How Madison Rose Is Breaking Ground for Independent Pop Stars

Brooklyn-based Pop artist Madison Rose is helping to pave the way for independent artists looking to build sustainable music careers.

How Madison Rose Is Breaking Ground for Independent Pop Stars
Alejandra Arevalo
Alejandra Arevalo
February 27, 20234 min read
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From moving across the country in search of a career break to taking charge of her music releases, Madison Rose is no stranger to making bold moves to achieve her career goals.

Rose left her native Ohio for Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment at the age of 11. While she envisioned becoming an actress, she always saw herself as a multifaceted artist with a passion for costumes, makeup, and music. However, it wasn’t until she took her first songwriting class at 15 that she found the confidence to pursue music as a career.

“It took me a long time to realize that the reason why it took me forever to feel like I even had a place in music is that there wasn’t proper visibility and knowledge of Black Pop Stars.”

She made her debut in 2018 with the single “DIAMONDS,” which has 345K+ Spotify streams and earned her a feature in Billboard magazine. Her viral moment came with the release of “ICONIC” in 2021 when TikTok influencers like @the.navarose (5.8M followers) and @arthurosin (1M followers) used the song in their videos. The track was soon adopted by the drag community and used in videos showing off their outfits, performances, and unapologetic personalities.

Rose has found TikTok to be a liberating space to express herself and find an audience that cares about her even beyond social media.

“I made this video that was like, anybody who makes fun of my wigs clearly has never stan an up-and-coming Pop star before. […] Four days after that video came out someone came up to me at a show and was like, I came here because of your wig video. I had never heard any of your music, but now I'm a stan.”

As an independent artist, Rose has to manage all aspects of her musical career, from social media marketing to budget planning.

“The con [of being an independent artist] is how the fuck am I gonna pay for all this? Especially with my specific branding, it's not exactly minimal. So it's like, okay, how do you fake the fun fantasy of a Pop star when you barely have two fucking nickels.”

Rose had two label deals fall through, but that hasn’t stopped her from finding ways to make her musical vision a reality. She recently got funding from beatBread, a music funding platform giving financial support to promising independent artists.

According to beatBread's Eric Palumbo, "Madison represents the exact type of artist beatBread has set out to empower; one with the drive, the mindset, and the talent to grow her career on her own terms. We provide the funding and get out of the way so artists like Madison can stay true to themselves and their vision. It's been great watching Madison grow her career without having to give up ownership or control of her music."

beatBread analyzes artists’ analytics to predict their future earnings and then make them a funding offer. Artists then have the freedom to spend their money as they want and get a buyout clause in case they get a label deal before paying off their beatBread advance.

“I believe in a world where what beatBread is doing is gonna shift how labels do things and where everyone's gonna be able to coexist. Labels are gonna be like, 'Oh, we actually can't give slave contracts anymore.'”

While the lack of resources as an independent artist is frustrating, Rose enjoys the freedom she has to lead her career in whatever direction she desires.

“The pro [of being an independent artist] is that you're gonna learn how to take control of your narrative. I know exactly how I want things to run. And so there's not gonna be a weird power dynamic with me when I get a team because they're not doing me any favors. You work for me. I have built this empire, and you're gonna help support it. But also, I worked hard doing every job under the sun for career, so I know how hard you’re working and I respect you just as much because I know the basic ins and outs of pretty much every career in music business.”

Rose is starting this year strong with a full vision for an upcoming album that speaks to her identity, and we can't wait to follow her journey as her album racks up playlists, streams, TikTok videos, and love from her fans.

“TECHNICOLOR and my next album coming out are meant to unite marginalized communities in the way that, like, I had to unite it within myself. I had to unite my intersections of being a Black, queer, woman. I wanna do the fucking stadium tour. This current album and the next are so great, they need to be in arenas, so we gotta figure it out how that's gonna happen. But more importantly, it's for the people. It's for the community, it's for all of my cultures.”