If You're A Musician Wondering Why No One's Giving You Money, Start Here...

from the work-it-out dept

Over at GrindEFX, they've put together a nice column discussing 5 Reasons Why Nobody is Buying Your Music, which touches on all the basics that we tend to talk about here. You should go read the full details, but the short list is:
  1. Does anyone know?
  2. Is your music up to scratch?
  3. Are you giving your fans options?
  4. Are you giving your fans a reason to buy?
  5. Are your prices reasonable?
It's a good list -- and these days, I'm getting requests from too many musicians to respond to (though I try!), asking for help with improving their business models, so I may start pointing them to this list as well. My one quibble with the title is the focus on "selling the music." I think musicians need to get beyond that. By focusing on selling "the music" it keeps you away from the mindset where you realize you might be better off giving the music away for free, and having it promote something else (something scarce) that you can sell.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 5:15pm

    marketing skills, and artistic skills, rarely go hand in hand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Frosty840, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 5:19pm


    So let them sell art.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Ben, Sep 4th, 2009 @ 6:21pm

    More people need to embrace free

    I completely agree with the concept of using free products to leverage sales of scarce goods, although some people are still a little wary of just giving away something they have put time and effort into.
    Maybe they could start by giving away some of their music in order to gain trust in their product from potential fans, which could help to leverage sales of the the rest of their music.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 4th, 2009 @ 6:35pm

    Oh my you can save stuff as draft !!!! Cool

    Okay this is a test of draft mode ....

    techdirt should run an open contest to build a business plan for artists, and the content industry. Wiki with blogs for the individual business plans. Where over time the business plans evolve and the techdirt users vote on which is the best plan.....

    Prizes to include VC funding, Tee shirts an mugs, free music from amanda, etc

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 4th, 2009 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Oh my you can save stuff as draft !!!! Cool

    LOL .... need to wear glasses "default" isnt "Draft"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    MikeMercer (profile), Sep 4th, 2009 @ 11:33pm


    Young, indie artists (and those not young) should concentrate on getting their music out there first and foremost. Once they've established a fan base/permission marketing in terms of people wanting their music - then turn to sales.

    We also try to give Bay Area indie artists tips and tools like this via our BuzzOfTheBay blog - we've talked about getting publishing together, using the many online tools to promote, etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2009 @ 1:29am

    I have fans?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Andy (profile), Sep 5th, 2009 @ 3:28am

    Re: Oh my you can save stuff as draft !!!! Cool

    I came back to leave a comment along similar lines. I imagined an alternate American Idol where the aim is not to exploit petulant teenagers for TV ratings and reocrd label earnings, but to find a genuine musician who could be helped to build a career using these ideas. The prize would be for Michael to work with the winner on a CwF+RtB project and in the process perhaps demonstrate just how feasible these models can be as well as showing creativity to the muic industry (musicians are going to like the creativity, right?).

    Just seems that this could be a really good exercise to raise awareness of new business models and to show that free does not equal theft and so on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Drewface, Sep 5th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Selling What? Music?

    I knew an old guy who used to do Shows at a Record Store. Heck, when he played there He Sold Lots Of Records. I know musicians who don't charge to play (their music), but make a $1,000.00 bucks a night selling merchandise. I played in a Tribute band for three years, and we got $1,00 to $3,500.00 a night. That's good money. But, I can't sell a song yet. But notice I said yet. It just takes unrelenting persistance to seel anything. Maybe a little more to sell music. But heck, I'm selling it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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