Do you need to “know somebody” or “get lucky” to build a fan base and grow an income as an artist?
As long as you’re making good music in a genre that has an audience, there’s a straightforward way to predictably and reliably grow your fan base… while you get to focus on the music.
By the end of this article, you’ll know the surefire technique that will help you make money with your music.
And I would know. I struggled for years to make a living from music. But after trying this technique, I built my way up to a six-figure salary.
Do you want to make money from your music?
You don’t need expensive gear, connections, or god-like knowledge to kickstart your career.
This free Masterclass reveals the key steps you ACTUALLY need to make a reliable income doing what you love in 2021.
But before we talk about success, we need to talk about failure. Here’s 3 of the MOST common indie business strategies… and why they all end up falling flat
Terrible Strategy #1: Upload and Pray
Most of us think that when we get our album back from mastering and upload it to the worldwide distributor of our choice, the work is done.
Clouds will part, angels will sing, fans will line up by the thousands with wallets wide open and adoring looks on their faces, and our amazing songs will rise to the top of the pile based solely on how awesome they are.
By one estimate, there are over 30,000,000 songs available for purchase, download, or streaming.
That’s more than the combined populations of New York, Los Angeles, London, Rome, Paris, Munich, and Cologne.
When we upload our new music for worldwide distribution, guess what happens?
Our lonely little song gets lost in that giant sea of music.
So the best way NOT to make any money from your music is to upload it… and pray for lightning to strike.
“Upload and pray” is not a strategy that works… yet that’s exactly what 99.9% of indie musicians do.
That’s what I did at first.
Which is a little embarrassing, because I should have known better. More on that later. But first…
Terrible Strategy #2: Sign a Record Deal
It’s the method I call, “Beg a record company A&R guy to listen to your songs.”
Believe it or not, this is still a popular method. Because musicians are conditioned to think that once you sign a record deal, all of your problems are solved.
Money flows like water.
No more struggle. It’s all limousines, mansions, yachts, and fitness models.
Umm… again, not so much.
Here’s the reality. Record deals are, objectively speaking, some of the worst contracts on Planet Earth.
They are famously and horribly lopsided in favor of the record company.
Because the record company’s job is to make as much money as it can from your music.
(And by the way, the first thing that happens when you sign a record deal is this: YOUR music suddenly becomes THEIR music. OUCH!)
And that not-so-big advance payment they give you? Plus all the costs of making your album? That amounts to a loan.
You have to pay them back.
Out of your tiny little share of the royalties.
It’s pretty easy to see how up to 85% of artists who sign a record deal end up owing money to their label.
And you’d be surprised at some of the artists in this situation.
The band 30 Seconds to Mars comes to mind.
Their album A Beautiful Lie went platinum. They had an enormously successful tour.
Their record company made a killing on album and ticket sales.
But that apparently wasn’t enough. At the end of the tour, EMI handed the band a bill for two million dollars.
And this was totally legal, because the standard record deal states that all album and tour costs have to be paid for out of the band’s share of ticket and album sales… NOT the record company’s share.
Here’s another gut-punch. Record companies have become experts at adding on expenses and charging them to the artist. When a record company exec flies in to see you perform, you shouldn’t be flattered.
You should be extremely upset.
Because YOU are paying for all of his expenses… including the fancy private jet, limousine, caviar, and champagne. It’s all on your tab… and nobody even bothered to ask your permission to spend YOUR money!
By the time the record company deducts all the fees, royalties, and add-on expenses, most artists receive just two pennies out of every dollar their music earns.
Two pennies! With friends like that, who needs an enemy, right?
If in spite of all the horror stories, you’re still eager to sign on the dotted line with a record company, there’s one more thing to keep in mind.
Record companies no longer sign deals with up-and-coming artists… unless those artists already have a large and thriving fan base.
See, it’s hard times for record companies these days, and they only want to sign deals with artists who are already making money.
Which makes me wonder…
If you’re already making money, why in the world would you need a record company? And why in the world would you let them keep 98% of the money from your songs and your performances?
Terrible Strategy #3: Assume Facebook will Make You Famous
Okay… so we’re not going to “upload and pray.”
And we’re not going to sign a record deal that we’ll regret for the rest of our lives.
How the heck are we going to market our music?
Well… the answer is obvious, isn’t it?
Haven’t we recently achieved Marketing Nirvana?
Isn’t there a set of miraculous tools that will save the day, make us rich and famous, and allow us to achieve all of our dreams?
After all, it’s the era of…
We can reach roughly a zillion people instantaneously using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
Isn’t this obviously the way to make money with our music?
Well… I wish it were.
But no. Not by a long shot.
See, it turns out that social media is amazing for entertainment and building relationships one-on-one with other humans. But social media is terrible if you want to encourage people to buy anything.
It has just never lived up to the hype. Despite all the promise, social media has never delivered the goods.
In fact, social media is 20 times worse at generating sales than the tried-and-true method that I used to generate over six figures in music sales.
This is the same method that hundreds of thousands of internet businesses use. It’s the method that generates billions of dollars every year, in thousands of different markets.
This method is amazing at encouraging people to buy. Most importantly for us, it’s also amazing at encouraging people to buy your music.
It’s the marketing method that generates the best results… by a mile.
It’s also the cheapest marketing method to use.