You’ve been hard at work for some time – composing, editing, laying down tracks and vocals and finally – recording. Your CDs are on the shelves and/or your music is available on iTunes. You’ve done everything you know to do. So why aren’t you making money with your music? Well, there are a variety of reasons, but some of the main reasons are:
You’re failing to secure paid shows
Businesses and booking agents want artists who have an audience, and a draw, so that they’ll have people to buy their goods. They need artists with a fan base. You need to determine how to pitch yourself to the venue so that they will want you at their venue – for a price. Research which other artists have successfully drawn crowds at venues which cater to your type of music, then point out to the owner or manager how you can do the same.
Your music isn’t resonating with people
If you have a fan base, pay attention to what your fans like. Give people what they want to hear. According to Tone Jonez, “Most times when people aren’t able to sell their music, the #1 reason is that they’re focusing too much on selling their music.” Instead, focus on what brings your audience to their feet, what gets good, detailed reviews, and what you, yourself, enjoy performing. Chances are, if you enjoy it, your fan base will too.
You’ve put all of your eggs in one basket
You need to diversify. Think beyond the usual – selling your CDs at shows and as online downloads. In addition, why not consider selling merchandise related to a theme in your music? How? Simply lift a catchy phrase from one of your song’s lyrics and add it to T-shirts, mugs, pens, headbands, armbands, etc. Also, when diversifying, by collaborating with other artists on shows and tours, you could reach entirely new audiences. Finally, think outside the box for venue and performance opportunities. Instead of a traditional concert, try to book performances at non-standard places such as nursing homes, schools, prisons, women’s and men’s conferences, political rallies, sports events, etc.
*Note – The image for this post contains a sample of the merchandise available at a recent event by Kyla Simone called Girls and Guitars. The guitar pics, earrings and bracelets are an example of great targeting based on the event theme and thinking outside the box.
You don’t take media write-ups seriously
Get your music reviewed! You’ll have something to add to your Electronic Press Kit (EPK). Set aside some time to find free resources to review your music. For instance, check out NPR’s list of blogs at http://www.npr.org/music/blogs/ . If you can get a music blog, dedicated to your genre, to review your music, that review can bring you additional followers and listeners. Or try your local media. Also, search out local or regional art festivals. Music is considered art and making connections there could mean an opportunity not only for a review by the local media, but could also garner an invitation to perform while customers are shopping the various booths. Don’t forget to bring a supply of your CDs and posters (if you have any).
By setting aside some time to secure paying shows, to research the likes and dislikes of your fan base, to diversify your offerings, and to entice more media write-ups of your music, you will find that your music can pull in more money than you ever anticipated. Don’t let the time you spend on developing your music take away from much needed time to market your music.