The Pros & Cons of Indie Artists
words by ViV C.
I’ve always been told that if you want something done right, you should do it yourself. It seems that quite a few of today’s indie artists are taking heed to those very words and doing just that when it comes to plotting the trajectory of their career. After watching previous generations of artists wrestle with infamously crooked deals (a la Chuck Berry, New Edition, N.W.A., & TLC), major contract deals aren’t the golden goose they once were for up and coming indie artists. Choosing to focus on the indie route is sometimes not an easy decision to make and indie artists often have to choose between pursuing a bigger stage or having complete artistic control over their creative process and it’s fruits.
Speaking of artistic control, when asked, it’s one of most indie artists’ major reasons for deciding to do things their way. When it comes to production, writing, release dates and even merchandise packaging nothing compares to being able to release a project the way an artist envisions it. Nothing comes without sacrifice though and one of the biggest hurdles for indie artists is exposure. Being an independent artist requires footwork, patience, and lots of grassroots efforts to have your art be seen and heard. Something to keep in mind is that record labels often provide massive financial backing for artists’ projects, however it’s usually at the expense of some level of artistic control, the possibility of release delays or even a shelved album. While choosing to be an indie artist means footing the bill for your own tours, marketing, and appearances it’s worth the grind.
Work Harder, Move Smarter
Putting in the work does pay off and with so many critically popular and lucrative artists like Tech N9ne, Freddie Gibbs, and Guwop going hard as free agents, some records labels are starting to offer partnership deals similar to the one 21 Savage recently signed with Epic. These partnerships allow artists who have already built up their fan-base independently to use that fan-base as leverage to negotiate keeping control of their masters, and their creative process.
Despite any hurdles, I think most indie artists would tell you that the journey and the grind are extremely worth it. So stay inspired, check out some super trill artists’ thoughts on why being indie is the move down below.