Many musical artists don’t think about how to generate alternative revenue streams to supplement the money they make selling albums and playing gigs. Many artists avoid thinking about the business aspects of the industry in a more broad way than simply “play a gig and get paid”. This is a subject that has interested me for many years, as the financial roller coaster of being a professional musician can be very trying at times. When I was younger and working as a full time keyboard player, I could be playing in a big Broadway or Off-Broadway show one day, and the next be just another unemployed musician scrambling to earn a living after the show closed. But then I met Larry Rivers, the man who taught me how to merge art and commerce to generate revenue. My experiences with him have greatly influenced how I approach earning a living as a creative artist.
Entries in money (20)
No I can’t make you famous. No one can. That’s not how this works. So why do people like me need to explain this to musicians all the time? Fame is a very intangible thing – and in this day and age it’s largely purchased. By hiring a producer, manager or promoter you’re probably not going to get famous right away. In fact, even having rad music and an entire team behind you does not guarantee that you will make it. It’s only one step forward. Here’s the thing – we live in a world where fame is bought – and any one who tells you otherwise, or that it was ‘better back in their day’ is woefully misguided.
Recently, I received an email with two commonly asked questions about sponsorship that I’d like to address:
1) How much can you ask from a sponsor?
2) My project costs X dollars, should I mention that in my pitch?
In tighter financial times everyone would like to save some money on their musical purchases. This guide can help you save some money when shopping for musical equipment. So lets say you are about to buy some new instruments or some studio equipment, that can cost serious money when you opt for the best quality items. We are currently in a recession and it seems that there is some positive economic news of late on both sides of the big pond and that’s great. However most of us still need to watch the pennies and cents and there are ways that you can ensure you are getting the best possible deals on your equipment purchases. We can use the current situation to our advantage, as both musicians and retailers are experiencing the same economic conditions.
Ever wondered what kind of income levels are achievable as a musician? Well read on, as that’s exactly what we’re going to be looking at today.
Below is one of the chapters taken from my new book ‘The Independent Musician’s Survival Guide’. I know there’s a lot of misconceptions about how much money can actually be made from your music career, so I thought it’d be valuable to share this chapter and help you gain a more realistic view of what is achievable. There’s no hype or half truths here, this is as realistic a evaluation as you’ll likely get.
If you find this information useful, please share it on your favorite social networking sites and link to it from your site. Thank you.
When most people who want sponsorships think about their ultimate goal, it involves money. They’re looking for someone to fund their event, to pay for their tour, to raise money for their charity, and so on. When many business think about sponsoring someone, it ultimately involves money as well: even if it is an incredible cause, at the end of the day, they want to know how sponsoring will help them get more customers. Each party treats the sponsorship as a transaction. However, I believe it is important to shift the definition from “a cash and/or in-kind fee paid to a property (typically sports entertainment, non-profit event, or organization) in return for access to the exploitable, commercial potential associated with that property” (IEG, 2000) to something more equitable: a partnership.
I updated the original article I posted on October 19th.
Maybe I am missing something, maybe I don’t understand why territory restrictions still need to exist. I guess thinking of the world as the territory is wrong.
Maybe my feeling that fans will buy music if you make music available the moment they want it, at a fair price on whatever device they use is just wrong. But right now trying to buy music actually can drive a fan to steal music.
Future of Music Coalition (FMC) has launched a groundbreaking research project called Artist Revenue Streams, where we ask US-based musicians and composers, “How do YOU make Money from Music?” Project Co-Director Kristin Thomson from FMC explains in this MTT post where they idea came from for this research and why it’s so important that every musician or composer in the US takes this online survey, which is available at http://futureofmusic.org/ars until October 28, 2011.
Embedding your music in another product - a mobile app, for example - is going to be the way to sell music in the future. Consider this article, published just 5 months ago in the New York Times. It highlights the major labels’ mad dash to get into the mobile app market. Bjork new album will be a collection of apps rather than a list of songs. UMG is creating an app for Nirvana’s “Nevermind”. And it makes sense. Just last month news surfaced that Apple has now sold more apps than song downloads - even though iTunes had a nearly 4 year head start on the App Store.
I was at a digital music event earlier this year, and was shocked to find out how many people had not heard how easy it is to monetize your YouTube channel through Ads. YouTube will pay you for doing what you already do! Take your money!
Here’s how it works…..
Considering making an original music video?
You may want to check out the 7 tips below to save you time, money and added stress. I just completed my first music video after more than three years of investment where I learned these lessons directly…the hard way. I’m now working on my second video and vowed to avoid the same pitfalls by following these lessons. Perhaps you can learn from my mistakes!
1 . Always have signed contracts no matter what. In the beginning, it is usually such a love fest between you and the the very people you want to hire to help realize your vision. They get it!
You might have assumed from the title of this article that it would be about techniques of acquiring funding to pay for the overheads of running a band, or exploring where best to invest your marketing budgets. Not today I’m afraid.
Today I’m going to challenge the other side of the coin and suggest that money is bad for your band.
To clarify that statement in more detail, my opinion is that focusing on short-term methods of monetising your music career too early on is counter-productive when trying to build a successful and sustainable music career. The classic example is that by selling your music exclusively on iTunes opposed to offering it to fans free of charge fewer people will consume and share your song.
Simon Tam explains the approach that artists should take to get endorsements and sponsors. Artists need to create opportunities by initiating contact in a unique way. Artists need to focus on how they can provide value to the company instead of the other way around. To start, artists can contact companies with less competition such as local businesses that may be more likely to become a sponsor.
“It’s about creating a lasting relationship where you can build an audience together with that company.” (Read On)
Internet Radio Is the Future…Duh
Charles Hill writes about his rant on recent articles that he finds obvious.
“I run across articles with titles like “Internet Radio is the Future”. This cracks me up. Its like writing a book on the fact that the sky is blue.” (Read On)
Relationships Are The New Distribution
Greg Bates discusses one aspect of the 4 P’s of Marketing: Place. Most artists think that their distribution is taken care of by putting their music on iTunes or Bandcamp, but distribution is made up of the quality of your relationships. Artists need to build relationships with fans and reach out to other bands, businesses, etc. to collaborate on projects.
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(Updated January 13, 2016)