Our music business guide continues this time discussing music budgets and finance with a contribution from Indiehelp.net. Raising adequate funds to fuel your music career is critical to your success. As a working recording artist, music producer, etc., you should be developing a strategic plan and setting realistic goals that you can move toward on a regular basis.
Consider this to be a twelve-month guideline for aspiring artists to establish themselves.
An artist is only as good as the money behind them! Although that’s arguable the one thing that cannot be denied is finance and how it’ll make or break your endeavor. With that being said it’s important to establish realistic goals you’d like to reach in a years span and further divide that up into monthly objectives. The key to this is determining how much you’re able to invest in your career on a monthly basis and ensure what you’re investing in both protects & promotes you adequately. For instance it takes $35 to submit a song for copyrighting so don’t lay down an entire mix tape if you can’t protect all the songs when it’d be more ideal to record a demo due to legal protection of your music. Determine an annual goal broken into 12 objectives further defined by a monthly allotment of money.
If you’re going to do this you might as well do it right. You’ve got the skills, you’ve got the voice and you know you’re what the industry needs, right? Well then don’t shortchange yourself! Downloading free beats with tags, or industry instrumentals that you own no rights to does you no justice. Scour the resources available to you
(I.E. SoundClick, SoundCloud, etc…) and purchase leases or exclusives to beats so
you’ll have free reign with them (Leases = limited reign). This way you’re protecting
yourself from legal ramifications, and you’re one step closer to a fully protected project ready to be heard with no concern of thieves.
Now that you’ve determined a budget, purchased your beats, wrote your music and are ready to record it’s time to pick a place that’ll create the songs in their entirety as you heard in your head if not better. Don’t settle for your boy’s apartment living room, his second hand equipment & limited knowledge on how to go about navigating through the software. Find an affordable studio that’ll be willing to work with you through financing, pay as you go, or discounts to ensure you’re getting the most for your buck and then some. BUT BE SURE YOU’RE GOING INTO THE STUDIO PREPARED! Ensure your songs are wrote, and the performance of them down to each individual breath, accent, adlib, & syllable are flawless, so you won’t end up needing to dish out more cash because you couldn’t fulfill your end of the bargain when payments are being made. Once the final payment is handed over and that mastered project is in your hands you’re now on your way stardom (at least more-so than the other guys who’re keeping it ghetto fabulous and putting out poor quality, unprotected music off of tagged or industry downloaded mp3s).
It’s time for the fun part! Picking a performing rights society (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC),
getting copyrights for your music & looking into getting a package of manufactured goods. Lets face it getting your music protected serves two main purposes. One is the fact that you’re protected and second you’ll collect royalties, get paid for plays, and tons more (an article for another day). So drop $175+ tax for protecting your demo and get your name in a performing rights society!
If you’ve followed everything up to this point you’d only hurt yourself by not doing it! In addition to the protection of you and your work it’s time to start exploring companies that’ll burn your cds, make covers for the cds, and packaging along with whatever else you can afford like perhaps a commemorative plaque, or set amount of posters, download cards, flyers, etc… to further promote yourself. It’d also be a good idea to get a media distribution bundle that’ll get your work on iTunes, Amazon, and more! My mother used to say you only have one chance to make a first impression so make it a good one. This serves just that purpose, and if you’re really ready to impress or to track sales (if you intend on selling your music) get a UPC bar code, register it with Sound Scan and start tracking sales! It’ll also be a good idea to research the remaining record stores around the country and start trying to get shelf placement of your products. But this was the last technical avenue before a turn onto Showmanship BLVD!
Now that the technical aspects have been acknowledged and accounted for (and hopefully budgeted for) it’s time to begin your siege online as well as on the streets.
Lets start finding your behind the scenes crew and getting a solid photo shoot (do themes, follow a theme for each of your songs and take a corresponding picture to associate as a thumbnail for that track instead of the boring MP3 logo) start calling up your people and getting them ready for a music video (and don’t slack in this area get good scenes, lots of locations and wardrobe changes)!
An important aspect to keep in mind is to moderate surges in your ego. By this time most people encounter a sense of entitlement because they’ve put so much work and investment into themselves that it’s only right they get discovered and picked up. We’ll those people are always proven wrong, just because you’re doing things right doesn’t mean you’re too good for showcases or free shows! Ensure that you soak up every opportunity you have to perform if it’s a decent sized crowd and the demographic is suitable to the type of music you’re putting out. If that means paying $20 for a showcase, or performing on campus to benefit a student group then do it! Humility will take you a lot further than an ego will. Start investing in some merchandise, a sick apparatus I recently came across were those rubber bands everyone’s wearing on their wrists these days, we’ll now they have thumb-drive rubber bands (or just stick to shirts and cds) that’d be cool to put your music, music videos, photo shoots, social media addresses and more on! But back to the subject, try to locate major names coming to your city, locate the promotion company bringing them or venue and pay to play, give/sell merch, and attend as many events as possible!
You’re officially on the yellow brick road of an aspiring artist. You’re protected, promoting, networking, investing, and giving all of yourself to this dream as you should be doing so now lets focus on the internet a bit. Find as many websites as possible that pertain to indie artists or just your genre of music and pay for the ones worthy of views to feature yourself on and submit yourself and music to the others with a bio, picture, and links to appear on their site. Remember the shows you’re doing and the sites you’re on are only assisting in the overall presentation of yourself, which will be a press kit/EPK. Finally there are “marketing” companies that assist in building your brand (I.E. getting you more Twitter Followers, Facebook Fans, YouTube Views, Website Traffic, etc..) maybe look into investing in them.
With a budget in effect, a plan in motion, and a drive your favorite rappers cars couldn’t compete with I’m 100% certain you’ll be well on your way to success however that may be defined by you! I wish you the best of luck and hope you found this useful!
Thanks to Indie Help For Contributing This Content!