I’ve just got back from talking with Jeremy, an old friend, about his music career, web promotion and monetizing his website; coincidently, I’ve also just received a question from a band that asks, “We are looking for help to get noticed so we can earn enough money to do this full-time.”
It’s my strong opinion that if an individual musician or band wants to ‘make it’ on the music scene and make a living from their music, the most important area to get right is their musicianship and stage act (Music and Performance). Fundamentally, how good at ‘doing it’ are you? This is The Core Essential and best indicator of whether you are going to make it or not. Nine times out of ten, if you are having trouble getting noticed and making money out of your music, then you probably can’t ‘do it’ - seek criticism and advice from an independent and qualified person whose opinion you value and trust. Then act on their advice.
To make a money out of your music, you also need a Business Plan - talent is sometimes not enough! “How much money do you want to make/earn?” Have a consultation with a music industry accountant, see: UK music business accountants list on Vocalist.
Here are my potted thoughts: if you want to make £24K gross (that’s without deductions) per annum from your band’s/artist’s website, you’ve got to take about £480.00 per week. And that is five times more than I’d expect an average band/artist to make from their website with: ad. space, affiliate marketing, donations, Google Adsense, merchandise, downloads and CD sales! Which is why I say, “Don’t concentrate on your website in isolation to everything else.” But, it Is important that your website is a part of your overall business, marketing and promotion strategy; look at the big picture and be open-minded - you need an aim and a plan. The usual ways of earning a living as an independent artist are: Performing (sessions, gigs and touring - I’m not too sure about busking Jez?), Selling Music and Merchandise (CD physicals, downloads, T-shirts, button badges etc.), Publishing (see: PRS for Music (formerly the Performing Right Society) a ‘not for profit’ organization). Also: have a gander at a blog post I wrote in July 2009 Make Money From Your Band’s Website.
If you are having trouble getting your music noticed, revisit Your Core Essential Music and Performance, and take a second look at your Business Plan.
Hang-on, there is a third element, Connectivity. You’ve got it, “How you connect with people.” And Oh My God, this is also where it all goes wrong. You come over as a Tosser and you can’t write a fucking sentence without thinking of yourself first, in fact you can’t write a fucking sentence, why would anyone just say “CHECK OUT OUR MYSPACE” and not give their MySpace address In An Email? Would even the most desperate, half-arsed, alcoholic band promoter bother to scratch around trying to find out who you are? <UNDERSTAND>Delete Button</UNDERSTAND> Noone cares about you, actually, they don’t like you, so don’t fuck them off even more with shitty, egoistical emails.
It’s all about how You come over. How people see you. How They interact with you and how You respond. Yeah, respond. Maybe, how well you listen! Artists need to listen as well as project and promote their point of view. What does your address book/database/mailing list look like? Up-to-date is it? Have you got it sorted, categorized, cross-referenced? No? Well you’re wasting your fucking time then. Because if you don’t know who your talking to, you may as well be talking to your MySpace friends - who don’t give a fuck because they’re twats like you.
Connectivity is being on the same wavelength as the person with whom you are talking, it’s empathy, rapport. As a band or musician, you are going to have to connect with a lot of different people, fans, friends and family (when was the last time you said thanx with some flowers or a box of chox for all the hard work they’ve done?) - are you talking with your local: Pub Landlords, Venues, Gig Promoters, Press, Radio and DJs about “Strictly Come Dancing”? How many hours have you lost, squandered and wasted on FaceSpace this week? …it’s not easy - nobody said it’s easy.
I came across a helpful blog post by Vinny Ribas, Measuring Your Success - that may help you a little Jez.
Music and Performance, Business Plan then Connectivity - imperceptible bollocks logic, one thing follows on from another.
Unsigned Band Promotion (me) play a microscopic part in all this, I help musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own, and I’m the best.