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6 Reasons Most Musicians Fail To Earn Money With Their Music

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Musicians work hard. Hours of songwriting and rehearsal go into a single show or recording, which brings its own set of difficulties, from promotion and ticket sales to sound production. Yet musicians have always had a hard truth to accept; hard work and talent does not always equal a large paycheck. The following are some of the reasons musicians fail to earn money despite their efforts:

1) Lack Of Goals Or Long-Term Focus

In order to succeed, artists need to set reasonable, achievable goals. Where do you see your band going in the following years? A national tour, or simply local recognition? A full length album to sell, or a demo to help you get shows? In a group, duties should be assigned to each member, all working towards the same end.

 2) They Don’t Communicate With Their Fans

A band on the rise needs a fan base that wants them to succeed, which can’t happen if those fans don’t know where you are going. ACTIVE fans are crucial to generating ticket sales and revenue from music, but need to be directed where to go or what to do. This can be done through social media or personal attention at shows. Tell your fans about upcoming shows and releases, and ask them to share the information.

 3) Lack Of Persistence

Being a successful musician takes effort and dedication over a long period of time. If you are not willing to take the time to promote every show, every time, even the most dedicated fans will become disinterested. Or worse, your efforts will be overshadowed by other artists in the field. And in the music business, the more success you achieve, the harder you have to work to continue to rise.

4) They Don’t Use All The Tools They Should

The web holds infinite power for an artists, from music creation and promotion to fan management and communication. But despite all the opportunities on the web, some bands either don’t know which tools to use, or don’t know how to use them effectively to reach their goals. Bottom line, if you can’t manage online profiles and sites to your benefit, find someone who has success in the field who can help you. Nobody can use every online tool available, the trick is making use of the best ones, and not wasting time on the others.

5) They Don’t Treat Their Band As A Business

Not all bands will succeed, and not all were meant to. Some people make music for personal pleasure or expression, which is fine. But bands who want to make money need to treat their efforts as a business, and make a business plan that aligns with their goals. Business leaders often talk about ROI, or return on investment. Every minute you spend rehearsing, writing, performing, promoting, or thinking about your band is an investment, as is every dollar you spend along the way. Be sure your efforts are not in vain, and think about what you are getting back from everything that you do.

 6) Poor Budgeting (Or Lack Of Funds)

It’s true what they say, you do need to spend money to make money. A crucial part of any business plan is figuring out what your band will spend money on. Gear, rehearsal space, studio time, and a team of promoters or publishers are all worthy investments which need to be budgeted for over time. And if you can’t or won’t put in the money up front, then plan ahead for expenses by setting aside profits from ticket or music sales, Kickstarter projects, or “angel investors” who believe in you and your future success.

 7)  Lack of Proven Techniques and Professional Assistance

Even if you learn the proven tips and techniques that artists are using to become successful (such as connecting with fans and giving them a reason to compensate the artist financially), if you do not employ professional help, it will take a long time to get to the point where you can rely on your music to sustain you. At some point, you will get busy enough that not having assistance will limit your success and opportunities, because as mentioned, in the music business, the more success you achieve, the harder you have to work to continue to rise.

by Kyle M. Bagley, http://www.kylembagley.com
This article is based on an original by Tommy Darker posted on medium.com

Improving Your Skills Without Taking Music Lessons

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

If you have a passion for music, you probably already know that it can be a very expensive hobby. Professional classes often seem like the only viable option if you really want to excel, but the fees can be unaffordable for many people. Thankfully though, a lack of funds doesn’t have to close the door on your musical ambitions.

Lets take a look at how you can improve your skills without taking music lessons.

Seek out interest groups in your local area

There’s likely to be many people in your locality who are learning the same instrument as you, and seeking them out can be great for your development as a musician. If a group doesn’t already exist, consider starting one. Organise a meeting every week, and spend an hour or two chatting with your contemporaries about what they’ve learned and how their skills have developed over the past seven days. Not only will you learn new tips and tricks, but you could also make some lifelong friends.

Find online tutorials

The internet is a wonderful resource, and if you dig about, you’ll find some high quality tutorials that are absolutely free. Another good thing about this approach is the variety that you’ll find. If you prefer a practical approach, use YouTube to search for video tutorials. If reading instructions is more your thing, use Google to find written guides. Try out a few until you find a tutor who suits your personal style.

Do a skill swap with a musician

If you have a skill that’s in demand, you might be able to do a swap with a music teacher that doesn’t involve money. Are you good at painting and decorating? Could you teach them a new language? Could you fix their car? If you think you have something to offer, don’t be scared to ask. It could be the ideal scenario for both of you.

Make money from your music

As your skills develop, you could find that your interest in music could bring in a supplementary income. You could offer basic lessons yourself, get paid to perform, or even sell beats online. Then, consider using this cash to go towards a few lessons. Even if you can’t raise enough to have them on a regular basis, the occasional session with a professional could do wonders for your development.

Visit your local library

Now that most of us have regular and reliable access to the internet, it’s easy to forget just how useful the library could be. Whilst just about anyone can put an article or tutorial up online, it takes true talent and skill to secure a book deal. This means that you’ll probably have less hunting to do to find some top quality material. And it won’t cost you a penny!

As you can see, there are many ways to improve your music skills without forking out for lessons. If you’re really determined to become an accomplished musician, try putting these tips into action. It may not happen overnight, but if you take an organised and consistent approach, you will start to see results.

Guest post by Ruth Richards of MyFlashStore, music beats resource.

How To Make The Free World Pay

Friday, May 10th, 2013

“We have come to an age where a core product — recorded music — is no longer differentiated by price.”

Alicia Yaffe argues in a recent article that music industry suffers because everything is a commodity.  Established bands and first timers all charge the same amount for their music, regardless of quality. Breaking free from the abundance of music, and creating something truly unique will create value in this product, and in turn, make people interested in buying it.
Kickstarter is a great example of a place where value can be added. There, fans are asked to preorder albums, often before it is recorded. Bands can have multiple price points by inserting merchandise, videos, or personalized messages, all of which create value by adding something unique to the buying process.

The same idea can be applied to a band’s live shows. If a group has the same show, night after night, their performances are a commodity. Making each one different will create a unique product, one that must be seen now, or it will never be seen again. Bands that do this will have fans who want to see them more often than those who have a regular routine or setlist.

Read the full article here

The Most Overrated Things In A Musician’s Career

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

“The time of the Record Label has passed. Artists do not need a record label to survive, and in fact, most artists would be better off as a hot indie group than one desperate to sign with any label.”
This and other great advice comes from an article by Simon Tam outlining “The Most Overrated Thing’s In A Musician’s Career”.
Simon goes on to describe other “overrated” things, like paid Electronic Press Kit or EPK services, booking agents, and professional music gear. Especially overrated are big music industry festivals like SXSW, which just finished in Austin, Texas. Bands who get asked to play these festivals are already on their way up, and do not come with any guarantee that you will be noticed by the right people.
Simon also takes aim at Kickstarter, which has been in the news recently for large sums paid out to artists. Without an existing fanbase already willing to pay for your music, your campaign will not be funded as we recently blogged about here.

Read Simon’s full article here on Music Think Tank

 

How To Make The Most Of Your Social Media Marketing

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Artists, labels, venues, websites, pretty much anyone in the music business these days is involved in social media to some extent. Everyone knows it’s important, but knowing what the best parts are can save you hours, achieve better results, and streamline what you do online.

Set Goals

In order to decide where to focus your energy, you need to focus on what you expect from a social media campaign. “I just want to get my name out there.” is not enough anymore. You should have specific goals, ideally centered on making money.

What makes the most money for your band or company? Is it selling CD’s or music downloads? Selling merch? Ticket sales for your shows? Whatever it is, exploiting it should be the focus of your online presence, and will make the most effective use for your time. Expanding in the areas you are lacking should be a secondary goal.

If exposure is your goal, not money, try narrowing it down further. Who do you want exposure with? More fans? Labels or company executives? And what will this exposure lead to?

Know Your Networks

Once your goals are in place, knowing the differences between social media sites can tell you exactly where to go to achieve them. It is also important to respond to what is working differently on each site, and not waste time with things that aren’t. Understand, I am not suggesting that all your posts should be “buy this!” or “share this!”, but keep your goals in mind as you craft each page and persona.

Facebook

Facebook is a good place to start; it is the most popular network in most parts of the world. Facebook’s best asset is that it is the most likely to have all the people you actually know. First of all, this means building an initial fan base should relatively easy. Also, having a network of people you are already friends with and that live nearby gives you a great crowd to advertise shows to. Other sites that are more likely to include people from across the country may not help you much selling tickets to your shows. Facebook is also becoming the standard for informational, “like”-able pages, perhaps the first place someone might look that hears of your band or company.

Twitter

Twitter is a much harder place to build your network, but that network can be very rewarding. It is full of music industry people, and no matter how small your genre or specialty, they are easy to find. However, unlike other sites, you will only get followers by having good content, and saying truly interesting things. Your profile does not have the same fluff of the other sites, such as a bank of photos, a place to have your music, etc., but Twitter users are very active and like to share what others like them are involved with.

Your followers on Twitter will be all over the country, and more likely, all over the world, so don’t expect to gain a lot in ticket sales. On the other hand, tweets about new products, music, and especially press and blogs you are featured in will get a great response.

YouTube

YouTube is the best way to get lots of plays for your songs and people listening to your music. More and more big names started by doing frequent cover songs to sell their own original music. An embedded link in a video can be seen thousands of times if a video has enough plays, whereas reaching that amount in one post on Facebook and Twitter can be almost impossible.

YouTube’s major drawback is that it is not as good for conveying information. You would never click on a band’s YouTube profile to find out if they had shows coming up, read their biography, or see their past discography. But it’s a great way to be discovered by random stumblers or old fans who just want to listen to your latest music.

Balance

In all, one social media site will not accomplish all of your needs as an artist or company. And any social media site, listening service, blog, or network can have a benefit. But it is a better use of your time to have clear purpose for each one you become involved in, and limit what you do, rather than try to use all of them for everything, and end up with not enough.

 

Guest post by Kyle M. Bagley

Why your Kickstarter fundraising campaign failed

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Many artists these days are using Kickstarter or similar services to raise funds for their next album, which is a great idea.
But they often fail. Why?

According to veteran music industry consultant Tim Sweeney, one simple reason: You don’t know your fans.

One strategy Tim has taught artists he mentors for the last 30 years is the following: “Whether you want more fans at your shows, greater sales or want to raise money for your new project start having social events with your fans. Instead of only inviting them to your shows, invite them to come hang out with you at a movie, a festival, another artist show or some other event based upon on a common interest. Too often artists want people to blindly support them because they wrote a good song. As we wrote in our last post, it’s not about the music.

“Give fans what they really want, a chance to talk with you and build a bond.”
Would you do that with your fans? Well, maybe that’s why you have to work so hard to promote and sell your music.

While social events offer you a chance to get to know your fans, they more importantly create an opportunity for your fans to get to know each other and develop friendships. That way when your future shows come up, they will call each other and come together so they can hang out with their new friends. This is why Facebook is so popular: it allows people to do this online.

Tim’s Artists have sold millions of CDs and downloads with this strategy with selective fans and have found it the best way to sell out shows in advance. He says, “Think of it this way, if your favorite artist invited you to an event where you can hang out with them and make new friends would you go?”

Invest your time into your fans instead of only social media campaigns and your show money and sales will increase along with “pre-sales” of your next project where you may not need to do a Kickstarter campaign.

And then when your ready, you may want to try Pledge Music, the Kickstarter for music that we really like.