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So You Want To Be A Musician – Chapter 1

Chapter 1. Welcome To The Jungle

The world of music has never been more available than it is now, largely thanks to the advent of the internet. It has made it easier to create music across different countries to the point that all the band members do not even need to be in the same place at the same time to play on the same song. Now you can spread your art across the world via social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and countless others. At the touch of a button you can sell your music through platforms such as Spotify, Amazon, iTunes and the like.
But my question is…..Has it Really Made It Easier?

Let’s go back to my statement about your band being your business. One of the primary goals of a band is to pay the bills and make inroads into setting up a kitty for future development. But if you rely on these sources to provide a stable income for your band then you will be disappointed. These are just a means of getting your videos/music onto a platform that can readily be shared to social media outlets, and should not be treated as the be all and end all of your marketing campaigns.

You may think that is a rather surprising statement, but put bluntly, the music industry itself is still fifteen years behind the times because of the speed with which this technology exploded onto the scene. So fast it really caught the major labels with their trousers firmly around their ankles, which consequently led to them playing catch up.
Ultimately, sharing and sales potential from these online platforms is very poor. When they initially appeared the idea of being paid a royalty for streaming seemed a very attractive idea and helped encourage the launch of these sites. But despite billions of users, the pitiful revenue these sites generate on a daily basis has left one crucial branch of the music industry suffering – the people who make the music in the first place, the musicians.

Doesn’t it seem very wrong that an art form as beautiful as music is being prostituted to help the corporates make money, whilst the songwriters and musicians that helped build these ivory-towered empires struggle to make enough to put their next album together? Don’t get me wrong, this is not just the plight of the smaller bands trying to get a break but it is also the struggle of bigger artists signed to major labels. I was once told by a very famous American blues musician how he had managed to sell 600,000 units of his latest album through streams and physical product, but he still didn’t make enough money to even cover the cost of his monthly mortgage.

Ok, don’t panic. Reading this you may be tempted to ask “what’s the point?” but there is another development coming soon that will revolutionize the music industry for the better for musicians and their bank accounts, but more on that later.

Over the next few chapters we are not only going to look at how you can keep control of your music, but also discuss the arguments for and against having a record deal, and – most importantly in this day and age – how you can maximise your fan base into buying product. We will touch upon many more key issues along the way.
In the next chapter we will discuss the benefits of social media and how to make it work for you. It’s crucial that you engage your fans and potential customers more directly to start driving sales, therefore maximising your return on investment without anyone taking a cut. Lots to discuss. Let’s begin!