Being successful in the music industry is no easy task. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and talent. It can be even more challenging for independent artists to make a name for themselves.

Although, the success of independent artists has been on the rise in recent years. The music industry has changed dramatically.

However, many artists have found success without the help of a major record label. This article will explore the 20 most successful independent artists and their impressive accomplishments!

Let’s get started!

1 – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is one of the most successful independent artists globally.

Swift began her career by signing with a small independent label, Big Machine Records. She released her first album in 2006.

Since then, she has sold over 50 million albums and 150 million singles worldwide. Swift has won multiple Grammy Awards and is the only artist in history to have three albums selling over one million copies in their first week of release.

In 2014, she left Big Machine Records and signed with a new label, Republic Records. She has continued to see success, with her most recent album, “Reputation,” selling over two million copies in its first week.

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Swift’s success is a testament that independent artists can achieve great things if they have the talent and dedication to do so.

If you are an aspiring artist, take Swift’s advice and never give up on your dreams! You never know where they might take you.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$400 MillionBig Machine Records“Reputation”

2 – Drake

A second successful independent artist is Drake. He began his career by releasing a series of mixtapes, which led to him signing with Lil Wayne’s record label, Young Money Entertainment.

He released his debut album in 2010 and has since released four more successful albums. His most recent album, “Views”, debuted” number one on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over one million copies in its first week.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$250 MillionYoung Money Entertainment“Views”

3 – Adele

Adele is another success story among the names of top independent artists who began her career without the backing of a major record label.

She released her first album in 2008 and it quickly became a commercial success.

Her second album, “21,” was a more considerable success, selling over 30 million copies worldwide. It won multiple Grammy Awards and is considered one of the greatest albums ever made.

Adele has continued to see success with her most recent album, “25”, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over three million copies in its first week.

Adele’s success is a testament that independent artists can achieve great things if they have the talent and dedication to do so.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$69 MillionN/A“25”

4 – The Beatles

Besides being one of the most successful independent artists in history, the Beatles are one that we can not forget to mention.

A small independent label, EMI, signed them to their first record deal. In 1963, they released their debut album, “Please Please Me.”.

It was an instant success, reaching number one on the UK charts. The Beatles released a series of successful albums, including “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “Abbey Road.”

The Beatles broke up in 1970, but their legacy continued. Their music is still popular today, and their albums continue to sell millions of copies each year.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$1.2 BillionEMI“Abbey Road”
Successful Independent Artists

5 – Garth Brooks

It is undoubtedly true that Garth Brooks is one of the most successful country musicians. The first label he signed with was Capitol Records, an independent label.

Brooks released his debut album in 1989 and it quickly became a commercial success. His second album, “No Fences”, was an even bigger success, selling over 17 million copies worldwide.

Brooks has continued to see success with his most recent album, “The Ultimate Collection”, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over two million copies in its first week.

Brooks has also won multiple Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling artists of all time.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$400 MillionCapitol Records“The Ultimate Collection”

6 – Barbra Streisand

In the history of independent artists, Barbra Streisand has been one of the most successful. After signing with Columbia Records, she began her career as an independent artist.

Her debut album was a commercial success when it was released in 1963. Despite the success of her first album, “The Barbra Streisand Album,” sold more than two million copies worldwide.

Streisand sold over three million copies of her latest album, “Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway,” in its first week. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.

Streisand has also had the honor of winning multiple Grammy Awards.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$400 MillionColumbia Records“Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway”

7 – Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton gives her music career a kickstart by signing with a small independent label, Mercury records. Her success takes a huge hit and becomes one of her life’s most delicate decisions.

She released her debut album in 1967 and it quickly became a commercial success. With over two million copies sold worldwide, her following album, “Hello, I’m Dolly,” became even more successful.

Parton has continued to see success with her most recent album, “Pure & Simple,” which debuted her spot at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$350 MillionMercury Records“Pure & Simple”

8 – Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley is one of the most successful artists. He began his career by signing with a small independent label, Sun Records.

He released his debut album in 1956 and it quickly became a commercial success. His second album, “Elvis,” was an even bigger success, selling over one million copies worldwide.

Presley has continued to see success with his most recent album, “The Wonder of You”, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over two million copies in its first week.

Presley has also won multiple Grammy Awards and is one of the best-selling artists. He has shown that independent artists can have successful careers in the music industry.

If you are an aspiring artist, take Presley’s advice and never give up on your dreams! You never know where they might take you.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$20 MillionSun Records“The Wonder Of You”

9 – Celine Dion

Like other independent artists who came from nothing, Celine Dion started her career with a small independent label known as “Epic records”

The main reason for her massive success in 1992 was her debut album and a second album named “The Colour Of My Love.” And when we say a massive success, we mean an album that sold more than nine million copies all over the world.

Dion has continued to see success with her most recent album, “Encore un Soir,” which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over three million copies in its first week.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$800 MillionEpic Records“Encore un soir”

10 – Elton John

Elton John started working with DJM Records and released his debut album in 1969, It quickly became a commercial success. His second album, “Elton John,” sold over eight million copies around the world.

John has continued to see success with his most recent album, “Wonderful Crazy Night”,” which debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over two million copies in its first week.

John has also won multiple Grammy Awards and is one of the greatest artists of all time.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$500 MillionDJM Records“Wonderful Crazy Night”
elton john

11 – Bob Dylan

Dylan released his debut album in 1962, and it was an immediate commercial success. He skyrocketed his success with his second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan”, selling over two million copies worldwide.

Although, Dylan has continued to boost his success rate with his most recent album, “Fallen Angels”, which debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over eight million copies in its first week.

Dylan also had the honor of winning multiple Grammy Awards

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$800 MillionEpic Records“Encore un soir”

12 – Eminem

While mentioning the successful independent artists, how can we not mention the biggest rap star name, Eminem?

He pursued his career by signing with a small independent label, FBE Records.

He released his debut album in 1996 and it quickly became a commercial success. His second album, “The Slim Shady LP,” was an even bigger success, selling over four million copies worldwide.

Eminem has continued to see success with his most recent album, “The Marshall Mathers LP”, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over two million copies in its first week.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$230 MillionFBE Records“The Marshall Mathers LP”

13 – Wiz Khalifa

If you have ever heard the song “See You Again” that has billions of views on Youtube, then you may definitely know Wiz Khalifa as a legendary musician.

Back at that age, he finds a passion for music which leads him to Rostrum Records.

He released his debut album in 2006 and it quickly became a commercial success. His second album, “Khalifa”, was an even bigger success, selling over two million copies worldwide.

Khalifa raised his successful career with his most recent album, “Rolling Papers”, which debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over one million copies in its first week which is an impressive figure and an outstanding reputation to maintain.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$14 MillionRostrum Records“Rolling Papers”

14 – Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne is another successful independent artist. He began his career after taking inspiration from artists like Pimp Daddy and U.N.L.V and signing with a small independent label, Cash Money Records.

He released his debut album in 1999 and it quickly became a commercial success. It was just the start of Lil Wayne’s Stardom.

His second album, “Tha Carter II,” was a more significant success, selling over two million copies worldwide.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$170 MillionCash Money Records“The Carter II”

15 – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar is a famous music star with an estimated net worth of $75 million. His initial label record was Top Dawg Entertainment.

Kendrick released his debut album in 2010 and it immediately reached the skies of success. His second album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” was an even bigger accomplishment, selling over two million copies worldwide.

Lamar has continued to see achievement with his most recent album, “To Pimp a Butterfly, ” which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over one million copies in its first week.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$75 MillionTop Dawg Entertainment“To Pimp A Butterfly”

16 – Mac Miller

Mac Miller is one of the most successful artists. He began his career by signing with a small independent label, Rostrum Records.

He released his debut album in 2010 and it quickly became a commercial success. His second album, “Watching Movies with the Sound Off”, was a more considerable success, selling over two million copies worldwide.

Miller has continued to see success with his most recent album, “GO: OD AM,” which debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart and sold over one million copies in its first week.

NetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
$9 MillionRostrum Records“GO: OD AM”

Some Other Successful Independent Artists You Probably Don’t Know

NameNetworthFirst Label RecordRecent Album
Childish Gambino$35 MillionGlassnote Records“Awaken, My Love!”
Tyler, The Creator$16 MillionOdd Future Records“Flower Boy”
J. Cole$60 MillionRoc Nation“2014 Forest Hills Drive”
Big Sean$26 MillionGood Music“Dark Sky Paradise”

How Has Technology Changed The Landscape Of Music Distribution And Made It Easier For Indie Artists To Get Their Music Out There?

It used to be that if you wanted to get your music heard by the masses, you needed to sign with a major label and hope they took notice of your talent.

But nowadays, with the internet and social media, it’s easier than ever for independent artists to get their music out there and find an audience.

Platforms like Spotify and Soundcloud have made it possible for anyone with a laptop and an internet connection to reach a global audience.

And while it’s still tough to make a living as an independent artist, many are finding success by selling their music directly to fans through platforms like Bandcamp and Patreon.

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