This instrumental guitarist is one of many independent musicians who are now making a living entirely off of music streaming on Spotify.

The internet has opened up opportunities for people all around the world to get their work out there to millions of people. The autonomy of online services is even allowing independent musicians to live off of their work just from streams online, as is the case with Tennessee-based guitarist Lance Allen.

Spotify spoke to Lance about his success and being able to make a living off of his music without having to rely on anyone else. As a truly independent musician Lance doesn’t use a label, doesn’t have managers of agents, records and releases all of his own music, he doesn’t even tour his music. The music industry is changing, and the artists are taking back control.

Lance had been playing for years with no concern of making it his career as he looked after his family and taught guitar as a profession. He would play the odd wedding and release CDs at his small gigs to anyone who wanted them. In 2013 Lance’s track ‘Kansas Town’ was selected by Spotify to be included in the Acoustic Concentration playlist with over half a million subscribers.

Allen says: “I don’t know how it got on there; I had no experience with Spotify. One of my students came up to me one day and said, ‘Hey, you’re on a Spotify playlist!’ I didn’t think I’d get paid much, but that song started getting hundreds of thousands of streams, and a couple months later I got a  really nice payment from [my distributor].”

All those efforts eventually paid off in June 2017, when he was added to Peaceful Guitar. Allen has since become a recurring presence on Spotify’s official playlists, to the tune of some 20,000,000 streams. “If you’re putting out good content, often, the playlisters are going to see that,” Allen says. “But the first step is getting on a lot of individual playlists, so you that have a better chance of showing up in the Spotify curator’s list of possibilities.”