Blue Chip Musicians?

The movement for independence in the music industry is reaching a boiling point


One of the newest platforms in the music industry is “Fringe,” a web based application that allows artists to list their songs or albums as investment opportunities for fans. In return artists offer up a percentage of their stream revenue for songs that were invested in over the course of a contracted amount of time. Record labels are known to deceive and pressure their artists for every penny possible, so artists’ push for independence is no surprise. 

“If the contract more than two pages, it’s a bad sign, I was convinced it was fine, it’s my damn time,” rapper Little Sims said, referencing her experience feeling pressured into an agreement by a record label. Another  notable release from the group BROCKHAMPTON was 35 minutes, exactly enough time to fulfill their legal obligations under the contract they signed with RCA Records. 

“Fringe” is offering a new and unique way to help artists stay independent from labels while still receiving financial and social benefits.

Although, “Fringe” has some drawbacks. The  service has been in development and available for use since the beginning of 2022 but has begun to gain popularity only recently. Many artists are signing up to find investors, and more people are starting to invest. However, the investments are not in the artist despite Fringe’s description. Instead the investments are in specific songs or albums of the artist choosing, making the return of the investment dependent on the performance of what is already released, not what comes next. 

Curiosity brought me to purchase a share in a new Single by Wake the Wild, which cost me 21 dollars including Fringe’s one dollar fee. The revenue share starts on April 30, and over the following month I’m going to track the shares progress and see what the short term return is like. Fringe could be the way to help artists stay independent without sacrificing growth, or it may be another gimmicky attempt at punching up in the music industry.