Independent music artists are often called "Indies," as they typically proclaim independence from commercial record labels. Indies usually go against the current trends and often have an entrepreneurial approach to recording. Indies originated with punk bands during the '70s where people in this scene were involved in bands with fan bases who shared similar ideas.
Indies are known to go on self-funded tours, often to other countries, where those in the local Indie scenes help organize gigs and joint tours. Indies also seem to possess a lack of sophistication that is often associated with commercial record labels, but the line is becoming more and more blurred thanks to a new digital world with the Internet where high-quality recordings can be made easily with inexpensive computer-based recording systems. Now artists can introduce their music to a big audience worldwide at low cost without being with a major recording label. Software for digital music encourages the discovery of new music, and there are successful websites with large libraries of songs. Independent bands have never had it better, and they can even get royalties.
With the arrival of newer and relatively inexpensive recording devices and instruments, more individuals are able to participate in the creation of music than ever before. Studios are rented by the hour and are very costly, and sometimes even hard to find. Today anyone can produce studio-quality music from their own home. Artists are able to experiment with different sounds and styles without spending money at the studio. Furthermore, CDs on demand make it possible for Indie artists to sell their music without manufacturing and storing thousand of discs.
Orders can be filled on an as-needed basis from an Indie label's website. This makes it possible for artists to get their music in front of the public with very little expense and little or no inventory. Thanks to on demand production, many bands have chosen to forego a record label and instead market and distribute their music through entirely web-based means. Some artists have broken away from the format of major labels and have developed a unique platform in which the label's they can retain ownership of their music, copyrights and the rights to any content and masters.
The platform includes some innovative ideas but clearly the CD and DVD on demand production model s a major focal point. They feel that lack of financial resources should not be a determining factor as to whether an artist's music is heard by the public. According to ASR's Chairman and Co-founder Alaadeen, in order to get a good rate to manufacture CDs, he had to manufacture large quantities. This led to excessive amounts of inventory.
Most artists also maintain their own websites and participate in social media marketing activities such as music blogs and websites like Myspace.com or Facebook. Independent music companies often use these to rate a band after listeners have voted to determine if they like the music or not, thus expensive talent search and development in the music industry is no longer needed. Currently the sale of digital music makes up only five to ten percent of the total income generated from music sales, but the numbers are increasing as record labels diminish, and Indies grow.
More and more people are adapting broadband Internet connections so it will be easier in the future for them to access digital music online.
Kristin Gabriel works with Acutrack, Inc., a company that enables customers to create, publish and deliver custom content for CD and DVD duplication worldwide.