Independent Music Has Power

Bruno Mars. Taylor Swift. Justin Bieber. Most college students know who these artists are. However, there are many other musicians that people do not know about. These musicians are independent artists and we should support them because they have talent, are not manufactured, and make real music.

Independent artists can freely express their talent and spread their message. These artists can fully develop themselves as they want. Major record label executives can influence the music of a musician and change the standard that the musician would like to have.

Record labels tend to care about the big profits. Independent artists are more authentic and not manufactured by record labels.

Independent labels still receive profit. The Worldwide Independent Network, which represents independent music labels around the world, reports that the independent music industry is worth $5.6 billion and accounts for about 37 percent of label revenue.

“I love to discover new music. So for me, my experiences at these shows, the artists that open for major artists…they become who I look into and explore and then expose to campus,” said Karie Portillo Guerra, an iCLU Radio host and concert junkie.

Many of these musicians start to play in the streets and move their way up. The Los Angeles based independent band “Los 5” began playing on Hollywood Boulevard and has escalated to arenas.

“Los 5″ is a multicultural band representing the countries of Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. The band’s goal is to spread positivity and they make sure to follow through by playing at anti-bullying school rallies since the beginning of their career.

“It’s very simple, out of sight, out of mind. We try to take any opportunity we get, and if we don’t have one we create one…also you gotta be nice,” “Los 5” said in an email interview.

In modern times, we have seen the presence of social media help so many become stars. This platform has also made an impact on the independent music industry, giving artists the opportunity to develop their presence, personality and style.

“Los 5” has gained a strong social media presence with over 21,000 Instagram followers, 10,100 Twitter followers, 11,482 YouTube subscribers, 12,932 Facebook likes, and 151,870 monthly Spotify listeners. Their band’s Snapchat account, #LosSnaps, give fans an insight into the journey of independent artists from road trips to different radio stations across the United States for promotion to home rehearsals for their upcoming shows.

The power of social media became apparent for “Los 5” when the band was nominated for the Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star Competition and music fans voted. Although their fan base, referred to as La Familia, a small fan base, the band was able to win the competition with the most votes, becoming the 2016 Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star. They then received an opportunity to open for the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina alongside popular musical acts.

Social media gives artists an opportunity to reach a worldwide audience and engage with fans while increasing market sales. The WIN report noted that independent music is streamed more than physically bought.

“Following an independent artist and seeing them grow and develop is truly an amazing experience,” Guerra said. “I love independent artists who are just starting out because they are really just putting their heart and soul into everything to make it…you hear the raw authentic lyrics and everything they’ve work in their basements.”

Being independent is not that easy, and “Los 5″ sees success as “consistent, you need persistence and faith…and a pinch of Tinkerbell dust.”

During Guerra’s iCLU radio show, a feature called Artist to Watch promotes one independent artist by playing one of their songs. During the segment she gives some background information, social media handles and upcoming shows.

Cal Lutheran students should explore the music scene. There are independent artists in every song genre and one can easily go to a concert for a small cost. Tickets for their concerts are usually less than signed artists who are escalate to extremely high prices.

A way the campus could support independent music is by having the Cal Lutheran dining facilities play independent music featuring local artists during a designated time period.

“They have no restraints, they are very much true to themselves. They don’t have the pressures of a label telling them what to do, what to wear, what to say, you know on their backs and I think that is so important especially for college students to appreciate,” Guerra said.

Being an independent music fan myself, it is amazing to see an artist grow. There are so many independent artists out there and you are bound to find someone you like.

Paola Ortiz
Featured Writer