The Price Of Glory
The world music industry attracts many talents who want to be famous, rich, coveted, and successful every year. The vast majority want to be a well-known celebrity, and a small percentage work for the joy of creation and the pleasure involved.
The right way to gain international or territorial public recognition is to perform in coveted places in the mainstream and gain the most attention. It is certainly possible, only it is impossible to achieve it independently.
Most musicians know that you have to go through “Big Brother,” the big producer or leading record company, to reach the top of the pyramid. The game rules have changed, and the requirements for working with them require the artist to prove that it is worth investing in him. It is no longer enough to be talented with recorded songs that sound like a potential hit.
You have to gather a large audience, advertise yourself, perform alone, rub many soles, prove that you are financially viable, and go a long way until a record company starts to be interested in you.
For this reason, many musicians worldwide from whom the bacterium of art and music is stronger continue to level the golden path on their own and operate without the help of “Big Brother.” This group of musicians is known as the “The Indie Musician.” Indie from the word “individual.”
So who is “The indie musician”?
This is an independent musician who works independently without a record company or an outside producer. Most of these musicians are called “one-man bands.”
They usually write, perform and record their materials entirely independently, in a home studio or a self-funded professional studio, market themselves alone and gain public recognition in all the means available.
They work hard to gain recognition and reach an audience that will love their materials, come to performances, accompany them on social networks and music platforms and support them.
The Indie musicians are divided into two types: those who have already applied to a record company and been refused by them for reasons that I will detail immediately and those who have chosen to withdraw from the draconian agreement with them after the record label company or the producer showed commercial interest in them.
The artist must adhere to the game’s rules for a record company to take a commercial interest in him. If the record company or producer has shown commercial interest in the musician, they will move on to the next stage, the contract stage.
The game’s name is “Numbers,” that is, money.
The numbers tell the story. How many real fans do you have on social networks, how many responses, and actual viral activity? How many monthly sales do you make on the various music platforms like YouTube, Amazon, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify, and others in each social or musical channel? How many fans do you have on each such music platform, and what reactions do you get from the audience on the various music platforms.
Anyone interested in you as a musician will check the frequency with which you upload posts on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others to see how active you are and if there is viral visibility concerning the number of fans existing, i.e., likes, comments, and shares.
These are important metrics that point to a real live and active audience to know if it is a quality musician with an authentic audience or one who has acquired a fictitious viral appearance to arouse interest in front of decision-makers. One of the key questions that usually comes up is how many shows you make per month and how much money you make from music in general.
Although these are relatively small amounts, especially if they are not-so-famous artists whose primary income is a few thousand dollars a month, these metrics, along with impressive visual visibility, cause the potential producer or record company to consider commercial collaboration with that artist and decide if he is going to be the next hot thing in the music industry. Local or international.
If most of the musicians that the record companies had shown interest in had moved to the signing of the contract, the music market in the world would have risen significantly, and we would have heard new material more often than the current one.
Most record companies and large production companies will retain full ownership of the intellectual property of your songs for themselves. However, in some cases, you can win defined royalties as part of the agreement between you.
Once an agreement between you expires for any reason, they will continue to enjoy the profits on every possible platform every time, and you will have nothing left of it.
This is a frustrating situation.
For this reason, most indie musicians are not willing to give up 100% copyright in their songs in favor of the record company or music producer. This is a waiver for life, even after their agreement is canceled for various reasons.
Today’s artists are more calculated and not ready for such precedents of giving up all 100 percent in favor of the producer or record company, primarily if they already work with virtual record companies with sophisticated systems that quickly syndicate their musical materials to every possible store.
The same virtual record companies leave these artists all the 100 percent ownership and profits of the works now and in the future, except for a meager monthly or annual fee for using their system, which amounts to a few tens of dollars.
Such a musician knew how to value himself, especially if he managed to gain a fan base by his powers to earn his bread with dignity and honesty.
He will not easily give up the 100 percent to gain significant recognition and publicity. He will try to continue to level the golden path for himself on the way to the summit.
An artist who has signed a commercial agreement with a record company will wake up in the future to a painful reality and realize the accurate picture, knowing that what was supposed to be his will never be his again, especially if he knows how much the record company earned at the of the hard work he has invested and in these circumstances he will feel exploited, and sometimes a sucker.
This applies to artists who have signed draconian agreements with various record companies or independent producers.
It’s almost like taking from you the children you’ve raised and nurtured all your life and sending them for adoption in a foster family without you getting to see them again. For this reason, many talented artists are willing to lose gold deals that can leverage them, to know “that all the kids will stay home.”
Quality musicians who have managed to level the golden path on their own and have gained interest from record companies or large producers who want to take a big bite out of their intellectual property often prefer to operate independently and make a living mainly from small shows.
Those who have given up the pleasure of being famous on a significant scale in favor of losing 100 percent of their intellectual property continue to engage in this profession for the rest of their lives. Others give up and abandon the industry.
The other side of the indie musician is those who invested, dug, made an effort, gained a fan base that grew organically from time to time following the effort they put in regularly, promoted themselves to the mainstream without thinking about money or material success, and enjoyed the joy of creation.
Musicians of this type will usually prefer to move on to the next stage with the record company or major producer interested in them. They will be open and willing to lose 100 percent of intellectual property and give total exclusivity on their materials to know they will be published on a significant scale.
These are not entrepreneurs or businessmen but talented creators who are unwilling to give up on the dream and are eager to fulfill themselves in every possible sense.
They are driven by a desire to be exposed to a large audience, to gain true love and an ongoing appreciation for their works. They are addicted to applause and public sympathy. For them, everything else is negligible. This motivates them to compromise, the main thing to continue to engage in the field, even at the cost of earning little but being happy.
The musician who wants to be famous at all costs will forget about himself will give up the ego and ownership of intellectual property. The main thing is to reach the top. This is the price he will be willing to pay. And this thing is called: “The price of glory.”
Most musicians will prefer the first option of leaving partial ownership of their works and gaining profits from all possible present and future channels, even if the contract with the record company ends for some reason.
Another part of musicians is willing to share intellectual property in a fair partnership for life. Only the record companies or major producers believe that their dollar and work are worth more than any other work or intellectual property.
On the one hand: it sounds too cruel to deprive you of all the intellectual property you have worked hard for and let you enjoy crumbs. For this reason, most musicians prefer to act independently, keep the majority percent to themselves and continue to hold all 100 percent intellectual property.
On the other hand: to receive this incredible and coveted thing that you so desire, you must first give from it and much. Do not be afraid to provide as much as possible, and remember that the return will come at the end.
Which way is more correct and essential? It depends on who you ask.
Have a pleasant listening.