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Changes in the Music Industry are Making Opportunities for Indy Artists

Photo by Satyawan Narinedhat on Unsplash

Photo by Satyawan Narinedhat on Unsplash

Music Industry

The internet has changed the music industry drastically. The change started in the 90s with the illegal downloading of music by Napster, which is now-defunct. The music sharing sites, like Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and streaming services still have the industry in flux over issues such as the royalties to be paid to artists and labels.

Not all the changes are bad. Currently, more music is accessible to people around the world, but that has made it more difficult for musicians to make money from their music, the old fashioned way. At the same time, independent musicians have used the internet to reach a global audience without the backing or restrictions of the traditional music labels.

The Down Side
Traditionally, people who have had a hand in making a record are paid in royalties. With the internet era, it has become easier to obtain music without the monetary exchange, which means royalties can’t be paid. Therefore, the music industry, in general, is struggling.

It all began with Napster founded in 1999 as the first peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing software. The emphasis was on sharing audio files, usually music, in MP3 format. The company ceased operation because of its legal difficulties over copyright infringement. In essence, the music was considered stolen (pirated) when it was downloaded for free.

Outlets, like iTunes and Amazon, have helped to curb the trend of free downloads by offering individual songs for sale, without having to purchase the full album.

Streaming Services

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

 Internet radio or streaming services like Spotify and Pandora offer a paid subscription for streaming music. Consequently, music sales, from CDs and Albums, are almost nonexistent. In the internet era, you can get all the music you want streaming onto your phone for $10 per month.

Spotify allows users to create a playlist, which can then be shared with friends by integrating their accounts using Facebook and Twitter. They are actually creating a new social media platform by sharing their playlist in their inbox on Spotify.

One benefit of streaming to the Indy Artist is that music is more personalized and much more accessible to people in any part of the world. Now, the music industry isn’t pushing the big names, like Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran. ALL artists, big and small, have more of an equal opportunity.

The streaming services are still disputed by artists and labels because the income generated is far short of the revenue from CD and Album sales.

This has brought a resurgence of vinyl record sales as collectibles. But, still, the revenue does not help the distressed music industry.

For the most part, new music is not selling because it is easier to stream music. Music sales are now virtually nonexistent, at least in the traditional sense.

Music can still be purchased in stores online, but the sales are far short of what they used to be.

The Up Side

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

On the flip side, the problems for the music industry have created an opportunity for the independent artist (Indy Artist) who is not part of the “industry machine.”

Individuals can now create a playlist of the music or artists they like to listen to. Another benefit is that the streaming service will offer suggestions for new songs, based on the type of music in your playlist.

This allows the unknown artist to be introduced to individuals worldwide, a benefit not available in the music industry. The music industry only advertises and pushes the artists they have signed. The smaller artists are excluded.

The unknown artists, who fill out their profile on the streaming service with their songs and artwork attached, are one step closer to being heard by countless listeners that use the service on a daily basis.

When an unknown artist gets attention on YouTube or a streaming site, the music industry often takes notice, also.

DIY Recording and Publishing

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

 Is it easy? No, but nothing worth doing is ever easy. It might be easier to have a label record your songs if you can find one that will take you without you paying an arm and a leg.

There are many stories of record labels who have signed a singer or musician or band, cut the album, and then drop them without ever publishing the album.

Instead of trying to find a producer who can help you, get a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and start recording your music. You’ll make mistakes, but you will learn. It all comes with experience, training, and practice. You can do this.

It has never been easier to get your music in front of an audience than today with “Do It Yourself” publishing and online streaming. You don’t have to have a label or a manager or publisher help you become a success.


Another recording app is GarageBand which is a multi-track audio recording program. It is an Apple product but has recently developed GarageBand for Windows 10.

GarageBand’s user interface is intuitive and easy to use offering a wide variety of applications. An important issue is that it eliminates copyright issues associated with using pre-recorded songs, riffs, licks, or other software.

The software comes fully functional with a complete sound library, including voice, presets, and a vast selection of session instruments.

“It comes equipped with 100s of Hip Hop, EDM, and Jazz synth sounds, with built-in-lessons for piano and guitar. The insanely huge sound library on each instrument can create a huge number of permutations and combinations for you to choose from.

You are equipped with the ability to fix rhythm issues or autotune, track and mix your track with instruments, put effects like compression and visual EQ with just a click.”

The best part is that the software is FREE. GarageBand also gives you the option of sending the recording to them as your co-creator. They can then add, change, or manipulate whatever they think would help the recording then sent it back to you. A great solution if you need help in learning how to master your own recordings.

Social Media and Website

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You’re on social media, right? Everyone is on at least one social media platform. Most of us are on several.

Social media is just as powerful as the internet itself. Again, it does take work. You have to take it seriously to be effective. You must know where and when to post. You also must post regularly and interact with people online. Do your homework? Figure it out.

One YouTube channel hosted by Miles Beckler gives you step-by-step information on how to get started and how to be successful. And it’s FREE. He even has a complete course for FREE. You can’t beat that, now can you?

You do need to have a website where you publish your music.

If you aren’t sure about creating a website try a company like Wix or MailChimp where you can create an awesome website with drag and drop. Wix and MailChimp and other companies host the website for you and are available to help you with your creation.

Getting Found

You may be asking the question, “As a newbie in the industry, how are people going to find me?”

As mentioned above, streaming platforms make it easy to find new artists. TuneCore is a digital distributor and artist service. “It was founded on the philosophy of never taking advantage of an artist, ever. Sell your music, not your soul,” is their motto. “You Keep 100% of Your Sales & Rights.”

When you create an account with, you enter your artist profile, as mentioned above. Next, you claim and verify your Spotify for Artist profile. Once your profile, music, and artwork are uploaded to Spotify you can edit your bio, add photos, pitch singles to playlists, promote your songs, and much more.

Once your TuneCore account is integrated with your Spotify for Artists page, you have complete control over your profile and you can engage with your fans. At this point, you become a Spotify verified artist. “Artist Pick” also allows you to highlight songs, playlists and promote your upcoming tours, gigs, shows, and/or pitch singles for playlist consideration.

Another very important feature is your listener statistics, which is also available on your artist page. No matter what you are doing on the internet, it’s very important to review your statistics so you can make modifications to your plan when needed.

TuneCore Social

 TuneCore Social is a social media management tool for musicians. It allows you to streamline your online presence in one easy to use hub. You can connect all of your social media accounts so you can track your stats across all platforms. It also allows you to schedule posts across multiple platforms, enabling you to get more fans while spending less time.

One of the best parts is that TuneCore Social is free when you have a TuneCore artist account.

Licensing For Covers

TuneCore’s CoverSong Licensing, powered by Royalty Solutions provides licensing to record and sell cover songs by other artists quickly, easily, and legally. The licensing service does the research and secures a licensing agreement for any new covers you record or any that you have previously released.

All the pertinent information for all services is available on

The DIY Path

Image by Dena Warfield

Image by Dena Warfield

 Yes, the DIY Path seems harder than hiring a manager, publisher, and someone to record your music. But, you will pay a lot of money for things that you could learn how to do.

Yes, the 5000 things the music marketer has to do every day can be very overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be. Focus on three things:

1. Making great music

2. Building a core audience

3. Growing your community.

Consistently focus on these three things

Batch tasks that need to be done in small batches

Learn the tactics to get the results and consistently grow your community

The essence of audience growth is like farming. Tend to and grow your audience like you would grow a garden. Just keep doing what needs to be done and it will happen.

Fan Base - Photo by ELEVATE from PexelsIn last week’s post, we looked at how Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift got their start in the music industry. Today we’re going to take a deeper look at what gave Ed Sheeran his biggest push towards stardom and how he developed his fan base.

Writing Your Own Music

Let’s do a short recap. Ed Sheeran started playing his guitar at an early age. When he was 11, he went backstage to meet Damien Rice who encouraged him to start writing his own music. At age 14 Sheeran went to London for the summer to see if he could generate interest in his music. Then at age 16, he moved to London gigging continuously, sleeping on the fan’s sofas. He also began recording his songs. How much it costs to cut an album? According to Recording Connection, an album takes between 60 to 100 hours to finish depending on the musician’s skill level. One song can cost from $50 to $500 with a full album costing around $2000. The next question is “How much can you make gigging?” states that pay for gigging can range for $50 to $1000 depending on the type of gig. A local musician playing for a few fans in a coffee shop, restaurant, or bar can range from $50 to $250 depending upon the artist and if they’ve developed a good fan base. Let’s look at this. Sheeran started seriously gigging in 2006. At the same time, he recorded an album, with another one in 2007, and the third in 2009. He also played 300 live shows in 2009. I know prices were different in 2006 and 2007, but as a new musician on the scene, he had to develop his fan base to be able to start bringing in more money gigging. Most of what he made had to go towards his recording. He did not sign with Atlantic records until after he had been No.1 on the iTune charts.

Create Your Fan Base

The big question is, “How do you build a fanbase?” and “What’s the difference between a fan base and a super fanbase?” It doesn’t matter “whether you’re a musician, a movie star, a celebrity chef or a health and wellness guru,” Lawrence Court of states that “building, engaging and retaining your fanbase is essential.” Court states that you need to go beyond a fanbase and build a community, a community that is highly engaged and inspired. But, you must start with a fan base. The first step is to get your first fan on social media. A good place to start is Facebook. You can create a page, not your profile, that represents your music or whatever you are trying to promote. Facebook allows you to invite your friends to like your page. You can also communicate with your friends through Facebook Messenger. With all the content available, people have become blind to all the ads that we see on television, the internet, etc. etc. Ads today have to be exceptional to even get our attention. The new marketing style is called “Conversational Marketing” or “Relational Marketing.”

Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is a one-on-one conversation, where you learn about your potential customers or fans and create a more human engagement experience. This is the approach we have taken when marketing We first created a website then a Facebook page connecting the two with graphics, images, and blog posts. Samples of Larry’s music was placed on both the website and the Facebook page. The likes increased on his page by increasing our friends’ list and asking them to check out his music. His page likes increased from 70 to 231 in about two weeks. It was a challenge conversing with people worldwide, some of the people you talk to on Facebook have ulterior motives. You also need to offer something free for an engagement incentive. If you’ve been on the internet you’ve seen offers for free eBooks, free courses, free music, you name it and you can find it free. We all like to get free stuff, don’t we? We put a sample of Larry’s song on his Facebook page with a free full MP3 for those who went to his website and registered, giving us their name and email address. The free MP3 is a limited time offer. When the song is released online then the free MP3 goes away. Sheeran began building his fan base by gigging and putting videos of his performances on YouTube. In 2006, when Sheeran started gigging, Facebook had only been around for two years. Now, in the age of social media, there are many more options available.

Be Your Own PR Person

 According to Court from, one of the most important things in building your fan base is public relations (PR). Establishing a positive public image is just as important as creating your brand, which we hear so much about today. Public Relations includes establishing contacts with the press and media to help get your name out to the public.

Turning Your Fan Base Into A Super Fanbase

 Your fan base becomes your super fan base or community, however, you want to say it, when they follow all your posts or concerts, buy your albums and merchandise, but mostly, interact with you on a regular basis. One musician on Facebook has about 400K likes but has a super fan base of around 40K. She interacts with them on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. She’s always putting out challenges or questions that keep her fans interacting with her. One important part of her interaction is email. She recently put out a new album. She started weeks before the release by asking questions, requesting suggestions. Her music is Celtic so she had a big release party planned in Ireland, I believe, where her super fans traveled to be part of her celebration. She is the perfect example of turning her fanbase into a tight-knit community. Next Post  I hope this has given you ideas to start pondering about how to get started building your fan base online. In the next post, we will delve deeper into the subject of what is needed to create an online following to get your music heard. by Dena Warfield  

Many musicians have found that being a DIY Musician is the answer to getting their music heard.

The big problem is that many of us believe what the music execs tell us about having a successful music career. The advice given by the “music experts” is totally one-sided from their point-of-view, their “bottom line”. They do not consider the musician.

Yes, the music industry is in business to make money, all companies are. But, they are casting a wide net to see who they catch.

They are looking for specific people, with a specific image that they can use to make them the most money. Even in the songs, they are looking for specifics and if you don’t or can’t provide it, you’re out.

Do they care about the smaller fish in the big ocean of talent? No, not really.  So the DIY Musician has to launch into the music business on his/her own.

They are looking for the person who can fit into their mold, the total package. How many times have we heard the story about a girl who tries out for a part and has the voice, talent, but won’t fit into the costume?  It’s not exclusively about talent.

That’s fine, but what about the rest of the talented singer, songwriters, and performers? Are they just out of luck?

The Music Industry Is Changing

With the rise of the internet, the Music Industry, as a whole, is changing. More people are listening to music streaming, creating their own playlist on Spotify, iTunes, or YouTube. The day of the CD is dwindling quickly. Vinyl records seem to be making a reappearance but more for collectors.

Music is in the streaming.

This opens an even wider door for the DIY Musician.

What’s the catch?

DIY is not easy. It requires work. According to the Digital Music News DIY Musicians and Indy Artists often think that the internet and social media will eventually connect them with their audience naturally. That is also not true. It takes a lot of work to establish your brand and identity on the internet.

What do I need?

They say that a little knowledge can be dangerous. Well, a little knowledge about how the internet and searches work will not increase your name popping up in “long-tail” searches in Google.

These are things that you do have to have in place:

  • Website
  • SEO/Keywords
  • Keyword Research
  • Blog
  • Social Media Marketing
  • PLUS Your Music – as good as you can make it

If you don’t know how to do these things, do your research online to see if it’s something you can learn.

“But I don’t want to take my time away from my music.” Then find someone who can help you. All musicians today, whether you are gigging in your local area, recording your own music, it doesn’t matter. You have to have a website or at least a Facebook page to begin building your fan base.

Even if you don’t have a website, a Facebook page is a way to connect with people who like your music.

No, it’s not easy but it is well within your reach as a DIY Musician. Stay Tuned. More Tomorrow.

by Dena Warfield

pexels-dmitry-demidov-3784566Doing Everything And Getting No Place in the Music Industry

Since my youth, I dreamed of having a music career, performing on stage for thousands. People told me I was a better than average musician and singer-songwriter. But, I still had my doubts.

After many years of putting my songs on the shelf, I decided to take a risk and pitch them to some music execs. Living in Southern California provided the opportunity to personally go to Pitch Sessions in Los Angeles.

Every week for months, I’d spend an hour or two on the busy freeway to get to the weekly pitch. Every week it went the same.

The Pitch

We handed a lyric sheet and cassette recording (before CDs) of the song to the music industry exec. As the track played, the expert critiqued the song, writing notes on the lyric sheet. If the exec did not choose the song for further review the cassette and lyric sheet were handed back.

Occasionally, a song would be chosen.

This happened week after week, month after month. The drive home seemed to get longer and longer with each passing week.

Sometimes, I’d get a few encouraging comments, but I never had a song chosen for further review.

Mail-in Demos

For that reason, I stopped going to Pitch Sessions. Instead, I began sending tapes to different music publishers and entering music industry contests. The Songwriter’s Market stated that the musician would receive feedback in a few weeks. But weeks passed without a word.

I had almost forgotten about the contest when a return package came in the mail.

I hurriedly ripped open the package and unfolded the letter that revealed their analysis with a list of changes that needed to be made. I immediately headed for my little studio, convinced they would pick up my song, and give me a recording contract.

The wait began again.

Finally, the long-awaited package arrived. I knew I had made the exact requested changes. With shaky hands, I opened the package and grabbed the letter that would reveal my next step to stardom. I knew there was a contract waiting for me.

My music career was about to launch.

I slowly slumped to the sofa flipping the letter over to see the back. I looked up at my wife standing in the doorway wiping her hands on a dishtowel.

She took a step closer, “Well?”

I sat stunned, then held the letter up for her to see.

“Thank you for submitting your song for evaluation. We regret it’s not what we’re looking for at this time.”

That’s it? 

Still Accepting Demos

Some music publishers are still accepting demos. The Songwriter’s Market tells you how to submit a demo. They give you lists of publishers with the contact person, phone number, address, and specifically how to submit demos or if they accept demos. All the details are there.


Today’s musicians have more options than any other time in history. We can go the DIY (Do It Yourself) Way. We can take charge of our own music career, becoming your own recording exec.

The drama continues tomorrow. Check on song clips on my website or Larry S Warfield Music on Facebook.

by Dena Warfield

Image by Pete Linforth from PixabayWe hear terms like copyright, music registration, licensing music, BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, and more. Let’s work through all these terms and see if we can make some sense out of all of it and understand how to get your music to the next level.

To complete Music Registration involves several steps. The first is to complete a Copyright with the government.

A Musical Copyright

The DIYMusician at defines musical copyright as a “…designation of an intellectual property similar to a patent or trademark. Once an original composition has been fixed in a medium from which it can be reproduced (having either been recorded or written down in some fashion), the composer is granted exclusive rights to that piece of music, including, the right to:

  • reproduce the song
  • distribute the song
  • perform the song
  • create derivative works.”

When a songwriter creates a song the first thing that needs to be done is to obtain a copyright from the U.S. Copyright Office, There are two parts to the copyrights.

The Composition

The first is the composition, the lyrics, and music, which is owned by the songwriter and/or the publisher.  If you are a songwriter, composer, lyricist, or anyone who creates original music and have not signed a contract with a publisher, then, you own all the rights to the song, including the publishing rights.

If you have not signed a contract with a publisher you then have total control over how the music or composition can be used or “exploited” (to utilize, especially for profit).

As the publisher you should earn money every time your song is sung or aired, whether you have recorded your own record or whether someone is covering your song:

  • streamed
  • downloaded
  • manufactured on CD or vinyl
  • performed live
  • played on the radio
  • synced to TV, film, commercials, games, etc.
  • and more.

The Sound Recording

With a sound recording of the composition, the copyright is owned by the recording artist or the label, which is called a master recording. The recording artist and the songwriter can be the same person.

Copyrighting Your Music

You have the right to copyright just the lyrics or just the music or both. Your song can be new or a new version or a new arrangement of the song. The song must be your creative work. If it is a collaborative work, all participating names must be on the copyright designation and all rights to the work are shared.

You cannot copyright a song title or chord progression by itself. A recording that includes the title and chord progression can be copyrighted.

Copyright your song gives you the following rights:

  • Make and distribute copies in any form
  • Exclusive right to make the first recording of the song
  • After you make the first recording then others can make recordings covering the song
  • A mechanical license required and royalties paid to you.
  • A synchronization license for videos or films required and royalties paid to you.
  • A public performance license required for someone to perform your song for an audience, with royalties paid to you, whether performed live, played on the radio, television, or live-streamed on the internet.
  • You have the right to make derivative works or new arrangements.
  • Display the song

Songwriters typically assign their songs to music publishers and recording artists assign their recordings to record labels instead of trying to track the song’s use and seek payment individually.

Royalties Calculated

The next step in your music registration is to signup with a company that will collect and calculate royalties due to you. This is something that must be done before you begin marketing your music.

Mechanical Royalties are based on the number of records sold. Sound scan and other sales reporting systems determine the number of sales for each recording. In the US, mechanical royalties are calculated on a penny (Ȼ) basis per song, according to Free Advice Legal.

Recording artists receive pay according to the current minimum statutory penny rate, or a “reduced” penny rate. As of January 1, 2006, the US statutory penny rate for a record is 9.1 Ȼ per song.

Most US recording companies rarely pay the recording artist the statutory penny rate of 9.1 Ȼ per song because of a standard “controlled composition” clause, included in most contracts, which allows the record company to pay the artist or the publishing company a reduced royalty rate. Commonly they pay 75% (of 9.1¢) per song, with a cap of 10 songs, regardless of the number of songs on the album. Music publishers collect the royalties and pay the artists after subtracting fees and other withholdings stipulated in the contract.

Performance Royalties

Each quarter the US PROs (Performance Royalty Organizations), ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC calculate the gross receipt from all of the income streams and deduct any administrative fees or operating fees then pay the money directly to the songwriter. Each company uses its own method of calculating the royalties. For example, ASCAP uses the random survey and consensus method, BMI uses a scientific sampling method, and SESAC relies on cue sheets for TV royalties and cutting-edge methods of detecting radio play.

How To Apply For A Music Copyright

Step #1. Record your song on either paper, a tape recording, or a digital recording such as an MP3 or WAV file. You have to have something tangible to turn into the copyright office with your application.

Step #2. Create an online account on the website. You can register your music by mail, but it will take much longer than registering it on their official website.

Step #3. Fill out the Copyright Registration Form. Once you have an online account with the copyright office you can fill out the registration form online. If you decide to process your registration by mail, your submission must be accompanied by a completed form just like online.

Step #4 Pay your registration fee. As of May 1, 2014, the online registration fee is $35 and the mail-in fee is $85.

Step #5 Submit a copy of your song. It is very easy to upload a digital copy of your song. You can submit tapes and paper copies by following the instructions with your application.

Step #6 The waiting begins. When you submit online it generally takes 3 to 5 months of processing. When you submit a paper registration it will take anywhere from seven to ten months to process.

Choosing to register your song is an important step in protecting your intellectual property. Without registering your song you will not be able to collect royalties.

Stay tuned!  The next blog post delves deeper into getting paid for your music.


Indy Music Marketing

The Indy Artist Marketing approach combines some of the traditional music approaches, such as gigging, pitching your music, creating a fan base, whether online or in-person, and having CD’s to sell, with new Digital Marketing, approaches.

The term Indy Musician or the DIY Musician, as described in the first article, was coined in the 80’s short for “Independent Artist”. They were usually singer-songwriters or bands who recorded and released their own records independently of the music moguls.

The Indy Artist Marketer

The self-motivated Indy Artist doesn’t wait around for someone to tell them what to do or how to do something. The Indy Artist is a person with a Do It Yourself (DIY) attitude. They will employ the Indy Artist Marketing approach, take marketing matters into your own hands and getter done.

The Indy Artist isn’t one who will send out CDs or MP3s then wait for an email or a letter in the mail. CDs and MP3s are sent out while they are busy playing gigs, setting up their online presence, writing, or recording their next song. The artist is busy creating a website or getting someone to design it for him/her. At the same time, they are submitting their music to streaming companies like Spotify and Reverb Nation and putting a bio with music up on Bandcamp and anyplace else available. They embody the Indy Music Marketing approach to the fullest.

Goal-driven Indy Artists know where they are going and create a plan to get there. Quitting when the going gets tough is not an option. Indy Artists create their own opportunities.

The Music Industry Today

Today’s success in the music industry is much different than just a few years ago. Sending CDs, gigging, and perhaps touring does not guarantee success with the music moguls. It doesn’t happen as often in the age of the internet. Music Moguls are not the career makers like in years past. With the internet and modern technology, Indy Artists retain more control over their career and put more money back into their pockets.

In the early 2000s, Indy Artists began seeing success and making an income by creating a fanbase online. As technology expands there will be even more opportunities for the Indy Artists.

Gigging in Music City

Playing every night in Music City is not a guarantee that you will be discovered. In days past that might have been true.  Artists could play at a club, be seen by an A&R rep scouting for the next artist to hit the Top 10, and be taken to the CEO’s office to sign a recording contract. That doesn’t happen much anymore. There isn’t as much money in the music industry as in the past.

Some think it is impossible to make a living as an Indy Artist because playing in Music City is for tips or free. For paying gigs, you have to get creative. Be ok with tips, or start booking out of the area. The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide states that most musicians that play in the clubs receive $20 to $50 base pay plus tips. Many think they have to be the best before moving to Music City – not necessarily true. Music City is actually a good place to get started. There are a lot of opportunities that will help you perfect your skill: workshops, learning opportunities, people to learn from, and places to play and hone your craft. An important fact that you must know before moving to Music City. Every other musician who wants to make it in the industry is looking to move to Music City. Check out the Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide before you go. More often than not you can get your music heard right where you live with much less competition, while you’re working the online market.

Talent Still Required

Success today still requires talent and hard work.  Remember when your teacher or your mother used to say – practice. Well, practice is still a very important element of success.  Remember the old adage – Practice Makes Perfect.  The artists that dedicate themselves to perfecting their craft will go further than the others.

On the music scene, you will find very talented artists and some mediocre talent all trying to achieve success. Some are looking for fame and fortune. Others want their music heard.  Talent is not required to be noticed. But, you do have to be able to carry a tune, or write a good song, or play an instrument well.

Be An Indy Artist Marketer

If you are waiting for someone to discover you and make you a star, it probably won’t happen.  Don’t put your success in the hands of someone else – make it happen yourself.

Your career and the path it takes are in your hands. If you want to be a big star touring the world, set your course, find out what it’s going to take to make it happen, and design a plan. If you want a career in songwriting or just playing your music, make it happen, book the gigs.

 Create Your Fanbase

While you are learning and preparing, start developing your fanbase online and in your hometown before moving to Music City. Start a website, put your music on Youtube, and other Social Media Sites like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter. Create your Brand. Get your name and music in front of potential fans. Every little bit helps to push your career forward – fans are fans.

The Indy Artist must market by selling CDs, MP3s, putting their music and merchandise online, advertising their name, creating their brand.

Be Creative

Some artists become licensed, others write for more popular singers, some play in bands or sing backup for different artists.  If you’re a good songwriter look into writing jingles for advertising or songs for television shows. Check out

Be creative.  Keep your eyes and ears open.  Go to auditions.  Promote yourself.

To Succeed – Apply

Today, the Indy Artist that succeeds applies shoe-leather to his/her marketing. By that I mean, you go door to door promoting yourself. You audition, go to meetups, look for opportunities to get in front of an audience, or to get your songs in front of potential artists to sing them.

If you do apply shoe leather and if you’re good, there is a chance that somebody that matters will hear you. Still, you may need to earn a living in a different field while you perfect your music skills and applying shoe-leather marketing.

Don’t give up. Keep working at it. You have a much better chance of succeeding today than a few years ago. The Indy Artist Resource has information to help you get started.

by Dena Warfield


I was very excited about appearing on the UNSIGNED radio program, singing four of my original songs. THAT MIDDAY SHOW was my first songwriter interview appearance. The full broadcast was approximately 50 mins long and included a description of my music and songwriting background, style, inspiration, and methods. The original songs I sang represent different styles, which I incorporate in my songwriting. I also sang song clips of some of my other songs as examples. The full podcast is available below.


That-Midday-ShowMy first Live Radio Singer-Songwriter Interview… I got to talk about some of my songwriting processes and experiences and sang four of my original songs LIVE!!!


“We welcome Larry Warfield as our first guest. He talks with us about his songwriting process and sings “Smokey Mountain Bears,” “Father Forgive Me,” and “Now I’m Thinking.”

Listen to the full podcast below. My original songs are played toward the end of the program.

That Midday ShowSouthern Fried Radio Network

That Midday Show is a show that airs weekly on the Southern Fried Radio Network – a Podcast Network. A Podcast Network, then, is talk radio featuring podcasts that you can air wherever and whenever you want.

That Midday Show Formerly aired on WOZO Radio in Knoxville, TN, now part of the Southern Fried Radio Network. That Midday Show describes itself as a Podcast, talking about topics such as Comedy, Geek, Nerd, and Pop Culture. They also throw in musicians to give their listeners a taste of the local musical flavors. Recently they added WWE, Wrestlemania 34, and for the “cat-lovers” a Cat Show.

“Southern Fried Radio Network, based in Knoxville, TN, is a podcast network presenting a variety of podcasts to listeners. Shows are produced in both Knoxville, TN, and in the LA area. The shows on the network cover everything from news and politics to pop culture, sports, and everything in between. SFR shows can be found on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn Radio, and Stitcher Radio.” Find out more about the network check out

by Larry S. Warfield

Listening-PleasureLearn how to evaluate Song Clips as an expert by following our sampling tips.  Sampling songs is very similar to the sampling of fine wine. First of all, you’ll need the right setting that is free from distractions to get the full flavor of the music.

The right environment enhances your listening pleasure. In contrast, a noisy or crowded room where kids or pets are romping and playing will make it difficult to hear and concentrate on the nuances of Larry S. Warfield’s Original Songs.

If you are one that enjoys the sound of the waves from the ocean or the gentle slaps of the water against the lakeshore, take your SmartPhone to the shoreline. Find a nice shady, comfortable place. Pull up the website and start the player.

Or perhaps you can shoo the kids and pets outside and curl up in your comfy place for a rewarding musical experience.

Listening Tips

Many people view listening to music as a passive experience. In contrast, listening can also be an active process where much can be learned from different types of music. The lyrics also give you a glimpse into the songwriter’s soul, his life, his hopes, and dreams, his sorrows, and joys. Continue with the Listening Tips Below the player.

  • Once your listening conditions are as close to neutral as possible, your next step is to find a comfortable chair or recliner or by the lake as mentioned above where you can listen without distraction.
  • Start the audio player on the first song.
  • Close your eyes and picture the scene being described in the lyrics.
  • Feel the emotions.
  • Listen to the rhythm and melody of the Song Clips.
  • When all Song Clips have played, decide which is your favorite.
  • Furthermore, you may need to listen to the Clips several times to determine your choice.


by Dena Warfield



The term Indy Artist, coined in the ’80s by the media, is short for ‘Independent Artist’.  It describes the band or singer-songwriter who records and releases their own records or albums released under independent labels.

Often times, the Indy Artist writes lyrics that are “rawer” than that of the mainstream.

The “Indy Artist” has come to describe a unique sound, different from the major labels. They often use sounds that are less polished or have a very different way of using their voice.

The Indy Artist frequently uses unconventional time signatures, more chord progressions, or more reverb than a mainstream artist.

Many times they also incorporate unique instruments, such as a washboard, a hurdy-gurdy, Buke and Case, singing saw, bagpipes, autoharp, and more.


Indy Rock

Indy rock began to emerge in the ’80s as a genre of alternative rock. The genre includes Indy pop, lo-fi, as grunge, grunge, punk revival, noise pop, emo, sadcore, post-rock, math rock, and in the UK, Britpop. In the ’90s, some Indy Rock Artists broke into the mainstream music scene.  Still, most retain an outsider, underground sound.

Indy Folk

The Indy-folk genre, also born in the ’90s, was a combination of the acoustic guitar sound and folk or classic country music added to the more contemporary sound.

Indy Artist and the Internet

The early 2000s brought change to the music industry with the growing importance of the Internet. Indy Artists began to enjoy commercial success by writing, singing, producing, and releasing their own original songs over the Internet. For example, many Indy Artists acquired large fan-bases or superfans. The Indy Artist will have more opportunities as technology expands.

Music City the place for Indy Artist

Nashville, TN, known as Music City, is receiving an influx of Indy Artists. Some hope of building a traditional music career, looking for fame and fortune. Some Indy Artists just want their music heard.

The diversity among the singers and songwriters is more varied now than ever before. There are some very talented artists in the Nashville music scene.  But there are also a lot of mediocre acts.  Most artists are hoping to be signed by the music moguls.

You don’t have to be the most talented to be noticed. But, you do have to be able to carry a tune, or write a good song, or play an instrument well.

Online Music Stores

In the last few years, online music stores have exploded onto the internet music scene. Companies such as CD Baby, iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, Soundcloud, ReverbNation are giving artists a real chance to be heard. This gives the Indy Artist a chance to make a substantial income from their music.

CD Baby will be hosting the “DIY Musician Conference” in Nashville in August 2018. For four days, Music City will be the hub for the Indy Artist, a different type of musician, the Do It Yourself Musician.

Indy Artists from varied backgrounds with different styles will fill the streets of Music City. This conference is unique in that it is dedicated to musicians of any and all genres who share a common approach to marketing their original music.

“Independent musicians and small boutique labels are one of the fastest-growing segments of the market, and they share a lot of concerns,” explains CD Baby’s Kevin Breuner. “No matter what kind of music you make, no matter where you are in your career, you need similar advice and support, and we program the conference in direct response to the questions and concerns we hear from musicians.”


by Dena Warfield



Ben, a better than an average musician, singer-songwriter, had always dreamed of having a music career, performing on stage for thousands of people. Maybe we should say, he always dreamed of being a star, a big-time entertainer. He was doing everything and getting no place with his music career.

Like many other musicians, Ben didn’t handle rejection well. Every time he’d get close enough to see that he might have a chance at a music career, his fear would surface causing him to back down.

After many years of putting his songs on the shelf, Ben decided to take a risk and pitch his songs to some music execs. Living in Southern California provided the opportunity to personally go to Pitch Sessions in Los Angeles. Every week for months, he’d spend an hour or two on the busy freeway to get to the weekly pitch. Every week it went the same.

The Pitch

First of all, the music exec would have the musicians hand in a CD which they played for the whole room. The experts then critiqued the song and handed the CD back. The exec occasionally chose one song for further review. Consequently, Ben’s drive home seemed to get longer and longer.

This went on week after week, month after month. Sometimes, he would get a few encouraging comments, but he never had a song chosen for further review.

For that reason, he stopped going to the Pitch Sessions. Instead, he began sending CDs to different music publishers and entering contests. The Songwriters’ Digest stated that the musician would receive feedback in a few weeks. But weeks passed without a word.

He had almost forgotten the CD he sent to a contest when a return package came in the mail.

Ben hurriedly ripped open the package and unfolded the letter that revealed their analysis with a list of changes that needed to be made. He immediately headed for the studio, convinced they would pick up his song, and give him a recording contract. The wait began again.

Finally, the long-awaited package arrived. Ben knew he had made the exact requested changes. With shaky hands, he opened the package and grabbed the letter that would reveal his next step to stardom. He knew there was a contract waiting for him. His music career was about to launch.

He slowly lowered himself to the sofa flipping the letter over to see the back. He looked up at his wife standing in the doorway wiping her hands on a dishtowel.

She took a step closer, “Well?”

He sat stunned, then held the letter up for her to see.

Music Career Fades From View

“Two lines? What does it say?” she asked.

He read it out loud, “Dear Ben, Thank you for submitting your song for evaluation. We regret to inform you that we will not be able to use your song.”

“That’s it?” she asked.

He looked at her with a blank stare. Another roadblock – the end of a dream.

“That’s it? That’s all there is?” she said. “After two years of going back and forth to LA and sending out CDs, that’s all there is? There’s got to be something else you can do. There’s gotta be.”

She slouched on the couch beside him.

“From everything they’ve said at the pitches this is it. If they don’t pick you up, you might as well give up or just keep going to pitches and sending in songs.”

Both were quiet for a long time.

Ben began pacing, dragging his fingers through his hair, “I guess it’s over. I’ve done everything they told me to do.”

“There has to be another way,” she said grabbing her phone. “What’s a DIY Musician?”

“DIY?” he said laughing. “DIY is Do It Yourself, as a handyman.”

They both stopped and looked at each other. Maybe there is away.

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by Dena Warfield