Can an indie artist break through the glass ceiling?

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3 comments posted

I guess one of the key

Submitted by blinddrew (not verified) on February 24, 2013 - 1:33pm.

I guess one of the key differences is the negotiation power that these artists have. In a "traditional" deal it was take it or leave it, now there's a lot more scope for an artist to retain some control.

I follow your blogs for my

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 4, 2013 - 9:10am.

I follow your blogs for my classes and I think you have a lot of good articles.
But (as your logo suggests) there is a perpetual undercurrent of the "social justice" agenda, which in the end has far more to do with promoting socialism, and far less with promoting independent artists. In fact, the two; socialism and independent artists, can be considered, historically and in the present, to be mutually exclusive.
Large business's started out small and are only still in business because they do a good enough job- there is nothing sinister about the large labels. They know, as you should know, that they are incapable of manufacturing "hits" or successful artists. They have never been able to do that and they can't do it now. They are always looking for new artists. The public's demand for new music is insatiable.
The big label/distributors can be very helpful in facilitating the success of an artist- who is very good. Teh big labels are not an adversary, they are in today's landscape, one very good option, to one degree or another.
Any one claiming to be an "artist" doesn't deserve to be successful, which is to say the vast majority.
The digital revolution has enabled the artist to do a whole lot more on his/her own, and the results have been impressive- Trent Reznor is a great case study.
So what is this gripe about a "glass ceiling"? Someone is being denied? someone is being oppressed? Someone is being discriminated against? Who would that be?
You're implying that the big labels are a "problem". What's the problem?

Disagree with this. "Perhaps

Submitted by JimLott (not verified) on July 10, 2013 - 4:43pm.

Disagree with this.

"Perhaps the best way to deal with these grey areas is simply to talk about them more, and with a little more precision. Instead of simply saying “an indie artist,” try saying “an artist on an independent label with a major distribution deal,” or “a self-released artist with a publishing deal,” as the case may be. This may be a tall order at a time when many fans still confuse “indie” with a set of aesthetics rather than a business model."

I don't still confuse “indie” with a set of aesthetics.

That's what I mean by indie. That's the reason for the term indie. It's a different type of music. You can have radio rock, and indie rock.

You're buying here what the major labels are selling. The major labels would like you to believe that they're selling the same thing as everybody else, and merit is what determines what is successful. And that's simply untrue. Radio stations do not play indie. If they do, it's rare. And radio stations haven't started playing more indie than they did 5 years ago. What happened was major labels began to understand that people were listening to "indie" music, and not listening to the "radio" music that they were selling, and decided to call their radio music "indie" music and put it on alternative rock radio, and occasionally on other formats.

People want to stop using the work "indie", not because it's a poor term, a term that people didn't understand, but because major labels and radio stations are misusing the term "indie". Whatever problem there is with that term is caused by the labels, not by indie acts.

Can we sue the labels for fraud? You're calling this radio music, this "suspenders authenticana", indie. But it's not. Pay me. I feel harmed by this.

Radio music = bad. All the songs sound the same. You can predict what's going to happen throughout the entire song. No surprises.

Indie music = good. Surprising, interesting, different, challenging, not like everything else that you've heard 100 times.

I'd recommend to indie acts not to abandon the indie label that has worked so well in getting a good number of bands to the Grizzly Bear level, playing theatres, without any major label radio, simply because the major labels and their radio and media buddies would prefer that their radio bands be called indie when they're not.

The distinction has been between radio and indie, I will continue to draw this distinction, and I recommend others preserve this distinction.

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