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Funding The Beat: 4 Ideas To Help Music Producers Raise Money For Their Studio

Today is the most exciting time to be a music producer. Although controversy over poor compensation by streaming music services like Spotify, music piracy and the over-saturation of media are valid concerns within the industry, there are countless opportunities for aspiring producers and songwriters. Start turning what your parents, friends or significant others may call your “hopeless hobby” into a real career. Pursuing music production may feel like an abstract journey without any real path or structure, but you can create your own map with the right mentality and the right tools. Since your production studio in your main base, here are some ways to start funding your operation and investing in your craft.

Deprogam & Declutter

The unbelievers (non-supportive parents, friends or significant others) may be the biggest hurdle to making your dream a reality. The first and most essential thing you need to do is deprogram yourself from your internal dialogue concerning music and production. Beliefs such as, “Making it in music is like winning the lottery” or “The only way to work with big name artists is through their manager or publisher” are all meaningless formulaic dogma that only encourages over-thinking, self-doubt and indecision.

There are no rules in this game, so stop wasting time being brainy and analytical. Focus on honing your craft, seeking great mentoring, mastering your tools, networking and… FINISHING projects. We create this industry as we go, so why let the haters hold you back from being imaginative and taking risks? Shake it off, and start creating new beliefs that cultivate a positive outlook on your road to success.

Money Management & Motherboards

We artist types and music heads tend to have a mental block when it comes to associating money with our art. That internal dialogue tells us we need to maintain integrity, be real, shun mainstream, stay true, never sell out, and on and on. The psychology of music as a commodity vs. art form has absolutely zero relevance for you as an up-and-coming producer/songwriter. As long as you're approaching your music with passion and sincerity, the art vs. commerce debate is null and void.

Let your potential fans decide that for you when that time comes. Until you're Calvin Harris making Top 40 hits, you won't have to worry about this fantasy of “selling out,” if that even exists in music anymore. If this passion is anything more than just an experimental hobby for you, then get ready to understand that studio and management is half the journey.

Start replacing those eggshell cartons with Auralex foam kits or build your own DIY room absorption kits. Invest in a Mac or a PC that can handle large audio processing tasks. If you go the PC route, do yourself a huge favor and use a separate computer for Internet use to isolate potential malware from your audio files and applications. Start saving up for real analogue gear, or even just a single piece of it. You can do wonders in the digital domain, and even some top electronic producers work all ITB (in the box), but even having just one piece of good outboard gear like a high quality mic pre-amp can make your music sound unique and give more dimension and weight to your sound.

If your client base is expanding to the point where you can't yet afford to transform from a bedroom into a commercial studio, but need racks of high-end gear, look into other funding options. For example, if you receive regular payments from a structured settlement or annuity, you may be able to sell your future payments to a company such as J.G. Wentworth for a lump sum of cash. You could then use this money to help fund your studio expansion.

Crowdfunding Dreams

Although Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have been the buzz brands of the crowdfunding scene for a while, there are multitude of companies that offer crowdfunding services. ArtistShare and PledgeMusic are several frontiers strictly for music-oriented funding goals.

Before considering crowdfunding, be sure to have a good social following and a hefty marketing campaign planned. Don't forget, like any kind of marketing, it's all in the presentation. Focus on the quality of your video and keep the presentation short and simple. This could also be a great opportunity to capture footage of your studio and production process, which you can always use for a multitude of purposes.

Recently, world renowned dance producer BT launched a Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming “Electronic Opus,” in which he plans to produce an extravagant symphonic album. His ambitious vision of incorporating an entire live orchestra (hiring them alone would cost $50-75K) for an organic-electronic hybrid album was an idea that even his label scoffed at. However, the goal was surpassed, with BT already racking in over a quarter of a million dollars for the project.

Of course, that example won't help you much since BT is a techno Goliath, but even small donations add up. You also never know who may come across your project and take interest in your dream.

Music Licensing Is Real

Although music that's suited for film, TV commercials and games is typically polished and commercial-sounding, there are ways to cash in on licensing without the use of a million-dollar SSL console in your very own project studio. If you have an ear for the kind of music that fits television cues, good writing chops, musicianship, and fiery production skill sets and tools, you could potentially make money through licensing.

With reality shows dominating the screen, networks like MTV and E! have an endless need for fresh songs and instrumental cues from unknown producers. When creating music in mind for a film or TV project, it's wise to specialize in your craft and outsource for other tasks. For example, find a solid mixing engineer in your area that will do a professional mixdown of your tracks. It's wise not to mix your own tracks unless you have years of experience and a proper listening environment.

Studios are also a great way to network and meet industry insiders, including music publishers. Sometimes, with certain genres such as electronic dance music, the mixing and sonics are intimately tied to the performance, production and sound design. If you're in this camp, give it a go, but be sure to send the final mix to a dedicated mastering engineer before submitting to a publisher or licensing company. There are programs like the music licensing course at Berklee School of Music, and a number of good books available such as Darren Wilsey's “The Musicians Guide To Licensing Music,” if you're eager to learn more about that side of the business.

Working in the music industry usually never amounts to a 9-to-5 career with a 401(k) and vacation time. However, with the right visioning, hard work, money management skills and—most importantly—good melodic hooks, music production and songwriting can pay off.

Reader Comments (2)

This is a valuable tips for music producer.Thanks for share this tips.

January 2 | Unregistered Commenterbadhonq1w2

Very nice article. you did a great job on explaining various ways to get started in the industry and to earn some money (and how it all works), quite handy! We are always looking for aspiring music producers to work on projects for our artists.

If you are a producer and looking for some extra freelance work have a look at this page to read all about payment, royalties and other benefits:

Hoping to seeing your application ;)

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