Is this a golden age for indie music creators?
Technological advances have leveled the playing field between studio singers and those working without a support system.
No label? No problem. Just fire up YouTube or upload your song to one of several audio platforms.
Hit-makers like Tim Pool and Tom MacDonald routinely prove indie artists can stand toe-to-toe with musicians backed by powerful networks. These stars have topped the music charts alongside mega-stars like Taylor Swift and Lizzo, and they did it without labels, network machinery or other studio-backed frills.
Now, it’s rappers Forgiato Blow and Jimmy Levy’s turn.
The duo created the incendiary rap “Boycott Target” in recent days, savaging the retail giant for, among other things, supporting groups that prevent parents from learning their children may be transitioning genders.
Their track just hit the top spot on iTunes, overtaking hit makers like Swift, Morgan Wallen, Miley Cyrus and more. It’s an achievement few mainstream stars can boast, and they did it in a matter of days without a boost from the usual media suspects.
Attention all shoppers, there’s a clean up on every aisle. Target is targeting your kids
I just woke up to the news that our song Boycott Target is now the #1 song in ALL GENRES, making it the official #1 song in the USA beating out major artists and their labels. LOOK AT GOD! Thank you to every mom and dad who is standing up for their children. We the people have… pic.twitter.com/9IZKISAfn2
— Jimmy Levy (@JimmyLevyMusic) May 30, 2023
Yes, political firebrands like Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene shared their track on social media, but sites like Rolling Stone and Billboard gave “Boycott Target” no promotional love.
They didn’t need them. The song has already earned the duo north of $1 million, according to The Daily Mail.
Indie artists still have an uphill battle against the entrenched giants, but some have sizable weapons at their side. Pool’s dynamic podcast and provocative banter created a fan base eager to devour any new product he delivers.
That meant Pool’s song “Only Ever Wanted” became an instant hit last year.
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McDonald repeatedly crushes the pop and rap charts with his tracks, powered by powerful videos and his willingness to speak uncomfortable truths about race, media and politics.
For Forgiato Blow and Jimmy Levy, they benefited from a groundswell of anger against Target, which sent the company’s financial portrait into a tailspin.
The tech landscape may not take these insurgent uprisings without a fight. The indie music platform Bandcamp booted both Pool and Five Times August off its platform without warning or reason.
Both defy conventional (read progressive) narratives, the most likely reason for the banishment.
YouTube routinely restricts right-leaning content for spurious reasons. Its war against Prager U, denied its ability to monetize G-rated content, is a prime example.
The “Boycott Target” music video has earned under 300,000 views in just a few days but has millions of views on freedom-friendlier Twitter.
For now, iTunes is letting Forgiato Blow and Jimmy Levy have their say … and watching as they outsell music’s biggest stars.