Independent music now make up over a quarter of music listens on the world’s top streamer, thanks in part to services like RouteNote.

Music streaming has changed the way the music industry is laid out. Open platforms like Spotify give all artists the same global exposure. Thanks to services like RouteNote independent artists and labels of all sizes can send their music to global platforms without even a priced barrier to entry.

Independent music has been on the rise since music streaming services stepped on to the scene. The stranglehold that the 3 major labels had over the industry has slipped, with independent artists having a better chance than ever to make it big on their own terms.

Going independent isn’t just great for artists’ revenue streams, saving them from large label percentages. Artists can upload for free at RouteNote and keep 85% of their earnings, better than the majority of label deals. A small upfront cost offers artists 100% of their earnings. Independent distribution also allows artists to remain completely in control of their music, with full ownership over their rights and career.

In 2023, independent music made up an incredible 26% of Spotify streams. That’s a huge increase from 2017, when independent artists accounted for 13% of Spotify streams. It represents continuous yearly growth, rising from a 25% share in 2022.

These statistics apply purely to DIY artists using distributors like RouteNote and non-merlin labels. It doesn’t account for the big independent labels like Sub Pop, Stones Throw, and Brainfeeder – meaning the real independent share is even bigger!

This statistic doesn’t just represent how independent artists have the same opportunity to get on platforms alongside major artists. It shows the appetite that listeners have for independent, non-major controlled music. Over a quarter of the listens on Spotify’s are for listeners who’ve discovered and love an artist not associated with a major label.

Independent music isn’t beholden to any labels’ idea of what sells and what doesn’t. This liberates artists to create the music that is genuine and unique to them. That then feeds the listeners hungry for fresh and exciting new music, creating a healthier and more interesting industry.

This data is based on Spotify’s annual reports.

Independent artists and labels can upload music to the world’s top streaming services for FREE at RouteNote. Upload unlimited releases and make money with every stream at