Maybe it's time for a little optimism. A list of artists (with some details) that have done it the old fashion way- starting independent, building a dedicated fanbase, slowly playing better and better venues and selling product all along the way.

I'll start: The Avett Brothers: The Official Avett Brothers Site

Sure they were recently signed to Rick Rubin's branch of Columbia, but that was just the culmination of everything the boys had done before that. And by the time they were signed, they were already selling out larger venues and had 5 self released CD's in their catalog. Basically, they didn't NEED the label (to be financially viable), but it did help take them to the next level.

How did they become successful?

1- They poured a lot of energy into their craft
2- They put on amazing high-energy ACOUSTIC shows from the get-go
3- They connected with their fans- engaged is more like it
4- They kept touring (starting around NC and building out from there).
5- They kept touring regardless of the poor turnouts in new markets
6- They kept touring and those new markets were slowly starting to produce larger crowds
7- They kept touring and old markets were selling out, while new markets saw yet more turnout
8- They kept touring and connecting with fans and selling product
9- They continued to push and hone their craft

10- They ended up with they type of fans that don't want to steal, will travel to see them, and consider the band to be their friends (even though they may have never met).

Now the Avett's sell out almost every show and continue to grow, financially, artistically and in popularity.

And they deserve it.

Next success story?