Outside of celebrity deaths and the presidential election, 2016 could very well go down as the year Independent Artists broke through the proverbial glass ceiling. For proof, you don’t have to look any further than Chance The Rapper. The unsigned darling defied the odds (and all the major labels) by independently releasing his third mixtape, Coloring Book, to rave reviews on Apple Music. The project ended up being the first streaming-only album to chart on the Billboard 200, and sparked a push that eventually made streaming-only releases eligible for Grammy consideration. While Chance is the latest indie rapper to have breakout success, he’s far from the first. Rapper Tech N9ne has been steadily building his fan base for nearly 20 years, and has recently been seen on the Forbes Cash Kings list. In 2011, Mac Miller’s Blue Slide Park became the first independently released album to top the Billboard charts since 1995. Even with all these achievements behind us, 2017 is shaping up to be even more promising for indie artists. Here are 3 reasons why right now is the best time to pursue your independent music career.
Music Consumption is Growing
According to the IFPI, worldwide music consumption exploded in 2015, showing a revenue increase of 3.2% — the first increase in overall revenue since the early 2000’s and the advent of Napster. Most of this revenue increase is coming from the rise in popularity of streaming. It is easier than it has ever been for fans to access their favorite songs. For you, this means that as long as your music is good, there are more chances than ever for you to find more people who love it.
There Are More Revenue Streams Than Ever
Remember those days when the only way to make money as an artist was to hope your album sells or jump on the road for live shows? Those days are long gone. There are over 42 revenue streams in the music industry, ranging from traditional sales to sync licensing and performance royalties. Musicians all over the world are building sustainable careers and taking their music full time, even without radio play or ever setting out on a tour! Check out this video highlighting 5 ways you can make money with your music below.
Distribution Is Widely Available
Once upon a time, the only way to get your music into stores was to release your album through a major label, or even harder, score a distribution only deal. Because physical distribution is so expensive, it was almost completely off limits to independent musicians. Now that we’re in the digital age, that barrier is no more. iTunes is the number one music retailer in the world, and with services like Tunecore, CD Baby, and (our favorite) DistroKid; it is now easier than ever to get your music into all the digital retailers and streaming services– all without a record label. If you’re willing to fulfill orders yourself, you can make even more money by selling physical products online using services like Shopify and Big Cartel.
There’s never been a better time to be an independent artist, and musicians all over the world are capitalizing on that fact. Are you the next success story? What are you going to do in 2017 to finally make your dreams come true?
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