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Independent Artists The Music Industry Rewritten

Report by Mark Mulligan
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The 20,000 Foot View:  The rise of independent artists is one of the most important changes to happen to the modern recorded music business. While traditional label models still dominate, ever more artists are pursuing non-traditional alternatives, ranging from self-releasing through to joint-venture label service deals with majors. The rise of streaming has been the catalyst for independent artists, enabling them to find global audiences and to pursue their careers on their terms. There has never been a better time to be a recording artist, but the other side of the equation is that record labels need to reimagine both their value proposition to artists and their underlying business models.

Key Findings

               of all consumers upload their own music or singing directly to destinations such as YouTube and Soundcloud
  • The total            (unique) number of music creators                       million, with            million on Soundcloud,            on YouTube and            million on            (DIY) platforms
  • Independent artists            create their own virtual labels            choosing from a fast-growing selection            apps and services, from collaboration            to distribution
  • Traditional record            have to respond to this            by positioning around their soft            and personal relationships to deliver            agency-like offer for artists
  • Apple dominates            music production landscape with the            of Logic Pro (used by            artists) and Garage Band (used                      
  • Independent artists            the fastest growing part of            recorded music market, generating            million            2018, up            on 2017
  • Artist direct            DIY) revenue was            of the            artist total with            million and            services making up the remaining                       million
  • Independent artist            made up            of global recorded            revenue in 2018, with major            master recordings comprising            and independent            masters           
  • Independent artists            motivated by creativity and recognition,            being respected and recognised in            scene the most widely cited           
  • Artists will            to have improved choice, with            frontline artists choosing non-traditional deals
  • Labels with            distribution business will fare best            they get to back both            of the artist scale while            being able to get the            promising unsigned artists first
  • The entire            of a record label is            with labels competing on service            and having less deep catalogue            artists use them as platforms            driving other revenue streams

Companies and brands mentioned in this report:  Amuse, Ableton Live, ADA, Avid, AWAL, Bandcamp, Bandsintown, Believe Digital, Big Machine Music, Big Yellow Dog Music, BMG Music Rights, BuzzAngle, Caroline, CD Baby, Cooking Vinyl, Cubase, Ditto, Downtown Music Holdings, Downtown Music Publishing, EMI, Facebook, FAMM, Fast Forward, the Firepit, Fourth Floor Creative, Globe, Google,, Hitco, Instrumental, Kickstarter, Kobalt, Kompoz, Landr, Logic Studio, Melboss, The Music Fund, Native Instruments, NME, The Orchard, Patreon, Penske, Pledge Music, ReverbNation, Rhapsody, Rise, Rolling Stone, Sony Music, Soundcloud, Splice, Soundtrap, Trebble, Tunecore, Warner Music, Uncut, United Masters, Universal Music, Vocalizr, Wysidio, YouTube

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