Inside INDIE: 27/03/2021

Welcome to our inaugural Inside Indie!

We’re excited to launch this new section, which will offer news snippets from around the UAE and world that are relevant to indie creators as well as snapshots of upcoming events (whenever possible)!

So, without any further ado, here is this week’s roundup:


Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai have announced similar initiatives aimed at further developing the arts and culture sector within each Emirate. In fact, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, recently confirmed that the ministry’s putting final touches on an ambitious 10-year plan aimed at increasing the contribution of the cultural sector to the UAE’s gross domestic products (GDP). This includes launching 40 initiatives in 2021 alone!

In Abu Dhabi, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announced the launch of the Creative Visa as part of the government’s Thrive in Abu Dhabi programme, which offers long-term visas for creatives, professionals, sports stars, educators, scientists, healthcare specialists, engineers, students, and investors.

The Creative Visa is being offered for those within a diverse range of fields, including heritage, performing arts, visual arts, design and crafts, gaming and e-sports, media and publishing. Check out TCA Abu Dhabi’s website to find out more!

Meanwhile, Dubai is offering its version of a 10-year cultural visa, which part of an initiative that was announced in 2019. The long-term cultural visa are granted to accomplished creative talent in the fields of literature, culture, fine arts, performing arts, and design, as well as those in the heritage, history and knowledge-related sectors as well as intellectual and creative industries.

The government is currently capping the number of accepted applicants to 1,000 international creators and artists. Interestingly, the applicants must pledge to contribute 36 hours of service to the community in the UAE, mainly in creative or artistic capacities, to be considered eligible for the visa programme.


This is a first anywhere. Soundcloud has introduced a new revenue model specifically for indie artists and creators on its platform, dubbed “fan-powered royalites”. The payouts will be determined directly by an artist’s fan base, i.e. each listener’s subscription or advertising revenue is distributed among the artists that they listen to, rather than their plays being pooled – benefiting rising independent artists with loyal fans. In plain English, the more time your dedicated fans listen to your music, the more you get paid!

It will look something like this:

Soundcloud is implementing this scheme directly with the 100,000 artists it currently monetizes through its SoundCloud Premier, Repost by SoundCloud, and Repost Select tiers. These services make SoundCloud the distributor of the music, either only on SoundCloud or on other music streaming services, too. The first amounts are expected to be released on April 30, 2021.

Want to learn more and see how to enroll in the programme? Visit

We’ll keep you updated as more information about these intiatives come out – as well as other exciting indie-related news, so make sure to follow our blog and Instagram account!

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