Here we discuss resources we’ve mentioned on air. Contact us if you have questions or feedback!
Music and Business Strategies with Randall McMillan
- Content creators can publish anything from books, speeches, music, film, photography, marketing strategies and so much more. In the US, all of these people play by the same rules.
- What do you have, how are you going to get people to know about it, then how are you going to sell/ license it. And, who is going to do the legwork involved with all of that.
- Inventory your catalog, Artists often have tons of songs long before they perform anything.
- The challenge: choosing which one of your works are going to be your favorites.
- Start thinking about which songs may get your foot in the door as far as distributing and licensing it. Basically which songs could put “on the map” with public appeal. These will be more radio friendly.
- Get your music reviewed by executives
- Properly protect your music.
- Income streams:
- Live performances. One of Randall’s band’s performed a show every other week. They also began printing merchandise with they fan’s favorite lyrics in their songs.
- A Grassroots hustle with merchandise can be very profitable for bands with small followings or of course very big followings.
- One of Randalls clients/groups placed their music on an app because they just so happen to be early adopters with technology. One member favorited one particular app and contacted its creators to provide feedback. In the process he mentioned that he had tracks he thought would be perfect for the game. They were interested and he licensed his music to them. We are going to book this artist in a future show to hear all about this story.
- Artists use to depend on record label alone for income and the most successful moguls are becoming even more more business minded entrepreneurs. They are leveraging their fame, name and creative perspective on the world to impact other industries.
- Rihanna for example has endorsements with many brands.
- Artists are franchising; taking revenue they’ve made from touring, record sales and advances and investing it in other areas. This way they do not have to depend on their music alone for income.
- What to steer clear of: understand how to conduct yourself and your business. Be comfortable communicating to others that you take your business seriously. You don’t have to wear a suit and tie and carry contracts around with you. But when the time is right, take the “risk” and open up the conversation about your agreement between yourself and your co-creators. It’s usually not a risk at all, in fact it will prevent future risks.
- Find a distribution arm that you’re interested in and ask people who are using that service what they think of it.
- Record labels are looking for Artists who have already done the development. They are seeking Artists with solid brands and followings that can be scaled up to a bigger level. randall mcmillan
Entertainment Attorney Ben Mclane
Labels today expect Artist to have created a buzz ,on their own, through album sales, an online following & successful touring.
- Having the drive to make it in this industry is vital to surviving. If you know what you want, go after it
- Use the internet to your advantage.
- Often the most successful artists are not the most talented, but they often worked harder than everyone else.
- Figure out a way to build your fan base, make great music, keep focused on the music… don’t let everything else take over.
- You cant sit around and wait for anyone to want to work with you before you’ve created anything. Once you’ve created something of value (ex: a great album, a local following and a strong online presence), everyone will want to work with you.
Step one to selling your music is getting your Copyrights. Your name or stage name is your brand and you must protect your brand with a trademark so that people can’t profit from ripping off your images (using them without your permission) on merchandise for example.
- If you’re a songwriter, join BMI or ASCAP (and go to their events!).
- Figure out how your band splits up revenue. Every band is different. Create a partnership agreement with your co-songwriters and other band mates. Some of your members who are not original members may be less interested in the legal matters and a better fit as work for hire members. This is a great time to reach out to an entertainment lawyer, let us know if you’d like a trusted referral.
What are Royalties?
- Distribution services often take 30%,
- Songwriting royalty is 10% (Rounded up for our purpose, it’s actually 9.1%)
- If you’re releasing a cover song 10% goes directly to the songwriter.
- 60% is left which would typically be split with a label if you’re signed, leaving you 30%
- Labels are taking all the financial risk so they expect to re-coop their investment and make a good profit at the same time.
- If not signed, that 60% is all yours. If you are the song’s original writer you still have 70% of the revenue after distribution.
Film, TV & Commercial Licensing
- A lot of these ad agencies and TV shows need music and prefer to use independent music because they can’t afford to pay Taylor Swift or U2. But they can afford to pay you!
- That is a licensing fee. If they pay $1,000 to put your music in their show that’s pure profit.
- If you are the Songwriter, your PRO (Performance Rights Organization) collects performance royalties for you when the show airs on television and radio.
- Ex: One Superbowl commercial play can earn a songwriter $25,000-$50,000.
- A songwriter gets paid a mechanical royalty when a song is used on a record (Covered)
- Ex: 10% Mechanical royalty to the song’s writer Paul McCartney of the Beatles collects 10% every time his songs are covered.
- The songwriters fee is called the Sync Fee, You’ll also get a percentage if the song is used in film or TV.
- The performer’s portion of the royalty is called the Master Use fee.
- In your band’s partnership agreement you can authorize one person to be your administrator which means they have the right to submit your music for paid opportunities without any further authorization from the co-writers.
- Most companies want to deal with simple contracts where one person is authorized to speak for everybody. If not, film companies will not want to have to contact each individual writer.
Find good music libraries that have solid reputations. Network with music supervisors. Use the internet to research. If there’s a TV show you’d like to have your music on, look at the credits and use google to find out how to contact them. Tell them you have one song that you’d like them to see if it’s a good fit for upcoming projects.
Traditional Publishing Deal: Publisher owns copyrights and lands paid opportunities for Artists
Co-publishing deal: Artist co-owns the copyright with the publisher, Artist gets 75% of the income, publisher keeps 25%. Publisher is also still the administrator.
Administration Deal: If you’re famous, your music sells/gets played on itsown. But, you still need someone to collect all of the income for you. You would pay an administrator 10% of the revenue to collect your income from radio, online distribution sites, royalties for you.
Independent Artist: With no Publisher & no record deal, the Artist is an independent Artist so all of that money goes directly to them. But, they still need to collect it. He or she would need to hire an administrator and pay them 10%-25% cut to collect income.
SoundExchange.com collects on digital airplay. For example sirius XM plays a lot of independent music, SoundExchange would collect.
Ben’s opinion was that a Record label’s main role is marketing and promotion, top 40 radio songs are coming from Artists who are backed by a major label. The major labels still have a lot of power in the media, radio and promotion. It is difficult for an independent artist to break through without this type of clout behind them. BUT, many independent artists are making a great income without labels.
- Always make sure your deals have an exit clause build in so that you can get out of the deal if it is not working out.
- When you do deals, make sure you have the freedom to do whatever you want with your record once it produced.
Everything You Need to Know About The Music Business by Don Passman
What have you learned throughout your journey as an independent Artist? Do you have any feedback or recommendations? Leave a note in the comments below, we will answer your questions within two days.esting
Corie Kellman- Hosting a Contest To Build a Relationship With Your Fans
- Build a team so that you can focus on your music. It’s one thing to be a good musicians but if you’re not motivated and willing to shake hands, greet fans and mingle with business folks… the business side is going be difficult for you.
- Creating a relationship with your fans is the most important thing Artists can do in the digital age. Make sure your fans feel fulfilled.
- You may have a label, manager or booking agent but don’t get too comfortable. Establishing a relationship with your fans insures you will survive the bumps in the road.
- Figure out what your fans are into. Its not one size fits all. Figure out who they are as a community.
- Don’t overnight it, it could be simple. They may love meet and greets or they may be into graphic design and would love to design a poster for your tour.
- Everyone is a little self righteous and a little vein. Take a picture from the stage and ask them to tag themselves so they can say look where I was this weekend!
- Look at it from the fans perspective. What would you want from your favorite band?
- A contest can be a way to pull your community in and make them feel a part of something bigger than themselves.
- The only thing worse than being on none of the social networks is being on all of them and not managing them properly.
- Google docs is a great way to get your marketing and production systems more efficient.
- Stay true to your art. Don’t be influenced too much by external factors. Focus on making the best music you can make and stay true to yourself.
Michael Shoup- The Creative Entrepreneurial Spirit
As a trained musician Michael left college with stars in his eyes and set out performing and covering the costs out of pocket. He learned the hard way that he needed a better strategy to succeed with his music.
Don’t be afraid to look at your creative work as a business. He began to look at his career as an entrepreneurial venture.
You have to build your business and your fanbase up yourself. Labels are only looking to expand an already established fan base.
Michael discovered that marketing strategies and passive income marketing that other industries have been using for centuries, also can be applied to the music industry.
Become extremely proficient in your trade, master your craft. If you’re a drummer, you need to be able to read a drum chart and site read it on demand.
Michael’s biggest challenge was mastering the business side of the industry. He admits that when he started out he had no idea how to look at his music as a business.
Learning from failures is an excellent way to learn, but prepare as best you can for a career in this industry. This will save you a lot of pain. If you’re in college or not, take a finance, business and marketing class.
When working with booking agents and other professionals- You have to understand what the agent needs. Are you in a position to be of value to a booking agent? Make sure you have your ducks in a row and you can show them actual numbers for attendance.
Michael attributes his success to having supportive family that encouraged him to play. Michael played in a band with his church and his parents were cool enough to take him to open mic nights that he was too young to get into.
Small venues often have owners who are musicians or are very supportive of Artists, get out and network within your community. Get creative with the places you could play. Places such as Salons, water parks, cafes, grocery stores we’ve heard of Artists playing so many places, your imagination is your only limit.
Then recording Abletonlive and Logic were recommended
Make sure your content is properly tagged so can be found naturally on google
Releasing content in a concise, consistent, high quality manner is key to online success
Your web presence will depend in your goals.
Music supervisors want to be able to find your music quickly and easily and want to be able to easily understand the genre, feeling and sound and style of your music.
Don’t overlook non-traditional licensing opportunities. Michael found a real estate agency that films short films to help sell high dollar homes. They wanted to use original music for the films and michael has been asked to write numerous.
Don’t buy the cart before the horse. Having a big dream is great but having giant goals and lead to giant failures. Planning and building a ladder to success is a much better strategy.
- If you can put together a career goal and a structured business set up for how you reach people who will value your work, GO.
-The personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
The four hour work week by Tim Ferris
Debra Russell- Monetizing Your Music
- The term “starving artist” come from the reality that many artists do not understand common business practices
- Perfecting your craft as a musicians is extremely important. Don’t just learn chords, learn to read music. Consistently work to develop and broaden your skills.
- Use google hangouts on air to stream your own live concerts and add tipjars drirectly from your webpage. Do some research to learn how to get good audio recording, then all you need is a basic webcam and a strong internet connection.
- Don’t believe that people are no longer willing to buy music. MANY artists are succeeding by connecting with fans and sending them to their websites to purchase music.
- Amanda Palmer developed relationships with her fans online, build a large twitter following and email list, launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $30,000 and ended up rasing around 1.4 million. She also sells her music by allowing fans to pay what they want to pay.
- Artists can make money at their shows buy selling memorabilia of the event. When fans purchase items at shows, they are purchasing more than just a sticker. They are buying that item in memory of the event they attended. That is more valuable that the $1o bucks you made on the shirt. Make sure you have stickers, shirts, download cards and cd’s at your shows. Stay after the show and offer to sign anything the fans purchase.
- We hope to book musician, Jonathan Coulton on a show so we can discuss how he’s making 500,000 per year booking himself and selling his music via his website.
Braden Anderson- How to Land Sponsors for Your Band
To land sponsors, hit the streets!! Create a list of sponsors that could provide basic things you need for your project or tour. We provide examples throughout the show. Your tour needs could be tires, an oil change, fuel, maybe a couple peices of new gear, a couple outfits to wear on stage, etc.
What is your demographic? What type of audience are you attracting with your music? You must pin-point these characteristics so that you can get an idea of good matches for sponsorship. You need to think of companies who would be interested in getting in front of your audience.
Braden’s band out in Santa Fe, NM started to attract a great community of people who were into motorcycling. Biker Rock!
The Strange band members liked motorcycles and this created a great commonality and the band embraced it completely.
Due to their strong fanbase and great sense of community within Santa Fe, NM, the Strange often gets approached by professionals who want to team up.
They were excited to hear from the local Harley Davidson store about sponsorship opportunities.
In the show Braden explains the symbiotic relationship that was created between Harley Davidson and The Strange.
As you are creating your prospect lists, also put together a sponsorship package for your prospects. This package will include two sections
List of things the band is need of for the tour and options to sponsor for the amount of different items needed.
Professionally designed list of what the sponsor gets in return for their donation.
When you create a great sponsorship relationship the two brands share their two markets and both partners benefit by creating a positive experience for their audience which has a positive impact on their brand’s image.
Who would you WANT to represent?
For example; if you’re a surfer rock band and all your fans are surfers; a great sponsor would be your favorite surfer brand.
The most ideal sponsorship partners are trying to reach the same groups of people and wish to create a positive experience for everyone involved. ie: Throwing a rad surfing competition. Add surfer pic*&&*&^^%$$#@@
Things to offer sponsors in exchange for their contribution:
-Their logos on your banners
-Examples of The Strange
-Website Credit (Build your traffic so you can boast good numbers/analytics)
-Free Live Performance
Split the band up, preferably in pairs and hit the streets, have your sponsorship package and lists in hand.
Ross Barber- The Importance of a Professional WordPress Site For Your Band- Click Here to Listen
- Use Youstream, Concert Window, Stageit & Google Hangouts on Air to stream live concerts
- A selfhosted WordPress site is the recommended
- Use Mailchimp or fanbridge to manage your email list. Build your email list 24/7
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube- Find out where your fans are, what they like and which platforms are most beneficial for them.
- Plugins for social media, albums, show schedules
- Check out Ross Barber’s sites for great examples of what you should shoot for.
- The importance of keeping everything in one place. You don’t want to send your fans to mulitple places. If you have your show dates tickets, photos, videos, merchandise and press kit on your site…this way your fans and business contacts have everything they need, in one place.
- Having a website communicates to people that you are professional & serious about what you’re doing.
- Social networks should always be used in conjunction with your website, not in the place of your website.
- Facebook fans are only seeing 3% of your posts, don’t rely on that to reach fans.
- Easy Instagram, Bands in town, tour dates- automatically posts your events from your facebook feed.
- Use the Compact audio player plug-in to stream your music.
- Don’t overload the site with plug-ins.
- Host baby example of the worst band website ever: Click here to see an example of the worst band website ever
Basic steps of setting up a wordpress site:
Register your domain name now so you have it
Get your band/artist name as your domain name. If needed, add a word to the end.
- Get a professionally written bio
- Keep your site updated, if needed add plugins that will post status updates automatically so your site always has fresh content
- Have an EPK (Electronic Press Kit)
- Store (Woo Commerce, BandCamp.com, BigCartel.com)
- Contact information
Neil Guilarte- How to Make Professional Quality Music Videos- Click Here to Listen
- Video Pre-Production
- Sit down and pre-visualize what you want to make.
- Once you know exactly what you want to make you will know the assets needed to make it.
- Prepare a strong written script/idea
- Use the highest quality DSLR camera you can borrow or purchase
- Sit down with the band and video crew and make sure that everyone’s on the same page
- Questions you should have answered during Pre-Production
- Are we going to use effects?
- How many locations are there?
- Do we need props, actors, extras?
- How are we going to tell the story?
- Tips for easy music video effects
- Black and white effect- Increase the blacks (make them darker) to get some high contrast
- Use Flares for a cinematic effect
- Recommended Software for Professional Quality Video Production
- Apple’s final cut pro
- Adobe Premier
- What has made the entertainment industry so great in the past has been its collaborations.
- Recommended Equipment For Music Videos
- Canon or Nikon DSLR camera
- Basic LED Light kit around $200 on amazon
- Zoom H2N audio recorder
- Pick a great location
- Try to find locations that have “texture” like brick, cobblestone roads, old buildings, a train station, staircases. These textures can give you high production value with little or no costs.
- Use modern technology to create visuals, digital storyboards, etc.
Use B&H photo video for new and used equipment, they ensure that the equipment you purchase is not damaged.
- Find workarounds, collaborate, have patience & creativity. The word no is not allowed in a DIY mentality.
- Keep shooting, keep practicing, each time you take on a new project you will learn something new.
Michael Musco- Mastering Music Licensing- Click Here to Listen
- Michael Musco recommends allowing commercial music to fund your entertainment music. He always keeps the two separate.
- The first year of making commercial music will be the most discouraging and difficult. Keep working and perfecting your music. Ask for feedback when you can and learn from constructive criticism.
- Micheal recommends Pond5 and Luckstock when it come to getting started with commercial music because the are Artist friendly and easy to use.
- Check out MusicLibraryReport.com to be sure you’re using the highest rated music licensing platforms.
- Don’t pirate software, when software developers get ripped off, they have to raise their prices which makes software more expensive for everyone.
- Become a machine. Micheal says that 90% of his income comes from 10% of his songs. Experiment, see what works, tweak things and produce music every day.
- Music is a business, in order to make money you will need to be set up as a business.
The Andrew Adkins- Colored Parade- Click Here to Listen
- Andrew believes it’s important for Artists to be prepared for a tough road and to be sure you are willing to take on that road when pursuing music.
- Make sure you avoid people who can not show you proven results with what they do for Artists. They should have a track record for success and a clear plan if you are considering hiring them to help you. Never sign something your don’t understand.
- When it comes to software and tools, Andrew can’t live without his imac
- Andrew and his friends created their own production and promotion company, Electrahead media.
- Andrew uses press releases and music blogs for promotion, he believes music blogs are the new taste makers.
- Andrew went to songwriter nights in Nashville, TN and in doing so met people who fulfilled roles he was looking to add to his team.
- ASCAP functions are free if you’re a member and a great opportunity to meet contacts that can forward your career.
- Don’t have the romantic notion that a man with a cigar will discover you and make your dreams come true. It COULD happen, just like you COULD win the lottery.
- No matter where you want to go in your career, you have to start somewhere. So start building and see where you end up. Don’t wait for something big to happen.
Francis Rockliff- Click Here to Listen
- Be authentic, work in the industry on projects that you’re passionate about; but also remain flexible because that’s what will help you pay the bills.
- The music industry is built on relationships. Having good intentions, being likable and pleasant to be around will help you build your career.
- One of Francis Rockliff’s biggest opportunities, working with Stanley Kubrick, was initiated simply by being kind to a sound editor, and asking him to keep his work in mind.
- Artists who stay true to their integrity often have longevity in their careers
- The first step to getting representation for your music is having a solid body of work/a professionally recorded album.
- Pinpointing what it is that will move people is the secret to creating music that people can relate to and support.
- The emotion an Artist puts into their music is the magic ingredient and can not be created with technical perfection alone.
- Music is often much more powerful when performed by the person who wrote the song based on his or her life experience.
- Sweet/Sour or Happy/Sad themes (counterpoints) are great combinations for composing music and the combination is often reached when Artists co-write pieces together.
Nicky Baker- Click Here to Listen
- To launch her career in music, Nicky created a list of everyone she knew who had ever worked in the music industry, near or far. She personally contacted them, reminded them of what she was doing and found out what they currently needed. One of those contacts led to co-writing an album that ended up selling around the world.
- Music is a relationship based profession. You will most likely meet your team via word of mouth. You need to be getting out into the scene and getting to know people.
- Nicky recommends bandcamp.com and has had a great experience with them.
- An artist must have self confidence to succeed in the music industry.
- Building your following yourself in the new Music Industry is extremely important. Nobody can do this for you even if they wanted to. Use social media to connect with your fans and organically build your following/ fan base. This is the most valuable step you can take as an indie artist.
- Meet your fans by playing live shows every night. Give your fans takeaways that tell them where to follow you and reward them for following by saying hello.
- Nicky uses Garage band for the planning phases of her songwriting process.
- When you start to become more successful, make sure you take note of what actions helped you, then strengthen those aspects of your team.
- The old music industry turned Artists into pawns in a high dollar chess game. Nicky says if she could do it all over, she would never consider signing with a record label.
- We recommend reading, “This business of Music” toe help you get to know the business/ legal side of the industry.
- Often when an Artist stops pursuing his passion for music, it is because somebody made them second guess their work with a negative opinion or action. Keep this in mind and don’t let anyone kill your passion. Get educated, build your skills and work hard at your craft.
Rob Meister Show Notes- Click Here to Listen
- One challenge Rob overcame and learned from was the importance of not being swayed from working in the music industry. Many things throughout your career will pull you away from following your passion. Rob recommends focusing on working in the industry to be more successful.
- Get over the idea that you need to be rich and famous in order to be successful. The term success is relative, define your goals, work toward them and be grateful if you are making a living doing what you love.
- Get out and play even if you’re unsure of the outcome of a situation. If every detail doesn’t turn out perfect, you will still have learned something from the experience.
- If you’re offered a great gig working with people you don’t like or a project you’re not passionate about; you may end up regretting the time you dedicated to the project. Stay true to yourself.
- Tony’s Video of girl talking complete gibberish in different accents https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybcvlxivscw&feature=kp
- Letting your career take you on roads you may not have expected to explore. But, always stay true to your own passion.
- The most important thing an Artist needs to succeed in this industry is belief in himself and the ability to know if his work is exceptional or if it could be improved upon.
- Avoid people who belittle your work and people who encourage destructive habits.
- You are as powerful as you allow yourself to be and as strong as your weakest link.
Miss Jamie’s Farm- Show Notes Click Here to listen
- Jamie discusses the importance of acting as if music is your only job, understanding the there is a business side of working in the music industry that you must understand to become a working musician.
- The importance of branding yourself and being able to describe your music to other people. Be able to compare yourselves to other musicians so that people know where to place your music.
- Let people see you in action, have high quality pictures and videos shot. Be creative!
- Find, network with Artists that are already doing what you want to do. Become friends with them, see how you can work together.
- Banding together with other musicians can be extremely beneficial. Jamie created a compilation
- Surround yourself with people who are doing well, reach up.
- Play by the rules, find out what the rules are, make sure you’re not overstepping boundaries.
- Be professional, be early, pack the house, don’t feel like drinking and partying is a requirement of this industry. If you want to make it, you have to be self disciplined and responsible.
- Give your fans something to take home, do contests and giveaways.
Andrea D’Agostini, Rising Crowd- Show Notes Click here to listen
- When planning how to build an audience, consider going where there is already an audience; rather than trying to bring the audience to you.
- Always stay on the look out for sponsorship opportunities.
- Listen to your instincts when making major career decisions.
- Protect your creative rights, take care of your responsibilites so that you can take credit for your work and earn income from it. Get your Trademarks/ Copyrights & Patents.
- Accept that you may often hear the word “no” and don’t let it slow you down.
Braden Andersen, The Strange- Show Notes Click here to listen
- Luck is the outcome of diligence, set your goals and work toward them persistently.
- The importance of Artists having tenacity in the music industry.
- Be very active in your local music community, this network can provide all the resources you will need to launch an Independent music career.
- Take a step back and evaluate your work, make sure that it is the best it can be. If you believe in your work, others will too and you will gain the motivation it takes to succeed.
- Word of Mouth will always be the most powerful marketing technique. Social media, when used correctly, is word of mouth marketing. Encourage your fans to interact with you on social media.
- Use a combination of a website, facebook, twitter, instagram and other social media accounts to build relationships with fans.
- How to generate promotional photos, videos, recording/production resources and tips for building your own website.
- Content is king- posting high quality content is very important to your credibility online as well as with your fans.
- Network with local colleges to see if their Creative departments are looking for material to shoot for projects.
- Networking with other bands will help introduce your music to their fan base.
Documentaries every Musician & music fan must watch:
- Dave Grohl’s, “Back and Forth”
- “About a Boy”, Documentary about Kurt Cobain
- “Searching for Sugarman” The story of Rodriquez
- “Bob Marley Movie”, The story of Bob Marley
Garrett Grohman, Crowdfunding on Indiegogo.com- Show Notes Click here to listen
- Remain transparent about what your are raising money for and give accurate descriptions of what the project needs and the costs associated in detail.
- Be genuine, be yourself, be clear and honest about why you are raising funding and why your project is worthy of funding.
- Create a pitch video that explains all of the above and includes something very funny or unique that will cause the viewer to share your video with their friends.
- Prepare for your campaign at least 2 months in advance, do not launch until everything is prepared.
- Must haves: Professional pitch video, professional pictures, email lists, a network of friends and fans who have been given a head’s up about the campaign, funding breakdown of everything that is needed and it’s costs, creative rewards that your fans really want.
- Ask your fans what they want and give them exactly that.
- Set a realistic funding goal.