[from The Comet]
It’s true that independent musicians have access to a greater range of professional quality resources than ever before. It’s no secret that you don’t need a label deal to distribute music digitally, promote it online, or even sell custom merch. That said, the artists that make it big are by and large still backed by the major label system (with the exception of DIY success stories like Metric).
We have not arrived at a totally egalitarian utopia of talent discovery and promotion. But if Metric can make it, then we’re certainly on track to a more open system in which more musicians have access to more opportunity.
The playing field is leveling even faster when it comes to the ways major artists interact with fans, and in particular, with independent, undiscovered musicians. In music business days of yore, superstars sat up high on the pedestal of stardom. You could see them at a concerts or touch them as they ran by on the red carpet, but you were not their equal.
Online collaboration and production technology like that pioneered by my company, Indaba Music, is changing all that. It isn’t even special anymore – in fact – it’s normal, for a major-label superstar artist to be collaborating and composing with total unknowns on new material for commercial release. More and more, big-dollar hit-makers are stepping down from the pedestal to join the global community of musicians as peers.
Sound like fantasy? Watch this video. Josh Robertson at Indaba pulled together just a few of the opportunities our members have had to create, perform, and even distribute music with big-name label artists. It was only when we looked at it all together in one place that we realized the magnitude of what had happened.
Bands like Weezer are finding unknown producers to work with online. T-Pain is performing a remix sourced from a totally unknown artist every night on his U.S. tour. Yo-Yo Ma joined undiscovered musicians in the studio and then released their material on his record.
Now, anyone, anywhere has a chance not just to meet a superstar, but to actually shape their sound and their music. Creatively at least, we’re driving towards a level playing field for artists of all genres, geographies, and popularities. An unknown indie could be graduating from college and playing guitar in his basement one day, and jamming on stage with guitar legend Derek Trucks the next (watch the video – I’m serious).