I run Wonderland Records, a independent record label in Sweden, and I have now been in this amazing (in both positive and negative ways) business for about 5 years.
Just wanted to post a general recommendation for you who are new to this business and maybe even some of you who have been in the business longer and feel that you are getting stuck.
-Try your outmost to get the money you need to keep going from other things than “the business”. Never expect the revenue from iTunes, music streaming services, live shows, merch and CD sales to cover more than the costs you have for them.
When I get sales reports from iTunes and so on nowadays it´s actually quite good money but if you then check the costs I´ve had to get the music ready, to promote it and get it up on iTunes I still won´t be ordering Cristal any day soon, not that it´s a goal with my business but anyway.
Instead I got more money from a company dealing in Hi- Fi equipment than from iTunes sales last year and that company got a couple of exclusive live shows, some freebie CDs, music to have on their website and so on. They were extremely happy with this and we are still working closely together.
This is one way to go. Others can be getting sponsors who wants to be connected with your kind of music or image- think snowboard/ skateboard/ clothes/ Hi-Fi or anything that you feel could suit both you as an artist and the company. They get logos on your flyers/ posters/ website and so on and hopefully you get some cash to cover your costs for touring or so. If you feel that this is “selling out” then think about why on earth it´s ok to promote MySpace, Facebook and iTunes with logos/ links but not a local Hi-Fi store or a clothing brand you like yourself.
If you have any questions/ comments regarding this idea please let me know and I will be happy to discuss and bounce ideas!
Good luck out there!