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The Rise of the Independent Artist

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A few short years ago, it took a major record deal for a rising artist to truly hit the status of fame and success they were striving for. Now, thanks to the Millennial generation and the rise of the Internet age, independent artists are finding as much success and popularity as those attached to major labels, completely changing the the face of the music industry. Mac Miller, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and Joey Bada$$ are just three of the artists redefining the way the music industry is run. Each is independently produced, and especially in the case of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, have shot to the top. But why are indie artists these days finding so much success?

The independent artist’s biggest asset is social media and the Internet. With streaming music readily available and the popularity of torrenting, most people know how to get music instantly and usually for free. Before the rise of the Internet and social media, artists didn’t have much of an option. They had to earn a major record deal and play by the rules of the label. Social media has opened an entire new door for creative freedom that artists of the past did not have. By taking their music into their own hands, they’re allowed to make the music they want, not the music that labels are demanding. And with no middle man, the artist is able to keep most of their profits making it a financially advantageous for rising artists.

But the life of the independent artist isn’t yet struggle free. Without a working knowledge of social media and how to reach out to consumers, a rise to the top is almost impossible. Either way, it’s undeniable that music is changing. We’re being spoon-fed less pop-generated tunes and are hearing the passion and work of artists. As a consumer, it’s never been a better time for the music industry.

Mackenzie is an Alabama native attending NYU and studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. She hopes to one day live in London and write for the BBC.