I think it's kind of like the success of "Klackers" in the 70s. Lot of hype, not much substance. All it means to be "indie" is that you don't operate in the regular distribution channels as the majors.
I disaggree. I think that music is so wide spread now that there are different levels of music. For instance, some people classify music as "good" or "bad" and "mainstream" and "not mainstream". I prefer to step out of that box and ask a broader question. Will enough people buy this album to make it profitable? That does not mean it will make anyone rich or sell Gold or platinum. I think of Indies as a sort of minor league as in sports. Without minor league baseball there would be no training ground. There have been AAA baseball players make careers out of playing minor league ball. It may not be the majors but its better than working at the local factory for a living. They still get there shot on a little bit smaller level. I also feel like technology will create sort of a middle class of music that will fit in between "Indies and Majors". So Some Indies will end up "mid-Majors". That sounds crazy but its just an opinion that I've had for a long time. I may be bias though becouse I am start up Indie label Owner.
You make good points, but what you are talking about has been happening for years. Since commercial music began. It seems today the hype is centered around having, being, or signing with an "Indie" label. I don't think an artist signing with an indie label will make them any more or less successful than signing with a major. To me, indie labels take on more of a role of manger or producer. We just have this stigma in the industry that "signing" with someone means you have arrived, are validated and headed for stardom.
Most artists get started by selling out of their car trunks at local gigs. Some make profitable albums without the help of a major label or an "indie" label. I was just saying that the buzz of "indies" being a huge success is what is hype, compared to what artists are able to do on their own. A lot of young artists have a mis-conception that signing with a label, whether major or indie, is what will make their career. It just isn't so.
Great stuff, Now that, I aggree with. I can see some little group of 18 year old rock guys signing with joe schmo label thinking that they are going to be stars. That is a misconception that some not so freindly label guys can prey on. I also agree with what you said about manager or producer. In my opinion a good Indie with the artists career in mind would be just that a manager. A manager tries to get an artist signed to a major label. If an Indie does its job right then they would be able to take an artist that might otherwise not get noticed on there own and sell enough records to create intrest among majors. So I would add A &R to that list also. Small Labels are bought out by the majors all the time just for that purpose. However look at Victory Records as an exception. Tonny Brummel For Years Refused any affiliation with Major labels Including distribution. He got radio play and functioned like a major, just at a smaller level. It in affect created a whole new level on the spectrum. His Artists loved him for it. Maybe its just a matter of semantics. Are "Indies" record labels or a colabaration of A&r, management, promotion and production. There are sharks out there, but I do beleive that Indies have there place. This is really great stuff. I love having a place to talk and debate about these kind of things, great work on the site and thank you - Brett
I also agree with both posts. I think not only the industry has changed, but the consumer. More choices and easy access to downloads and music make the market much more muddy for new artists. However, if you build from your region, know your audience, and press what you know you can move, it becomes more manageable and will make you money. Moving one to two thousand CDs in nothing to even an indie, but to an individual we are talking close to 15 thousand in profit. Live show sales and repeat consumers are key, just like any business. Know who likes your product and who will buy more. Keep the lines of communication open with your consumers so they feel connected to you as more than just an artist. An indie label can provide you with contacts and connections to radio, cable, satellite, even distribution outlets, but selling product falls back to the artist in so many ways if you are not getting a lot of airplay!
I think this depends on your goals. If you are looking to compete with the majors head to head, it requires quite a bit of money plus great contacts. However, if your goal is to build something that is comfortably profitable, then it makes a lot of sense to treat your music as a business. Every inie artist who is not signed to a label has his or her own label by default. I know of quite a few indie labels who have no ties to the majors who are making a lot of money! Most of them have very targeted audiences as their markets and just one or a small handful of artists. Some have Christian artists who tour larger churches and sell an amazing amount of CDs. Others work in the college market. One distributes music to independent coffee houses (anyone who isn't Starbucks). Indies can get airplay on secondary and tertiary radio stations. They can also use the power of the Internet to create a buzz around their artists. It's a different model than what what most people think of as an indie label. If you can define your market and target it specifically and cost effectively, it can be well worth the effort.
Yes, more trouble than it is worth. There are only a couple of successful indie labels in Nashville: Rounder and Broken Bow. Unless you consider Curb an indie. I tried putting out my own records. It was a nightmare.
Any record label weather it be "Indie" or Major"If they do not have the money backing up the company to push an artist will not make it.It takes money to make money...and a strong devoted artist to bring in sales.When pushing an Indie label the" song" and "the Artist " must be better than what is being played on the radio,Its stiff competition.
I agree. Lots of trouble and always losing money. I put out records on my own label in the 70s just because I wanted to do this so much. It was a disaster. I guess Rounder and Broken Bow are making it.
Its only makes sense to have an indie label when you have the quality of music and production and business to put out hit music and get all the profits. If you can't afford to put out music on your own you can't do it indie.