March 20, 2018

"I realized no one was going to care about my music and my world as much as I did, and this freedom from others' expectations opened up my perspective of what was possible..."

"... as an initially self-funding independent artist. I began building up areas of my career, block by block.... I collected myself, asked for minimalistic budgets and hustled to create something out of nothing. I spent the next three months working 50-70 hours a week as a server in Times Square. I didn’t see sunlight for over two weeks at one point. I saved all of the money needed to fund my next EP and subsequent tour. Two months later, I quit my job as a server, and I have been running a fully sustainable independent artist project for the last four years. You may or may not know who I am. You may or may not have at some point listened to my music, actively or passively. I own all of my masters and publishing and have maintained full creative control of my project and remain the sole, final decision maker. I have accumulated over 150 million streams, sell out 250- to 650-capacity venues across the United States, have toured Europe, and write and executive produce all of my releases.... I am not guaranteed or owed an income from pursuing a passion project. It is the job of myself and my manager to have a vision for VÉRITÉ and create a value with those who want to enter the world I create. This new music industry has opened a door for everyone to have the opportunity to make and share their vision with the world, and I am anxiously excited to navigate this new landscape."

Writes Vérité in "Spotify Isn't Killing The Music Industry; It's A Tool For Enterprising Indie Artists" (Forbes).

18 comments:

Fernandinande said...

"I spent the next three months working 50-70 hours a week as a server in Times Square."

I read somewhere they're using computers as "servers".

Tank said...

Good attitude. Very American.

Rusty said...

Cool. Keeping control of his own labor. I wish him/her the best.

Wince said...

The demise of the hit-making machinery of big record labels and big radio that used to channel musical tastes probably means fewer really big stars in the future.

Consequently, once the big legacy acts of the last few generations die-off, more artists are likely to eek-out a decent living playing to a much more differentiated and smaller audience.

Creatively, I suppose that's a good thing.

320Busdriver said...

The search function of Spotify is the feature I use the most.

320Busdriver said...

Blogger EDH said..

"Consequently, once the big legacy acts of the last few generations die-off, more artists are likely to eek-out a decent living playing to a much more differentiated and smaller audience."

I wanted to buy tickets to see Rodger Hodgeson of Supertramp at the Casino in Milwaukee last fall and couldn't get them because all three shows were sold out.

SDaly said...

The advent of a truly national (then international) market for entertainment created the era of the stars and mega-acts. The wealth flowed to the few, because they benefited from the corporate control of limited distribution chains. Prior to that, the pie was cut into smaller pieces shared more broadly by local musicians, local actors, etc.

This seems to be reversing in a different form now, at least for music. Because the distribution chain is no longer limited, smaller artists can earn a living, not only from the local market as in the past, but from the international market.

Farmer said...

I began building up areas of my career, block by block.... I collected myself, asked for minimalistic budgets and hustled to create something out of nothing. I spent the next three months working 50-70 hours a week as a server in Times Square. I didn’t see sunlight for over two weeks at one point. I saved all of the money needed to fund my next EP and subsequent tour. Two months later, I quit my job as a server, and I have been running a fully sustainable independent artist project for the last four years.

Every single independent musician since around 1978 has taken more or less the same path. The only difference is, an entire source of income (recorded music) has all but disappeared, making it an even tougher slog. This woman has nothing to compare her experience to, so of course it seems great to her.

And of course she's not guaranteed or owed an income for pursuing her passion. But that implies that any musician has ever argued that. We haven't; we've argued that we ought to be able to set our own prices for our own music, that absurdly low royalty rates set by government boards are unfair, and that the attempts of Google, Amazon and the rest of the streaming services to put virtually everything they do under the umbrella of compulsory licensing is ludicrous.

I've never met a working musician who thinks the world owes them a living. We just want the right to set our own prices instead of having to settle for what the government thinks our music ought to cost.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

That's a good article. I find it amazing that one needs 150 million Spotify plays to start drawing decent royalties. This young women has spunk and drive and the article should be an inspiration to a generation of indy artists who want to steer their own careers.

Earnest Prole said...

I own all of my masters and publishing

Thank John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival for teaching the importance of that.

Mark said...

I notice she talks about how great she is doing, but no numbers are mentioned about annual income. She is 28 and her past job was as waitress ... we are to trust she can judge what grown up wages/benefits are?

Good for her. I hope she is putting a lot away for her future as the music biz changes once you look middle aged, esp if YouTube is important for your career.

Wince said...

320Busdriver said...
Blogger EDH said..

"Consequently, once the big legacy acts of the last few generations die-off, more artists are likely to eek-out a decent living playing to a much more differentiated and smaller audience."

I wanted to buy tickets to see Rodger Hodgeson of Supertramp at the Casino in Milwaukee last fall and couldn't get them because all three shows were sold out.


That's my point. Roger Hodgeson is getting old.

Plus casinos subsidize baby-boomer act ticket prices to bring more baby-boomer gamblers in.

mccullough said...

Good musicians need to be good entrepreneurs.

You don’t need the Harvey Weinsteins of the music industry. Those fat, greedy, selfish, fucks are getting what’s coming.

And you don’t need Jay-Z either.

Just get a decent lawyer and copyright your music.

Expat(ish) said...

Scott Adams capability stack anyone?

Also, anyone else remember buying tapes (and much later CD's) at music bars to get good indie music?

-XC

Darrell said...

I own all my shit and nobody pays me a penny for it.

Darrell said...

Spotify won't let you listen to anything unless you sign up. I love it when people post a Spotify player on Facebook.

Fuck 'em. They just want to track you and sell your data.

William said...

Stephen Foster sold the rights to Oh, Susannah for ten dollars. Back then ten dollars paid for a three day drunk and a hotel, but, still, it was slim pickings. Everybody in his time knew that Mozart was a genius, but there was scant opportunity for him to cash in on it. He made a living, but it was far from lucrative. Haydn's status and wealth were closer to a high ranked liveried servant than to a celebrated composer........Maybe someday people will look back at the twentieth century as the peak moment for composers and musicians. I read that Paul McCartney is a billionaire. The first and last of his kind.

Unknown said...

I made almost $2 from Spotify streams last year. My future is secure.