Independent labels such as Mad Decent, Fool’s Gold, OWSLA, Stones Throw, and Secretly Canadian have launched their own subscription services. The growing trend was recently covered by The New York Times.
Streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music usually pay a fraction of a cent every time a song is played. This arrangement make sense for mainstream artists who are popular enough to generate substantial revenue from royalties but it’s unfavorable for indies who “cannot rely on the masses to stream [their] music over and over again.”
This has resulted in indie artists and labels launching their own subscription services or partnering with sites like Drip.fm that offer pre-made solutions. For example, fans who sign up for the Mad Decent feed on Drip.fm will pay $10 a month in exchange for albums, singles and special exclusives from the label.
Rather than fight what looks like an inexorable shift in how consumers listen to music, some independent record labels and their artists are embracing the streaming revolution — but on their own terms.