“Indie vs. Signed” by SOULPLUSMIND
I spoke about being indie vs. signed on twitter recently which sparked a conversation between L.A. based producer SOULPLUSMIND & I. He is adamant about the fact that indie artist should stop taking the bait that record labels throw at them. This could be quite shocking to hear for an artist but at the end of the day one can take Lupe Fiasco's recent troubles with Atlantic Records as enough of a reason to pursue an indie career. To sign or not to sign ? That is the question & SOULPLUSMIND has the answers.
Getting signed nowadays definitely isn't what it's cracked up to be. Even if you are signed it doesn't automatically mean you're going to be big or even see your product moving towards a solid release date. You could be shelved forever and have to go through tons of legal mess to get released from your contract. And to add onto that, labels demand that you sign a 360 deal. This means they're taking a piece of everything: record sales, ringtone sales, merchandise, tours, etc. Sure it's nice to have the push and money of a label to back your product but unless your the next A list artist they're more likely to not really pay much attention to you.
Independent artists can definitely make a living off their craft. I just found out today that Aloe Blacc an independent artist from CA just went gold on his album and his single. That's 500,000 units sold, for an independent artist ! Sure he's on an independent label but that should be incredible motivation for independent artists. He's never been signed to a major label.
A lot of artists still think album sales are the only way to make $.
This is as far from the truth as it gets. There's a ton of opportunities out there. Music licensing is growing steadily. Think about all the TV shows, movies, commercials you see. How many of them use music? How often is music used? Listen to any reality show on MTV/VH1. Background music is used almost throughout the show and it changes about every 30 seconds. 2 tracks a min, a 20 min show. That's roughly 40 opportunities and that's just one show. Then there's the usual revenue streams: shows, tours, merchandise, etc which an independent artist would keep a bulk of, if not all, of that revenue. Artists can even get paid for some digital streams. Check out soundexchange.com. They monitor digital streams and you can even search to see if you're owed any money. The internet is an independent artist's greatest weapon. Learn how to use it and you're sure to succeed.
You can check out SOULPLUSMIND's work here ---> "click me"