Published on February 3rd, 2010 | by FuNkwoRm


Selling Music Without a Major Label

In a recent article on Tunecore’s blog, founder Jeff Price made the point that you could not trust Neilsen Soundscan reports on the number of independent releases and how successful they were. The major and most obvious reason for this is because a huge percentage of independent releases are not registered with Soundscan, making them impossible to track. The article was a direct response to Tommy Boy Records CEO, Tommy Silverman’s, recent statement that breaking music from do-it-yourself artists required luck and/or the kind of money a label could provide to be successful. I had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Silverman at length about independent music during his New Music Seminar.  You can see the video interview in it’s entirety here.

Jeff posted the number of tracks sold by some of Tunecore’s most successful independent artists to further prove his point.

Kelly sold over 2,000,000 million tracks
William Fitzsimmons sold over 150,000 tracks
Soulja Boy sold over 200,000 tracks
Boyce Avenue sold over 1,200,000 tracks
Ron Pope sold over 250,000 tracks
Colt Ford sold over 300,000 tracks
Secondhand Serenade sold over 250,000 tracks
Tapes N Tapes sold over 200,000 tracks
Nevershoutnever sold over 1,000,000 tracks
Drake sold over 300,000 tracks
MGMT sold over 225,000 tracks
The Medic Droid sold over 150,00 tracks
Nickasaur sold over 150,000 tracks
Harry and the Potters sold over 200,000 tracks

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About the Author

FuNkwoRm is a music producer, creator of the hip hop comic strip, Rap Ratz, and has a dope backspin.

  • Wow those sales numbers are very impressive.

    Shows that a label is not the be all and end all. I can’t tell you how many emails I get asking “How can I get signed?”

    My answer is not to try. But if a label comes to you then it might be time to do some business.

    – Chris

  • Cris,

    I couldn’t agree more about not trying…. I’ve seen many artist bankrupt themselves quickly by signing with a label. I think that in SOME cases it can be beneficial if you know what you’re signing and truly trust your money grubbing lawyer. However, the success rate is rare and sometimes short lived.

    Indie artist are becoming real key players in the game finally. Even big names are jumping on board with the new trends.

    Bravo for sharing this article/interview….and for handing out statistics!

  • What I want to know is what plans did those artists use to garner such impressive sales. If more people knew how to work their music
    [marketing and promotions] the way William Fitzsimmons [who] sold over 150,000 tracks then more people wouldn’t be squandering themselves into oblvion trying to sign to a label. KNOWLEDGE REINS SUPREME OVER NEARLY EVERYTHING!

  • The Group C4

    Those are some crazy numbers to be doing it independantly

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