Saturday, September 21, 2013

For The Musical Independent

Since 2012, there are only 3 major music labels: Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. The last of EMI (an international label out of Britain) was absorbed by Warner in July of 2013 (that's less than 2 months ago). These Big 3 are conglomerates that consist of publishing houses that own all the publishing and copyrights on all major music in the entire world. And be careful with labels that call themselves "independent". Do a little research and you'll find that many well known independent labels are simply beards for the majors who either own huge percentages of the companies, or operate as a parent company to the "indie" labels. Though these labels can provide great financial backing and star power for projects, some drawbacks to being signed are:

(1) there's no guarantee the label will release your project,
(2) you will not own the copyright/publishing to your music and if the song blows up, the label gets all the royalties, and
(3) in order to stay in the favor of the labels over time, you have to do what they require, which may compromise your creativity and/or artistic integrity.

Another drawback is that if you actually do become "famous" and you want to leave the label, the majors have a track record of intimidating artists into staying under their auspices, which can range from endless lawsuits to sullying their reputation and turning the public against them so that they cannot be profitable beyond the label. If this happens, good lawyers and indie art advocates are available, but success is not guaranteed.

For some, being a workhorse for the music industry can be very appealing. Major labels offer promises of riches and fame and many Earthlings live for riches and fame. But if you're one of the artists who isn't impressed by the machine, no worries. The music industry has changed so much in the past 20 years that you can be the writer, publisher, and copyright owner for your own music, seek your own licensing opportunities, and collect royalties from the international use and distribution of your music. The degree to which you are successful depends on the work you put in and the relevance of your art to the people who listen to it. The best part of running your own career is that once you've achieved success, you become a gold mine for teaching others to do the same.

Uranus Is Blue is a resource for indies. Learn how to monetize your own career and read Q&As full of tips for how to make it work from the artists, bands, DJs, publishers, and copyright owners who are making it work. Visit and subscribe to the blog, youtube, tumblr, and facebook

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