I have totally made this mistake before: you freak out about where to host a site, what to put on it, and the music isn't even out yet. All that stress for something probably no one is going to visit, at least not yet.
I'm back from vacation and READY TO GO, y'all. Totally not missing the beach and the margaritas At. All.
One of The Grow Code's catch phrases is "Make your music make money", and today I'm going to elaborate on that. This is not about making money from video views on YouTube--that's not where the most value for your time will be.
Instead, I have 4 different potential revenue streams for you to dig into.
Sell your single or album.
Yeah, duh. We all know about this one, so I want to give it a little twist. Have you ever considered how you're distributing your music? And I don't mean vinyl and CDs--those are pretty straightforward. I'm talking digitally.
Let's be real, you're probably already selling digitally. So I want you to think about other ways you can get people to get into your sales funnel.
Rather than slapping up a song or album link for people to buy, think about other ways you can get people to connect with your music or get into your sales funnel. Consider giving away a single for free in exchange for them signing up for your mailing list, or give a discount code to your instagram followers, host a giveaway with another musician or entrepreneur.
Get a Licensing Manager.
You've probably heard of this one, but are you aware of how the industry has been changing? For those who don't know, licensing is the way music ends up in movies, tv shows, commercials, video games, etc. etc.
The way things USED to work was you'd get signed to a label, and then they'd have a whole department devoted to courting music supervisors and getting your song placed to make big money--this, by the way, is probably the most lucrative way to make money from your music. Especially since you don't have to have a huge following to get licensed, though it certainly helps make your work more attractive. But think about it-- your song gets placed in a handful of ads, and voila, your bills are covered for a few years. That's pretty sweet.
So you used to have a label do this for you. But now, with this thing called ~the internet~ and the way music has become less dependent on labels to market and now can reach you through a multitude of ways, licensing has also started changing.
Many licensing pros who used to work at labels have spun off into freelance licensing. So you now how you can get a manager? Well you can now get a licensing manager. They'll have several other clients (bands, acts, etc) and then they'll work specifically on licensing those, while utilizing all those sweet sweet contacts they grew while working label side.
Get a Patreon.
This is the virtual version of passing along a donation bucket at your shows. There are a couple of these "tipping" sites out there, Patreon is the one I've heard of the most. It's literally in the title--Patron. You provide your Patreon link like a tip jar, and people can donate money to you to keep up the good work.
This is great if you already have something of a following, because that means you're already resonating with your audience and they're sticking around. Once they're sticking around, it's the logical next step for them to either buy something from you or donate a dollar here or there. That stuff adds up.
Livestream to a Paying Audience.
This is the newest revenue stream that's popped up in recent years. If you haven't heard of Twitch, it's the largest livestream site in the world. A few years ago it was bought by Amazon, which means there will only be more and more integration between those two platforms--and for you that's a good thing.
So right now Twitch is mostly geared towards gamers (which also means you have the opportunity to jump in early and gain a bulk of the audience), but they've been trying to branch out to other streaming channels recently. The way it works is this: a streamer has a livestream of themselves (on camera) playing a video game (screensharing). So yes, people are literally watching other people play video games. When people "subscribe" to your channel, they're paying out a monthly fee to get chat upgrades and whatnot. These streamers are literally making a living playing video games and interacting with their communities all week.
Example: the local Austin band Aeseaes. They play at least three live shows every week--completely online. They've gotten to the point where they no longer need day jobs, and they don't even have to play in person shows anymore because their audience is so much bigger online that it literally wouldn't be worth it to play a venue unless they really wanted to.
I highly, highly recommend exploring this budding avenue. And jump on it sooner rather than later, because in another year or so this platform is going to be flooded with musicians.
You know what I really, really hate? Hearing the phrase "follow your dreams". It's such a lie! It's like the cotton candy of life advice. It's all fluff, no substance.
Today's gonna be a slight change of pace. This is a topic that I feel very strongly about, and have seen come up with all kinds of creatives, not just musicians. It's about mindset: stop following your dreams and get a job.
Stop treating your passion like a passion
What do I mean by that? Basically, if you keep treating your dream like a dream, it'll never come true. You'll remain a dreamer forever.
Dreamers aren't successful-- DOers are.
One of my biggest pet peeves is talking to people who just sit around and talk about how they just wanna follow their dreams, man, but the right door hasn't opened yet and why aren't they successful they have so much talent and passion. It's great that you have all this love for music or movies or whatever but if you're not getting out there and making anything? Then you're a hobbyist. Not a professional.
The world doesn't care about your passion. It cares about results. You could be the best musician in the world but if you don't but the work in exactly zero people are going to hear it.
And then what if you DO get that big break, or that door DOES magically open-- but who's going to be ready for it? The person who sat around talking about how much they want to be a musician one day or the person who has put the work in day in and day out, building a following and actually making stuff? Who do you really think is going to be prepared and able to make the most out of that opportunity?
Treat your passion like a job
The people I know who are successful in this business are the ones who treat it like a job. They're constantly working on their craft, networking, trying out new things, taking risks, playing shows, putting out song after song, engaging with their communities on social.
When I say job, I mean you have tasks, goals, deadlines...every day. Anytime it starts to feel like being a musician or a creative is easy, you're probably not working hard enough. Yes, you should still enjoy it, or get excited about it. If you start to resent it, take a vacation.
If you still hate it, then maybe this isn't the life for you. And that's okay--you need to have realistic expectations.
Change your mindset
So from this day on, change your mindset: stop thinking about pursuing music as a dream. If you want to make it a reality, you need to treat it like a job.
You are your own boss. So be ambitious, network, collaborate, engage, make stuff, fail, evaluate, and make stuff again. It'll be fun sometimes and suck the rest of the time.
It's a grind, and 99% of the time it's going to be ON TOP of your existing day job. BUT: You will never ever be successful in music if you don't do this.
Yes, it will be hard. But it will be so worth it.
I just went over why "following your dreams" is BS, and you should treat your passion like it's your job. I'm really interested to hear what you guys have to say on this subject, so please leave a comment below.
So I told you that part of your job is engaging with your audience--but do you know WHAT to post in order to do that? I've created a list of content ideas SPECIFICALLY for musicians and bands to help get you started. You can download it here!