So this whole indie music movement is a rebellion against elitists within the circles of major record labels, right? It’s a revolt for the democratization of music, isn’t it? It’s standing up for the little guy who couldn’t get a fair shake from the gatekeepers that allowed a select few in the pearly gates and snubbed the rest.
Honestly, I can’t tell you why, but the same sort of elitist attitudes have developed in the indie music movement. It’s about as hypocritical an attitude as I’ve ever seen…but it isn’t limited to the gatekeepers…artists themselves are closing the door on fans and music biz insiders alike, and it ain’t a pretty picture.
In the nearly three decades I’ve actively worked in music, this is the first time artists have had the opportunity to directly connect with as many people as possible to grow a sustainable career. And within those three decades I’ve never seen such a slim profit margin within the entire music culture. Media, venues, reps, agents, publicists, managers and the artists themselves are working much harder for far less money. And yet, elitism prevails.
Social media is a doors wide open culture to make as many contacts as possible. Yet there are many who sit among their clique and cluck among themselves about how amazing their efforts are. The outer limits of the clique reach a finite number of people who already know about various projects anyway, so how does that build an interactive tribe? Is anyone among the clique going to buy new products or pay to see a performance? Likely they are among those who receive the advance promo copies and comp tickets. So how is that group influencing anyone outside the clique?
Countless times I see touring artists who really need to be in touch with an audience far and wide, but frequently they are in direct contact with less than 100 people. The math just doesn’t add up. Do they feel better when 413 people are fans, but they only directly connect with 71 people?
This is elistism folks. It isn’t helping the indie movement whatsoever. Open your gates and let people in. We aren’t involved in anti-social media. It’s an interactive, reciprocal arrangement brilliantly designed to help sustain a movement unlike any other, at any time in history.
There are over 300 million people in this country. Making your name and your music scarce is not a strategy that works in the most overly-saturated market music has ever known. Keeping the doors shut and the gates locked will ensure only your handful of true fans will ever know what you are up to.
Not everyone is participating in this elitism, and they are the lucky few who will prosper. They understand what an amazing opportunity exists and are taking advantage of the niche markets that will sustain growing entrepreneurial efforts.