Too many young music producers and performers think being 'signed' is the goal.

To get signed you have to work like a demon to make incredible music, get noticed, build an audience and demonstrate unstoppable momentum. That's all good of course. Everything meaningful in life takes commitment and endeavour. The problem comes when, having achieved that goal of 'being signed', the artist think they've earned a rest, someone else is in charge now and the hard work and determination that got them there suddenly disappears.

Imagine if Raye had just accepted being signed as the goal? Polydor only saw her as a performer, happy for her to collab on dozens of dance hits, but didn't believe in her debut album. It was her grit and determination to be taken seriously as an artist, that led Raye to break free from Polydor, release the album independently and look what has followed! Six Brit awards including Artist of the Year and Album of the Year!

This is a milestone moment for music because the biggest ever winner at the Brits, which is a ceremony organised by the major label backed BPI (British Phonographic Industry), is an independent artist! She follows in the footsteps of other British artists successful on independent labels, in particular Adele, but this feels different. Raye isn't released by the mighty XL Recordings but just by herself, working with her team and a distributor in LA called Human Re Sources.

As the head of Human Re Sources J Erving told Music Business Worldwide (MBW) last year “She’s directing her videos, she’s editing her videos, she’s overseeing all of the creative associated with her live shows. And for us, it wasn’t, ‘Go and give us a song that sounds like this’; we wanted a song that sounds like a RAYE song. The biggest and most important thing we could do is get out of her way and support her.” This is a true DIY Artist success story.

Raye's success comes at the same time Spotify announced that 50% of all the money paid out for music last year was to the independent sector of labels and DIY artists. The power, influence and market share of the traditional big three music corporations Universal Music, Sony Music Entertainment & Warner Music is decreasing - even as their revenues increase.

This isn't all good news for independent artists; one of the reasons for increased market share is the sheer weight of independent releases, with on average 100,000 tracks uploaded to digital services every day. Independent artists will always have to work harder to build genuine fanbases driven by meaningful and authentic songwriting & production. But the opportunities are there for real audience connections, impactful collaborations with a global footprint and the revenue and awards that can follow when it all comes together.

Our Principal 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Anthony Hamer-Hodges spoke to ITV News last night about Raye's triumph and the grit and determination it takes to succeed!