Signed vs Independent

Words of Advice

Some artists are very business savvy, they understand how the industry works, they can run both the creative aspects of themselves, the writing, the performing, and also run the business side of music, which is admin heavy. The music industry is a very admin-heavy industry. There is no recommendation that you do one or the other. It very much depends on who you are, what your motivations are, how much money you have, whether you are interested in the business side of the industry or not.

We find that companies reach a certain point where one or the other side runs out of control. It becomes unmanageable. That's the point where an artist needs to decide whether he just wants to be an artist and let someone else take care of the business.

– Alison Wenham, Chief Executive, Association of Independent Music


By not ever signing to a label, saying 'I’m signed' (which is an ambition of many musical people), is to gain creative control over who you are. To be signed is to be looked after by someone, to be stable. They do the graphics and the persona for you, they manage you, and they tell you where you should be going and often, they say 'no' to your favourite tracks. Every time I decide to release something on a new label so I always try to find a new pockets of people to release with. For instance, there’s a little outfit in Italy and I’ll spread it around to their circle of people and their global friends. So I do it with new people every time. because it spreads the word the best, and it makes new relationships with people. By doing that, there’s normally no fee involved. Normally I do the design, it’s me, it’s my persona, so I am in full creative control and I have to retain full copyright of all my work.

– Janek Schaefer, Artist


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