How to Make Money As A Musician (Now-A-Days)

We hear it all the time. The music industry is collapsing! Ahhh! Well, it’s not collapsing. It’s changing. It can be tough to make money as a musician. But, that’s always been the case for the little guys. Sure, big labels had bigger budgets in the past, but not every artist was signed to a big label. If you were an indie act it was tough. How could people find out about your music? Now-a-days it is easy to market your music for people to find. But wait! Now there is a new issue. There is SO much new music out there and trying to get recognition can be tough. How can you make a living?


You may have heard about licensing or “sync licensing”. This is the process of getting your music used in different mediums such as films, commercials, TV shows, apps, video games, and more. Getting into licensing isn’t an easy endeavor. It takes a lot of work and persistence. It is also very competitive. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to do it. You should be trying to build that side of your business. But, in the past few years there has been a new phenomenon surfacing. It’s a new type of licensing market, and it’s paying out nicely to the musicians that are involved.


Introducing.. “Micro-Licensing” 


Now, I’m not sure if that is the official term, but that is how it was described to me. Micro-licensing serves a licensing market outside of the big time films and commercials. Micro-licensing is for indie film makers, wedding videographers, youtube video makers, web series, etc. The license fees are smaller, but more common and more often. The license fees typically range anywhere from $50 – $1000, and it’s usually split 50/50 with the artist although each company has their own terms.


Most of these companies are always looking for good music and are open to considering your stuff. Now, I will say that I’ve heard these companies are pretty selective. They know what works the best in their market. I recommend that you do some research by browsing their music and getting a feel for their “vibe”. Perhaps you have something that would be a fit?


I’ll be writing more posts in the future on tips about writing good music for licensing. Until then, start listening to the work reels on the following sites..

www.marmosetmusic.com

www.themusicbed.com

www.levelo.co


If you feel like you have some music that fits the bill then I encourage you to submit it. It could mean a nice pay off for your in the future.


Good luck!

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Songwriter Websites – 10 Must Haves

Some of you have websites already and some of you don’t. If you don’t, you need one. Why? People want to know who you are before they reach out to develop a professional relationship. The reality is that looks are important. It’s not nice to “judge a book by it’s cover”, but in the beginning it’s really all we have to go by. If you have a professional web presence then others will take you more seriously. It is just how the world works in 2015. With that said, having a terrible website can do more damage than not having one at all. I don’t just mean aesthetically. That is a factor of course, but a terrible website can be one that lacks essential things. Below is a list of “10 must haves” for your artist and songwriter websites. Now, you may notice some established artists and songwriters who have a “landing page” site with minimal information. It’s more of a billboard. That is trendy now a days, and works for some folks who have already made their statement in the industry. But, for most of us having more of a “resume” type site is the best option.

(These are in no particular order of importance)

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #1: LOGO

Part of your overall brand is your logo. Songwriting and performing is your business, and you have to treat it like one. Most all business have a logo. It’s something for people to recognize. Subconsciously it makes them feel a certain way. It creates a first impression in their mind of what they think about you. Is this artist legitimate, or is this artist “not with it”? You can get professional logos created pretty inexpensively. I’ve put some resources at the bottom of this post. You’ll want to use your logo on everything from social media sites to show fliers. Brand consistency is important!

Example: Check out http://www.allisonveltzmusic.com

Allison’s logo is simply her name in a fresh and hip font. In my opinion, you don’t need much more than this.

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #2: TELL YOUR STORY

Why do you write songs? What are your goals? How did you start? What is your approach to songwriting? These are questions that you can answer in your bio section or “About me” page. It’s important that people know your story. Perhaps they will find something that they relate to. They’ll be more comfortable reaching out to you. Also, this is a great section on your site to list some of your accomplishments.

Example: http://www.danwilsonmusic.com/about

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #3: SAY CHEESE

Are you a creepy serial killer, a beauty queen, or just a normal dude? No one can tell unless you have a picture of yourself on your site. Not just any picture. Your photo is part of your brand. A nice high res photo of yourself is something that you should show right when people land on your site. I recommend not using low quality photos or Instagram selfies. It won’t look like you care.

Again, refer to Allison Veltz’s site.. It’s been around a professional photo of her. http://www.allisonveltzmusic.com

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #4: MUSIC!

If you are a songwriter that has a website with no music than are you really a songwriter? Visitors won’t have any way of knowing. Your music should be one of the first things people see on your home page. If not, it should be very clear where they can go to hear it (such as a separate page for your music). The easiest thing to do is upload some music to a Sound Cloud page. Then you can embed your Sound Cloud player on your website. Sound Cloud is also an awesome way to network with people and find new music, but we’ll chat more about that in another post.

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #5: A CALENDAR 

This is important for those of you that perform. If an industry professional is interested in your music then they will most likely want to see you do it live. They want to see if it is real. Have a show schedule that is easy to find on your page. www.songkick.com  and www.reverbnation.com provide tools to help you do this.

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #6: MAILING LIST

Having a mailing list is the easiest way to stay in touch with everyone in your circle. You can let people know about new songs, shows, news, etc. It keeps you on the forefront of people’s minds. I recommend using www.mailchimp.com because it is easy to use and free up until you have a large amount of subscribers.

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #7: BLOG!

Blogging is a great way to build a fan base and connect with people. You can blog about anything. Your music, your interests, whatever! That’s the beauty about your blog. It’s yours. Be consistent with your posting. It shows people that you are active. This is important. For example, if someone comes to our site and notices that the blog hasn’t been touched in a year then they probably won’t have much faith that we are a credible website. Most web platforms now-a-days have blog platforms built in.

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #8: BASIC INFORMATION

This seems like a given, but you need to include the essentials. Give clear instructions on how visitors can contact you. Maybe you have a separate email for fans and one for business dealings. If so, tell people. Also, include the city you live in. People want to know where are from and the city you represent. Sometimes I come across an awesome songwriter online, but have no idea where they are from. It’s a bummer. I’m curious. Are they in Nashville? Austin? But, If I come across one in Nashville or Los Angeles then I reach out to them because we have a connection point. I recommend putting your contact info right on your home page so that it is clear to see.

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #9: SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Nowadays, social media is the easiest way for us to all stay connected. Make sure that you have links to your social media sites on your site so that interested visitors have a way to keep up with you. Again, check out Alison’s website example above. Her social media links are clearly laid out at the bottom of her site.

 

Songwriter Websites – Must Have #10: VIDEOS

We live in a visual world, and people love watching videos. Create videos of you performing, working on your craft, talking about your craft, interview a fellow songwriter, etc etc. The options are endless. Videos are another great way for people to get to know you and see your personality.

 

There you have it. 10 must haves for your website. How does yours stack up? It’s 2015. Have an awesome website! If you are lost when it comes to web design then there are some great resources for you..

For you serious folks, www.12southmusic.com is who we recommend for branding and web development for musicians. They designed the awesome site for Alison Vetz used in the examples above. If you want to try the D.I.Y. route then I recommend www.squarespace.com because it is affordable and has really fresh looking templates.

If you have any additional “must haves” then please feel free to add them in the comment section below!

 

Keep Creating,

Dan from SongwritingTeam.com
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