In the modern-day music industry, it is very easy for musicians to release their own songs (music) without looking up to any record label.

Thus, independent artists in Nigeria should start thinking of breaking into the mainstream without the support of a record label.

Digital music distribution, streaming platforms, social media, online marketing tools, and technology advancements are fast changing the way musicians today can release music and reach a wider audience.

Therefore, when starting out your music career, you have to ask yourself if you should release music as an independent artist or sign a deal with a record label. This guide lists the advantages and disadvantages of releasing music as an independent artist.

Advantages of releasing a song as an independent artist.

The advantages of releasing your song as an independent artist are;

  1. Have 100% control of your music
  2. Keep 100% of your profits
  3. Owning your music rights. 
  4. Using online music services.

1. Have 100% control of your music

Independent artists have 100% control over their master recordings, digital distribution, marketing, messaging, tours, shows, and lots more.

Moreover, the independent artist has the free will to make decisions about their creative vision. They can willingly make any music of their choice.

Whereas, signed artists can only sing about what their record labels desire.

2. Keep 100% of your profits

As an Independent artist, you are free to keep 100% of the profits generated from your music sales, streams,  merchandise, licensing deals, and other revenue sources.

3. Owning your music rights. 

Independent artists own the master rights to their music. Thus they have the freedom to negotiate their music licensing and publishing deals. Moreover, they don’t have to worry about confusing contracts, hiring expensive lawyers, and signing over their music rights to someone else.

4. Using online music services.

The digital era provides a variety of music services and tools for independent artists. In the modern world, musicians have access to music distribution, marketing, streaming, merchandise creation, and other services.

The internet also makes it easy for musicians to reach new audiences. They can now deliver their music to digital music stores, music platforms, and streaming services, even without signing a record deal.

Disadvantages of releasing a song as an independent artist.

The disadvantages of releasing music as an independent artist are:

  1. Lack of resources and budget. 
  2. No networking
  3. Limited music business experience.
  4. Time and commitment.

1. Lack of resources and budget. 

Funding your music recording, distribution, marketing, merchandise, touring, and other expenses are usually very expensive.

Many independent artists in Nigeria lack the resources and money, and for that reason, only a record label can advance such expenses.

2. No networking.

Independent artists starting their music career in Nigeria will always lack a network of fans and industry contacts.

Whereas record labels already have a larger fanbase as well as connections with music industry professionals such as promoters, booking agents, media, etc.

3. Limited music business experience

Learning the basics of the music business is so challenging because it requires so much time and experience.

There are lots of parts to manage, trends that are continuously changing, music laws, and much more.

Thus, you need to go through expensive lessons in order to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

4. Time & commitment. 

Aiming to become an independent artist is really time-consuming.

Releasing your music alone can seem like a full-time job. It requires a lot of time to set up distribution, create all the release assets, develop a marketing strategy, track sales, book shows, and everything else associated with releasing music. All this extra work also takes away valuable studio time.

So, therefore, before you conclude becoming an independent artist and releasing your songs alone, make sure you take all these advantages and disadvantages into consideration.

Last modified: December 4, 2022

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