Where is my money? A lot of artists ask this question without really delving deep into the reality of the situation. Nowadays, it is a common trend among unsigned musicians who produce their own music to put most of their efforts in making money instead of increasing popularity.
While revenue and popularity are two different aspects of a career, it should be emphasized which one comes first. Everyone knows that you need to have fans first before you earn from your work, but everyone acts as if once you hoard music into the industry, you can get lots of profits. When in fact, you still have to make sure there are fans out there that are willing to purchase them. If you are shooting for high-income gigs, you’ll need to be popular enough.
Build a solid audience first and then start selling them your music; not the other way around. This of course is not an easy thing to do. With any type of product or service, you’ll need advertising to become known. You’ll need even more in order to become widely popular. Now for independent artist mixtape cover king a fantastic source in helping out. You’ll be making lots of investments from the get-go to create your music, produce it, and even to sell it. You’ll also have several people under payroll for all the things you can’t do yourself. All of this before any type of return. This is something any start-up musician should have known. But then, there are those who believe that they deserve a reward for having pulled all-nighters to finish songs. Just because you’ve dedicated your “blood, sweat and tears” into your cause doesn’t guarantee your music will sell well immediately until you have best graphics.
What you give your best to create is your music – the product. To give a parallel idea, take a start-up fashion designer. Like a musician, a designer has a lot of opportunities to make a lot of money as long as you produce creations everyone would love. Since he needs to set-up a place where people can access his clothing line, he’ll have to rent a space in town, renovate it, hire staff and manage it. You have your CD or mixtape cover, graphics and he has his clothing line. Taking into consideration the thousands of dollars he’d have spent on his shop, industry socializing and public advertising, you’ll be roughly on the same boat – you have a product you’ve paid and worked hard for and you are seeking for a return of revenue. However, the fashion designer is aware that popularity comes first before money, so he accepts the fact that he needs to take risks.
Have you come across discount retail sites like Groupon? Did it cross your mind that these companies must be earning a lot since they can afford to give out such large discounts? Actually, they aren’t. In fact, they’re losing more for every purchase. Most discount and deal websites usually ask for a 50% discount for the consumers and then take the rest of the money for themselves. All companies registered to such aren’t losing large amounts of money unknowingly though; they are practically investing for the future. They keep on losing money so that you, slowly but steadily, come to recognize their brand.
This is the type of situation most musicians in 2015 tend to avoid. Whenever discussions about investing on advertising projects like in Google Adwords, Twitter or Instagram the conversation ends up with the question of how much money can be gained from them. Forget about sales and profits. Take the financial damage and continue doing what you know best – make music. Your main goal should be increasing fans and supporters and nothing else. Even small-time hobbyists of all applications spend consistently into their persuasions, whether it’s numismatics or road racing. Completely free your mind of the idea that you need to be rewarded for a job well done.
Don’t think this rule only applies for start-up musicians. Any type of artist undergoes the same thing and makes the same type of gamble. Weird Al for example took the number one spot for his album in 2014 called “Mandatory Fun”; but this was only possible after spending thousands of dollars producing 8 top-tier music videos and 8 high-profile websites to debut each of them on consecutively. What was the emphasis here? Popularity. But the CD and CD Cover sales didn’t bring as much revenue as expected. But he still took first place because he became popular enough to attract lots of companies for partnership, collaboration, licensing and advertising contracts. This is how most of the money musicians make is made up. It’s not just about CD sales and track downloads on the internet.
Did you think the R&B icon The Weekend thought about profits when he started introducing his name? No. He produced high-cost high quality EP’s within a year and distributed it on his official website for free without asking anything in return, not even an email address. It was an investment meant to build an audience. Today, he earns $50,000 and above for every show and successfully sells merchandise to his growing fan base. Another start-up Pretty Lights underwent a similar approach to introduce his music. He focused on gaining lots of fans before engaging in business approaches and you can see where they are now.
Popularity building is a steady, long term approach to building your career.
Every successful artist today, not just in the music industry, has made a lot of sacrifices in order to have a world-renowned name. Among them the wise ones treated the cause as a business venture, thinking from the perspective of a start-up musician who doesn’t have anything to offer yet but his music promotion. In order to build a group of people who can support your music, you need to reach out to them first. Once you think of yourself from the lowest point, a lot of options will appear. You won’t just be a musician who doesn’t know which way to go.
If you start your career without worrying about profits, you can have a wide range of tactics to employ. Try to advertise in your local area and through commonly-bought publications. Suggest friendly contests and collaborations with similar artists. Hire viral content companies for widespread advertising campaigns geared to engage your fan base and reach out to new fans. Rely on outsourcing companies for duties you are not keen at and spend a lot of time polishing your skills and making good music. Leave small tasks to freelancers from worldwide sites like oDesk and Elance. Find out how you can use social media networks to spread your influence through targeted campaigns over the internet. Find time to make celebrity tweets and establish a reward program for those who spread your music. Supply exclusive content to high profile publications and websites consistently. Expect to make countless investments repeatedly and your career will pick up its pace in the right time.