Guess what? Most indie artists aren’t driving sports cars, drinking top shelf liquor and partying with supermodels every night. Many are working full-time jobs, taking care of their families and spending any extra time they have creating, promoting and performing their music. It’s a labor of love.
Despite what people are saying, there is a lot of great independent music coming out these days and there are a lot of people who are truly enjoying it. Ever since the music industry was turned upside down by the dawn of the digital era, it’s been a mad scramble to sort things out. Fortunately, the internet can be used for more than just stealing music. So how can you help your favorite independent artists succeed in 2011?
This one’s pretty obvious. When an album is done right, it requires a considerable amount of resources: instruments, recording equipment, studio time, inspiration, mixing, mastering, artwork, packaging, promotion, distribution, etc. Purchasing an album helps to ensure that the artist will be able to release another one in the future. The money isn’t going up the artists’ nose, but rather into their gas tank, baby’s mouth, or landlord’s hand. You can feel good about that.
This one is often overlooked. Most websites and blogs are able to operate due to the ad space they sell. This means that the more visitors they have, they better they do. In turn, the more visitors an artist brings the site, the more likely they are to feature the artist again. When you leave a comment you show the website that the artist has a following and is worth posting again.
Comments also show other readers that the artist has support and they may be more likely to check out the music because of it. This is especially true on sites like Itunes and Amazon.com (user reviews are a huge help). It also applies to Youtube.
Create a Wikipedia page
When I look on Wikipedia I’m always amazed at who isn’t in there. Some of my favorite musicians, emcees and producers are nowhere to be found! I’m not talking about the guy down the street either, but real professionals who have released multiple albums and accomplished great things throughout their career. You don’t have to be commercially successful to be considered noteworthy.
That being said, if you have the time and see that your favorite artists are missing from Wikipedia and deserve a spot, go ahead and create a page! Just make sure you follow the guidelines and use proper sources to ensure the entry is approved.
Spread The Word
If you had some bangin’ food at the new Indian restaurant last week you would probably tell someone about it, right? Even if you didn’t go out of your way, it might come up in a conversation. Next time your friends are thinking about where to eat, they might consider the Indian joint. See what I mean?
Make a Video
Lots of people listen to music on Youtube. How lame are those videos with no graphics though? Get in touch with your creative side and do a video mash-up or bust out the video camera and shoot some dope footage in your hometown. Set it to your favorite song and BAM – everybody wins. Also, while you’re on Youtube, you might as well leave some comments!
Go to a Show
If an artist you like is coming through your city, make an effort to attend the show! Not only will it be a well-deserved chance for you to get out and have fun, but a lot of groups make the majority of their musical income from touring. Local artists need support too.
Almost everyone is on either Facebook or Twitter at this point in time. While your friends are posting about doing their laundry and paying child support, why not post up a link to a dope song? In the age of “Likes” and Retweets one post can go a LONG way. Also, be sure to “Like” Facebook pages of artists you want to support and follow them on Twitter.
In closing, I’ll admit that these concepts aren’t anything new. Even before we had technology, we were buying music, telling our friends about it and going to shows. The difference is that we now have the means to help more than ever.
Gone are the gatekeepers that once determined what we could choose from and who would succeed. Now we are in control.
Also, these things apply to more than just musicians. Visual artists, writers, start-up businesses and magazines all need support too! Do for others and it will come back to you.
Words by: IV The Polymath