To start the new year out right, I want you to think about money. Where does it come from, and what will you do with it, if you get any. In case you ever forget that it takes money to make money with your music, here is a summary of some general income and expense categories that may factor into your business/budgeting forecasts. As you can see there are very few sources of income from music, and inevitably the expenses you incur must come from those income sources. So, this is a beginning-of-the-year wake-up call to financial planning.
(Note: please don't ask me what the 'average' income will be for the 'average' musician or band, or what to budget in each expense category. Whatever you can raise is what you have to work with, and there is never enough money to promote and market music. There are too many variables in those questions to give you accurate answers. In general, to establish yourself as a professional artist... expenses for all the categories listed below will be five times higher than whatever you are thinking they may be.)
As you look over the income sources remember that outside of some live performance fees, and sales of your music and merchandise (like T-shirts, etc) most of the income sources take years to develop. I get questions all the time about where will the money come from to start up a label, or your own business? The answer is this. From wherever you can get it... loans, sugar daddies, lottery winnings... whatever. Raising the funds to start your own business is your own business. Perhaps now you understand why so many musicians and bands want those record deals. Record labels front the money to develop, market, and promote their artists. Record labels are businesses that understand it costs a lot of money to sell an artist's recordings, and the successful labels are well funded so that they can go out there and fight the good fight... marketing the records they have released.
Read this and weep, or better yet... read this and plan!
Throughout his fprty year career in the music business, FourFront Media & Music's Christopher Knab has shared his experience at many industry conventions and conferences, including the New Music Seminar and the Northwest Area Music Business Conference.
Knab was owner of a San Francisco music store, co-owner of the 415 Records label, and station manager at KCMU Radio in Seattle.
He currently provides a unique consultation and education service for independent musicians and record labels. His new book is entitled "Music Is Your Business".
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