In the days before the internet, when the major record labels had the music market sewn up tight, it was all but impossible to break into the music business in the traditional sense without having a recording contract with one of them. This often led to artists becoming broke before their album ever actually hit the music store shelves.
The long established “standard recording contract” that was used by the industry, heavily favored the company, at the expense of the star. Advances had to be recouped, recording and manufacturing and distribution costs repaid before the artist saw nickel number one.
Now all that has changed, and for the independent recording artist or band these days, it is definitely a blessing in disguise, although some may not see it that way. The “lure” of the big label contract is still a desirable thing for most young artists, just because they have never been exposed to the potential of the internet as a sales and marketing medium.
More seasoned artists have realized, in the past ten years or so, that the internet is definitely the way to go if you want to seriously pursue a career in music. Mainly because it is virtually open to anyone, regardless of budget constraints. Many bands and solo artists are, as I write this, creating small empires for themselves solely by means of the electronic information highway.
Online music promotion, while still in it’s infancy, is becoming a force to be reckoned with by not only the major record companies, but other online artist. The competition, while not yet fierce, is significantly stiff enough to raise the caution flag for many. Add to that the seemingly incomprehensible way that advertising and marketing works on the web, and it’s no wonder that many would-be internet
superstars give up before the fight even starts.
But it doesn’t have to end there. There are resources available for struggling artists to take advantage of when it comes to learning the in’s and out’s of internet music marketing and promotion. Online courses dealing with website creation and search engine marketing and optimization are too numerous to count.
If your eyes glazed over as you read that last sentence, don’t feel alone. The vast possibilities that exist for creating a buzz, and establishing a fan base for your music are endless. There has actually never been a better time to get started in online music promotion than right now. And the fact that so many established artists are currently using this means as their primary marketing and distribution system only lends weight to the argument.
Ever hear of a guy called Jimmy Buffett? Well, after numerous successful years of feeding the record
companies coffers, Jimmy decided that he’d had enough. Do you blame him? After all is said and done, a major label artist might end up actually being in the hole after everything is paid for on a major CD release. Don’t believe me? The evidence is everywhere. Do a search on Google for the term “artists royalties”, what you get back will look like some kind of horror story. But it’s all true.
Jimmy Buffett decided to form his own record company “Mailboat Records”, and he’s doing quite fine now, and actually has been able to steal a lot of talent from the likes of Island Records to come over to his new label.
When you consider that a major recording artist has to sell somewhere around 3 million CDs just to break even, and an independent label can sell about 10,000 and the artist makes just as much, well, the choice really isn’t that much of a choice anymore now is it?
Add to all this the newest thing, digital downloads, and you have a brand new market ready to explode for the independent artist out there who has enough get up and go to take a crack at it.
The future is yours independent musician. Let’s make the most of it.