A new study from MIDiA Research and indie distributor Amuse shows that independent artists are the fastest-growing segment of the global recorded music business, the beginning of what may be the biggest paradigm shift within the music business in decades.
The survey of 250 musicians globally offers a snapshot of how artists without labels make money, as well as their career aspirations.
Artists without record labels generated $643.1 million in 2018, up 35% from 2017. Independent artists represent a segment of global scale with real impact and influence. They are also more streaming native than label artists.
Labels are not a prerequisite. Artists now view labels very much as one possible means to an end. Less than a third of label artists consider it important to be signed to a record label, while for independent artists (i.e. those without record labels) the rate falls to less than a fifth.
Earnings are the biggest obstacle. Nearly three-quarters of independent artists earn less than $10,000 a year from music, and average incomes are also low even for signed artists. Most artists have ‘plural careers’. Whether signed to a label or not, over two-thirds of artists feel they will have to keep up other work alongside music in order to make ends meet.
The age of artist empowerment has arrived. Despite the challenges of a music career, the vast majority of artists now feel they have more control over their careers than ever before. With their choices, both increasing and improving, nearly two-thirds of artists have a positive outlook about their career path.
Download the free report here.