Indie Musicians on the Rewards vs. the Challenges of Building Independently

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Electric Kiwi's Ross Barber recently kicked off a blog post series called #GoIndie in which he gathers insights from indie musicians. When asked about the “advantages and benefits" as well as the “challenges" of going indie, these musicians' answers covered a lot of ground but might be summed up by saying that creative freedom requires business savvy. And that means that even after you've built your team you've still got to take responsibility for the business side of your artmaking.

Ross Barber provides music site design and marketing services via Electric Kiwi. His new #GoIndie series is obviously designed to reach his target market while providing something that stands on its own.

In particular, the first posts remind us that indie musicians who wish to take charge of their careers face a variety of challenges that will set them apart from the mainstream because “freedom is a road rarely traveled by the multitude."

Here are some highlights:

What are the advantages and benefits of being an independent musician?

Terra Naomi

“My favorite thing is being able to make the music I want to make, and release it in whichever way I choose...I’ve also been able to say yes to situations I’m pretty sure would have been shot down when I was signed to Island Records and Universal."

Ewan Grant (Algernon Doll)

“The freedom to make the music you want without restriction."

Debs and Errol

“Being independent means that we can be our true selves and I think that our relationship with our audience, and our music, is better for it."

Phoebe Dubar (Passerine)

“I am able to make the music that I want to hear."


“The best thing about being an independent artist is… the creative control and freedom."

What are the challenges of being an independent musician?


“The biggest challenge has been breaking into the mainstream."

Debs and Errol

“For me, the biggest challenge is the marketing aspect: How do we get our music out to people who would like it on a [limited marketing] budget?"

Tyler Hilton

“The biggest challenge with being independent is the lack of funds."

Pat Ryan Key (I Do Declare)

“My biggest obstacle in the beginning was not having a large network of contacts in the industry."

Charlotte Eriksson (The Glass Child)

“To keep disciplined and focused even when you’re in a low or when things don’t go the way you planned them to."

Mitchel Emms (MisterNothing)

“The biggest challenge is being your own boss."

Dion Roy (Fire and the Romance)

“The flip side of the coin is having too many options."

Perhaps we can say that these indie musicians face the same challenges as any entrepreneur. They have the freedom to make their own moves yet they're limited by the financial and organizational challenges of building independent businesses.

Keep an eye on Electric Kiwi for more #GoIndie.

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