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Top 5 Rules To Making Money Doing Music

This is an excerpt from’s “Quit Your Day Job!: The Top 5 Rules To Making Money Doing Music”. Read the full article here.’s Top 5 Rules To Making Money Doing Music.

1) Shows, Shows, Shows

Although this seems obvious enough, many artists miss the fact that performances are critical in earning a living. Even in the prime of the music industry, an artists’ performance income was their main income. And once a week at the same local bar is not going to cut it. Remember the basic rules of sales we all learned in 9th grade…Supply & Demand. If you are in too much supply to one little area, the demand will decrease. Spread your shows out, or at least switch which side of town you perform on.

2) Get Online

If you’ve been doing this long enough, you remember the days of printing up flyers, posters, stickers, sampler CD’s, and anything else you could think of to promote your music. Then you had to go out yourself and pass all that stuff out. Even living in major markets with millions of people, it was time consuming, took lots of money, and you would only actually get to a fraction of those people. Now, with the aid of the internet, you can reach millions of people, in just a few days, with almost no money. The weeks it took to successfully connect with a few hundred people can now be done in a few hours with a few well placed key strokes. It is a utility that can not be overlooked!

3) Get Offline

The internet has become a priceless tool in marketing yourself to the public. But it is still just that, a tool. Having 10,000 friends, 2,000 followers, and 20,000 views is GREAT!!! But it’s useless if you cannot connect with those people. NOTHING, not even the internet, can replace personal contact. Use these online tools to find new potential fans, and then get those new fans to come support you at shows. Imagine if you could get those 10,000 friends to come see you perform for just $3 each!!!!! You do the math!

4) CD’s Are NOT Dead

They’re just not selling themselves like they used to. In the age of iTunes (and P2P networks), fans can pick and choose, song per song, what they want to listen to. But if you follow rule one, and perfect your show, these fans will support you and want more. Having CD’s to sell at shows is mandatory. Again, if you could get just 1/4 of your 10,000 friends who come to your shows to buy a CD (which you can get made for less than $1.00 nowadays) for just $3.00….do the math. Your CD Baby account might not be overloading with sales, but there’s no better salesman than you onstage showing the fans what they’re getting.

5) Merchandising, Merchandising, Merchandising!!!

The days of having to actually spend your money on T-Shirts to sell are over. Part of Rule 2 is to have your OWN website, not just a Facebook fan page. Why? Well one reason is because of your own online store. Once you have your fans coming to your site, you point them to your online store where they can buy your bands shirts, hats, socks, and just about anything else you can imagine. There are online services like,, and dozens of others, where you just upload the graphics to the site, place a little code on your site, and they will process your orders, print the merchandise, ship it out, and send you your cut! No further work required from you, besides of course to get out their and get those fans to your site!

An artist who understands that to be a full time working entertainer means you really have to work full time (or more), and can be happy paying the bills doing what they love, has a remarkably better chance of success than those who only want the fame and instant fortune they associate with success. And many times, the artist who do have that superstar fame and success are also the ones who spent years (many established artists, average ten years as a serious artist before “success” is realized) building their careers utilizing these rules.


    Nathan Talbot is an entertainment consultant with over 15 years of industry experience. From DJ’ing, producing and engineering for local and national artists, to producing national television shows, to marketing and brand building for new and exsisting entertainers, Mr. Talbot has gained the knowledge and expertise to help anyone interested in the entertainment industry get their foot in the door, and provides a wealth of FREE resources at his website You can download his free, quick read book The Absolutely FREE Guide To Everything You Need To Know About The Music Business: In 30 Minutes Or Less here.

Reader Comments (2)

Thanks for the tips on the merchandise websites. I have been looking for something like this and wala! it lands right in my lap.

September 22 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

No problem Steve, thanks for checking out the article! Good luck with the merch....

September 22 | Unregistered CommenterNate Talbot

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