There are a lot of hats indie musicians wear on a daily basis. Mainly because it's a necessity to be able to get shit done. When there is a challenge or obstacle it's your job to figure out a solution and move forward. Standing still is not an option. This is a great time to be in music. There are a ton of opportunities for musicians that did not exist even 10 years ago and it's constantly changing for the better.
The thing about the new music business is that all the tools you need to be successful are at your fingertips. The internet opens up a world wide audience with so many people it's mind blowing. We have a golden opportunity, right now, to take advantage of this medium and ride the new music industry on our terms.
To me that is what Do It Yourself music is all about. Musicians in control of the music they create. It is about being the boss not the employee. If you need a publicist, you are going to hire the publicist. If you need an artist for an album cover you're going to hire the artist for the cover. Doing it yourself means that your not dealing with all these middle men, but are partnering with people you choose to work with.
Here is a fact. If your goal is to sign with a major label and still follow that path, the only way they are going to touch you is if you are already bringing in money and having success it the scale your on. The are going to look at you as a ROI (Return On Investment). If they are going to put 1 million into you they want 2 million back out. It's not about the music, it's about the math.
Now in the past the major labels were the end game because the could sell records. Right now there is more music being consumed then ever before but only 1 album this year has gone platinum. In 2014, only 2 went platinum and one of those was a soundtrack. So to me, it makes about zero sense to lose control of the master and give the label 90% of the sales. The idea that right now musicians are signing 360 deals and giving so much more away is shocking.
For me the new music business is so much more then selling records though, it's about musicians controlling their music and taking back the music industry. Here's an example of what I mean. I really wanted to make some EDM music and have it available on Beatport. To do that I needed to have the music distributed by a label. So I started sending out demo's to different labels and received a few offers back, but ultimately I ended up choosing AMAdea. The reason I choose them was they'd get my music on Beatport, digitally distribute my music everywhere else for free, and we split sales 90/10 where I get 90% they get 10%. Doing something like that in the past would not have been possible.
Now just because the tools are available to do it all yourself does not mean you have to. You have the choice. There is nothing wrong with working with a label, if it's a partnership. There is nothing wrong with working with a publisher, if it's a partnership. There is nothing wrong with working with a manager, if it's a partnership. Doing it yourself, to me, means that you make the decision who your partners are and isn't about you literally doing everything yourself.
In this new model you have the freedom to make music exactly how you want, without anyone calling the shots, and I think that is a beautiful thing. Thanks for reading, and I wish you all the success in the world!