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Sally Go Rough

good article, thanks.

you should clarify the Jay Frank quote (starting "People want to be entertained by music..."). It looks like your words at the moment

Clyde Smith

Nice work. Thanks for sacrificing that all too crucial free time from your kid!


I think the music industry needs to split into two. Indies shouldn't need to beg these assholes. In fact, distancing ourselves from them would be our best move. We can really show the world that if one pays artists directly for music that one likes, music will just get better.

On the flip-side, if people want free music, then they can just expect the quality to go down. It's simple.

Having both business models with a disjoint set of artists would be ideal for people to see the difference.


An excellent article written by someone who is able to present the indie side of things.

The main thing I see, is that Spotify is in collusion with the major labels (duh). The fact that there are NDAs preventing people from revealing what their deals are even leads me to believe that different major labels have different deals. So if someone actually talked about their deal, then "the cat would be out of the bag," and companies would be up in arms about someone having a better deal!

And Daniel Ek comparing Spotify to the Apple App Store doesn't work—songs aren't apps! It's a whole different model. And even so, the app designers GET PAID FOR THEIR WORK! You don't have to sell a million apps just to make 10 cents.

As for Jay Frank, if people can easily find my music on Spotify, but I still don't make any money from them finding it, what is the point??? I make the same amount as I would from them pirating my music.

Zoe is completely right about finding your niche and working it. I know enough musicians in my area who have done this and make over $100K a year, yet have no label other than their own. They call the shots, own all their rights, and don't need to sell a million albums just to make $10K while still needing a day job.

Keep it up Zoe!

Charles Alexander

Really beautiful job, Zoe.

I posted something similar on my site a day before. I'm still astounded by how so called "progressive" mainstream/major industry folks can still not get it.

The brave new world is here to stay.

Justin Boland

Great article. Thank you.


I can sum it up. BuyIndieSupportLocals.org


Zoe I'm a fan and supporter of the movement of the Indie/DIY artist and a fan of your music. What I will say about your article is that Spotify should treat all artist fairly but,...and here is the problem...BIG business and greed is at the center of the issue. I wonder why it took Spotify so long to get here when they had deals with the foreign bodies of the same 4 majors...hmmm ? Understand that the Majors strong armed them into giving them 1st dibs...and Spotify needs our market to expand. In order to gain entry someone had to lose and it's the Indie's. Think about Apple's approach...bring the majors in and say this is your cut...and everyone gets the same cut. Apple owned the platform and the technology everyone was listening to music on so the leverage was Apple's too keep. Spotify like I stated earlier wanted in and had to give up something to gain entry. Never fare though, as Facebook may change the face of music distribution again...? We will see and my thought is that maybe Spotify is a temporary player in this field...The future...well is the future. Hanging in there !!!


"I’m going to make a bold statement and say that independent and niche artists have never been worried about piracy."

Thank you for the article, and agree on most of your points. However:

"I’m going to make a bold statement and say that independent and niche artists have never been worried about piracy."

That's bold indeed, and false. Please speak for yourself.

I am an indie artist, 2 decades in music, and have been releasing through labels and self-releasing for more than a decade, from the time of the music industry peak to its dismal current state. Piracy has directly hurt my income, and dramatically. Every year, income declines. The same labels now offer me license deals, remix and production work, and record deals at a fraction of the rates of 2001-2002. This despite the fact that now my work is much better known and I have a substantially larger fanbase. The labels simply claim that their revenues and sales on indie releases have declined by that much.

I am deeply concerned about piracy, to the point that I have considered stopping releasing music altogether until (if) the piracy issues are properly resolved. It is demoralizing and financially disastrous to have one's work, one's heart and soul, immediately pirated and stolen.

- V


"... independent and niche artists have never been worried about piracy."

Wrong. I, for one, as an independent artist, am extremely worried about piracy. I have experienced its effects firsthand, as a severe decrease in recording income. Piracy is the #1 problem to be resolved in the music world.

- V


Great article! I've been wondering about these details and yes, I believe there's still a place more than ever for the niche ever. It calls us all to produce compelling art that pulls people into buying it because it offers a 4th dimension that mainstream doesn't...a depth via relationship with the artist him/herself.


What would you prefer;

10,000 downloading your song for free

1,000 paying a $1

or 100 paying $10

I wonder what the mindset of each of these groups might be?

I know which fan I'd prefer. The 10,000 can go take a hike...

M. May

Of course, if even 1% of the 10,000 folks that downloaded a song for free then told their friends about it and came to your show, paid a cover and/or bought a t-shirt or cd, you would make that '100 paying $10' number double.

Yes, it's great (awesome, even!) to be paid up front. But ignoring the fans who are poor (and/or just cheap, and/or only inclined to pay for a live music experience) is not a good long term strategy.

Zoe, Always appreciate reading your blog - thanks for keeping the rest of us informed.

Geoffrey Williams

I enjoyed your article, thank you for posting it!

I've found that leaning too much on the 'machine' resulted in hair ripping frustration, gut wrenching disappointment and moths make a home in my empty wallet!

Being as self reliant as possible really seems to work for me. I agree with you Zoe re putting energy into ones craft; becoming a better performer/songwriter/composer/producer, whatever it is, make better music, create value in ones product and aim for the dream but make the steps something doable.

'Niche'ify yourself brothers and sisters!

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