How Indie Artists Are Turning To Entrepreneurship To Survive

The pandemic made one thing clear to most musicians: streaming services isn’t a means to support them. The average musician’s work is paid less than one month’s rent payment living in New York City, and most artists’ sole source of income is the royalty check from these same streaming services. 

With concerts returning, indie artists have some catching up to do, beginning by implementing music non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, which have proved to be a powerful new weapon for both the artist, and finally, their fans.

Despite the recent NFT market crash, this technology still serves to be a powerful instrument for indie musicians who don’t always have the same luxuries and resources available to them by mainstream platforms like Spotify and Apple Music for big name artists.

Indie Artists Looking To Distribute Their Music

When musicians and producers took to social media to keep their career alive, hosting virtual concerts and regular content drops, it wasn’t long before platforms like Facebook and Spotify began implementing methods to monetize these virtual events.

“But, as one artist after another found out, their annual income from these streaming services was in the very, very low three-figures,” notes Swedish DJ and producer Bjorn Niclas. 

Niclas, a music industry veteran, is also the CEO and founder of ROCKI, one of the industry’s first hybrid user-centric blockchain music streaming platforms aimed at independent artists and their fans, with an NFT ecosystem built into it. The platform recently partnered with Binance Smart Chain, offering the music streaming communities the first alternative for a streaming and NFT platform all in one.


As the pandemic has continued to linger on, it became increasingly apparent that independent artists need to get creative in how they will create an income.

Looking Beyond The Platforms

While it may seem readily apparent that the almost saturated digital streaming market consists of many platforms that offer essentially the same mission statement, it’s important to evaluate each and every platform’s mission in what it specifically offers to its artists versus consumer fan base. 

According to the Ivars Academy in the UK, eight out of ten musicians earn less than $300 a year from all the major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Despite our entrance into today’s newest digital technologies, the music industry is still very much behind, controlled from the top, at the expense of indie artists, and in favor of big corporations and platforms who decide which artist gets signed, promoted, and pushed into people’s Spotify suggestions.

These big platforms, which almost invariably reward clicks on the tracks, often neglect the “true fandom” experience. Allowing new waves by companies like ROCKI to come into the industry and throw a life jacket out there by all those artists that have essentially, according to Niclas, “been abandoned by the music industry.” 

“We see ourselves not as competitors to these streaming platforms, but as an alternative, allowing for money to go back into the pockets of the independent artist, and a return on investment for listeners who support them,” Niclas emphasized.

Less And Less Need For The Middle Man

“There is less and less need for intermediate players,” Niclas told CNBC. “When you can use technology to bridge the gap between artists and fans, that just means that instead of using five different organizations to do it, I can just do it myself, for free, and instantly with a global reach.”

In December 2020, a track on ROCKI, was auctioned off as a “Royalty Right NFT” on the platform for a record amount of 40 ETH, or $24,200 USD at the time of the auction.

Following Binance Smart Chain’s announcement that ROCKI would be exclusively building on its blockchain for its its music NFTs and the company’s proprietary Streaming-as-Mining payment system, platforms like ROCKI serve as a leader and an example of how industry-sitting platforms should be operating and treating its artists. 

In order to survive in a contemporary landscape, it’s essential to explore every new platform and technology out there. As for rising independent artists, Niclas advises you to “cultivate your own real fan base with authentic artist-fan relationships. Try minting your first music NFT, get your fans to invest in your royalties on ROCKI, and include them in your musical journey.”

The Tycoon Herald