This was painful for me, but what about you?
When I was growing up some of my teachers told me that musicians are poor people. If you want to play your instrument, sing or whatever, then you have to realise that life is not going to be easy for you!
But what about other professions?
Is every entrepreneur a millionaire?
Is every sales manager or marketing assistant a wealthy man?
Think about that…
There are a lot of books, magazines, blogs and podcasts full of useful information about earning money and building career.
But what about the music industry?
Hundreds of years ago musicians were just performers and entertainers owned by higher society.
Just decades ago situation changed – the record companies owned musicians.
Sure, music industry in the 60s or 70s was completely different from how it was in the Baroque or Classicism.
400 years ago only wealthy people could listen to music. In the past century, almost everyone could turn on the radio, buy an album or go to a live event.
What’s happening now? What’s different?
Wold wide web (Internet) gives musicians a freedom and power.
We’re completely free to create anything we want and put it out there whenever we want.
Musicians are not owned by higher society or record companies anymore.
Imagine how it was to promote a live event 50 years ago? Or how much money you had to spend to make a music video 30 years ago?
Right now you can capture anything you want with your iPhone.
If you need to promote a song or just want to communicate with your audience, you can do this in 2 minutes.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat – you can reach millions of people for free in seconds!
The same thing is with money.
I see a lot of musicians struggling with it. But that’s because they’re trying to play the old game.
What the indie culture or indie movement teaches us?
We, as individuals, are powerful, our options and resources are endless.
We can do a lot only by ourselves.
With inexpensive gear, everyone can record their songs – even in bedroom – and 10 minutes later publish them on Youtube.
Nowadays artists not only can be performers but also producers, engineers, tour managers, photographers, video producers, managers and so on.
If music is only your hobby – that’s ok.
You can do this in your basement and you’ll be happy.
But what about the rest of us?
If you want the music be more than just a hobby for you, then start thinking of your music as a business…
Here are three tips that can help you to switch your mindset:
- Think about your band and music as a product
- Think about your performance as a service
- Think about your audience as customers
Understand that you’re already in the music industry and business and if you struggle with the income you probably don’t have the right tools or the right product!
Music & Audience
Your songs are your products. To be successful, you have to make the best products possible.
Every product has its own customer and its own niche.
Are you working with the right audience? Are you giving the right song to the right listener?
If you play indie music, you shouldn’t reach the audience that loves metal music.
There are a lot of listeners out there, they’re segmented in genres. If you play indie music, you should reach the audience that loves the indie music. .
If you want to reach pop music lovers or Top40 radio station listeners, you should meet certain conditions, or nobody will care.
Tip #1 – Find similar bands in your genre that are already successful and start working with their audience. Do some research on how they’re communicating with their audience and how these fans are communicating with each other. Use their language!
Performance & Quality
Your performance is your service. You should really prepare for that.
Remember there are a lot of elements that matter: set list, sound quality, performance quality, how you look on stage, lights, your attitude and so on.
You can’t go on the stage and just play what you’ve written. Prepare!
Does your set list is appropriate for this event? Are your instruments in tune (sounds simple but even big artist are sometimes struggling with that)? Do you have your own FOH (sound engineer)?
How do you look on the stage? Do you have a special outfit? Are you really doing your best on the stage?
Money & Income
Be aware that even if you play the best music possible and you’re perfectly prepared – it doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to make a big money.
If your marketing sucks and you play in front of 5 people – you’ll have to wait for years to earn some money!
Tip #2 – Your audience is your income. No one gets paid for an empty gig. The more fans you have, the more tickets you‘ll sell, the more money you’ll earn.
Tip #3 – If you don’t have any fans – don’t play! Show up only when people want you to show up.
Build Your Business
Live events are not the primary thing to worry about.
First, you have to come up with the product – write and record the best music you can!
Second, find the right audience that fits your music genre and start working!
Think where your audience lives on the Internet, what their habits are, where do they get their music and which sites do they visit.
Third, promote your product!
Put your music out there in front of your audience. Use their channels, sites, blogs and playlists. If your audience is listening to some specific playlists on Spotify, try to get in there.
Use social media, blogs and online media. Do everything you can to show your product (music) to your future fans.
Fourth, if there’s a demand – play gigs!
If you have starving fans, then this is the best time to play a gig or go on a tour!
If you have about 400-500 starving fans in your city – you’ll earn some money. It’s not necessary to start big. If you can sell out a small venue, that’s a great place to start!
If 400 people comes to your gig and each spend $10 per ticket, your total income will be $4000.
Fifth, move further – grow your business!
When you have 400 fans, it’s the best time to grow your business. Start working with new potential fans and find a new audience. Make another 400 fans or more.
Also, makes some extra money by selling T-shirts and CDs in your gigs.
Stop wasting your time by playing your music to no one!
Make sure you’ve made the best product possible. Find your audience and show them your message in the best possible way.
Also, make sure that your live performance is BRILLIANT.
Then grow your fan-base day by day, sell them your stuff (CDs, T-shirts, bags, exclusive tickets) and eventually you’ll build a profitable business!
If you’re struggling and don’t know were to start – shoot me an email!