4 Music Industry Problems That Are Destroying Independent Artists

Dec 2nd 2016 by Iain Alexander


Independent artists create inspiring music around the world but because of the way the industry works, they’re being pushed aside
Below are some of the issues that artists face in the music industry which has so far, refused to give them a voice:

Closed access to finance

For most of us, this is the hardest part. It takes a certain amount of investment to get music out into the market. From studio recording sessions through to equipment costs, marketing, and touring, independent artists simply don’t have access to the kind of financing that is often required.

There are of course ways independent musicians and bands can get access to investment but this often requires them to commit to stringent contracts with major labels who invest in artist development and marketing. Then, even at this stage, you have to fit a certain requirement and be able to ’appeal’ to a specific demographic. Creativity can go out the window, and you lose control of your music. This is simply a broken system.

Algorithms that favor the mainstream

Mainstream artists are pushed to the forefront by a majority of music platforms. This is because they leverage the audiences of these big acts to get more subscribers rather than promoting original music. However, this is considerably unfair for indie artists who aren’t promoted or get a fair share of exposure when submitting music on these platforms.

With millions of listeners now subscribed to streaming platforms, you would think there’s never been a bigger opportunity to access the market, but this isn’t the case. Indie artists don’t even rank or trend on platforms because they simply don’t have the marketing dollars nor do these sites want to give them fair exposure.

Again, this is an industry issue where algorithms are biased towards big pop acts and bands vs giving audiences the opportunity to discover a wide range of different music.


Digital vs traditional sales

Digital sales of albums have not caught up with CD. It’s unlikely they ever will thanks to Napster and the subsequent decimation of the value of music in the market. Because it is so easy to access streaming services and unlimited songs for $10 a month, people are unwilling to spend that for an individual album. That’s why platforms like Spotify are bankrupting artists by controlling the audience and paying less then 1 cent per stream. The economics are just a disaster, so indie artists have to find alternative revenue models.

Audiences can’t find new music

It’s become so standard now that even when people want to find new music, they don’t know how to. This goes back to our earlier point about how algorithms favor mainstream artists. But this problem is also omnipresent across the web where indie artists simply don’t have the marketing power to push through the noise of social media gossip and PR stunts from the big labels. As our attention spans are very limited, we only get to really see the top acts in our feeds. Again, this is because they have the marketing power to ‘hijack’ audience attention.

So when it comes to indie artists that are building their communities online, they struggle to get their music out. Even news sites are not willing to promote indie artists to their audiences which is tragic and keeps listeners unaware of the talent out there.

This is one of the reasons why we launched DarwinBeats. We were fed up of not seeing indie artists being able to push through, or even being heard by audiences.

We want our app to help listeners as well as artists connect. This is your moment to stand above the noise, and our algorithms won’t punish you because you only have 2 fans on social media. Our audience will be able to access your music as soon as it’s live, and you’ll have an equal chance of being discovered and upvoted in our charts.

Good luck! You can feature your music on DarwinBeats by creating a free profile and uploading your tracks. And check out our listener app here.

  • Anvelkura

    Thank you for this article, it;s so true, We artists need you guys! Thanks!