The reason why Taylor Swift can pull her music from Spotify and potentially make more money than ever, while at the same time getting her fans to admire the stand she’s making against a major company, is because her fans already exist. And not only do they exist, but they exist in the millions. If she pulls her music from Spotify, her fans will just buy her album elsewhere. At the same time, she’ll generate an even more loyal following for her brave stance against such a major player in the streaming world. It’s a win-win for her.
For an independent artist, pulling your music from Spotify won’t rally anyone behind you, it’ll just make you less visible. It’s important to remember that the reason it seems like every move a major label artist makes brings them more respect from their fans is because their fans are already watching their every move. Without that massive, intense fan base, it doesn’t matter how passionate you are about recreating those tactics, they simply won’t be the same.
One major advantage that label artists have is that they usually have a good chunk of money backing their efforts. When money is less of a concern, you can pull off a lot more stunts. Suddenly doing things like an international tour or pouring $10,000 into a video is more viable. You can put out ads or run contests to garner social media fans, get more people out to your shows, and potentially increase sales. You can hire the best photographers to shoot your band photos and throw a secret rooftop party for 25 of your closest friends. But when you’re a DIY artist, you don’t have that kind of money to play around with, and you can’t expect to promote yourself in the same ways. You may not be able to sponsor your Facebook posts for six months straight, and your music probably won’t be chosen for Jennifer Lawrence’s next film. But just because you don’t have the same kind of money that a label artist might doesn’t mean you’re at a disadvantage, it just means you have to be more careful and creative in your approach. In fact, doing so is actually to your advantage.