Indie Rising Article for Christian Musician Magazine

Keith and Sue here from “The Indie Mechanics.” Welcome to our new column! As you may know, Keith has been writing his “Indie No Spin Zone” articles for this fine magazine for years. Recently, we teamed up to produce a podcast called, “The Indie Mechanics.” Check it out at: indiemechanics.com. The podcast is about 1 hour in length, covers topics pertinent to the Christian musician, songwriter, performing artist, and is updated weekly. Now, we’re bringing the podcast to print so we can share our experience and wisdom with you!

Our first article, is titled “Indie Rising,” and unless you have been living under a rock the past few years, you are aware of radical changes in the music industry and how it has affected artists and those who work with and for them. We hope our thoughts on the topic will turn the lights on even brighter!

Just what does it mean today to be an Independent Musician/Artist? Let’s break this down and define the title a bit to see where it fits in this vast arena that we called the Music Biz.

To begin with, the word independent, in regards to a musician and their career, used to set them apart as a ‘lone ranger’ without the help of a label. The dictionary brings forth the profound offering that an individual/business is not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction. So with that being said, independent has grown not because of being alone, but by being independent together with other individuals and companies and sharing authority and jurisdiction.

To have the label of being ‘on a label’ was thought to be the nirvana on an individual’s career path. Times sure have changed. This very statement has actually flip flopped. With the presence and ability to speak to the world through social networking, the fans/friends/followers are literally at the fingertips of the artists. Many times without spending a dime of their own monies. A label was a vital piece of the puzzle that was a prerequisite in past years to fulfill that. Along with that need, came the relentless quest for financial help in getting the artist out there on the road and in front of fans. With current philanthropy based services, such as Kick Starter and Indie GoGo available through the internet, artists are literally able to raise monies to fund their ventures without the spin of a rolodex on a shiny wood desk filled to the brim with industry contacts.

Independent allows artists to create and manage their creations. As any individual who has known these ‘creative types’, the ultimate is seeing their art put out into the public eye and ears as it was meant to be seen and heard. They are the owners, not dependents waiting for the time to come that the recoupment will allow them full-rein.

Now don’t get us wrong. There is a place and time for everything under the sun. We at IndieMechanics, are not label negative, we are just artist friendly. Without labels we wouldn’t have had the pleasure of hearing and seeing the Beatles strut their stuff on stages across the nation, or others bringing thousands to a deafening roar praising the name of God in arenas and events, or even the hundreds that were found through A&R, developed and brought to radio to fill the airwaves with talent that has been insurmountable at times.

As the clock ticks each and every moment, the melding of these two roads are taking place even as we speak. The roads that are available for independent artists have quadrupled. Some artists, such as Radiohead and Switchfoot have even chosen to not renew their label contracts to enter on these roads, along the unsigned.

Is there truly a trick or a magic direction that will take an artist to the places where they want to go? Not really. Some, however get sidetracked wasting time and resources looking for the path of least resistance. Don’t do that! Some focus their concerts to those in back of the stage instead of those in front. Don’t do that! It’s not indie rocket science folks! It all comes back to the basics, over and over again. The difference between a professional and an amateur is definition and consistency. Know who you are, where you want to go, research and study those who are currently where you want to be, believe in God and what He has you doing, and by all means, keep doing. You don’t win a race by stopping before the finish line!

Being thematic in nature and creative is the gist of this century. Be uniquely you! Be high tech, high touch, at the same time. Use the tools available to you, but do not neglect live, in person, face to face engagement. Enlist the services of a tried and true consultant, construct the blueprints of your plan and then enter the world of successful independent artists as they too, climb with you to together. What a great time for Independent artists! Be independent, together!

We look forward to sharing more info with you in each issue of Christian Musician Magazine! Also, we will be live in person, teaching seminars at all of the Christian Musician Summits around the USA this summer and fall. Check them out at: christianmusiciansummit.com. Hope to see you at an event soon! If you have any questions or ideas for future articles, let us know! We can be reached at: sue@indiemechanics.com or keith@indiemechanics.com

Creatively His, and Keep up the excellent Faith-Work!

Keith and Sue
The Indie Mechanics

Keith Mohr and Sue Ross-Mohr have years of experience serving independent Christian artists, musicians and songwriters. Keith founded IndieHeaven in 2002, the leading portal for Christian independent music. Sue Ross-Mohr founded The Inner Vizion in 2003, a creative promotions /marketing/ consulting service to individuals and companies worldwide.

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