10 specific reasons why you should support Independent Musicians
Musicians develop their own labels for many different reasons. My reason is partly because of a challenge I took on at a young age, to take what I was told was an unmarketable instrument, the violin, and create music that expressed emotions, touched hearts, and ultimately, sold. Whatever the reason for creating their own labels, musicians sometimes forget the advantages they hold and focus instead on the multitude of challenges.
As a gentle reminder to artists as well as their potential customers, I’m sharing my personal favorite reasons why I enjoy having my own label, and why music lovers should consciously choose to buy music from independent labels.
1. Independent musicians can freely express their passion and unique talent. They can express their own personal stories, follow their own instincts, and not have to follow orders from major label executives as to what they must create. From the customer’s perspective, by exploring radio stations and other sources of independent music, they too are now free to make their own decisions as to what is hot and what is not.
2. Many of the common music distributors only offer music from major labels, and rarely do they give anything for free, no matter how many albums you download or cds you buy. An independent artist is free to be unique and generous in his sales methods. For the consumer, this can mean getting bulk discounts, coupon offers and appreciation for their repeat purchases.
3. The independent musician can communicate directly with the customer, so online sales doesn’t have to feel like an isolating experience for the artist. Many times the thrill of receiving an email directly from the musician can turn an independent label music purchaser into a devout fan.
4. Niche marketing is all the buzz these days, and nowhere is it more successful than in independent music. As an independent musician, you are free to create your own unique niche and, in the process, reach more ideal fans. As someone who buys music from an independent label, you can find it easier to discover the music that defines and expresses YOU as well.
5. By buying from independent labels, customers and musicians can share the love. Think of it this way, here’s one scenario. A music lover makes a purchase. The independent musician has total control over what is communicated in the thank-you message. The customer can write back. The musician can quote the customer in his blog, the customer basks in the glory of the personal mention and shares it with all his friends on his Facebook page. Backlinks abound. Try that when you purchase from a major label.
6. Everyone feels more authentic. A MySpace page is more authentic than a billboard. A blog is more authentic than a press release. As an independent musician you can replace corporate communications with the real you, and your fans can comment on your webpage and get a direct response from you with their name on it.
7. At a time when many music retailers are closing their doors, customers can find their favorite independent musician’s music by buying it directly from the artist. Musicians with a well defined niche and loyal, avid fans can remain untouched by the ups and downs of the retail music industry.
8. An independent musician can develop his own website presence based on his own unique personality and style. Fans can hang out in a place where they can listen to new music clips, socialize, watch video performances, buy music, and share and build upon each other’s excitement. Everything is in one place, and they can discover a new musician or song, leave their comments, bookmark the site, make a purchase, and make new friends, all at the same time.
9. Musicians get a bigger cut from the sale of their music. This may seem obvious, but if customers could see the portions their favorite musicians receive from major labels, they would make more effort to support independent musicians, and buy from independent labels.
10. Indie musicians can band together to support each other and further their own causes, in organizations such as Association of Independent Musicians, or Rock the Net, only two examples. Major record labels often limit what their artists can do or not do. Consumers can not only support the music they love, they can affiliate themselves with causes they believe in.
There are of course other reasons to buy music from independent artists, but this is a great list to get you started thinking in that direction.