Here is our list of 5 artists you didn't know were independent.
5. Steve Aoki - Dim Mak Records
Electro house musician/ record producer/music executive Steve Aoki is the owner of Dim Mak Records. Through his label, Aoki has released several Billboard-charting studio albums such as Wonderland, which was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Dance/Electronica Album; Neon Future I and Neon Future II. The fun-loving DJ constantly collaborates with producers and vocalists spanning various genres.
Considered the highest grossing dance artist in North America from tours, he still manages to work on ventures such as his documentary I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, movie soundtracks, video games, and founded a non-profit, the Steve Aoki Charitable Fund.
4. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - Macklemore, LLC
This duo not only have the wit, beats ,and rhymes but they also have business savvy.
Although independent, Macklemore pays Warner Bros. Records a nominal percentage of sales to use the radio promotion department to push his singles. That little nudge helped singles such "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us" skyrocket to #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. With great singles, comes the accolades. The pair won seven Grammy Awards. Their second album, This Unruly Mess I've Made charted at number 4 on the Billboard 200.
3. Chance The Rapper - No Label
Chance the Rapper shows us what some talent, a streaming service, and equally gifted friends can do for an indie artist. And get this: he refuses to sign to a record label. Chicago-based indie rapper’s claim to fame was a free DatPiff 2013 release of his mixtape “Acid Rap which got downloaded more than 1million times. Fast forward to 2016 with the Apple Music exclusive release of Coloring Book. In the first week, the mixtape was streamed over 57.3 million times, which is an equivalent to 38,000 units sold. The album gain so much popularity that it debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200. That’s solely from streams!
2.Rihanna - Westbury Road Entertainment
After releasing 7 albums with Def Jam, Rihanna made major boss moves and launched her own label, Westbury Road Entertainment in 2015. Roc Nation handles her management and distribution portion of her music. Through this venture, she released her now platinum album, Anti, established a successful Puma collaboration, and launched a non-profit organization, Clara Lionel Foundation.
To add to the multi-platinum star’s business ventures, she is one of the co-owners of Tidal, she opened a stylist agency, Fr8me; and a photo agency, "A Dog Ate My Homework.
1. Beyoncé - Parkwood Entertainment
In 2008, Beyoncé founded Parkwood Entertainment. The New York-based company (reports state that the enterprise is moving to Los Angeles) has created a host of successful projects, such as films like Cadillac Records and Obsessed; albums such as 4, and surprise visual albums, Beyoncé and Lemonade (all three albums distributed by Columbia records).
Most recently, she signed 3 acts to her label. Additionally, this daring diva made another smart move: In October 2014, she partnered with British-based fashion company Topshop to form Parkwood Topshop Athletic Ltd. - i.e. Ivy Park.
"I started my own company when I decided to manage myself,” she shared during a private screening of “Beyonce” in 2013. “It was important that I didn't go to some big management company, I felt like I wanted to follow the footsteps of Madonna and be a powerhouse and have my own empire, and show other women when you get to this point in your career you don't have to go sign with someone else and share your money and your success—you do it yourself,”she said.