End of Independents? Why Spotify Can’t Save Indie Bands

Stephen Keogh


Since the discovery that the internet could propel small independent musicians into the music industry back in the early 2000’s, every start-out artist has been utilising this tool to spread their music and build on a fan base. This has worked for many bands and musicians throughout the years. For example, 2006’s smash hit Arctic Monkeys album ‘Whatever Ever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ was hailed as one of the best of the early twenty first century. But Arctic Moneys rose to prominence on MSN with an account allegedly set up by fans.


Since that album, countless numbers of bands have followed suit. The internet was the key for those who wanted to make a career out of music that labels were too worried about taking the commercial risk.

Then the likes of Youtube, Soundcloud and Spotify came along and the potential for reaching worldwide audiences was greatly increased in a reasonably easy way. As the tech industry increasingly created better ways for people to reach new and interesting music, the capacity for people to receive this music for free was at our finger tips.

Recently, a small independent Irish band, Fight Like Apes, announced that they were calling it a day. In their farewell post on Facebook they cited “there are massive challenges for a lot of bands, mostly financial, that make this a tough job and sadly, those obstacles have become too big for us.” 

“Bands are having to sell beautiful albums for €2.99, labels can’t give you as much support since they’re losing income too and our alternative radio stations are practically non existent now, meaning so many wonderful bands will not get a chance to get played on radio as they’ll be competing with huge pop acts.

“Don’t fool yourself in to thinking that your £10 subscription to Deezer and Spotify helps us at all. It does not. Look how many bands are on there and do the maths.”

So although the internet seems to be undoubtedly the future of the music industry, until both the music apps and we are willing to pay artists a decent living for their music, the music industry will continue to dissolve into amateur part timers do what they can when they can.


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