7 Opportunities Unsigned Artists Have

7 Opportunities Unsigned Artists Have
7 Opportunities Unsigned Artists Have

7 Opportunities Unsigned Artists Have in Ghana and across the world. What is the holy grail in the music industry? That depends on who you ask, but many musicians will tell you that it’s landing a contract with a label.

Getting signed can be a worthwhile goal. But because of some of the restrictions it often comes along with, it might limit your flexibility and your ability to make important decisions regarding your creative direction and career.
Did you know that unsigned musicians have access to numerous opportunities signed musicians don’t? Here are but a handful to consider.

1. Keep 100% Of Your Profit

Perhaps the most attractive aspect of being an independent is that no one else has a finger in your pie. You can keep 100% of your profit.
Now, for us to be clear, this is how I will define profit:

Revenue – Expenses = Profit

Just because you aren’t signed to a label doesn’t mean you won’t have expenses. But profit is the money left over after you have accounted for all your costs.
In the case of Imogen Heap, she says she negotiated a deal where she gets to keep 18% of the total money generated from her music. I understand that labels do a lot of work, but what exactly entitles them to over 80% of the profit? Some labels don’t even promote your music for you – you might have to do all the work anyway!

If you like to be in control of your destiny, then you’ll like being an independent. There are many non-household name artists that earn huge figures in their music career. And simple maths shows, that might be a better deal than you could get with a label.

For instance, what’s 18% of GHC50,000? It’s GHC9000. So, you could be earning huge figures as a signed artist and not even see huge figures for your effort. And that’s if a label considers you profitable enough to keep you.
I’m not saying it’s easy to make it happen as an independent artist. All I’m saying is that you keep what you earn, and for some, that’s a better deal.

2. Sell Your Music Using As Many Channels As Possible

With many listeners moving over to streaming, selling your music isn’t anywhere near as profitable as it once was. But if you’re an independent, nothing is stopping you from innovating.

For instance, Gumroad has an affiliate function built right into it. You could encourage other people to help you sell your music by giving away a small commission.
Furthermore, by packaging up your music with bonuses, you could sell it at a higher price for diehard fans. You could include things like artwork and photos that weren’t used in the album artwork, extra songs, acoustic versions of the same songs, music videos, interviews with the producer or engineer, a making-of feature, guitar tabs, and so on.

Now, whether to immediately release your music to streaming sites or to only release it after you have moved a certain number of CD units is a hotly debated topic. Some artists boycott streaming altogether. I can’t tell you what to do. But one thing you can do as an independent artist is to pursue as many opportunities as you want. Unless you have an exclusive agreement with a distributor or online store, you can use as many channels as you want to sell your music, including brick-and-mortar businesses. And many platforms, like Bandcamp, let you set your own price too.

If you are signed to a label, this is all handled on their end to ensure maximum profit for their own purposes. The artist is usually the last to be paid.

3. Decide On Your Creative Vision

The homogenization of popular music continues. Have a listen to today’s top 40. Are there more than three or four songs there, or is it just the same songs with different artist names attached to them?

You can be the judge of that, but I will say this. Labels need their artists to be profitable. Plus, no one wants to take a pay cut. If you made a certain amount of money for them last year, they will want to see the same figures or better this year.
So, can you expect to retain artistic integrity when the labels are more interested in keeping revenue numbers high than in the quality of music that’s going out the doors? Overwhelmingly, no.

4. Choose How To Brand & Market Yourself

As an independent artist, the person that needs to know the most about what you do is you. Then, maybe your team members – your manager, promoter, publicist, and so on.
If you understand your music and who your fans are, no one can brand and promote you as well as you can. You can create a more loyal fan base quicker if you know what you’re doing.

5. Perform & Tour When You Want

Sure, major tours can get cancelled. And some signed musicians do have say over when they tour and when they don’t.
But many of them are driven like slaves to pay back their advances, generate revenue for the label, or play as many shows as possible to meet marketing and sales targets. It’s grueling.

This isn’t to say that you won’t put a lot of work into booking shows and touring as an independent artist. In some ways, you might end up working harder.
But at least you can do it on your own schedule, one that makes sense for you, your health, your energy levels, your audience, your budget, and so on.

And, if you’re particularly ambitious, maybe you’ll choose to challenge the status quo and tour more than any professional act does. A label might let you do that too, but maybe not. They would likely give you some speech about market saturation.

You have just read a little of this article. Talk to us for better coaching. ( [email protected])


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