You are a kickass musician and you deserve to be making (lots of) money doing what it is that you love so much. I couldn’t agree more!
But I want to share with you some ideas that you should consider on your rise to musical stardom.
But before I go there, I need to be brutally honest, direct and to the point…
You must spend money and invest in yourself before you can expect success in your career.
There, I said it!
And I’m not talking about buying new gear, or recording software. Of course, those are important – but what I’m referring to is investing in the marketing and promotion of your music.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many artists have approached me, requesting that I “help them out” with their music marketing, but shutter at the idea of having to actually spend some money.
I get it, money is tight. You are a struggling artist, trying to make it. Yada. Yada. Yada.
I mean no disrespect to you if you’re in a situation where your bills are higher than your income. I’ve been there, I think we all have. But stop using that as an excuse for why your music career is stagnant or not taking off. Everybody deals with this (with the exception of a very few) so it’s not actually a valid reason as to why you’re not succeeding.
When I begin working with a partner (I refer to all of my clients/customers as ‘partners’, because that better defines what we are) the first question I like to ask is,
Are you a music professional or is making music just your hobby?
Sometimes I get blank stares, but mostly they respond with a very determined “I’m a music professional”!
But what I quickly find out is that they aren’t spending any money in the right places and they aren’t making enough money to cover their basic business expenses.
Again, I’m not judging anybody. However, to me what defines you as a music professional is somebody who is making at least as much money through their music career as they are spending to obtain that money. If you spend a dollar, you should be making a dollar back.
In business, this is your break-even point, and it is a magical place to be if you can get there! But it’s hard. Really, really hard if you go about things the wrong way.
When thinking about your music career, you have to put significant thought into your finances because you will be stretching them; I’ve yet to meet an artist who isn’t.
Start to consider what things do you need to be spending money on versus things that you could do without.
For instance, if you are taking money that could go into marketing your music and blowing it on alcohol or new shoes, you’re doing yourself a tremendous disservice! You are literally going in the exact opposite direction that you should be… if music is your profession.
See where I’m going here?
You’re probably thinking, “then what should I be spending my money on?”
I’m glad you asked.
That’s right. You should be spending your money on yourself.
Well, more specifically…
- Your product. This is your music, your show, your visuals, merchandise, etc. It’s what people will actually buy from you.
- The marketing of your product. You have to get yourself in front of people and the best and usually cheapest way to do that (in my opinion) is through Facebook advertising.
Once you have spent the time and money to get your product together, if you haven’t already, you need to shift your mindset to investing in that product through marketing. You likely do not have a large enough fan base (yet!) to reach break-even by simply posting to social media about your new album.
Plus, you’re probably going to over post the same thing, asking your audience for money when really you need to optimizing your marketing to attract new fans and provide them the opportunity to get to know you. Hopefully they will also want to buy something from you!
Budget for a successful marketing campaign can vary drastically, but generally speaking if you’re not willing or able to invest at least $200-$300/mo. in yourself, you will not be happy with the results. I would plan to spend closer to $500 (minimum) just to get the needle moving in your direction.
The hope is that you will start to make some of that money back, which you can reinvest until you get to break-even.
Why is breaking even so damn important?
Simply put, you can’t make a dime of profit if you aren’t first able to break-even.
So, when thinking about your next project or product that you want to sell, don’t just look at the cost of producing that product. You need to be factoring in a budget to properly market and bring awareness to it, or else you will continue to pour money into failing products.