Testimonies of Independent Music Artists: The struggles you don't hear

Updated: Sep 9, 2018


By LivengoodLivin


This was a case study conducted by me to gage and garner the struggles independent music artist go through on a daily basis. I admire and applaud everybody on this list who has the courage to speak about hardships they occur during the process. As a music marketer, let's put some respect on independent music arts. Now listen to there stories.

Ernest Third IG: Ernest Third




"As a independent artist we deal with many struggles, Ill speak about a few of my personal struggles here. One of the main things I struggle with is balancing out the time of working my 9 to 5 and working on stuff towards my dreams. It getting to the point where you have to choose taking that risk of losing your regular job to chase the dream full time, or keep giving it Half of your time. Especially when its days where being super creative and talented is to much for your job, that routine of a 9-5 just does not fits the creatives so RISK may be the best answer. Also finding the extra money after bills to put into studio time, music videos and graphics etc. If you don't have an investors or someone who's actually putting money behind you, everything is coming out of your pockets an we all know EVERYTHING cost in this business. Lastly, trusting people in this industry. The music industry is filled with a lot of people who don't always have your best interest, so I observe deeply before working with certain people. Its some people out there that will use you up on a creative level and when there done draining you they'll move on to the next quick so you got to work with people that is Genuine at heart."


OG ahk IG: AyeAhkie




"As A Up And Coming Artist I Faced A lot Of Struggles Especially Being From PG In The DMV Area Scene. I Would Say The Number 1 Struggle Is Getting That Big Platform, Out Here They Support Popularity Over Talent & I Refuse To Sound Like Everybody & What’s Hot. 

Another Struggle I Would Say Is Top 2 Is Getting Past That Hatred From People. I’ve Fallen Out With People Just Because Of The Success I've Obtain In This Music Game You Have To Realize Whose Really Supporting & Just Around For The Time Being.

Other Than Those Struggles Everything Is Self’s sufficient On artists. Taking The Time To Learn The Business To Learn How The Industry Works. A lot Of Artist Have Talent With No Game Plan But To Pray To Be Signed By A Label. Artist Forget This Is An Art You Have To Be Creative, Have Your Own Style But Also Be Versatile To Create & Produce For All Akins Of Potential Supporters. Over Night Success Is The Worst, And A lot Of These DMV Artist Get That Fame So Quick Their Not Ready Mentally, Emotionally, Creatively, & They Hit Their Peak So Fast They Feel They Got It But In reality They Have No Real Exposition & Reach Their Climax Over Night & They Don’t Set In Stone Or Market Their Self Right Which Leads To A Rather Quick Falling Down Hill. Majority’ Of The Time With A lot Of These DMV Artist. We All See Who Still Doing The Same Things 5 Years Straight.  But You Are Now Locked In With OG Ahk & a Few Struggles Being A Up N Coming Music Artist With The DMV DAILY 

I Would Say Being From The DMV Area Scene Is A Curse In Itself, Coming In Since Majority Of Artist Sound The Same Fans Believe EVERY Artist Sounds The Same & They Don’t, The Few Of Us Versatile Unique Artist A Chance Based On Their Assumption Of What The Area Produces.. That’s Sad But Reality.

Other Than Those Struggles Everything Is Self’s sufficient On artists. Taking The Time To Learn The Business To Learn How The Industry Works. A lot Of Artist Have Talent With No Game Plan But To Pray To Be Signed By A Label. Artist Forget This Is An Art You Have To Be Creative, Have Your Own Style But Also Be Versatile To Create & Produce For All Akins Of Potential Supporters. Over Night Sucess Is The Worst, And A lot Of These DMV Artist Get That Fame So Quick Their Not Ready Mentally, Emotionally, Creatively, & They Hit Their Peak So Fast They Feel They Got It But In reality They Have No Real Exposition & Reach Their Climax Over Night & They Don’t Set In Stone Or Market Their Self Right Which Leads To A Rather Quick Falling Down Hill. Majority’ Of The Time With A lot Of These DMV Artist. We All See Who Still Doing The Same Things 5 Years Straight.  But You Are Now Locked In With OG Ahk & a Few Struggles Being A Up N Coming Music Artist With Th Lunch Table Blog Show"


Skeeterlaflare IG: Skeeterlaflare


"Being an Independent artist comes with its amenities such as ownership of content & Creative Control. I Often stress to My peers that they should cherish the freedom while it is available because in these times, The infamous “360 Deal” is as popular as it was in the 90’s when executives quietly manipulated various signees to date.

One of the many struggles of being an independent artists include lack of attention (Promotion / Marketing / Radio Play). An Artist can / may spend hours, maybe years working one single or project with no buzz - while artists who are less talented but have more connects surpass artists’ with true talent."

Stacey Wavves

"As an independent artist I face many struggles. Not being from this area and having a different sound makes it hard to attract new listeners due to the fact the locals are used to a certain flow and vibe that I don't conform to. I'm a good dude, but I'm not the best dude I get caught up in some dumb stuff here which I'm tryna steer myself away from but that brings me to the other struggle of money. From selling gas and pills and working a part time I try to keep my money in my pocket but between paying for promotion trying to reach new listeners and music video shoots and studio time I don't have much leisure money left. It pretty much goes towards surviving and funding my career.  Venues also seem to be an issue since most venues are found in the city and unless you know someone or have money its not likely to book the place. Which brings me to actual the shows. Bringing fans to shows or even showing support (aside from the loyal few) its kind of hard, but I just see that as an opportunity to reach and make new fans who will hopefully come to the next one. Its a lot of stuff but I wont let it stop me!"

Loe Adde' IG: LoeLife_

As an independent up and coming artist, there are numerous trials and tribulations that you have to deal with and that can be quite obvious from the promotion to the music. Although I can only speak for myself in this growing matter, I want people to realize while reading this excerpt of mines that music only defines only half of me, however, plays a significant role In my life so I treat this talent that God has given me as a gem. When I see other artist who’ve only been making music for a year or less actually being given an opportunity before me, there can be three reasons to that at times. They either have the correct amount of funding to stay as consistent as possible with music, the correct individuals around them to get them heard by the right people, or I, myself, don’t have the right people around me nor am I working hard enough to get to the level that I would love to be at. Personally, as for the last reason, that holds some truth to it as far as having the correct people around me as far as music goes and at times that comes with funding. The music is basically a billion dollar business and talents are being discovered everyday by the industry. For those individuals, like myself, working a typical 9 to 5 occupation, the “dream” can be quite difficult and overwhelming at times while in pursuit of it, especially if you do not have a support system to push you and be there when in need. I have had those times where I had to pay to perform at showcases, in front of A&Rs, labels (Boogie Down Productions), etc. I feel as though the music resume I carry have enough of a variety to the point where me paying to perform at shows, do interviews, etc. Does not make any sense. 90% of time, these local showcases are scams and artist who are not naïve to this game will understand. Most of the time, you cannot benefit from it and I have seen it happen because trust me, I was there about 5 years ago, when I was 19, wasting money on unethical business like that but it made me more sophisticated to certain routes in the game and how you have to play things smart. Till this day, I still get emails from Direct2Exec stating I can pay “300 to perform 1 song in front of an Atlantic Record executive”. I feel as though that talent should be respected a bit more because I really feel as though the word “talent” has been losing its quality for years now. I truly don’t think it’s fair and really feel as though something should be done about this. However, when enough is not enough, that can be draining. There are individuals who are currently in the industry in some way that have the ability to help struggling upcoming artist as myself but they rather tell us “work harder”. If you honestly expect everyone to make it the same way (selling drugs, scamming, etc.)then you honestly expect everyone to tell the same old story. I want to see individuals like myself make it for being themselves, rather than to sacrifice their true selves to being something they’re not. Hopefully this changes overtime and hopefully label executives understand that artist, like myself, are working everyday to make their dreams come true the right way. Staying true to self is all I know and all I am about. Selling drugs is not me. Rapping about killing people or shooting people just to get the attention I want from the music industry is not me. Trolling for attention is not me. I know one day I will find the right spacing for me in the industry. Till then, I will be such a fool to associate myself with bad business. Been there, done that. It’s been time to gravitate towards new routes that can lead me to my calling. 




Outta $pace IG: outtaspace_365


"Being a independent artist takes the glass ceiling away, it gives you the opportunity to really like go as far as you want it's just about consistency and how much you're working. But at the end of the day being an artist is still a job, That's why I say it's about how much your working. Along with all that you got a life, kids, don't have a reliable means of income, or you might do have a stable income, and it's illegal. Its a whole another aspect to being an independent artist aside from the business part. Along with the life that you're living, you know, whatever your situation may be good or bad. You still have to maintain the business aspect, and then market yourself. Also make the right connections, decisions, and etc...."

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