Money BagMost bands and artists have to reckon with the moneymaking part of making music for a living. I have had countless conversations with musicians who are struggling to earn a living from making music exclusively and with the “new” music business it’s everybody’s guess how exactly to earn money with CD sales at record lows. Last May, a friend turned me on to an extraordinary book called Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind which has dramatically altered the way I think about and earn money. This book discusses strategies to increase your Income and change your way of thinking about money and your money “blueprint.”

Since all bands and artists are entrepreneurs just like I am, I want to share this wonderful book with you. If you are interested in receiving this book, please send me your mailing address, and I will send you a free copy (first 5 people that respond to my email).

This book led me to a seminar that the author puts on called Guerilla Business School and in February I spent 5 days in Orlando getting a crash course in business fundamentals.

Spend 40% of Your Time on Marketing & Sales

The most important thing that they drove home (which really struck me as a great tip for musicians) is in order to be successful in ANY business you need to spend 40% of your energy on sales and marketing, 30% on product, and 30% on operations. And the ONLY time you ever get paid is as a direct result of sales and marketing (think about it) I know all musicians want to do is spend time practicing and writing music BUT the reality is you have to spend real time on marketing and sales. In summation: rich people spend their time on sales and poor people spend their time on operations.

So a great exercise I suggest for you to do is visualize how much time you are really spending on sales and marketing, and if it’s less than 40% of your energy make a list of 5 things you can do right now to beef up your sales and marketing time!

Some notes compiled from panel discussions at PODCAMP NYC, and The Folk Alliance:

A wonderful panel called “Getting the Most Out of the Internet” took place at The Folk Alliance conference and here are the highlights that struck me:

Put Your Music in Many Formats All Over the ‘Net

People want their music their way. As technology gets faster and faster more options are available to listeners each day. Within the next 2 years it will be commonplace to hear MP3s on all cell phones, web streams will greatly improve, and Podcasts will become more commonplace, and you need to be in charge of how you get your music out there and getting out to as many outlets as possible.

Internet Radio – Internet radio is still in its very early stages and there will be more extensions for local devices developing every year. In the future, there will be much more reach for Internet radio and the Internet will roll out over wireless networks and Internet radio will be available in places we never thought possible.

Amazon.com – A lot of artists are annoyed that Amazon takes too much of a percentage, but please know that many, many people exclusively buy music on Amazon and no where else so make it your business to have some product available at Amazon.com

So, have your music in as many different places as possible. Unless you have name recognition, no one is going to visit your website. So, you need to get out there onto other music websites and make it available for purchase in as many places as possible.

Music on Your Website

You should definitely have your music on your website, on your home page where it is easy to find it (If you don’t have a link to a player put a link to your MySpace page where people can get at it from the home page). If you are going to put a player on your site, I suggest putting a button that says “listen to my music” with a player. This way that when visitors press it they can play your music as they choose. Never, ever have your music play when people land on your page because they could be checking out your site from work and it won’t be good for them.

Build a Cell Phone E-Mail List

This tip was a great nugget! – At your gigs, before you start playing ask your audience to shut off their cell phones, but before they do this have them text your cell phone their SMS / Mobile # and information.

After the gig, you can capture their cell phone numbers and create a list for each market, and the next time you’re coming through an area, you can e-mail them your upcoming show directly to their cell phones.

Start a Blog

It’s a great way to engage your fans, get linked up to the net and keep yourself FRESH in everyone’s eyes. Go Here:
http://www.wordpress.com

Consider Recording Podcasts

You already have a home studio and you know how to record – this is half your battle! Create interesting fresh content (even if it’s only a few minutes per week) and distribute your podcast around the net. Interview other bands that you play with and like or include interviews with friends, mentors, other artists and let them help you promote your podcast to their fan lists (it’s like a built-in endorsement). Link your podcasts to your blog and RSS feed them to the World!

If you have no idea what in the heck I’m talking about a GREAT place to educate yourself is on my friend Jason Van Orden’s fab website: http://www.jasonvanorden.com/

Learn how to podcast and blog to establish thought leadership, extend your brand and engage your target market from podcasting consultant and author, and Jason was in a touring band for years – so he understands your needs and explains everything in English. He explained Podcasting to my mother at Podcamp NYC, and she actually understood him perfectly. Trust me, that was no mean feat!