For most of us, living the life of an artist remains a dream, but for 99% of independent artists, that life is also a harsh reality.
Living from your passion is not something that everybody can do, yet that’s what we (independent) artists try to achieve. Even if it’s a bit like swimming against the tide: a lot of effort for not much result.
How many times have I said to myself: Why not make “commercial” music?
And then, I quickly realized that inspiration can’t be controlled. Neither can you create music that you just can’t “feel”!
And yet, at the end of the month, you have to pay the bills…
The dilemma is that we think about developing our reputation as artists while at the same time generating income from our art, but we have to admit that financially, it often costs us more than it generates.
That’s how the market works: Many are called, few are chosen.
And yet, we still have to survive. So you have to be flexible and seize opportunities wherever they arise.
I was talking about the market… Here’s one that’s completely unknown to the general public: Ghost Producing.
You may be familiar with its equivalent in literature: The Ghostwriter.
Simply put, it’s someone who writes a book on behalf of an individual who will put his or her name on the book. Unseen and unknown.
Well, it’s the same in music. Except that these days, this activity is taking on considerable proportions with dozens of platforms offering ready-to-use tracks for anyone who will be willing to pay a few hundred Euros in exchange for an intellectual property assignment contract and, of course, for the chosen track and everything else needed to market it.
If the ethics of this concept may seem rather borderline, at least it is helping many independent composers and musicians to make a living, and eventually they earn much more with “ghost producing” than through their own albums or EPs, the benefits of which largely go to the distribution / production network. This leaves the artist with a small share of the profits.
The streaming revenues are certainly high but once again the artists only get the crumbs. Unless of course their name is Beyonce or Katy Perry.
In short, to address the title of my article: is the music industry facing a crisis?
It depends on which industry we’re talking about.
The one of the majors and established pop music artists seems to be doing very well. On the other hand, that of independent artists is, as always, on very thin ice…
When will we get a fairer distribution of music revenues?
Maybe when our model of society itself will evolve!