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The Real Reason You Fail To Make Money From Your Music

poor musician I’m going to keep this one short and straight to the point. The music industry is a hard one to make money from, we all know that. When it’s all said and done however, if you’re talented, have been making music for a while and don’t make any money from it, you’re doing the wrong things!

For a lot of people, their idea of promotion is adding people on Facebook and Reverb Nation and messaging them about their music. In all honesty, this is doing next to nothing for your music career. How much money do you ever make from doing this? My guess is none, at most you’ll get a small ego boost when the odd person replies saying your music’s good.

The thing is, this type of marketing is very short term and a big waste of your time. While social media should be a part of your strategy, looking for fans one by one isn’t the best use of your time. If you stop and analyse your results in terms of sales from this promotion, I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion.

Similarly, promoting your music on sites such as Reverb Nation can also be a waste of time. While sites like this are useful in terms of having somewhere to showcase your music online, once again you’re putting in a lot of work to get fans one by one.

What You Should Be Doing Instead

A lot of the things I mentioned above are a waste of your time for one reason: You’re spending a lot of time and effort targeting the wrong people! All those people you’re messaging, they have no real interest in your music. They aren’t targeted visitors to your pages, and are probably too busy to recognise talent if it was singing and dancing right in front of them. People on Facebook are too busy caught up in all the other shiny things everyone else is showing them, and Reverb Nation is full of musicians promoting to each other. Either way, these people aren’t buyers! How do you expect to make money from music if you’re targeting the wrong people one at a time?!

What you should be doing is leveraging your position and working on the 20% of things that give you 80% of the results. Instead of promoting to random people on Facebook one by one, why not focus on getting your songs played on radio and having targeted visitors automatically come to your website off the back of that? You’ll get a lot more visitors, and they’ll be a lot more interested then those random Facebook ‘fans’ you added.

Music Business Strategies

music business strategy, make money from music You should also be focusing on the things that will actually make you money. Things like gigging, making money by giving out ‘free’ downloads, and working on collecting royalty cheques are all good ways to make money in the music industry. A lot of people however don’t realise this, and focus on methods that will never bring them any type of income at all.

Me personally, I’d rather work on one good song that’ll collect royalties from radio play and event performances then giving out half of my catalogue away for free online. It saves money on studio costs, and actually makes money at the same time.

If I were you, I’d stop right now and ask myself what results I’m getting from my efforts. If you’re not making money from your music or you’re spending a lot of time promoting without leveraging things such as Djs, search engine traffic, TV and radio play, you’re working hard not smart! It’s not too late to change however.

When you’re marketing your music, it is important to focus on the right things. Using the wrong music strategy will waste a lot of time and effort, so make sure you get it right first time round.

If you want short, medium and long term strategies proven to make you more money from your music career, check out my post on How To Make Money From Music. In there we’ll look at how to make money from royalties, gigging, and giving out ‘free’ music downloads. Only when you focus on the right things will you start making money from your music career, so check these strategies out and give them a go. All the best.

This is an article by Shaun Letang from Independent Music Advice, an advice website aiming to help independent musicians make more money from their music career. Increase your music business knowledge, increase your chances of success. Good luck.

References (1)

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Reader Comments (3)

Your argument is flawed. The reason why thousands of indie artists use sites like Reverb Nation and Myspace is because they simply don't have the money, experience and access to commercial radio and other traditional media. It's not because they haven't "thought" of it. Moreover, you clearly haven't heard of 101 Distribution.

December 15 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Hicks

It is not flawed. How much money do you make with MySpace and Reverb Nation? Are these websites not mainly musicians promoting their music to each other? How far will that get you? Just because it's easy and widely done, it doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

And access to commercial radio and other media can be obtained with enough talent and the right marketing plan. It's all about building up the right relationships and then using these relationships to leverage your promotion (I'd rather promote to thousands at once listening to radio then reaching out to people on MySpace one by one).

Just because people "don't have the experience" to be able to do these things, it doesn't mean they can't learn. This is why myself and others write these types of articles, to give people the knowledge to take a better path with their music career.

None of the strategies I've mentioned cost anything to do, so money isn't an issue.

December 17 | Registered CommenterShaun Letang

Hi there - Shaun is right really... one thing I can tell you now is that no major label ever ran a campaign on the premise of a numbers game... there is always a desire to find the target market. Besides - it seems to get forgotten that labels make money from the split these days. (The reason I say this is because I have 10 years with the majors!)

I wrote a post called "Everyone Is Lying To You On Facebook" on this point below:-

"For a lot of people, their idea of promotion is adding people on Facebook and Reverb Nation and messaging them about their music. In all honesty, this is doing next to nothing for your music career. How much money do you ever make from doing this? My guess is none, at most you’ll get a small ego boost when the odd person replies saying your music’s good"

Social Media is only one part of the marketing mix and it takes 7 to exposures to your "message" from different channels before prospects will part with their cash.

January 4 | Unregistered CommenterLeena Sowambur

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