Make Money in Music

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to make money in music with one of, or a mix of different music business ideas. There’s three main aspects of the music industry to look at; artist development, music marketing/promotion and performance. One by one:

Artist Development - working with music artists (yourself or someone else) to nurture talent and help create, record and ship products into the music marketplace.

Marketing and Promotion - helping artists promote their music, help them keep in touch with their fanbase and keep people buying their recordings, merchandise and tickets to events.

Performance - is all about the live events, organizing sound and lighting equipment, liasing with venue owners and selling tickets.

The music industry is great; there’s a heck of a lot of money in it, and even the worst musicians are likely to earn some money. The question though, is how much. Although diminishing, there are still some industry heavyweights like the record labels and online aggregators (iTunes, Amazon, Spotify) who like to have some kind of control. For musicians, although there’s plenty of possibility for income, the amounts are sometimes very small.

So before you dive into reading some of these music business ideas, take a read through my...

Words of Wisdom

I love the music industry mostly because of the people. The trouble is, with thousands of people in the same position as you, all competing for the same opportunities there’s bound to be some disappointment. And even those who do “get in”, you can still be replaced. Easily.

The music industry is being bent right on it’s back. The old model of signing your life away to a big record label, heavy promotion on the radio and selling CDs is dead. Why? Well something called the interwebs...

People now have lots more choice. The cost of sharing and uploading music to a huge audience has plummeted, so more people can access more music much cheaper. This means there is less “attention” being paid to the ‘Top 40’ or whatever. The money is instead in creating your own tribes of followers - real true fans.

Put it this way: you probably think of the stuff in the charts perhaps as pretty average - you’ve come across better stuff which you prefer. What happens is people gravitate towards music which they think is remarkably good, rather than the ‘average’ stuff in the charts (it’s average because it needs to satisfy everyone).

What you need to do to “make it” today, is simply create remarkable music AND promote it to the right people. If that means you need to reach thousands of people from all over the world, then so be it. You’d rather do that than try and make music that “fits in” with your local community and your circle of friends. Sure, that’s an extreme example - but it could happen.

I think you’ll love this interview with Seth Godin on the Music Business(or download here)Seth is one of America’s smartest business and marketing minds, and my favourite author. What’s great about Seth Godin, is he can break down really complex topics into a simple language anyone can understand. Have a read of his blog post for example: Music vs. the Music IndustryHe’s also written a fantastic, 11-page article on the ‘Future of the Music Industry’ which you can download here.

This guide is written for people who just love to make music.

Music Business Ideas

These music business ideas are designed to be relatively cheap and easy to setup, so you can work at this in your spare time. That said, you will still need to invest some time figuring it all out if you want to get any kind of monetary return from your business.


Become a Songwriter

If you’re creative and want to get your songs out there and sung by friends, other rising stars or even yourself and become a singer-songwriter yourself, consider writing songs. This guide will introduce you to some useful songwriting resources and places to sell your songs.

Become a Recording Artist

If you want to go out and become a successful recording artist or a band, follow this four-step guide to getting good and getting your name out there. Of course, you can then make money by selling your music online and having live gigs, selling merchandise and more.It’s a good idea to also build a band website

Create a Jingle for Businesses and Organizations

A short musical recording - or ‘jingle’ can be used by businesses and organizations during their promotions. Everywhere - TV, computer software, radio shows, mobile apps - everything is using jingles. People kinda like them!

* Music in Films and Trailers
* Advertising Jingles
* Web Video music
* Background Music
* Your own songs
* Video Game music
* TV Shows and themes
* Music for weddings

If you’re good at creating short little tunes, and can record them quickly and easily to send off to a paying client, then consider creating and selling advertising jingles. All it takes is playing around with a few ideas, recording some of the best, perhaps tweaking it a bit and posting it to your client.

You could also do it all on your computer - for example using Garageband (free on every Mac)or FL Studio on PC.

Garageband 09 Mac Tutorial

FL Studio Beginner-to-Pro 30 minute Tutorial The actual tutorial starts at around 1:50

The music industry is a tough place to work, and although you may want to try and find some freelance workI recommend you look at a marketplace like MusikPitchwhere you can compete in ‘contests’ for prize money set by someone who wants a song, jingle or any other kind of music. Take a look at this introductory video.

Busking (Street Performing)

Although it can be a little intimidating to get started, there’s plenty of money to be earnt busking locally.Pick a good spot where lots of people are (where people stop for lunch, the entrance to a park or something similar), play some simple pieces and stick an upturned hat or an open case near your feet.

The real secret to buskingthough is it’s promotional effectiveness. Instead of just asking for money, why not sell CDs where you’re playing. Have a sign-up beside you promoting your CDs or gigs your playing at, or your MySpace page. That’s how this guy sold 15,000 CDs in 18 months!

Become a Music Teacher

If you’re proficient at playing an instrument, singing or able to write songs then there’s huge potential to go and teach. As a teenager, it may be a challenge to get plenty of paying work but here’s a couple of tips:

* Use your existing networks. Your teacher and his direct contacts are all worth asking if there’s any demand for an extra teacher. Local schools, colleges and kids organizations are also worth taking a look at.
* Ask in local ensembles. Get in touch with conductors and band leaders, asking if they know of anyone who might want to get tuition
* Leaves business cards or postcards with influential people (ideally two so they can share one around) so they know you’re looking to teach
* Try to use some of your own beginner materials rather than go out and buy new exercise books. That’ll help lower your startup costs.

You can expect to charge an hourly fee for tuition, and with a couple of hours in the evenings each week teaching a dozen or so students for half an hour each, you’ll clock up a regular consistent income as well as gaining plenty of musical experience yourself. Take a look at this article on how to find freelance workin order to get your first paying students.

** Are you going to the student or are they coming to you? Will you need a car to carry your stuff around in, or do you have somewhere suitable at home?


Music Business Resources

Artists House Music

Artists House Music is a really great site created by a hand-picked selection of music industry experts. It essentially consists of hundreds of categorized video interviews which explain in detail what you need to do, and some of the brutally honest truths of the music industry. Have a search on their YouTube channel as well.

Music Power Network

The Music Power Network is a similar kind of organization where a bunch of guru’s have got together. Besides video interviews and articles, they’ve also created some useful resources including career guides and a business plan guide.

Guerilla Music Marketing Handbook

Guerilla Music Marketing Handbook

Bob Baker’s book is one of the bestsellers in the whole music business niche for a very good reason. Its written for someone who really wants to get things done; besides being incredibly actionable and practical.

These video reviews show just a handful of really successful Guerilla Music Marketing Handbook owners. Notice how young some of these folks are!

The Handbook isn’t a stupidly expensive course either. Check it out now.

Other Useful Resources

David Hooper's MusicMarketing.comand Music Biz Academyare two great websites which walk you through the production, performance and promotion. Take some time to read through the articles.

I’d also really recommend Andrew Dubber’s free e-Book: New Music Strategies - The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online.



How to Become a Songwriter
Become a Recording Artist
Sell Your Music Online and Get Your Music on iTunes
Build a Band Website

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