Research Outline

Independent Pop Music Artist


To identify what problems independent pop music artists encounter when starting up, with a focus on either what customers need and cannot find elsewhere or highlighting key reasons why a music artist/business needs to exist.
This will be used for a (music) business plan.

Early Findings

Key Issue: A Need for Diversity, Representation, and Inclusion

  • 42% of all artists are from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups".
  • "83% of millennials are more actively engaged when they believe their company fosters an inclusive culture."
  • Diversity and inclusion became an important theme in 2019 and is “a huge opportunity for the music industry”.
  • "There aren’t enough role models on stage or behind the scenes from other underrepresented and traditionally oppressed groups".
  • Nationalism and isolationism seem to be spreading and people with those views often also have "racist, sexist and other bigoted views". Due to this, people from "marginalized groups experience prejudice, feel unsafe or experience direct physical violence as a result of their appearance, background, or lifestyle."
  • “Music’s ability to communicate messages and address issues is unparalleled. Role models have a big impact on improving diversity. If people see themselves represented at every level of the industry it sends a really powerful message that careers in the industry are achievable.”
  • "Music brings people of different demographics and perspectives together and when people share a common interest then they are more likely to have empathy for each other’s perspectives, which is what tolerance, respect and inclusivity are all about.
  • The music industry is also often white male-dominated, as in most sectors.
  • In a UK study of the music industry found that BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) representation was 17.8% and 80.6% white.

Problems of Music Professionals in General

  • According to a report, “64% of musicians and 70% of industry professionals,” were unable to afford to pursue a career in music do to “insufficient earnings.”
  • 83% of industry professionals reported that more than three-quarters of their company’s leadership positions were held by white people.”


  • For this hour, we primarily focused research around problems worth solving, in terms of the questions in the attached business plan, as this appeared to be the main topic of interest. However, if more general problems are preferred in terms of general struggles and challenges that independent music artists face, please let us know in the comment section below.
  • We focused on research around highlighting a key reason why a music artist/business needs to exist, as it pertained to the questions in the business plan. We tried tailoring the research around the messaging of The Sultan website. In particular, how "music should be a positive power in this world, a force to connect people of all walks of life, bringing them together in peace and harmony as well as "standing for humanity, love, the universe, and peace and bringing people and cultures together."
  • The need for diversity, representation, and inclusion in the music industry appears to be a problem worth solving, and likely one that The Sultan can address.
  • In the course of our research, we also found insights on independent music business models as well as insights on the future of independent musicians, which might also be of interest.
  • Feel free to add or select an option below.