Well not to say its something that is going to away, but i think its time to use a new term. I have seen this mentioned on Facebook and it is a good point.
The term,'Unsigned' is used when a band or artist is not signed to major record label. Now there have been independent labels for many years, other than the major labels. But over the last few years, the big record label towers have been tumbling, since the digital age arose although in some cases, their own fault.
That is what the word, unsigned, means, but now things are changing and more and more individuals are going it alone. Some have success with an album or song and gain and audiences and some struggle, its always the way
Many that go it alone are known as ' Independent' artists, who do not want to get signed by a big label due to the politics of it all and tied in to something simular to mobile contract( If you want to get out if it, you can't). Perfect example is Electro Pioneer, Lee Negin. He gained fame in the earlier 80s, when the music world was much different and you had many other formats as well, what are known as ' Hard Copies' Vinyl and tapes at that time. He travelled the world with what he released at the time and his phone did not stop ringing. I found this out when i interviewed Lee in 2011. He mentioned that A&R people were ringing up, trying to grab his attention. The only problem is if you do not make hit after hit after hit after hit, they do not want to know...so he went solo, although his main job is teaching music.
Another example is Swamp Blues collective, Rattlin Bone, who have a fine album out for the past year, Life and Death of. They gig throughout the year, have their own label, Flamin Hearts U.K and the music production, is second to none....you have just got to have strategy in place
Unsigned may still be used but as Wily Bo Walker put it. its sound belittiling for artists. Unsigned is not a bad thing, but the meaning behind it slowing disappearing
Here's to, the 'Independent artist'