Operating Without Being Signed: Internet the New Musician’s Playground

As an up and coming musician one of the constant struggles is to spread your art and to reach a mass appeal. In previous generations one of the sure fire ways to get your voice out there and heard was to “Get Discovered”. The major appeal behind getting discovered was the artist had the labels resources to use in return they had to turn a profit for the label to generate money. In recent years the landscape of the music industry has been changing and developing to work with the DIY artist more and more creating many resources similar to what the labels have all within the palm of their hands or nestled comfortably on their laps.

Let’s start with the first thing that should come to the mind of any business savvy artist sales. The record company has a whole division of their company devoted to getting the recorded on the shelves of stores but with the physical copies of albums becoming a lost art thing unless pressed to vinyl and digital music reining supreme any artist with a few free afternoons and an internet connection can take the wave files of their songs and put them on the internet there are numerous sites to sell music ranging from Bandcamp to the iTunes store. You say you want to still sell CDs don’t worry theirs a website for that called CDbaby that offers packages for selling CDs online. As far a vinyls go any town with a good record store that sells second hand records will sell albums from a local artist for me this shop is called Amoeba in the heart of Hollywood and they sell records on commission.

Record companies have publicity/promotions departments that are responsible for making sure the artist is placed in the public eye. Lately their has been a trend from the internet generation where they trust their peer and professionals they can place a face to rather than some random faceless media company that being said many DIY artist have a list of blogs they submit their material to, to get their voices heard, this combine with social media can really help you find your core fan base which is what you really want to find because they are the ones who will be supporting you in the long run.

The only section that isn’t really so much DIY is legal affairs. This is the area where your going to want to spend some time and do some research talk to peers to find yourself a good trustful lawyer who has experience and has the same goals in mind as you. Although it is a bit of a financial investment in the long run it will benefit you rather than looking up the information on Google.

As far as funding there are many avenues a creative artist can explore to get funding from crowd funding websites like kickstarter to websites with the specific goal to have your top fans fund you throughout your whole career like patreon. These resources can provide funding for the specific things labels would normally fund like tours or aspects of recording.


Although it helps to have label backing for certain task it isn’t necessary for an artist to thrive without the help of a label. A handful of large artist are moving away from labels which a times can dictate the flow of their art and representing themselves completely an example of this is the artist Macklemore who claims that not working with a label helped him to find his voice.

-Andrew Beeh

Interview with Alex Pinto

Recently with festivals has been a growing trend in the music industry and been popping up everywhere. I interviewed Alex Pinto who was co-founder of a up and coming jazz festival in the San Francisco area about DIY festivals.


What was the reason you wanted to start SF Offside Jazz?

SF Offside was started to fill the perceived programming gap in the regional jazz festival circuit that failed to provide enough quality opportunities for Bay Area jazz and creative musicians to present their own work. The major Bay Area festivals typically limit local performers to education showcases, tribute shows or matinees and most of the headlining acts would from anywhere but the Bay Area. We felt that by creating a platform, a brand, a mechanism to support the local scene, we would draw local, national and international attention to the incredible talent right in our own community.

How did you go about choosing the bands for the lineup?

We wanted to accomplish specific goals when programming the festival:

1) Hire exclusively local talent: The mission of the festival was to serve the local jazz and creative music scene. We were inspired by the food and art movement, which really celebrate the idea of buying local and supporting local enterprises and people, so our feeling were to bring that same attitude to music. We also looked to the Montreal Off Festival, Table and Chairs in Seattle and Winterfest in NYC as models.

2) Hire a diverse range of talent: We made an effort to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Bay Area in our lineup plus actively sought out female band leaders and instrumentalists. This again was in response to how major festivals typically are programmed. We didn’t want our festival to be a bunch of white guys playing music for other white guys!

3) Hire younger talent: Jazz as a genre is horrible at promoting young acts. We really wanted to give the young innovators in our scene a space to showcase their skills. Every other genre of music is actively seeking out the next new act and pairs established acts with up and coming ones. Jazz festivals typically program the same lineups, featuring the same people they’ve been featuring for the past 20 years.

4) Program only performers presenting original music: There are so many wonderful composers and improvisers in the Bay Area and we wanted to hear what they were creating. Plenty of jazz outlets are committed to maintaining the traditional canon. We wanted to offer a different experience for our attendees.

How did you go about finding the venue/venues?

Finding venues was at times simple, at times difficult. We had to balance our budget, attendance expectations with what would feel good and make for a positive experience for the bands and listeners. We could’t book a 800 person room – we weren’t big enough yet – but we couldn’t just play at the pass the hat cafe either. We worked with venues that we already were familiar with and thought had a edge or cool factor. We did make some mistakes, but generally worked with venues that loved our idea, supported our concept and were affordable. We wanted to step away from the typical institution or concert hall vibe of many larger jazz festivals and bring the music to where younger audiences and audiences who typically don’t interact with jazz and creative music had an opportunity to check out our festival.

 Offside Jazz focuses on only locally grown talent, why limit the jazz festival in such a manner?

I think I got to why we programmed only local talent above.

You yourself were one of the local artist that played at offside jazz were their any difficulties associated with playing the festival that you created?

I didn’t encounter any problems programming my own acts or integrating myself into the festival. I never made myself a nightly headliner, but I did see it as an opportunity to collaborate with musicians I hadn’t really played with before and to step forward and present my work to a larger audience. I think it also demonstrated to the musicians and local stakeholders (press, venues) that I was serious about the festival and believed in it, to the point that I would even play at it. It also provided me with additional touch points with the press, it rounded out our festival narrative. My festival co-founder was an active promoter, music blogger in the scene so I think our involvement added a level of credibility to the festival.

What were some of the biggest difficulties that you came across starting your own festival?

The festival turned from an idea into an actual event in phases. First we had to agree on a name. Second we had to create all the online elements (website, logo, Facebook page, Twitter, etc). From there we needed to draft press releases, send those out to our contacts in the press. All the while we were locking in venues and securing bands. And not every band or artist wanted to perform. We operated on a shoe string budget. We couldn’t really guarantee bands that much money because we really had no idea if we would make any! So it was mostly a lot of members of the music and creative community coming together and trusting my festival partner and me and supporting us by working for a reduced rate or offering a space free of charge or including our festival in the major write ups on the local music scene.

Our second year we did get fiscal sponsorship, which allowed us to apply for grants and accept private donations, but that added just more paperwork and legal obstacles. The festival became a legitimate business, I opened a bank account for the festival, managed all our finances, presented our books to our fiscal sponsor, collected W-9s from all our artists and filed taxes for the festival. It became too much.

I regret that we only managed to launch 2 seasons. We had a lot of momentum. We had extensive press coverage, huge support for the local musicians and creative community, but I ended up moving to India and now I’m in Seattle. Perhaps we can do one last festival to wrap it up, but I think if we could’ve done it for 5 years, 10 years, it would have become a significant event in the Bay Area music community.

-Andrew Beeh

A Buck a Like

In this era where social media is one of the top form of first appearance, no matter what walk of life you from, it only make sense that for companies, bands, artist ect. social networks have become a numbers game based on likes and comments more than about having meaningful relation with the fans. With numbers game becoming a race to see who can get the most followers it makes sense that their has become a new trend within the music business of buying followers, comment likes on all forms of social media platforms.

In the past years as social networks have taken a huge stake in our lives there are companies that have come to the market that’s business model is solely based on creating different accounts and using them to sell their likes are follows for a small fee. It’s easy to buy followers online and fairly cheap and easy to find, you can find sites that sell likes by Googling and it will be the top few results. This practice is not illegal or frowned upon and is used by bigger companies label and other area establishing a new artist or product to make them appear like they have more followers than they actually do.


Is buying Followers really worth it?

Buying followers for your site looks good in person but in reality it could be more harmful to your social media presence than helpful.

Although buying followers generates a steady stream of likes on your page you are not reaching your target market or any market for that matter. Although these fans are reaching your page when the vast majority are fake and the rest are liking/following your page because they’re bandwagoning chances are they are not really invested in whatever the page was established for.

Site like Facebook use the internal analytics based on visits to your page to prioritize peoples feeds. If your page has a disproportional amount of likes on the pages to visits to the page chances are facebook is going to recognize your page as unimportant thus limiting the chance to reach your real fans who truly do want updates from you.

This practice can turn off fans that you already have, if a fan notices that you start to grow in popularity overnight and gets curious and decides to look into the profiles and notices the majority of profiles although they have unique pictures have essentially have the same profile they can look down on this. It’s also easy for the fan to notice that if your likes are in the thousands and nobody likes or commenting on your post something might be fishy.

Although in the short term purchasing likes may seem like a good way to get the ball rolling it is merely just throwing a band aid on a cut that needs stitches a temporary fix. The best way to truly get a good fanbase is to get creative and find a way to standout from the crowd.

-Andrew Beeh

Promotion in the Social Media Era

With social media becoming a more prevailing tool within most cultures of this world it’s only understandable that the way we approach activities, jobs and events from the past has changed in major leaps and bounds. As a musician one of the most exciting changes that I’ve encountered is the birth of Social Media promotion, Social Media promotion has put the power of promoting directly in the artist hands and a savvy artist can build a D.I.Y. fan base with little to no money expending mainly a creative effort. Prior to Social Media the traditional route for being recognized as an artist was to have a good team to market you as an artist this meant laying down a good amount of cash or on the off chance the artist gets noticed and signed they would get this service provided for them from the record company. dealership-social-media Social media has given the fans the power to interact directly with the fans and to humanize the artist more, for a generation of reality TV junkies this is what we crave the ability to be able to relate to an artist. The power to interact with the fans directly can be a valuable tool when promoting or a nightmare for the fans, by the way the band responds to fans allows not only the fan they are interacting to get a taste of their personality, as an artist it’s better to error on the side of caution when responding to tweets Facebook messages or any other social media platform. A band that went towards responding to social media in a poor manner is the band Nickelback who went about responding to as many of their hate based tweets with sarcastic verging on the side of rude tweets. Although they are showing their humor and personality they are alienating not only haters but also fans that they already had that were able to see their public activity and their disrespect. nb3 Instagram has opened up completely different field for artist as far, this service which is photo and short video service has given artist the power to let fans see what the artist are up to in what seems like a more personal friendly platform compared to YouTube or Flickr. Instagram has given the artist the power to show fans their life or 15 seconds of what their working on in the studio ect. Not only is promoting with social media cheaper than in the past they are instantaneous and allow the artist to reach their fans with a key stroke compared to the past where the band had to have posters in the city months before they toured and leaflets. The past would require the band to spend absorbent amounts of money without as far of a reach. There’s even general rules based around promoting your band an example being the 70-20-10 which say 70 percent of your content should build your brand, 20 percent of your content should be shared from another artist and 10 percent of your content should be self promotion. Although the means of promotion are changing they are changing to benefit all parties involved small bands are able to promote themselves on a much grander scale than in the past for less money and giant labels are able to promote their artist for less money and focus on their target markets more. In the end self-promotion helps everyone no matter what size of the artist involved. -Andrew Beeh

Streaming and Indie Bands

With the launch of Tidal Music the new streaming service from the hip hop artist/businessman Jay Z. Tidal may have started with Jay Z but many other big name artist own equity in the business such as Beyonce, Calvin Harris, Dead Mau5 to name a few. Tidal is a streaming service that is trying to be geared towards being more artist friendly, the service is established by artist to benefit artist. The service boast that it provides high quality FLAC songs, HD videos streaming and play list curated by the artist if you pay for the premium service. The service cost roughly $20.00 for the premium service that allow you all the perks. With all this being stated what can Tidal do for the smaller Indie artist.


With the new streaming services Tidal trying to make an effort to help the artist more. It made me examine how much a band is capable of making per stream in the past by having their music on other streaming outfits like Spotify. It is no secret that Spotify is anything but a money maker for small bands and stands more as a way for bands to get their music to the public to advertise for their live shows. Although Spotify gives 70 percent of the money they earn towards the rights holder that money is divided among many different groups such as publisher the label ect. after the money has been completely dispersed the average band make $0.007 to $0.009 per stream. If you are a bigger artist this doesn’t hurt as much but when your just finding your footing as a band it can be hard hitting.

Recently their have bands exploiting this model and earning money for a tour of free concerts. The band Vulfpeck whom has a considerable social media following exploited spotify payment model to fund their tour in a creative way. They Released an album called Sleepify of nothing but silence on Spotify and made a social media announcement to have their fans stream the album while they slept to help fund their tour. Each song clocked in at about 30 seconds each. For and average person sleeping for 7 hours a night they were able to bring in a profit of roughly $5.88 per person. The campaign went on for a little over a month before the album was pulled off of Spotify. By the end of the campaign the band had earned around $20,000, more than enough for their tour.


Although past streaming have not benefited the artist in a suitable way there has been a push for bands to find new and creative ways to utilize these services to earn funds. Their has also been a call at the highest level artist of today to reformat how we value music and where the funds are going with the introduction of the streaming service Tidal music.

-Andrew Beeh

Sargent House

Sargent house is one of the big labels making a splash in the independent Los Angeles music scene. With a roster of rock bands from every background all approaching the music in different ways. From the Ska Progressive rock band that started the label RX Bandits to the young up and coming math rock prodigy Mylets. Although the music is unorthodox and has a unique sound that pulls listeners from multiple walks of life what makes Sargent House a truly unique label is how it was started and how the founder of the Label (Cathy Pellow) approaches how it operates.

One of the things that makes Sargent House such a unique label is it is an all inclusive service which offers the artist they sign management as well as being their record label. Ontop of being a label and a management company they provide the artist with an asoociated PR company called US/Them group, a video production site call Terroreyes TV, and a licensing and music supervision division called 1656 Music


What’s different about Sargent house is how they started and how they approach the bands that they are signing and how they are treated. Sargent House came to fruition in 2006 when Cathy Pellow was managing the band RX Bandits and was looking to Release their album …And the Battle Begun at the time RX Bandits was not pleased with their label and looking to switch. When looking with the band to find them a new label she could not find a label that made them an offer to meet their standards. Cathy realized that the only way to see this band that she had taken such a huge stake in music wise flourish would be to act as the label herself and that way RX would have more creative control over the direction of their album. After Cathy took this endeavor she realized that the band actually made money off their record which was a change from past endeavors on other labels.

Sargent House’s Unique situation where they operate both as management and label for the band has allowed them different opportunities that other labels can not be afforded. In interviews Pellow has stated that one of the things she can do is help the band promote more for instance when one of her bands goes on tour she gives them 5 of their CD’S for free to sell per tour day, most non major artist have to purchase their CD’s to sell and some can’t afford it. By offering this deal to the artist not only does the artist get to be promoted on tour but they get to sell more CD’s in the long run which can act as a word of mouth form of advertising.

Sargent House offers its fans unique opportunities offering them services that most labels aren’t offering the fans, an example of this would be the Sargent House Farm Family studio and website, Sargent House created it’s own home studio for it’s artist to use, they record session there which allows fans to watch videos and see pictures their favorite bands recording tracks and albums. The farm benefits the artist as much as it does the fans, not only does it work as free advertising for the band for a generation of fans that like to see their favorite artist more in depth, but it provided the artist with an area where they have unlimited time to rehearse and record an album with at the fear of running out of funds.

Sargent House is anything but your typical label or management company. Sargent house is more focused on signing good honest hardworking bands that aren’t trying to follow whatever the trend is at the moment. Sargent House is one of the few smaller labels you can mention that is trying to work hand in hand with the artist to create the best product they can release.

-Andrew Beeh

Brainfeeder the New Model for Indie Electronic Label

One of the largest labels for electronic music in the Los Angeles scene is Brainfeeder founded by one of the innovative electronic producers on the scene Steven Ellis better known by his DJ name Flying Lotus, famous for his unique creative approach to his albums like Cosmogramma where he utilizs samples such as the medical equipment from the hospital room his mother passed away in, his aunt Alice Coltrane Playing harp he would try such unique ideas such as hiring live musicians like his cousin Ravi Coltrane to accompany his electronic music. It only makes sense that he would make a record label as innovative as the music that he produces.


Brainfeeder was recognized as the label of the year by Gilles Peterson Awards which is an award show hosted by BBC1’s (one of the top sources for electronic music) host Gilles Peterson(famous DJ and radio host). What makes Brainfeeder such a notable innovative label in the electronic scene where it would be able to garnish so much well deserved attention so rapidly?

Brainfeeder operates as a vanity label under the leadership of Flying Lotus and has a strong connection with the famed British electronic label Warp Records responsible for brining famed electronic producers like Aphex Twin, Squarepusher and many others to the public eye. As a label Brainfeeder does not distribute its own records in the physical form it operates through other channels in the US they operate through the multi-media company Alphapup to distribute their records and for everywhere else in the world the records are distributed through Ninja Tunes.

That what this label appears to be mainly about with the music distribution being outsourced to other companies, this label has shifted it’s focus soley on music creation and playing live which is a unique approach for a label that is heavily focused on a genre that exist primarily in the digital realm.

Brainfeeder although primarily an electronic label ventures out into other forms of music having such notable artist like the late jazz pianist Austin Peralta, electric bass virtuoso Thundercat, violinist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and sax player Kamasi Washington to name a few. What’s truly unique about how this label is run is how they blend the acoustic musicians with the electronic, a handful of the time on an electronic from the label you’ll get Thundercat playing bass or Atwood-Ferguson playing the string parts for the track. It goes back to the collective mentality of the early days of electronic music and creating mixtapes on the internet where it was more a group mentality.


Although Brainfeeder operates as a vanity label it is a bit different than most other vanity compared to other labels, which are established as a tool for the artist in this case Flying lotus to release projects where they have more control over it. Although Flying lotus does use his label to release his music he also uses it as a way to help fellow artist in similar music circles as himself release their music with more of a sense of control over the artistry than other major labels would grant them.

-Andrew Beeh

How “Indie” is your Favorite Small Label: Vanity Labels What they are and how they Work

There are numerous indie labels out there some even release major notable artist releases surprisingly a good number of smaller labels are not independent as you many people are led to believe and are either funded by a major artist or a major label or both. These labels run as a subsidiary of whoever is funding them. There are many benefits for both the artist and the label by operating this way.

When artist start their vanity labels it is a catalyst for one of two things either as a means to release their own music, an artist would choose to do this because he or she has more creative freedom with their own label while maintain the funding that the major label that they are a subsidiary of, on top of having the funding this provides the artist with a new title to add to their resume, in todays society its not all that uncommon for an artist to be managing a label, many of the top artist are doing such across multiple genre’s from the hip-hop moguls like Dr. Dre working with Universal Music Group and Interscope Records for his Aftermath Label to country western stars like Big and Rich working with Warner Brothers Nashville to create Rawbaw Record. Even one the most commercially and pioneering pop groups in history The Beatles formed their own label which we would now refer to as a vanity label known as Apple records


There are the artist who have started vanity labels not solely out of self interest but those who love music and want to give back to the community of new and up and coming artist trying to make it themselves in a business where it’s hard to get a break. An example of this would be the electronic artist Skrillex who started his label OWSLA to help artist like Porter Robinson and Zedd find their footing and move on to the next step in their career. This provided the artist not only with the support of a label, but new opportunities that they were less likely to have without a big name in their field to help open the door to these opportunities.


The artist in not the sole benefited of all of these vanity label although a small handful of these labels are truly independent most are ran by one of the big three labels which means their has to be some benefit these big labels fronting the bills gets from this. There are a few benefits the label gets a new roster of up and coming artist that they are able to pick from if they are successful and if the artist fails it is not seen as a black mark against the major labels name. By working with a vanity label these artist get to develop their sound more naturally as if they were working with one of the indie labels oppose to the major labels coming in and creating the group that way the artist genuinely finds their voice, this benefits the major label because when they get to come in and pull the successful artist from the vanity label to be on their major label after they have developed their voice which allows the major label to save money.

The major label can also often benefit from the appearance of the vanity label being seen as an indie. Often times the consumer will associate the vanity label with the person operating it and will not take into account that it is still part of a major label therefore it will keep up appearance as an indie label. In the millennial culture there is a sense of nobility in helping the underdog and supporting an independent business/label; the major labels are able to use this mentality by creating the and funding vanity labels.

Although vanity labels are not truly “Indie” labels they operate in with essentially much of the same mentality as the indie labels do. Although major labels are funding them they still work on smaller budgets and usually work with smaller rising artist. In the end it’s up to you to decide whether you would put a vanity label in the spectrum of indie or not.

-Andrew Beeh

Mixtapes the New Radio Single of the Social Media Generation

It seems that the idea od the radio single is starting to fade out of existence for the current generation of music consumers in place of the digital mixtape. Larger Artist have been releasing mixtapes for their Fans for example Drake recently released his mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s too Late” With the music hungry generation always craving more at the stroke of a key and a number of up and coming music producers artist ect. able to create full albums from the comfort or their homes. The current internet savvy generation is use to an overwhelming amount of music nearly instantaneously from multiple free digital download and streaming websites and apps such as sound cloud band camp spotify and many others.

This has led to artist making around 15 tracks the 12 best for their album and 3 to be released as a downloadable mix tape to build hype for the record that will be following it. The mix tape originally created as bootleg 8 track recording that you could purchase in the 1960’s, the mix tape contained all the radio favorites of the time. The mix tape eventually evolved into recordings on cassette tape of hip hop Dj’s club performance to the general releases of a mix of songs for free from an artist to multiple artist to get them notoriety and to get there name out there. Although no longer on tape or in an actually or in physical form the mix tape industry in thriving and becoming an even more impactful force now that most artist are putting them up for free download off of their website.

Mix tapes have allowed for independent artist to find there footing to rise in popularity and success. One of the large utilizers of the mixtape is the rap and hip hop community. One of the artist that uses this tool relentlessly is the independent Berkley California based rapper Lil B, in his 10 year career Lil B has only released 5 studio albums and nearly 50 mixtapes. His career has been centered highly around his mixtapes and has led him to perform in some of the largest venues and festivals in the United States. With the sales of recorded music dwindling the power of the mixtape in combination with the Internet has allowed the independent artist to achieve some acclaim with out the backing or connection and perks of being signed to a huge label.


Although traditionally mixtapes are thought of as something geared towards the hip hop community other artist in other genres and even labels have been utilizing this tool to help promote albums tours or other projects that they are currently working on. An example of this is the band Hiatus Kaiyote went back to work with it’s old label Wondercore in the middle of a tour to promote the last leg of their tour. This not only helps the larger indie band hiatus Kaiyote but it helps all the other bands on the mixtape that are now associated with the band Hiatus Kaiyote.


The power of the mixtape has been so monumental that it has started to be incorporated into the mainstream music market as a cheap advertising tool. With mixtapes being easily available to be put up on the internet and downloaded for free rather than the label having to go to the radio station and work under the station stipulation cough payola cough to get a track played at a prime time so the artist gets the marketing they need for their album, tour, or whatever combination of events they are trying to promote the label is able to put a mix tape up on the artist website and have the artist use whatever social media outlet they are connected to advertise the mixtape to his or her multiple fans getting free publicity and coming off as a more generous artist willing to indulge in fan service.

In the case of drake he had multiple events and projects to advertise he was touring with Lil wayne, he had a new album coming out. Although he claims he was releasing the mixtape because a hacker had the tracks already so he wanted to release them before the hacker beat him to the punch. Regardless of if it’s true releasing the mixtape has effectively helped Drake to create buzz on social media and bring attention to the fact that he is on one of his largest tours yet and has created buzz over a new potential album to be released.


Although conceived originally as an underground or indie marketing tool created by DJ’s in the early hip hop era mixtapes are becoming a standard practice in the music culture crossing over to major artist as a cheap source of publicity. This only makes too much sense seeing as the vast majority of people now would rather have control over what they are listening to while they drive rather than waiting for the local radio station to play the song they want to hear slowly and slowly the mixtape is working it’s way into the mainsteam with the help of streaming and is becoming the way people get to hear singles.

-Andrew Beeh

Indiefication of Major Festivals

With the warmer seasons quickly approaching comes the breaking out of the shorts and sunglasses, to those of us who are die hard music fans it symbolizes the beginning of the music festival scene, a phenomenon worldwide, where you can see a handful of your favorite acts in one weekend for one larger nominal fee what a convenience.

If you are to look at any of the major festivals one will note that there is a surge of indie bands not affiliated with the “Big 3” major labels. Although these bands are not signed to the majors they have gained enough acclaim and attention to be able to play some of the biggest festivals in the world with some of the more popular artist currently touring and promoting the new projects they are releasing as well as some of the classic bands from previous years. With the power of the Internet and social media, streaming, and other music sharing these bands are able to gain enough buzz to play at these festivals where in the past few generations they would have no place to play.


With Coachella standing as the symbol to the start of the festival season in the United States this has become one of the largest festivals bringing 254.4 Million in revenue in 2012 alone. It’s interesting to take note that a good numbers of bands on the bill minus the headliners and some of the other larger acts performing at the festival are not connected to the major labels in anyway. A good Majority of the bands just underneath the main headliners on the flyer as seen above have a large following and of there own and are signed to independent labels. A few of these acts that are on their way to becoming household names for any indie music fanatic are, Flying Lotus (Brain Feeder), FKA Twig (Yung Turks), Perfume Genius (Sargent House), Toro y Moi (Carpark). As these act play more festivals they will gain more popularity rising to prominence and helping their careers and their labels career.

The festival scene acts as an amazing proving ground for this new emerging artist signed to independent label to gain a new fanbase that would otherwise never take interest in or be aware of their music. By the draw of the bigger acts that tend to play later at night many festival goers often spend their time when not partaking in some less than legal activities discovering what could be their potential new favorite artist. On an average 75 percent of the bands playing the festival fall under the category of “Indie.” An indie artist can be looked at from the perspective that they are signed to a label that operates without funding or outside the organization of the major record labels.

Some artist especially Indie artist start there journey on the festival scene as the “opening” act or one of the artist playing earlier in the day playing on smaller stages but some can rise to being a headliner. An example of this would be the post hardcore band At the Drive-in who in 1999 where one of the smaller acts playing on a small stage at Coachella and in 2012 they were headlining multiple major festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo behind the likes of acts like hologram 2Pac (but who are we kidding its hard to compete with a guy performing from beyond the grave). They were able to headline while maintain the status of an indie band.


Although most of the smaller acts are not typically the main draw for those attending the festival willing to spend nearly $500 + on a weekend they do enhance the experience and bring some notoriety to the emerging artist and the labels they represent. Although the bands are performing the festival to get some spotlight there is a benefit for Goldenvoices the festival promoters behind hiring smaller rising bands to perform a few of the key benefits are they can gather more acts for less money, they can fill up the whole weekend with musical entertainment creating a much more enjoyable experience and there are less chances conflicting ego as the stereotype dictates of the larger “superstar” artist.

The festival scene will continue to help promote and aid in the careers of the small rising artist not associated with the major label. Signifying a shift in how the current generation thinks about music and how it’s consumed. Allowing smaller artist who would never have a chance in any other time in history not only to perform to thrive and find a strong fan base and to play some of the biggest shows around.

-Andrew Beeh