| ||organisation: various |
type of activity: independent music online distribution
intro: the term indie is short for ‘independent’ and refers to artistic creations outside the commercial mainstream, without the support of a major record label, major movie studio, or other source of a large budget. For quite some time, mainstream artists have had a promotional advantage over independent artists due to financial and commercial backing from record labels. Often these labels are actually owned by a large conglomerate that controls many subsidiaries. These labels have been established for decades and over time, have built up immense financial assets and possess significant influence and power in the music industry.
Artists are judged extensively by the label they sign with, as it is seen to be an indication of the type and quality of music they will produce. A new artist who is signed to a major label will have a significant advantage over their competition because publicity, airplay and general exposure can be bought by that label, increasing sales and popularity. In exchange for guaranteed promotion, these major record labels receive a massive percentage of sales from the artist’s music, concert tickets and merchandise.
a new trend: the internet has opened up new distribution channels for digital music and this has levelled the playing field. The rise of new media technologies, such as digital music and the internet, has created new opportunities for independent musicians to self-produce and distribute their work on a global basis both easily and affordably.
This disintermediation of the music industry allows artists to produce, package, promote and distribute their work without being signed to a label. Previously, independent artists had to rely on word-of-mouth and indie record stores and publications, but now online promotion frees them from geographical and financial restrictions. Online music distribution has given independent artists new prospects for production, marketing and circulation on a global level, in an instantaneous fashion.
music portals: many music distribution websites, such as MP3.com [www.mp3.com], offer thousands of free downloads of independent music, giving indie artists more opportunities of being discovered. The online promotion gives artists the opportunity to receive a large cut of the profits, due to greater control and lower production and distribution costs.
Independent artists can receive revenue through new music distribution services such as WeedFiles.com [weedfiles.com] and online music stores. WeedFiles.com uses a new digital music file called ‘Weed’, which allows listeners to download songs onto their computer but only preview it three times. Listeners then have the option to purchase the file and burn it to CD, download it to a portable player or share it with friends. The artist receives 50% of sales and listeners receive a cut of sales of songs they shared, encouraging the distribution of files.
A growing number of online independent retailers, such as CDRevolution [www.cdrevolution.com] and CDBaby [www.cdbaby.com], offer artists 75% of sales on a consignment basis, as well as additional promotion.
promoters: indie artists can also promote their music online through many fee-based online international promotion and management corporations, such as Black Dog Promotions [www.blackdogpromotions.com], designed specifically for independent artists. Through services such as these artists can gain exposure and become known without signing to a major label.
These companies not only promote independent artists, but also create websites and organise fan clubs and street teams. They also send out bi-monthly newsletters and press releases and sell CDs at an online store.
reviewing communities: another way artists can gain exposure and build a fan base is through a listener-reviewing community, such as GarageBand.com [www.garageband.com].
Established in 1999, GarageBand.com allows independent artists to submit their original songs to be reviewed and rated by a community of over 400,000 members. Artists climb the GarageBand.com indie charts as they receive ratings. After reaching number one, an artist receives radio airplay, exposure to an advisory band and the opportunity to be discovered by a major label. GarageBand.com boasts over 123,700 bands and is chaired by Sir George Martin, who signed the Beatles.
cool for you: are you a musician, do you want to join the ‘indie’ musicians community, do you want to have a medium to promote your work and reach a global audience? These organisations are what you’re looking for!