What is the definition of “indie music” today? It’s a famous category that has developed some major artists and fame for some, but is really just music that is made on small labels or by artists on their own without a guarantee of cash. Most artists in this genre are not known and most are even unsigned.
Top Music Industry Facts and Statisitcs
In 2013, indie artists are now ranked #1 in overall terms for chart presence and growth.
Much of this has to do with the transforming power of the music subscription model. Because there are many ad-supported platforms that allow people to listen to music for free, they have the chance to try out new artists without any risk of expense. In return, indie artists get the chance to have exposure, have gigs, and become influential without the need of a major recording label backing them.
Key Facts About Indie Artists
1. “Thrift Shop,” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, was the first song to top the charts without the backing of a major label in nearly 20 years. The song was also the #2 streamed video for the first 6 months of 2013.
2. Indie artists account for 34.5% of total sales, which leads the industry today. This is a 6% growth in just 6 years.
3. On the other hand, Universal, ranked #2 in market share, has seen their influence decrease by 0.5% in the same time.
Takeaway: Some of the biggest names in the music industry today are actually indie artists, though you’d never believe it. Jason Aldean, Bon Iver, Mumford & Sons, and even Taylor Swift are all indie artists. Considering that digital sales slipped for the first time in history in the last measurement period, but music streaming increased by 24% in the first 6 months of 2013, it is understandable to see how the indie artist has the chance to gain influence – even if they aren’t making bank while doing it.
Additional Indie Artists Facts to Consider
1. The average revenue generated by the playing of a 10 song album produced by an unsigned artist is just $0.01 on a streaming service.
2. Pandora is a leader in providing music streams with over 70 million active users as of October 2013.
3. Even though indie artists aren’t always signed to a major label, they still utilize these labels to assist with distribution.
4. Even though indies have the top revenue slot as a whole, the major industry labels still account for 63% of the total sales that exist in the market today.
5. The total revenues generated by the 408 registered independent label producers in the United States was $358 million.
6. Music sales have been stable globally except for Japan, which saw a nearly 18% decline in total sales compared to the US, which had growth of 0.8%.
Takeaway: For the average indie artist, it isn’t about fame or fortune. It’s about making enough money to be able to put food on the table every day. It’s a grind, just like any other job can be, and just because it is a form of art for many doesn’t mean that it’s going to be displayed for free. When you support an indie artist, you’re doing more than getting great music. You’re providing them with the means of true survival.