Independence Day

First Seen On WeAreWax. Blog

By Thomas Hester II (@thomasahester2)

“If One More Label Try To Stop Me, It’s Gon’ Be Some Dreadhead Niggas In Ya Lobby”

— Chance The Rapper, No Problem

With the release of “Coloring Book”, Chance The Rapper has delivered yet again another free project. The debate of ‘mixtape vs album’ aside this content is filled with gospel, juke & live instrumentation. After the release of “Acid Rap”, many expected him to sign to a major label but instead he formed his own collection called, Social Experiment, which released “Surf” for free with fans downloading it 600k+ on iTunes. The method is different but the independent scene is becoming more respected by the day. Many artists come from the background of pushing music in their cities and local shows. In the 90s, Master P started his record shop, No Limit Records, and after putting up $200k for marketing & promotion, he did a historic deal with Priority Records of the 80/20 distribution deal (80% to the artist & only 20% to the label). Master P went Gold and Platinum with “Ice Cream Man”, “Ghetto D” and “MP Da Last Don”.

“A lot of power’s been shifted back to the consumer and the artist with the Internet.”

— Childish Gambino

Getting signed to a major deal has always been the standard goal for tons of artists. But, with the continuing rise of the 360 deal, artists have equipped themselves with the tools needed to release there music independently through streaming outlets such as Soundcloud, Reverbnation, and Bandcamp. Independent artists are now earning the bulk of their money from touring.

They are building online, cult-like, fan bases and artist like Rich Homie Quan, are going Platinum without a major label. However, there are many artists who have benefited from major after feeling they’ve reach their peak independently.

Lecrae signed a distribution deal with Columbia Records after two Grammys and clinching #1 in the Billboard charts with “Anomaly” and “Church Clothes 3”.

The explosion of streaming in the music industry has helped artists outside of rap take advantage of the market. Artists such as Taylor Swift and Adele who gone multi-platinum as well as major success at the Oscars and Grammys. XL Recordings and Big Machine, both independent labels, have made hundreds of millions from their releases and catalogs.

The continuing rise of streaming has proven that independency can work for any artists. As it becomes more and more attractive, we will start to see a slow but major decline in the dependence on major labels.

“Our job as young blacks in this country is to show our worth. I try to make sure Chance is independent and that he knows his worth. Don’t wear things that will make other people money unless they give you a percentage. Understand you are worth it.”

— Childish Gambino

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