The Independent Spirit

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

As June wraps up, New York City continues to celebrate its second annual New York Music Month, a program built by the office of Mayor de Blasio to highlight New York’s music & nightlife culture. Last week featured the independent music scene with Indie Week culminating in the A2IM Libera Awards Show.

I ended up staying longer than expected at Cannes Lions (hello to all my new friends from the south of France!) so I missed the awards show & most of the festivities, but I got the debrief. I always like shining a spotlight on the indie scene. Last year, it was reported that the indie label market share amounted to over a third of the global recorded music market. Independent music and the DIY scene is essential to the progression of culture. Those who throw away the tether to what is normal or expected push creativity and innovation, making the world a better place for everyone.

Here at Nue, we have been an independent boutique for 10 plus years now. Being independent has its advantages. It has taught us how to be entrepreneurial, crafty, savvy, nimble and keeps us constantly on our toes. Those traits can be especially useful in a business-like music where it is fast-paced, dynamic and constantly fluid. Now as the industry starts to reinvigorate itself with overall revenue on the rise across the board, I get excited to think what we can do with more resources. Whatever happens, I know that we’ll be keeping the spirit and hustle that we embody as an independent shop. That is just ingrained in our DNA.

I look at the music business as a leader in media trends and culture. One of my favorite sayings is “if you want to know what’s hot in culture, look at what music the kids are listening”. That captures a fundamental truth. Music travels faster than any other medium. And as the dynamics in the music industry shift, more power is coming into the hands of the artists, which provides an exciting opportunity for artists and savvy managers. Technology broke—and continues to break—the status quo when it comes to working independently. More artists can control their careers and not be beholden to the gatekeepers like terrestrial radio and MTV. In the past, that was less of an option. There are more ways to build relationships with fans other than mainstream options. Now, if you are ready to play outside the boundaries of the traditional label, you can make more meaningful relationships with your fans and disrupt the system.

Salute to all the indies both in music and as entrepreneurs: Fighting the good fight, taking chances big companies can’t or won’t, leading the charge on the front lines, and upending the status quo with your vision and drive.

Ps. Speaking of the spirit of the indies, one of the last great indepenent NYC music festivals is taking place this weekend & is most definitely the place to be. The 8th annual Full Moon Festival is on Saturday at The Knockdown Center and concepted & produced by my friends at Matte Projects. Some tickets are still on sale & you can get them here. Come kick it. It’s always super well done, a lot of fun and a great mix of a chic crowd of my favorite Brooklyn bohemians. In the meantime, check out their lineup promo video for a taste of what the festival has in store.

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Also published on Medium.