Unfortunately, these days our industry has little time for different models, outlooks, and ideas of what it means to be successful. No, in the world of ease of distribution, our industry decided that it should weed out the divergent agents and focus their resources on the disciples of conformity. To add to that, the volume and disparity of Independent agency models and behaviors has allowed them to be overrun by the larger M&A-driven organizations, or direct to consumer models.
All too familiar to the music industry of the 80’s and 90’s, a history-making movement of independence changed how music was distributed. The “indie rock” movement marked the breaking away of musicians from the “Big Four” (Universal, Sony, Warner, and EMI) and other major labels to release on a smaller label, or even put out a self-release. “Indie” also described the small, low-budget labels on which indie rock was released and the do-it-yourself attitude of the bands and artists involved. This partnership of indie labels and bands released music on their own terms, and we just all came along for the ride. All the while they dismantled the record industry and opened distribution up to anyone who had a song to play!
As with the music industry, our industry is ripe for new behaviors in order to thrive. Behaviors that distance the independent agent from consumption or conformity, and gives them the freedom to be whatever they want. Indie agents realize that their individual success is fueled by a “do-it-yourself partnership”. And as with the music industry, indie agents are going to change the existing model. The reports of their death have been greatly exaggerated!