Posted: Mar 28, 2022
Category: Tips & Tricks
**Guest post by Sam Saideman, co-founder of artist management and consultant agency Innovo Management.
"As a former artist, I know the power of “YouTube University.” You’re digging in and learning to best strategize what you’re hoping to accomplish this year. Spreadsheets are underway and your side hustles revenue’s projected in order to plan for DIY tour expenses, release marketing, and new content. Then just as your morning coffee finishes brewing, your local reporter's voice echoes from your TV about some kind’ve pandemic making its way to your city. At first, you shrug it off and continue pushing towards your goals. But then weeks go by and your kitchen has become your office, your friends are being furloughed left and right, and as you know — once the toilet paper sells out, panic ensues.
2020 wreaked havoc on everyone’s lives, however in my opinion, artists (and freelance creatives as a whole) took the brunt of it. Reminiscing now, it’s clear which artists figured it out and which didn’t, but I want to utilize this piece to discuss ways I saw artists adapt in the hopes that it helps readers dig back into YouTube (and other resources) to learn a part of the industry they didn’t know existed! It’s worth noting, these are not the only ways to build supplemental income or adapt, but merely a few to start with.
Time and time again I see artists crushing it on streaming and social media, but aren’t fully monetizing their catalog. I once saw a full-time touring artist (who shared a song with a client of mine) turn a sync down because he didn’t understand what it was and thought it was a scam (despite my information sharing.) If you control both sides of your works (master and publishing,) sync licensing is an extremely viable avenue to explore. Reach out to exclusive and non-exclusive sync houses and share some information on you, samples of released & unreleased music, as well as info on if you self-produce etc (in case there are custom song creation opportunities too.) Once you get a schedule A (batch of songs) onboarded with a sync company, let them do their thing! You have to be in it to win it, and while landing placements can be hit or miss, I’ve seen unknown acts land 6 figure placements with those spots driving thousands of Shazam’s and streams.
The artists I saw win the most during the pandemic were the ones who spent their time in lockdown trying to reach new audiences. Using the resources in front of them to get content out in the world via Instagram Reels, Snapchat Spotlights, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok. People were stuck at home aimlessly scrolling on these platforms. Firstly, we all saw artists we know have success with this and land record deals and more, however where I saw sustainability created most — was in brand deals. Platforms such as TikTok were built on discovery and artists who took the time to dig in, leveraged these platforms to build massive audiences. Musicians I know extremely well are now earning a full-time living off of 15-30 second paid promotions on their pages. For an artist, I’d say that’s significantly more time saved to cover your bills compared to working an office job.
While this shifted from in-person to virtual, collaborating is a tried and true way to broaden your network, create unique art, and have that art potentially rep’d by other teams. If you don’t have a team, I’ve seen co-writing be a great tool to both get your talent in front of their teams, but also have works that you have a stake in, get worked for pitch, sync, etc. It’s also great for growing friendships with like-minded and like-experienced folks of course!
Like anything, adapt or die. Creating more revenue streams has never been more necessary for musicians. The pandemic changed things. Now it’s your turn!"
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