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Support Independent Music

I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about the Independent music scene, and particularly the new independent music scene. This is partly because I am an independent music supporter, and partly because I write on music scene and stuff. I’ve also got a natural interest in patterns and systems (and the independent music scene is one). I like watching things emerge, and I like the ideas that people are forced to come out with to try to make a little money in the current climate. But aside from being interested in all that stuff, first and foremost, I am an ardent supporter of the indie music circuit and from that perspective, I don’t think about the business side of things AT ALL. If you are a musician trying to make it in music right now, just pause for a moment and try to remember why you got into this in the first place.

For most of us, we got into it because music moves us. There’s something about great music that hits you more directly than pretty much any other art form (and I love most art forms – I am not trying to be a snob here, it’s just how I experience it). You don’t need a degree in music history; you don’t even need to understand the words. When music hits you, it hits you, and that’s magic. This piece was inspired by conversations I’ve had with people and friends who’re involved in different bands of our city Shillong. For the most parts of the conversation we mainly spoke on the importance of the internet in doing these independent music makers a big time favor in getting noticed.

Later as I make my way back home, I sort of pondered upon the topic and hence, question myself, is it only the power of the internet that can get these bands to where they are right now?….. Well, the only possible theory rather philosophy I best came up with it after taking into consideration some of the pros and cons the internet offer is the following.The downside of the internet and of the amazing possibilities these days to record release and distribute your album for sod all quid (trans: practically zero bucks) is that we kind of get caught up in the churn of it all, this constant barrage of apathetic new stuff that holds our attention for about five seconds. If it holds our attention for more than that, we consider it good, and share it with our facebook and twitter friends. But great music is worth far more than that, and EVERYONE used to know this. It’s worth hunting out, and cherishing. It’s worth playing again and again and again. For years, cause music is timeless. And if you make music, it’s worth trying to make it THAT GOOD. Just because you can release it, doesn’t mean you should. Maybe it’s not ready yet. (And maybe it is – don’t listen to me, what do I know? I’ve never even heard your music!) Period!

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Baribor says:

Amazing article. And yes, I also am a huge supporter of the local scene. Cheers!

fish says:


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.