Can you make money as a music artist?
It is now easy to download music illegally or legally, and it can be said that the music business has expired. Record sales are at their lowest and now, CDs are heading in a downward spiral.
Simply by selling records, you are not going to make very much money and will need a second job to keep the bank manager happy. The music industry is going through a revolution at the moment, but there are still ways to make money in the music industry.
Versatility is the answer in this day and age. You don’t have to sell yourself or your music short to make a living from music. As in all art forms, the phrase “art for art’s sake” can no longer be applied, and music can no longer “speak for itself.” Great music is not enough to ensure success.
In this electronic age, you probably know the basics, such as building a Web site that is kept constantly updated, becoming active in social network sites, engaging with your audience and, yes, even giving some of your music away. You need to focus on practical ways of turning your music into that dreaded word “cash.” Or at least get out there so you have a chance of making a living from your music.
Play for pay
To succeed as a music artist, you need to be out there, performing live as well as selling records. Unless someone has a recording device at your gigs, your music is safe when live. If the music is recorded in such situations, the quality will obviously be very poor and nobody will be able to steal money from you by selling your music illegally. You will also find it is a great way of networking with other artists, promoters, label owners and therefore leading to more money making opportunities further down the line.
Your bank balance will improve, but with regular gigging, you are promoting your profile. Explore local venues and pick the right ones that suit your style of music. It is no use singing your country and western ballads in a heavy metal club unless you enjoy being booed off the stage.
Try DJ’ing to bring the money in faster. Make sure you use your stage name/artist name when play. You don’t need to shout your name between or over every record, just be succinct and, assuming you can mix, you may find the money you get from this sideline is sufficient to fund your production work for your own music. This cash gives you time to work on your music and also book recording time. You may have to work late at night, but that in itself allows you flexibility in the day to concentrate on your own music and portfolio.
DJ’ing is also the means by which you can get your music heard. This doesn’t mean you play one tune from a well-established artist and then use the rest of the night to play your own. The idea is you play one or two of your best tracks to see how the audience reacts. If you have a full dance floor before you play your record and then an empty one immediately after it will certainly tell you something. If the reverse is true and people are actually getting onto the floor to dance, then you can take this as a morale boost.
The important thing in all this is never to give up hope until you are too old and decrepit to continue. You may become an overnight sensation, but read the biographies of other overnight sensations and you’ll realize they are very long nights indeed.
To make money as a musical artist, as in all professions, you need to have faith in what you are producing and a steely determination to make it work.
…Continued in Part 2…