Recently, indie artists and independent labels have dominated the music world and proven that the little guys can acquire big fame, too. But despite all of this, many still wonder if independent music can continue to grow, or if a lot of these instances were simply “the right song at the right time”. And if it’s the latter, do we know if independent bands such as Arcade Fire will continue to gain recognition, or turn themselves into one hit wonders manipulated by mainstream media?
Independent artists and labels already have one thing going for them: they’re allowed to focus on sheer talent. Perhaps major labels are so used to racking in money and using a lot of that money to fuel expensive tours and production costs, they’ve grown too big to allow error. They can’t take the time to focus on an artist who might be good but won’t make any money — or else they’re out billions.
Can you imagine being out of billions of dollars because you decided to sign nothing but really talented artists for, let’s say for sake of argument, a year? That’s the world of big media. If it isn’t making them money, they simply don’t have time for it. And so continues the well oiled machine.
This could be why independent artists are having such a great decade. These acts are able to reach markets and achieve greatness that before did not come easily without the backing of a major label: from Macklemore, who set unprecedented records for an independent artist on the Billboard charts, to Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammys and Mumford & Sons claiming the award this year. (Majority of the Grammy Album of the Year winners and Nominees are definitely on major labels.) And they’re doing it because the public really loves good music.
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Most people like to argue that pop music ruined the creative, talented music market. I don’t believe one genre came in and wrecked it for everyone. I believe in cycles. In the 70s, disco haters might have come to the same conclusion, spurning the fad and citing it for ruining the time of 60s singer and songwriters.
The same could be said of heavy metal and nu-metal, both of which dominated mainstream charts in the 90s following the era of the 80s R&B revival and the “golden age of hip hop”.
My point is, popular music and fads will always be there. But so will the fearless, talented, and modern music makers who are passionate about the craft of creating a song. We’re lucky to have a market that has finally opened up to the “little guys”, so we can see independent labels create sell-out shows, unsigned hip hop artists make thousands on their own mix tapes, and yes, indie rock bands beat out millionaires to win a Grammy, effectively making them not so little anymore.
So far, Arcade Fire is stirring up very deep conversations about their release today, “Reflektor”
What do you think about this? Do you think independent music will continue to have its glory in the bigger music market? Or will the mainstream media take over again someday and shut them out?