and not feel as if you’re obligated to be in a certain place by a certain time.
Control Over Your Own Tech and Recording Equipment
Sometimes, if you’re working with a record label, a lot of things can be taken care of for you. And that can be both good and bad. It definitely means that you get fewer opportunities to make your own decisions though. There might be some new tech or a different instrument that you want to use, but those requests might be vetoed by the record label if they have their own infrastructure already in place to use. If you’re independent and you like what you see from the new focusrite 2i2 reviews, you can give it a try and see how it works for you. You have the control over whether that happens or not because you’re independent.
These days, one of the major ways in which musicians make money is via streaming services and other online platforms. These are relatively easy to navigate by yourself and you can start uploading to them right away if you want to. That means the role of the old school record label is changing and many would argue that their role is now less important. It’s easy for musicians to start making money from their music themselves and there’s not much that they can’t do without the help of a record label exec.
It’s also true that collaborating with other musicians can be a lot easier when you’re an independent artist. It means that you’re able to make important decisions regarding who you work with and why without having to think about contractual obligations and conflicts of interest that might exist between competing record companies.
As you can see, there are lots of reasons why working as an independent musician and not being trapped to any kind of record label, even an indie one, is a good idea. If you’re looking to keep your destiny in your own hands and you want to feel in control of your creative direction, this might be the way to go