Independent Music

== An Internet Scavenger Hunt/ Role Playing Bonanza!
(the prize is knowledge... and a cool song)

Well, lets pretend you've been practicing your guitar for a couple of years and now you want to see if you and your band can make it big. You need to hire a roadie, buy a Les Paul, get an amp, make your drummer practice, find some gigs, buy tight jeans... but WAIT! What is all this you've heard about independent music? Well, this is an online role-playing, scavenger hunt game that will help you become ready to face the modern music scene and make it BIG as an independent musician! (Click on the link below each question to discover the answer)

By the time you are done reading this wiki, you should be able to answer the following questions:
What is independent music?, how has the internet revolutionized the music industry?, what are the challenges facing an independent artist?, how do independents make money?, what are the challenges facing an independent artist?, How does the music industry work?, should artists join a major label or stay independent?, and finally what is the best way for an independent to record their music?

1. What exactly is Independent Music?
(Below is a video to find out)
2. How has the Internet affected the Music Industry?
(Below in another video and a link to a website to find out)

3. What are some challenges facing an independent artist?

4. How do independent artists make money?
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5. What are some of the best ways for an independent artist to get exposure?

6. What is the status of the music industry, how does it work, and how does being on a major label differ from being an independent?
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(Below is a link to the web page that I believe summarizes everything on this wiki page.)

7. What is the best way for an independent to record their music?
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This is the conclusion to my internet scavenger hunt. At this point you and your band should be ready to face the independent music scene and try to make it big. I did promise a little more that just information though. Below is a song that I made as an independent using all of the information that I learned while making this scavenger hunt.
Norwegian Wood (cover) by: The Beatles

Independent Music

This is my Independent Music Wiki. Here is a link to my blog where I have posted most of the relevant information.

Here are some related websites and blogs that I found on my subject:

Below are some Youtube videos featuring Allison Wenham talking abut the future of the music industry.

Here are some interesting graphs and statistics presented by David Byrne regarding the music industry.
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Here are some articles I borrowed from the Wikipedia page on indie music.

Indie and technology

Internet technology allows artists to introduce their music to a potentially enormous audience at low cost without necessarily affiliating with a major recording label.[3[[|]]] The design of digital music software encourages the discovery of new music. Sites with larger libraries of songs are the most successful. This, in turn, creates many opportunities for independent bands. Royalties from digital services could prove to be an important source of income. If an artist has already paid to record, manufacture, and promote their album, there is little to no additional cost for independent artists to distribute their music online.[4[[|]]] Digital services offer the opportunity of exposure to new fans and the possibility of increased sales through online retailers. Artists can also release music more frequently and quickly if it is made available online. Additionally, artists have the option of releasing limited edition, out-of-print, or live material that would be too costly to produce through traditional means.
With the arrival of newer and relatively inexpensive recording devices and instruments, more individuals are able to participate in the creation of music than ever before. Studio time is extremely expensive and difficult to obtain. The result of new technology is that anyone can produce studio-quality music from their own home. Additionally, the development of new technology allows for greater experimentation with sound.[5[[|]]] An artist is able to experiment without necessarily spending the money to do it in an expensive studio.
Most artists maintain their own websites as well as having a presence on sites such as Technological advances such as message boards, music blogs, and social networks are also being used by independent music companies to make big advances in the business.[6[[|]]] Some sites rely on audience participation to rate a band, allowing listeners to have a significant impact on the success of a band. This eliminates new talent search and development, one of the most costly areas of the music business. Other sites allow artists to upload their music and sell it at a price of their choosing. Visitors to the site can browse by genre, listen to free samples, view artist information, and purchase the tracks they want to buy.[7[[|]]] Acts such as Wilco have chosen to make their new albums available for streaming before they are released.[8[[|]]]
Many bands have chosen to forgo a record label and instead market and distribute their music only on the Internet. Digital marketing firms such as CDBaby, Magnatune and iTunes offer opportunities such as podcast creation and promotion and video hosting. In the case of digital distribution, musicians lend a company the right to distribute their music. The contract is often non-exclusive, and the rights to the music generally remain with the artist. The non-exclusivity of the contract allows many artists to have an online presence while continuing to sell directly through their local independent music stores.
A more recent trend is seen in artists who give their music away for free, such as Radiohead, with their 2007 album In Rainbows[9[[|]]], The Go! Team with their single "Milk Crisis" and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails with the 2008 album The Slip,[10[[|]]] or indie artists and bands such as Happy Rhodes, whose music is available for free on the indie music site Redfizz.

Going major versus staying indie

Some bands choose to never go to a major label even if they are given the opportunity to do so. Similarly, others may choose to be an independent artist after having already experienced recording on a major label, such as pianist Bradley Joseph. As an independent, business is a prime concern and can take over if not controlled, Joseph said.[11[[|]]] "A lot of musicians don't learn the business. You just have to be well-rounded in both areas. You have to understand publishing. You have to understand how you make money, what's in demand, what helps you make the most out of your talent."[12[[|]]] But some artists just want to be involved in the music and don't like the added problems or have the personality to work with both. Joseph suggests newer artists read and study both courses and pick one that best suits their needs and wants.[11[[|]]]
If a band moves to a major label, it does not necessarily guarantee the band's success. Only about 1 in 10 CDs released by major labels make any profit for the label.[13[[|]]] It is possible for an artist to make more money producing and promoting their own CDs than signing with a major label. However, an independent label that is creatively productive is not necessarily financially lucrative. Independent labels are often one-or two-person operations with almost no outside assistance and run out of tiny offices.[14[[|]]] This lack of resources can make it extremely difficult for a band to make revenue from sales.
Some major labels have created an opportunity for Independent artists to be features on a distributed/ marketed CD project with no strings attached in an effort to help boost awareness of the Independent Music community. Their brand of product began with and will continue as the brand picks up success most likely.
One thing an artist can consider doing if they want to be noticed by a major label is starting their own independent label. A successful independent label with a strong musical reputation can be very appealing to a major label. Major labels rely on independent labels to stay current within the ever-changing music scene.[15[[|]]] Independent labels are often very good at discovering local talent and promoting specialized genres. This tactic was employed by Canadian band, Barenaked Ladies when they went from being independent to forming their own label, Desperation Records. Desperation Records only releases songs by Barenaked Ladies, and there is no intention to begin signing other artists [16[[|]]]
The difference among various independent labels lies with distribution, probably the most important aspect of running a label. A major-label distributed independent label allows the independent label to find, sign, and record their own artists. The independent label has a contract with a major label for promotion and distribution. In some cases, the major label also manufactures and releases the album. Independent labels that are owned by a major label distribute their records through independent distributors but are not purely independent. A purely independent label is not affiliated with a major label in any way. Their records are distributed through independent distributors.[17[[|]]]
It can be very difficult for indie bands to sign on a record label that may not be familiar with their specific style. It can take years of dedicated effort, self-promotion, and rejections before landing a contract with either an independent or major record label. Bands that are ready to go this route need to be sure they are prepared both in terms of the music they offer as well as their realistic expectations for success[18[[|]]]
The three main ways for an artist to make money are record deals, touring, and publishing rights.