Reports Music

Independent Artists The Age of Empowerment

Report by Keith Jopling and Mark Mulligan


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Cover image for Independent Artists

Key takeaways

  • A sector            real scale. Artists without record            generated            million in 2018, up            2017. These independent artists represent            fastest-growing segment of the global            music business, a segment of            scale with real impact and            They are also more streaming            than label artists.
  • Culture first,            second. Artists’ definition of success            very much culture first, then            They are looking for respect            recognition first and foremost. With            respect and recognition, they can            viable touring acts with the            to earn loyal fan bases.
  • Labels are            a prerequisite. So, what about            role of labels? Artists now            labels very much as one            means to an end. Less            a third of label artists            it important to be signed            a record label, while for            artists (i.e. those without record            the rate falls to less            a fifth.
  • Earnings are            biggest obstacle. It is just            well that artists take a            first, cash second attitude as            artists should not expect to            a living from music without            close to divine intervention. Nearly            quarters of independent artists earn            than            a year from music,            average incomes are also low            for signed artists.
  • Artists’ income            vary widely. Streaming income, along            earnings from live performances, make            the majority of artist revenues            For independent artists, streaming is            their primary source of income                      
  • Signing to            label is not enough for            financial security. Being signed to            label often does little to            an artist’s financial woes. Overwhelmingly,            independent and label artists do            feel that they earn enough            music to not worry about            financial situation.
  • Don’t give            the day job. Most artists            ‘plural careers’. Whether signed to            label or not, over two            of artists feel they will            to keep up other work            music in order to make            meet.
  • The age            artist empowerment has arrived. Despite            challenges of a music career,            vast majority of artists now            they have more control over            careers than ever before. With            choices both increasing and improving,            two-thirds of artists have a            outlook about their career path.
  • Artists want            listen. The modern-day artist has            flexibility and freedom to make            – but how do they            the right choices? While the            majority of artists do not            to lose creative control, most            them are open to influence            advice about their creative direction.

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