Making money in the new music business paradigm – musicians

Great article I came across today by Chris Robley and thought I would share.

One of my ‘soap box’ comments when lecturing or mentoring in this industry  – is that……. if more musicians treated their music business like any other job (worked a full week of hours and doing so covering all aspects of things you need to do in running your own business, maketing, admin etc) as well as gigs ….. there would be more musicians making sustainable careers for the long term.
I thought this little list and article was extremely relevant to understanding how to create a sustainable revenue stream in today’s changing music business paradigm and factoring in to your decision making and own business planning.


As electronic music producer Daemon Hatfield says in a recent interview with CDBaby, “I think the future for (independent musicians) involves a lot of tiny revenue streams. A stream from downloads, one from streaming, one from YouTube, one from sync placements, one from live shows… The more you can diversify, the better.”

In the modern music economy, many revenue streams must converge to form a river

If you want to build a sustainable music career, you need to earn money from your music in multiple ways, including:

1 Download sales on iTunes, AmazonMP3, Google Play, and more.

2. Streaming revenue from popular platforms such as SSpotify, Beats Music, Rdio and more.

3. CD and vinyl sales in record stores around the world.

4. Music sales through ‘music store’ links thru facebook.

5. Music sales on your own website .

6. Download, CD, and vinyl sales (hardcopy).

7. Performance royalties when your songs are played on radio, TV, and in concert venues.

8. Other ;music plaid in places’ royalties  – eg when your songs are played as background music in cafes etc through PPCA

9. Mechanical royalties when your songs are downloaded internationally or streamed worldwide.

10. YouTube monetization (ad revenue generated by the usage of your music in any video across the YouTube universe).

11. Sync licensing fees from the usage of your music in TV, film, commercials, corporate presentations, video games, and more.

12. Download cards

Get paid for your music

That’s an awful lot of ways to earn money from your music, to say nothing of performance fees paid when you play live, T-shirt and other merch sales at gigs, sponsorships, all the aspects of songwriting, session work etc and more.


Hope that information is of interes  (and also a good little list to consider to make sure you get paid everything you’re owed for the usage of your music),

If you want to know more, work out the packaging of avenues best for you (now and in the future)  or have help setting some of this up – check out our business advisory service on the website and give us a holler.



Arrogance, Is It Crippling The Growth Of Indie Artists?


OK so came across this article by Sahpreem A. King in a blog I subscribe to . Took a while to decide to post it or not as, while I agree with the basis of everything stated in it, it was pretty full.  But in a similar vein to the drink drive/twittering while driving shock ads, I decided to re-post it anyway. Hopefully it will jolt one of those needing it into doing a bit more analysis, self evaluation and seeking out what needs to change to be doing things better.


I get sick and tired of artists telling me that they are already doing the things necessary for success, when in fact; most of them haven’t the foggiest idea what music business success looks like. When you don’t know, then your objective should be humility, and within that state of humility you will allow yourself to be open to not only constructive criticism, but also opportunity. (from Ian – and if you were doing it THAT properly already  – the results would be flow and be there for all to see).

Nowadays, a lot of artists have grown accustomed to writing checks with their mouths that their asses can’t cash. Moreover, artist arrogance is not a new phenomenon it has existed ever since the people who cut the checks told average musicians that they were superstars. Nevertheless, artists like Kanye “I am Michelangelo, I am Walt Disney, I am Steve Jobs” West have gotten more and more famous for being high off their own supply (rants) rather than their music. Sure it is arguable that Kanye West is in fact a genius; however, at least he has a string of hit records to build his argument on. As for you….not so much! The first rule of being a drug dealer is never get high off of your own supply, but many artists who aren’t even qualified to be Kanye’s assistance’s assistant’s assistant rapper seem to believe that overconfidence is the recipe for the day…not the case!

My colleagues and I (other music industry professionals) find it quite comical, yet tragic that so many unsigned or indie level artists are so overconfident that they fail to FOCUS ON THE BASICS LIKE BUILDING A FAN BASE THAT DOESN’T CONSIST OF “LIKES” AND “RETWEETS”, perfecting their live performance, or better still, making music that is relevant and breathtaking.

I get it, generation Y are lazy geniuses, but paradoxical as that may be, I haven’t met a genius who had to tell you he or she was a genius, but never exhibited the actions to substantiate the claim. Nobody likes a smart ass or a know-it-all, which begs the question, if you know everything there is to know about making it in the music industry, why are you are broke and unknown?

Case and point, I asked an indie artist at a recent music conference, what I could do to help him further his music career; the artist looked at me as if I had said something offensive about his mother. His reply, “I’m already on my grind, and my team and me have started a movement.” WT?

Okay, if your team is on the grind and you’ve started a movement, then where the fuck is all of your fans? Oh, my bad, your fans are only in cyber space, which makes them as fake as the cubic zirconia chain you are wearing and as fake as your grind, your movement, and your team!


During another conversation, a female artist told me that she wanted to find a manager that could help her advance her career. When I inquired about the current state of her music career, she told me that she hadn’t recorded any songs that were original, she didn’t have an artist website, and she wasn’t going to change her image or sound in order to fit into what the music industry deems commercially pleasing.


What sound, could she have possibly been referring to if she had never recorded an original song? What image? She didn’t have an artist website, or even a video for that matter, and as for her style, well, I ask again what image?


In addition, she has nothing to manage, therefore finding a manager is a waste of her time and energy.

Examples like the ones above are why it is of paramount importance that artists today take a good look in the mirror and self assess their lives, goals, and music careers.

Since a man who represents himself has a fool for a client, I expect that artists will self-assess with the same biases that have been the primary causes of their unfounded arrogance. Be that as it may, I have provided an artist checklist that every unsigned artist should use as a career reference point.

Warning, if you do not fit this criterion, you better get your stuff together and eat a couple slices of humble pie, before you are told to your face that your talent and arrogance don’t match.

  1. An artist website that offers your original  music for sale, and EPK (Electronic Press Kit), contact information, tour/show dates.
  1. A presence on the three major social networks, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, with actual fan engagement—-if you have 100K followers, but 6 retweets, everyone knows your fans are FAKE.
  2. Two or more live shows per month—-where REAL human fans show up to see you play.
  3. A Music video—-not shot on an iPhone.
  4. YouTube videos that have a “Call to Action” like go to my website and buy my song.
  5. Original high-quality music—-no covers—-no Mixtapes.
  6. Endorsements by other already successful artists (and venue managers you have performed at)—-collaboration or opening act.
  7. Press—-magazine interviews, radio interviews, television.
  8. Music reviews from reputable sources.
  9. Merchandise i.e. buttons, stickers, CD’s, digital download cards or bracelets.
  10. Logo with a consistent branding message.
  11. A sterling reputation as an artists and a person.
  12. Business and marketing plan.
  13. Ongoing Music business education.
  14. Professional business etiquette.
  15. A knack for discovering music career opportunities.

At minimum, these are the things that attract reputable professionals. If you want to avoid the sharks, snakes, con men, and two bit thieves of the music industry then tighten up your game. There are a plethora of services online that can steer you in the right direction, so roll up your sleeves and get to work! Before I go, I imagine that most artists won’t make it to the end of this article because they are too busy playing make believe.

OK, so you did make it to the end  – great.

Yes, its a bit full on  – but maybe that was needed for some of those reading it ………… so let me check ……..
Does any of the above resonate with you, suggest something is needed or you have no idea what is needed?
Do you think you need some help or guidance?

Maybe our advisory and mentoring service can help  – if so, contact us through the contact links on our website