“Selling music” or all of those skills related to music (music production, recording, artist management, music tour management, composing... to name a few) is an incredibly rewarding career path if done the right way.
However, for some musicians, the “song of a profitable career in music” is far from reality.
Artists often give too much of themselves and place undue emphasis on “music” or “music industry skills” and not nearly enough on actually “selling music” or treating music as a business. However, thinking about music as a real business (and not just something that you like to do sometimes), is the first step to turning a music hustle into a sustainable career.
According to The Guardian: Self-employed musicians lost £13.9 million in earnings due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.
90% of musicians in the UK were affected by this loss.
But what does this mean for you now? The closure of live events, pubs, resorts, live venues, schools, colleges, universities, music tours, and music festivals all of a sudden can only tell you one thing: it pays to plan ahead and treat your hustle like a business rather than a hobby.
Planning shouldn’t impede your creativity but rather it forms the base of a sustainable rock star lifestyle. Layer up and protect yourself against anything that could affect you, start thinking of setting goals as a music artist in a way that keeps propelling you forward despite anything that life throws at you.
If you are a self-employed music artist, a solo musician, or a small music band, here are a few business goals you should set up for yourself:
Find Funding & Support (Even if You Don’t Need It)
In the United Kingdom, only 10% of all musicians, music artists, or technicians related to the music industry are “employed”.
According to the Hypothesis, a vast majority of musicians are self-employed, work part-time, and almost always work solo.
You might (or might not) need support, help, or funding to grow your music career or to further your interests in the music industry. However, it doesn’t hurt to add that extra layer of support. Setting up support structures from collaborative networks to mental health assistance is imperative to not only staying sane but also maintaining sustainability.
If you need funding and support, this is a no-brainer. If you don’t really need any kind of support or funding, this is a nice-to-have layer of cushion that will come in hand when you least expect it.
Diversify Your Music Income Streams
A Music Ally’s Global Expert Panel tried to answer a single question to share wisdom, practical tips, and information on how to sustain your music business post-Covid-19.
There was a singular siren call from the panel of experts: Diversify the income streams from your music business.
Here are the few tips covered in the global experts' panel:
Branch out your business (find new ways to make money such as licensing, parallel businesses, self-streaming music, brand partnerships, and more).
Go global, find new opportunities, try new avenues. Explore other opportunities (new geographic markets, new languages, or new types of music).
Expand your presence on new platforms and apps. Further, explore new forms of content (from podcasts to livestreams)
How will you diversify your music business?
Music is Everywhere: Expand to Parallel Markets
You might not have thought about it this way but music is needed everywhere.
Just Imagine the need for music: podcasts, independent streams for artists, gaming, videos, fitness, finance, branding, products, cover labels, ad jingles, and so much more.
We haven’t even covered the infinite expanse of opportunities as far as selling music is concerned: streaming loyalties through digital distribution, direct music gigs online, selling music files as products, selling music samples, selling beats, and teaching music online.
While you can always work on mainstream music (depending on what you do), each of the avenues discussed above have the potential for you to make some more money - start a side business (which can later prove to be a steady source of income), or maybe give you additional sources of income (which you need more than you think).
Your music is not just your passion, your nurtured craft, and the love of your soul. It is also a business that has the potential to sustain your life.
It is on you to grow and nurture your music business as a musician, a music artist, or a technical professional in the field of music.
What are you going to do about your music business? What business goals will you aim for?
If you need help with your music career why not become a part of HyperTribe and let us guide you on a personal journey to discover more.