I feel a cultural movement brewing. For a few decades now, all of our music, books, and movies have been controlled by corporations more concerned with marketing and bottom-line profits than quality. Much of my generation was locked out, not because we didn’t have the talent but because we didn’t fit into tidy marketing pigeonholes, and we languished for years, wondering if we’d ever get our shot. Meanwhile, a new generation moved onto the scene, and many of us felt as if our moment had passed. All our study, all our hours of practice, all of our passion, all of our dreams seemed wasted. Some grew bitter and drifted away. Some became consumed by demons and succumbed to addictions. Some trudged onward. Some of us did all of the above.
But something amazing happened with the burgeoning of the internet and computers. Suddenly, we no longer needed New York and LA to pursue our dreams. Suddenly, the corporations could no longer lock us out because as long as we had internet access we had a potential audience of millions, so many of us started our own labels, presses, and production companies. Sure, at first we struggled. As we wobbled on unsure legs, our early efforts might have seemed like bad parodies, but we learned from our mistakes and pressed onward. We polished our chops, grew our networks, and expanded our base. We survived our early stumbles and the Great Recession. We banded together. On our own, we created new channels to reach more people and studied online marketing trends. We learned and grew and shared information and encouraged each other. Most of all, we survived.
Today, the movement of independents gathers momentum every day. We’ve gained market share and established our reputations as serious artists in our given fields. Through efforts of arduous determination, we’ve moved the mountain enough to be noticed by major media outlets as a legitimate force. The amazing thing about this movement is that most of us are over the age of 35, and we’ve done this while juggling jobs and families and lives. We’ve endured sacrifices corporate executives can never fathom, just to pursue our passion, just to chase our dream, and while we may not be there yet, we’re making great strides to that destination.
The cultural movement of the independents is upon us, and we’re here for the long-haul.