December 27, 2012

Is the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) Important to the Indie Music Makers and Organizations?


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Tags: advice artist associations indie industry RIAA

As we know, the music industry is full of associations such as the RIAA, BMI and other associations that help artist, labels, publisher, composers and promoters to lead successful careers in music. These associations create opportunities for its members to access resources, databases and major music organizations, which give members a competitive edge over non-members. Traditionally these associations cater to those who can consistently pay membership fees. Considering that many Indie Organizations lack funding, how can Indie organizations and musicians benefit from memberships? Glad you asked! The question I have is, “how important are these associations are to Indie Music Makers and Organizations?

Most Indie Music Organizations prefer to stay unattached from the way the Major Music Organizations do business. In other words Indie Artist and Producers may not prefer the business ethic of Major Music Organizations. An association such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is a hub that connects those who pursue music careers to others in the industry.

Lets take a look at what the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) offers it’s members. According to the RIAA’s website they are a trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members are the music labels that comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States (

Most Indie Music Organizations produce less musical pieces than the RIAA’s average member so one would consider that their services might not fit with an Indie Music Organization. The average member on the RIAA would only consider servicing an Indie Music Organization if they were putting out a certain numbers. According to Universal Music Group, an Indie Music Organization must already have a major following in their region before they will offer a distribution contract (Contractual Knowledge 2010).

Although many of the RIAA services may not cater to the Indie Music Organization, the information provided can greatly improve success. The variety of statistics and connections available to members will put a competitive edge on the Indie Music Organization. Also having access to a database full of research and resource is something that any musician or music organization can benefit from. I would definitely encourage any Indie Music Organization to consider becoming members of various music associations after carefully evaluating their perspective businesses.


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