From the upcoming book “The Reasons Your Music Career Is Failing”
You don’t sell CD’s and merchandise
So okay let’s do the math here, you make about 1/3 of a penny per stream and $1.00 per download. Now stop and think of the mass amount of streams and downloads you would need to truly profit from your streams and downloads. You will need an army of people streaming and downloading your music just to recoup the investment put forth recording the album and getting it ready for distribution. The independent music scene overall is in a poor state because of the above model that most independent musicians adopt. The term starving artist has been taken to new heights.
Now let’s do some math again, you can sell your CDs, vinyl records, download cards, t-shirts, wristbands, etc. anywhere ranging from $5.00 – $20.00. You don’t have to sell a million CDs or t-shirts to make a profit and a healthy one at that. You will, however, have to get a million streams or downloads to even make a profit. Independent musicians ignore this concept a lot these days and that is why they still have to work a 9-5 for income. Music without the merchandise is like the sizzle without the steak. Successful artists make music because they love to make music but it gets to the fan’s ears in hopes they will buy the CDs, vinyl records, download cards, t-shirts, wristbands, etc. If you’re going to be in the music industry you have to sell records.
You invest your time and energy into rented real estate
One of the most common problems musicians have is their dependence on rented real estate. If you don’t own the digital space you are promoting and networking on, then it is just rented space. You have no control over changes or even the eventually shut down of the rented space. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc. is all rented space. At any given time the owners of that space can change the rules or shut down that space. Look at what happened to MySpace and the near shut down of SoundCloud for proof. To make matters worse you are also trying to promote your music on platforms that are dedicated to almost anything but music with the exception of networks like SoundCloud.
Artists have become so dependent on rented space that the concept of owning real estate in the digital world is foreign. A website is your owned real estate, where you make the rules and only you decide if it ever shuts down. You don’t have to compete with a million other influences, musicians, etc. and your chances of profit from streams, downloads, CDs, merchandise sales is much greater.
You Just Hope Your Music & You Will Be Discovered
Unless your just one of the overnight success stories that do happen in the music industry, your gonna have to invest in your music. If your only plan is to take the starving artist approach and just hope you get discovered, you should probably invest your time in something else. Independent musicians often step into the music industry for the first time with this delusion. They think their talent is all that’s needed. Unfortunately like the movie industry, the music industry rewards skill not just talent. Skill is when talent can be focused and often commercialized. It is the equivalent to having a trade.
The music industry is a big business plain and simple. You need a business plan and a lot of other things if you’re going to be successful in it. Selling music is just like selling cars or anything else. You have to sell to profit and you’re going to need a plan to do it. For a business plan to work it often takes an investment of finances and time.
You Don’t Promote Your Music
As mentioned before the music industry is a big business plain and simple. You have to invest in your music to promote it and you have to promote to be successful. I could go into great detail about marketing overall but most independent musicians don’t even grasp the promotion aspect. It should be a no brainier but yet artists make this mistake every day. If your album costs $1,000.00 to make you should have $3,000.00 overall going into it and $2,000.00 left after recording and cost to get to distribution. That $2,000.00 should be used to invest in promoting the album you are releasing. Basically, always invest only 1/3 of your overall budget into recording your album and getting it ready for distribution.
Albums that don’t get promoted are albums no one hears and don’t sell. You have to go into recording an album with this in mind first. If you want people to hear your music you have to promote it.
You Didn’t Buy This Book
One of the reasons your music career or someone you know music career is failing is cause they didn’t buy my book “The Reasons Your Music Career Is Failing,” (kidding). Actually, I am in the process of writing the book and I have also made the information in the book available for free in blog posts such as this one. You should buy my book when it is released and you should also buy some other great books on the music industry. Independent musicians or usually independent for a reason and trust me on this, it is not because the music industry is beating down their door. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great independent music acts who choose to be that way and there are those musicians who choose for it to be a part-time venture. However, a lot of the independent music scene is filled with struggling artists who all have the following problem in common. They didn’t and still don’ take the time to learn and educate themselves on the music industry. You have to hit the books if you wanna learn and educate yourself.
Almost every single successful musician in history got there through hard work and educating themselves on the music industry. Yes, there are the overnight success stories but the only way they too will stay successful is through hard work and education. Furthermore, it doesn’t even matter if it is the music industry, hard work and education is the key to success in any area of life and work. So buy some books on the music industry and educate yourself.