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How to Earn Over $30,000 With Your Music by Year's End.
Commentary by Kenny Love - March 2005


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As an independent musician and/or recording artist, if you did *NOT* earn $30,000 (or more) with your music alone last year, let's jump right in and get you started with doing so this year. Again, bear in mind that the main necessary ingredient is "consistency" of every aspect, and on a weekly basis.

Remember!  This is a worst case scenario, in regard to what you should be able to easily earn within each aspect, and you are very likely to earn much more.

The "lead generator(s)" in each aspect below reflects the various resources that you will use to obtain results in these areas.

So, here is the financial mathematical layout:

=====

Gig Earnings
Practically any band should be able to market and promote itself well enough to obtain, at least, one gig per week, whether the band is based in a metropolitan or rural setting, and whether it performs on a fulltime or part-time basis. So, in our worst case scenario, let's look at getting one gig per week:

1 Gig X 1 Week @ $300 X 4 weeks = $1,200 per month

Lead Generators:
  • Contacting venue managers and bookers directly
  • Signing on with an area booking agent
  • Placing low-cost ads in your area weekly newspapers
  • Contacting area performance theaters
  • Host your own gig at an area hall or theater
  • Contacting high schools for performances
  • Contacting college student activities offices for performances
  • Low-cost college newspaper ads for possible gigs
  • Low-cost college radio ads for possible gigs
  • Your website calendar gig notices/tours

Note: Provide your media kit and business card to prospective clients.

=====

Gig CD Sales
As you are already aware, most gig employers will allow you to sell your music during performances. So, in our worst case scenario, let's look at getting sales during gigs, with a minimum of 100 people at each gig, and with 10% (10 sales) of the crowd who, after witnessing your mind-blowing spectacular performance, suddenly realize that life is not worth living, and they simply cannot go on unless they own a copy of your CD:

10 sales X $10.00 (per CD) X 4 weeks = $400 per month

Our monthly sub-total is now $1,600

Lead Generator:

  • Your incredible stage performance that left them
    mesmerized.
  • Your website for additional sales


=====

Teaching
Right now, in your own area, there are innumerable people who would like to learn to play your instrument, or be able to sing as half as well as you.  So, why not teach them how to do so while earning a bit of income doing it as well? So, in our worst case scenario, let's say you teach only one day each week, with only two students, at one hour each, while charging $10 per student, per lesson:

1 day X 2 students X $10.00 (per student) X 4 weeks = $80 per month

Our monthly sub-total is now $1,680
Note: If you decide to devote an entire day of the week to teaching, say 8 students/8 hours, your income increases to $80 per day/$320 per month.

You can also consider contacting area community colleges that will likely be receptive to your classes within their "Continuing Education" program, which can even pay a bit more money.  And, if time allows, why not get the best of both worlds, so to speak, by teaching both independently, as well as within the college system?

Lead Generators:

  • Placing low-cost ads in your area weekly newspapers
  • Contacting high schools to post notices/fliers
  • Low-cost college newspaper ads
  • Low-cost college radio ads
  • News releases to area radio and print papers
  • Feature interviews on area radio and in newspapers
  • Your website with your class notices

Note: Provide your credentials to student prospects in the forms of a resume and/or portfolio.

=====

Online Sales
Just a few noted sites include:
CD Baby (
http://www.cdbaby.com )
The Orchard (
http://www.theorchard.com )
Amazon.com (
http://www.amazon.com )
New Artist Direct (
http://www.newartistdirect.com )

With fairly decent online promotion, at the least, you ought to be able to realize an average of 3 sales per week from each of these sites.  While all may not produce those 3 sales individually each week, some of them are likely to produce more than 3 sales, dependent upon your
promotional efforts, of which should still average out to 3 sales each.

However and again, let's review a worst case scenario:

4 sites X 3 sales each X $7.00 = $84 X 4 weeks = $336

Our monthly sub-total is now $2,016

Lead Generators:

  • Peripheral online sales from gig audiences
  • Low-cost ads in area weekly newspapers
  • Low-cost college newspaper ads
  • Low-cost college radio ads
  • Internet marketing and promotion on music message
    boards, music forums, and within discussion list
    signature files
  • News releases to area radio and print papers
  • Feature interviews on area radio and newspapers
  • Your website sales

=====

Weddings
Though weddings occur within every month of the year, the biggest and most traditional month for weddings is June.  And, right now, in your own area, there are quite a few being planned for this summer.  Weddings are one of the most lucrative income generators for musicians, because families generally are very liberal in spending
on them, and go all out, so to speak, for this special day for their daughters.

So, in our worst case scenario, let's say you can get, at least, one wedding gig per month, at $1,000 per gig (more wedding gig opportunities are likely during summer months especially):

$1,000 X 9 months = $9,000

Our monthly sub-total is now $3,016

Lead Generators:

  • Caterers & Catering Services
  • Placing low-cost ads in your area weekly newspapers
  • Your website notices of your availability for weddings
  • Providing your business card to area upscale restaurants
    that cater wedding receptions and banquets
  • Your business card left with flower shops
  • Your business card left with jewelry stores
  • Your business card left with bridal shops
  • Your business card left with tuxedo shops
  • Your business card left with bridal services

Note: You should also provide your business card to wedding attendants who inquire about your services for upcoming functions that they may be hosting in the future.

Wedding CD Sales
You may also be able to sell your CD at weddings, however, ASK FIRST when coordinating your performance arrangements.  Attendants usually interact with the band, as it is a happy occasion.

If you are allowed to sell your recordings at weddings, you should do so passively by having your CDs placed near the performance area in a conspicuous position.

However, I would not "hard sell" (repeatedly mention) the CD from the stage, unless of course, a wedding coordinator decides to do so, or states that you may do so.

So, in our worst case scenario, let's say, at least, 100 people attend each wedding (more are likely to attend many weddings), with 10% of them purchasing your CD:

10 sales X $10.00 (per CD) X 1 month = $100

Our monthly sub-total is now $3,116

Lead Generator:

  • Your performance
  • Your website notice

=====

Retail Store Consignment Sales
Since stores won't be laying out cash in advance for your music, you should have very little problem consigning your music to retailers.

A word of advice is for you to not consign more than five copies per per store, per 30-day period, at any time. Limiting copies to stores will allow for sufficient time in your product moving off retailer shelves.

Consider getting your product consigned with, at least, five area retailers.  However, if there are not enough music stores in your area, consider consigning it with other retailers such as; bookstores, flower shops, jewelry stores, and any other such retailer that gets quite a bit of traffic and might be interested in carrying your music.

You will, generally, be required to present retailers with your own consignment form, and I have created one that you can freely download and customize for your own use at:

http://www.MuBiz.com/CnsnmtFrm.html

Just be sure to duplicate it so that both you and the retailer have copies.

So, in our worst case scenario, let's look at your area retail possibilities:

5 Stores X 5 copies X $8 (your take) = $200 per month

Our monthly sub-total is now $3,316

Lead Generators:

  • Low-cost classified or display ads in area newspapers
  • Low-cost radio ads
  • Low-cost cable television ads
  • News releases to all forms of media
  • Feature interviews at local television, radio stations and print media
  • Music reviews in your area print media
  • Your website listing area stores carrying your music

Note: Provide your media kit and business card to retailers in order to further influence their decision in consigning your product.

=====

Production
Did you produce your own CD?  If you did, and if people are raving about how great it is, why not consider producing other area bands as well for some extra cash?

Between now and the end of this year, you should be able to produce, at least, two acts for, at least, a $1,000 fee each.

Lead Generators:

  • Word of mouth and fellow musicians you know
  • Placing low-cost ads in your area weekly newspapers
  • Low-cost college newspaper ads
  • Low-cost college radio ads
  • Your website notice of your production skills
  • Fliers in music instrument stores

Note: Provide your media kit and business card to contacts.

As our monthly sub-total is $3,316, providing a grand sub-total of $29,844, when you add on your $2,000 production fees for both bands that you produce, your minimum grand year-end total comes to $31,844.

As I stated at the beginning of this article, each of these aspects contain 'bare bones' minimum figures in respect to what your earning potential is within them.

=====

* Special Note: In each of these areas, it is very likely that you will experience repeat business, as well as word of mouth promotion, which will further add to your annual income this year, thus, creating the potential for doubling or even tripling your income.


-----

Kenny Love is president of http://www.MuBiz.com, a radio promotion and media publicity firm that also provides business and career services to musicians.
 


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