First things first, let’s demolish whatever train of thought you may have. Demolish it. Let’s destroy and rebuild.
No, this isn’t as painful as you think, what it means is that you get a clean slate, and that’s an amazing thing.
You’re reading this because you love making music, creating art, entertaining …and making money right? …Riight?
You didn’t pour your heart and your soul into your art just to post it on Facebook, Twitter, and a “link in bio” album cover photo for the ‘gram did you? If so, stop reading this right now, go post your latest link and go away.
Mozart Didn’t Sell Music, He Sold An Experience
Let’s destroy the thought that we live in a world where we create music/art to “sell” it, obliterate it; that world no longer exists baby. Let’s be evolved.
Why are kids tapping their parents’ pockets to cram into any “EDM festival” they can? It’s the same reason people line up outside of stores days in advance for sneakers, or a video game, or an iThingy. They’re not just making a purchase, they’re living out an experience.
In a time before the “Music Industry” existed, creatives of all sort have, well, gotten creative when it comes to sourcing income for their craft. Mozart didn’t compose amazing music trying to go platinum, Shakespeare wasn’t writing to be a “New York Times Bestseller” – by masterful execution of the craft, an experience was created, value perceived, and high demand ensued.
Let’s bomb on one more thought: You are not your YouTube views, you are not Facebook likes, or Twitter followers, your worth will not be measured in album sales, downloads or awards. You were valuable since the day you were born. Shout out to Michael Whalen for taking great measure shift the perspective from creating for validation to creating because that’s what you do. Doing this allows you to create all new value for yourself and your work. Personally, I haven’t been into school since before getting kicked out of the 11th grade, but fond of learning I am, and Michael Whalen operated surgically as a teacher.
Ok so now we’re at a clean slate, we know that we’re valid, and we’re creating out of our best selves from that purest place of love, which means we’re pouring out the good sh*t right? We’re not door to door music salesmen anymore; we’re creators of moments and experiences that people enjoy. We’re evolving and it feels good. Ready to move forward?
Before We Get to the Millions, The Private Planes, and All the Acclaim – Know Your Damn Rights.
How are you expecting to cash in off your art if you don’t know where the money is going to come from? If you’re expecting someone to “just do it for you” or maybe for the cash to fall out of the sky after you finish uploading it, go get that customer service job that you’re gonna hate, keep posting links of FB for no one to see, and go away some more. Because apparently, that’s ‘easier’ than taking the time to learn about the business you’ll be existing in. Heck, even the customer service job is going to put you through training.
Do yourself the favor of learning about copyright law, how easy it is to set up your own publishing company (you’ve probably already done it and don’t even know), and developing an understanding of publishing because this is your business. Most independent artists both write and perform their own original music. Do you know you can be paid double for that? Do you know you can receive royalties for performing your songs live?
Have a really cool logo? Understanding copyright law means you can set yourself up to be paid when that really cool skateboard company wants to put it on a line of their boards (personal ambition).
Here are some of your main income sources, know them and know your rights in them. It’s 2015, you don’t have to walk through the cold to the library and flip through encyclopedias to educate yourself on the subject – just spend a few fewer minutes watching those funny ass BuzzFeed videos (guilty of it too) and take some time reading through the wealth of information available online. Experts in the field are on Twitter and if you ask concise questions, concise answers you will get.
Learn what each means to you and your process. Or wait until somebody else comes along with a magic wand to do this for you. Do you want to be an entrepreneur, or do you want a fairy godmother to come babysit you?
MONETIZATION: In the Garden of Conversation
“Success is in the Details”
One of the most enlightening things I learned from the day is that conversation = currency.
Suddenly I began to see things in a different light. What, if anything are your fans saying about your music? How are you as the gardener tending and curating the conversation? Do you take a genuine interest in your fans & followers?
Ask yourself this: how do you fans use your music and what role does it play in their lives? Do they listen to your music to workout? When they’re driving? When dealing with a painful circumstance? Maybe your music is the music they play to get pumped up before they go out with their friends, or maybe it’s that song you play on the ride home. Remember we’re not door to door music salesmen; we’re creators of moments and experiences that people enjoy. Think about the experiences your fan base has with the music, and then don’t just think about it – take it a step further and engage in that experience. Talk to your constituents, they talk.
At the moment YouTube is the best platform of monetization for your videos. Do your due diligence in setting up a proper partnership with YouTube. Give special care setting up the Title, Description, Your Tags, And your Thumbnails. “Success is in the Details”. That quote was prevalent throughout the day and it rings true. It’s the difference between more people discovering your music & the difference between you making money and missing money.
Now that your understanding of how your base is interacting with your music, and you’re tending to the garden curating the conversation around your music, it’s time to unleash the power of your fans. Unleash them.
User Generated Content (UGC)
By encouraging your fans to upload videos using your content, sharing your music in playlists, and even doing their own covers – it enhances the experience, it spreads the conversation, it deepens the engagement, and if you’ve done your due diligence, then your Monetized content is generating income for you. And look you didn’t have to sell anything.
A case study in action of this would be the “Harlem Shake” phenomenon from a little whiles back: there was an experience to be had, conversation formed around it, the fans were unleashed, the experience enhanced, the conversation spread and the results – over 10,000 UGC videos resulting in billions (plural, with a B) of views.
Somewhere Between Marketing & Promotions, PR, Social Media, And Crowdfunding, I Learned the Answer. And here’s the great takeaway…
The whole day proved to be amazing. My perspective was changing and my head was getting crammed with new information and ideas I couldn’t wait to run off and put into action.
As I listened to folks well versed in the lingo of marketing and branding, I began to notice a common theme that seemed to me to be what the universe wanted to get through to the crowd. Listening to artists who had successfully completed crowdfunding campaigns, and even the founder of Pledge Music, there was a simple lesson forcing its way into the crevices of my grey matter.
It all boiled down to two simple questions:
Who Are You? And What is Your Story?
No PR firm going to take you on, no amount of marketing and promotion will do, no fans are going to fund you, and it honestly doesn’t matter which social media site your on: you’re equally stupid on all of them until you can truly define who you are, what you stand for, and what your story is.
Knowing this, establishing this, and sharing this. That’s what makes people drawn to you and rally around you. And that makes your job significantly easier doesn’t it? Because now people will rally around you being you for who you are. Now you’re not creating for validation. Now you’re not a door to door music salesmen. Now you are defining the experience, molding the conversation, and you’re doing it by being you. That’s what your fans have been waiting for this whole time. They gain something in sharing in your story, in being apart of that experience. So don’t deny them. “The most personal you can be, the most universal”.
There’s one more piece to this though, have a plan. Set yourself some goals. You will achieve them, and then you’ll move on to other greater challenges. Most of the obstacles in your way are of your own creation. Joyfully let them go. They don’t serve you any longer. This is easier than you think, but it does require that you think differently, and more so than anything that you consistently and persistently take action.
And if you don’t have one, get yourself an email list, nurture it and send them cool stuffs.