Soundcloud had some issues in the middle of July 2017, where they had to let go 40% of their staff without warning, and rumors came about that they were going to shut down because they only had money to last them for 50 days. This created a lot of fear amongst music makers who have created a following on the platform and for music lovers as well.
Chance The Rapper stepped in and stated on Twitter that he was planning to save the music platform that he used to launch his career.
Chance The Rapper is the first artist to win a Grammy without selling physical copies of his album and by pretty much giving away his music for free. His second mixtape Acid Rap 2013, was released on DatPiff and was given away as a free download.
It gained over a million downloads and as usual major label offers followed, which according to him he turned down because he realized his strength was being able to offer his best work to people without any restrictions.
Despite the down talk on how the internet has affected the music industry by lowering the sales of physical CDs, Chance is one of the few music artists who has truly seen the bright side of this Digital era and is taking advantage of it.
Releasing his albums exclusively on Digital Platforms like Apple Music, iTunes, and Amazon without the aid of major label promotion and distribution and still being able to debut on the billboard top 100 due to downloads.
This proves that in today’s music industry, an artist does not necessarily need to use the traditional system that major labels have been stuck in for the past decades. They have shown their inability to conform by the amount of money they pump into promoting and marketing their artists, and how they fail to always see the returns on their investments.
Still unsigned and making major moves with a different approach to projects’ releases, without promotion, but focusing on the most important thing, which a lot of musicians in today’s industry seem to take for granted, which is; is a “core fanbase’’.
Chance has managed to build a cult following around his music majorly through the internet and according to him, makes his income mostly from touring and merchandising plus royalties from digital streaming services.
This boils down to one question; does an artist still need to be signed to a Major label before he/she can have a successful music career?
Are there still gatekeepers in the industry when technology has practically erased the middle man and has made access to music more direct, from artist to fans?
And why do artists like Wale complain so much about being accepted, when he could use this same method for his own career?
Also, why is almost every artist still dependent on a module that might soon be extinct?
Chance The Rapper is a good example of a progressive independent artist who has ignored the middle man and has made use of today’s advancements for his own. His Grammy nomination for album of the year was in the same category as Kanye West’s Life Of Pablo, Drake’s Views, and Dj Khalid’s Major Key, which were all released under major labels who probably spent a fortune on promotion.
The album that eventually won was from an unsigned artist. Now think about that!