The money should never be the drive for a musician as the passion for the music should be what pushes you to work and achieve your goals daily. However, we know that having money to invest into the music puts you in a better position to be achieving your goals and at a quicker rate.
So in this blog post, we’re going to explain how you can start becoming financially wiser, leading to more earnt, more saved and most importantly, more growth in your music career.
What Does It Mean to Be Financially Wiser?
Being financially wise as a musician can mean your career moves quicker as you have more money to invest into the music, but you also understand which areas are best to invest in to achieve the best results.
Being a financially wise musician is broken down into 3 mains areas which we will discuss in this blog post:
- How can you get more money to invest into the music?
- How should you be spending it to progress your music career?
- What is bringing in the money?
How Can Musicians Make More Money From Their Music
Making money from your music is what the majority of you are interested in. The money in music is broken down into 4 areas – digital streaming, live events, merchandise and securing attention. So, we’re going to run over each of these income sources and explain how you can take advantage of them to bring in more of an income, be going full-time with your music quickly and eventually be securing a large amount of money from the music alone.
Digital streaming is behind the biggest rise in music sales in 2 decades, showing that this is where you’re going to see the majority of your revenue coming in. Physical sales are close to non-existent, so focus all of your attention on digital streaming when looking to bring in an income from music revenue.
Spotify is the leading streaming platform currently and although it may not pay as much per stream as other platforms such as Napster, it has the biggest audience, meaning the biggest reach, and it’s the only streaming platform to have such a powerful algorithm that you can simply upload your track and see millions of streaming come through overnight due to one playlist add.
Spotify pays an average of 0.00437p per stream, so securing 1 million streams would mean you’d receive around £4,000 worth of revenue. Although this may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, that £4,000 of revenue is easier than ever to secure and it’s 10x easier to see revenue come through from streams compared to physical sales.
To be taking advantage of Spotify’s algorithm, securing more streams and therefore more revenue, you need to be focusing on having high quality music, so Spotify will push it out to more people and the audience will actually stream and save it, and then you need to be getting it added to playlists. Getting added to playlists is now easier than ever as Spotify have announced a submission form via Spotify for Artists which means your track will get put in front of the appropriate editors. As well as making sure you’ve submitted to the official playlists, you need to be pitching to user curated and branded playlists, as this will mean you generate more streams, triggering the Spotify algorithm even further.
You can read more on how to submit to Spotify playlists here: https://burstimo.com/spotify-playlists-guide/
Live events are where you can start bringing in larger amounts of money from ticket sales, taking a percentage of ticket sales or a flat fee from the promotor. Global ticket sales are currently at a record high, so this is best time to be performing live, securing an audience and building your live portfolio.
Also, if you’re signed up to PRS, that means if you perform a song that is registered to them, they will pay you. Every venue should be PRS registered, so make sure to check prior to your event and discuss it with the venue.
Live events act as a marketing tool too as if you’re supporting a large name or you’re playing outside of your local area, more people will discover you and potentially be converted into a fan, which leads to them investing in you by streaming your music, paying to see you live again or buying merch. Therefore, it’s key you perform every set to your best ability, even if you’re only playing to 3 people, as converting one individual into a fan has an amazing return on investment. You invest your time and in return you will have someone’s attention, which means you can monetize this attention in whatever way you wish.
Whilst at your events, you can also be selling merchandise. If people are at a venue to see you perform, they’re already investing their time in you, so a sale is a lot easier in this circumstance. Make sure to plug your merch at the event too, perhaps mentioning it in your set or saying you’ll be by the merch stand after you perform, persuading people to look into your merch further.
There is a lot of money in merchandise, hence Warner just spent $180 million on a merchandise company, so take advantage of this. Be creative and imaginative with your merchandise as it’s a competitive field to try to secure sales in. Don’t plaster your band logo across a t-shirt, instead focus on creating such visually pleasing products, that even if someone doesn’t know your music, they would invest.
The final area where artists can start bringing in money is by securing attention. We’ve often mentioned this throughout this blog post, and if you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know we say this daily in our videos, but what does it actually mean? In 2019, people don’t pay for the creative anymore as the simplicity and affordability of music creation and distribution has meant that this industry is oversaturated with music and the music consumer is inundated with choice. Therefore, the money is no longer in the sales of music but instead all of the above – streaming revenue, merchandise and live events. However, you cannot see financial success in any of these areas unless you have secured the attention.
Securing attention in this digital era is extremely difficult because the consumer is in the routine of scrolling, taking in short-form content and only engaging once a trusting relationship has been formed but this mean when you do have the attention of the consumer, you have a great deal of power and monetize this attention and sell whatever you wish.
Securing attention is only possible in one way in this technology era and that’s through social media. The majority of successful artists have built strong fan bases entirely through social media as it allows an audience to grow exponentially by forming personal relationships with a click of a button.
You can learn how to grow an audience on Instagram here: https://burstimo.com/promote-your-music-on-instagram/
This final tip for making money from the music is the way to become a successful musician but also be bringing in a large amount of income quickly because any artist that is selling out stadiums, securing millions of streams and making money from merchandise, has the attention of the masses.
Where Should Musicians Invest Their Money to Grow?
Your investment strategy as a musician should be focused on the most important 3 areas, which are the music creation, music distribution and music marketing. Each one of these things is essential to your musical growth and if one isn’t invested in as much as the other or you find that you’re spending less time on one area, you’ll fall behind as this digital era only works in the favour of the artists that can create the best music, distribute it to the biggest and most platforms and then engage the largest audience.
The music you create is your brand, it’s the product and if the music isn’t to a high enough quality, you won’t see growth in fans or in income. Therefore, you need to be investing into the music creation, so to see a high ROI.
There are two ways you can invest into the music creation and that’s either investing in self-production or in to studio time. There are so many different production software and recording equipment you can invest in, which will lead to amazing quality music, made simply from your bedroom. However, if you don’t have the time to do this or the time to learn the skills to use this software, then you need to invest in studio time and the professionals to produce the music.
Either way, it’s key your music is the best quality it can be because it will lead to more streams, which equals more revenue, and more fans which means more ways to monetize on this attention, such as growth in ticket sales, merchandise and potentially brand collaborations.
Music distribution in 2019 is easier and cheaper than ever, so it’s something you can spend little time and money on but is key to your music and financial growth as having your music on the top performing platforms means a higher chance of being discovered, so more streaming revenue, and then a higher chance of growing your fan base, so more streams of income from having a larger audience.
Start by self-distributing by uploading to free platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube. Then, you must get a distributor to upload your music to every other platform such as Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer. As Spotify is the leading music streaming platform, we’d suggest using their preferred distributors who are CD Baby and DistroKid.
Invest in the distribution package which allows you to set the release date at least a month in advance as that will allow you to promote pre-release and also submit to Spotify Editors via the Spotify for Artists submission form, leading to a potential placement on a Spotify Official playlist. Learn more on how to do this here: https://burstimo.com/how-to-get-your-music-on-to-spotify/
The final area you should be investing your money to see musical growth is in the marketing of your music. This is the most important aspect of your approach to musical success as you can have the best track in the world but if you don’t market it correctly, it will fall on deaf ears. Therefore, you need to be investing in your music marketing, whether that’s via hiring a music PR company, putting money behind SubmitHub for online coverage or investing in social media ads.
The majority of music marketing can be done completely free. For example, you can write a press release, pitch to blogs, radio and playlists yourself and this doesn’t cost a thing. However, changes to social media algorithms have led to organic reach getting significantly lower, so investing in social media ads is worth every penny.
You need to be putting money behind each post on Instagram, experimenting with the content and the audience you’re targeting. Once you’ve found the content and the audience which has the best engagement rate, stick to it, producing daily content and boosting it via ads. The return on investment on social media ads isn’t immediate because people may become a follower but that doesn’t mean they will buy merch or tickets to your show. Instead, measure the success by the engagement you see returning on that investment as when you have attention, the money can come in through many different income streams.
Everything Is Free
Although you should be investing in social media advertising, YouTube ads and influencers, the majority of music marketing is completely free as long as you invest enough time. If you have the time to sit and pitch to blogs, personally email every appropriate Spotify Editor or spend all day going through LinkedIn to find the right producers at the correct radio station, then do it because it will mean you get the results without spending anything.
However, if you don’t have the time or you’d just rather spend your time focusing on something else, you need to outsource, whether this is to a music PR company, a music marketing company, a social media manager or a graphic designer. Invest your money into the marketing, otherwise the money you invested on the music creation and distribution was a complete waste.
Where Can Musicians Be Saving Money
Being a full-time musician puts a lot of pressure onto the music, so you will either be at a point where the music isn’t bringing in enough or you’ve already tried and failed. Both of these are completely normal and have happened to the majority of musicians, so how do you start bringing in money to become a full-time music?
Have a Main Source of Income
To begin with, you shouldn’t be attempting to go full-time with your music. You need to be working a full-time or part-time job that will give you the financial security of perusing music in your free time and allow you to be able to invest into your music career, whilst not being at a financial risk. Having this main source of income will allow you to explore your musical goals, invest in equipment and professionals to help you progress and also give you that extra push in the right direction, which will eventually mean being able to go full-time.
Make Money From The Music
Next you need to be bringing in as much money from the music as possible and in the early stages of a musician’s career, that is broken down into 4 areas we’ve explained – digital streaming, live performance, merchandise and securing attention. Make sure to be taking advantage of each of these areas whilst also bringing in your main source of income from a full-time or part-time job.
Save More Money
To be able to invest more into the music, you will need to be saving more money that you’re bringing in from your full-time or part-time job and also the money you’re already making from the music. Often, we easily get confused with how much money we need to survive and how much money we like to spend. Being a musician can be expensive as you’re constantly wanting to invest in new equipment, studio time, professionals to help you develop and social media ads, so you need to be saving as much as you possibly can, so you can be investing as much as possible into the music.
To make sure you’re saving as much money as you can, you can create a spreadsheet like shown here. This will outline how much money you have coming in and how much you’re spending on the essentials, leaving you with how much you have left to invest into the music.
For a lot of you, that ‘other’ section will be where you’re wasting the majority of your money as this will include clothes, nights out and unnecessary purchases, which could actually be invested into the music.
To guarantee you’re not spending unnecessary amounts, stick to the things that you need to survive – a roof over your head, food and perhaps petrol to get to and from work. You’ll be surprised at how much you’re wasting if you start to make a spreadsheet like shown.
Now you know how much you have left over after spending on the necessities, you know how much money you have left to invest into the music, which as we’ve stated above should be spent on music creation, music distribution and then music marketing.
It’s easier than ever for musicians to start bringing in money as long as they’re investing in the areas we’ve said, saving as much money as possible and taking advantage of what this digital era has to offer.
If you follow all of these financial tips, you will become a financially wiser musician and a financially wiser musician is a successful, wealthy one.