1) How has independent music distribution become easier, and why does this benefit listeners/consumers?
Independent music distribution has become much easier as artist-created platforms have risen up to fulfill the traditional services provided by record labels. For example, I do all my direct distribution through a platform called Loudr. Rather than being a music store, Loudr allows my fans to pay what they want to support my music and in return get lossless-quality audio — meaning the exact sound I have in my studio while I finish my mastered version, and not the crappy .mp3 version given by most sites.
One of the other effects of direct artist-to-fan platforms is the lower overhead. It’s pretty well known that iTunes takes a big chunk of each sale. I can actually offer my music for less on Loudr ($1 vs $1.29 on iTunes) and STILL end up making more money from each sale. It integrates beautifully with YouTube videos, and I can bundle different albums and singles together right on an album page, which helps my fans find my music and encourages them to get multiple albums at once. It’s also cool that my fans know that they’re supporting me and my music directly — I’ve been shocked by how generous they are, and it literally keeps me going!
2) Why did you go independent versus trying to get on a label?
There is absolutely no reason ANY artist NEEDS a label anymore. I believe strongly that YouTube’s success as a media site is leveling the entire playing field. Any artist with the drive, talent and the know-how to create their own content can make a living doing what they love, which means more music, more art, more inspiration, and more people on this Earth doing what they were meant to do: create and inspire!
Here is my workflow, and it is something I would recommend EVERY artist replicate: Create content that is genuine to who you are as an artist, basically what you LOVE to do, what you are best at. Then utilize your social circle or social media influence and fund the creation of your content with a crowdfunding platform. For example, Patreon is an INCREDIBLE platform made by an artist for artists (created by Jack Conte of Pomplamoose). Currently I’ve made two pushes and already have over 380 supporters that help give me a consistent, guaranteed base amount for every video I publish.
Next, use Loudr as your main distribution platform. They will license all of your songs for you if you are doing covers, make sure you are 100 percent legal, and send you a check every month, saving you time from having to report sales and doing the licensing of your songs, which allows you to get back into the studio and create more good content!