The Musician Business

Eight Excremental Excuses That Hold Musicians Back

**Guest post written by Carlos Castillo of Schwilly Family Musicians - music marketing strategist, web designer, live performance recordist, international road-tripper, lap steel player, and Captain of the Schwilly Family.

 

"Over in our Facebook Group I was asking about what excuses people are allowing to hold them back. As it turns out I've had a LOT of the same excuses hold me back over the years. So I reckon it would be useful for you to know how I put them behind me. Interested? Here we go!"

Record Labels Are Dead

**Guest post by Vinnie Hines of Artist Collective.

"For ages, there’s been a cliché dream for any would-be musician...You’re immediately bombarded by these different suits throwing you offers from every record label you could think of, and finally, you’ve made it. You’re “signed...It’s all bullshit.”

DIY Band Fixes

**Guest post written by Paula Tolly, one half of the Boca Raton based Americana duo 33 Years.

 

"Did your bass player just move out of town? Are you broke and can’t afford the next photo shoot? Looking for a way to make a bigger online splash?? Don’t fret! Here are a few DIY Band Fixes that you can try RIGHT NOW before your next gig."

10 Record Deal Red Flags

**Guest post written by Canadian entertainment lawyer Byron Pascoe, originally featured on Bandzoogle.com.

 

"Before signing a contract with a label, it’s important to understand what you’re signing. When I’m reviewing a record label agreement for an artist, it’s not uncommon for there to be a number of “red flags” – warnings to watch out for in the agreement and/or the relationship with the label. The following list (in no particular order) provides some common red flags to keep in mind..."

5 Reasons Why You Should Invest in Your Music

**Guest post by Vinnie Hines of Artist Collective.

 

"It’s almost understood that if you’re a musician, you’re likely unemployed, homeless, broke or all three. I deal with it constantly when people ask what I do for a living. Though I love writing and booking, I will always and forever identify as a “musician.” It’s my passion and my purpose and here’s the kicker: I’m not broke. The reason for that, is that I have approached my music like a business from the get-go."

Organization and Relationship Equity

**Guest post written by Debbie Stanley, a professional organizer, South By Southwest 2017 speaker, and owner of the consulting practice Thoughts In Order. This post is an excerpt from her book The Organized Musician.

 

"Being organized isn’t just about having a tidy closet, being on time, or keeping up with email. The consequences of disorganization can be severe for indie musicians, including damage to or even destruction of your relationships, and, by extension, your career...Of all the habits that either build or erode relationship equity, a surprising number are related to organization. Let’s look at some habits that are likely to undermine your relationships..."

Album Release Checklist - 7 Things You Must Do Before You Release an Album

**Guest post written by Nicholas Rubright of Dozmia.

 

"Releasing music requires a huge amount of work, which makes it easy to miss something important. In addition to promoting your new release – sending it to radio stations, getting bloggers to write about it – there are some important things to take care of on the administrative side. Here’s a checklist of all the boring things you should take care of when releasing new music..."

11 Tips on Getting the Cruise Gig

**Guest post by Vinnie Hines of Artist Collective.

 

"There’s a place where that musical dream can still become a reality. The beautiful part of it is that it’s a rapidly growing industry based completely around good times, scenic views and constant entertainment. It’s the cruise ship entertainment industry, and this is how you “get in"..."

4 Common Traits of a Wildly Successful Artist

**Guest post written by Jonny Carroll, a touring singer-songwriter from Grand Rapids, MI, as featured in his blog.

 

"In my short time burning the pavement that is independent vocational musicianship I’ve come to observe the artists who, regardless of genre, possess some traits for being wildly successful at making it into a flourishing career. The common denominator between them is simple..."

Life's Conductors

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"This week I finally got around to watching the Steve Jobs movie. He was a complicated man for sure. It wasn’t the most feel good film I have ever watched. But I must say there were several scenes that apply to many of the things I try and discuss in this music blog. I was surprised how much Steve Jobs referenced musicians when talking about his quest to democratize the computer. It was pretty cool..."

10 Ways to Look Like an Amateur Musician

**Guest post written by Joy Ike, creator of Grassrootsy.com and Independent Musician, as featured on Grassrootsy.com.

 

"We’ve been working on this list for a while and thought it was high time to share it. Keep in mind that this post is primarily for the working musician..."

[Free eBook] 23 Ways Musicians Can Make Money

**Guest post written by Bandzoogle.com.

 

"One of the biggest challenges facing musicians is generating income. Although sales of recorded music have dropped significantly, there are many new sources of income available to musicians. Bandzoogle have put together a free eBook called “23 Ways Musicians Can Make Money” to help musicians and bands find ways to generate more money for their careers."

Q&A With NOMAD

**Music Director and guitarist for Kenny Babyface Edmonds, composer, artist and author of: The Career Guitarist.

 

"1) What does the term "Career Guitarist" mean? Typically when speaking of a musician who solely earns their money from music, we refer to them as a professional musician. I just simplified it and coined the phrase Career Musician, then narrowed that down to Career Guitarist which is the embodiment of what I’ve done throughout my career in the music industry, which includes..." 

What's Your Story?

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"I have always said that the best way to break up a band is to make a record. I’ve seen it a hundred times. A bunch of guys have a rock and roll dream. The band gets all excited and starts diligently writing songs. They save up some money...Then, they do the recording. Then, they put together the artwork. Then, they plan the release party. Then……. About two weeks or so after the release party the phone calls start coming in. The band is depressed. At this point they ask the question that whole empires have risen and fallen on: Now what?"

The Tyranny of the Primal Ear

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"Over the past few months, I have written several entries about diversification in the music business. You have to be able to do it all to keep your calendar full. Write, play, record, teach, etc, etc…… it takes a wide array of skills to fill your calendar these days. But here is the rub: Once the calendar is full, that’s when the real soul searching begins. Ironically, the real gold is in being a samurai at something. That’s how you get to the next level. A master of one, not a master of none."

What I Got Paid in 2015

**Guest Post by Max Garcia Conover, modern folk singer-songwriter out of Portland, ME.

 

"i just did the taxes for my first year as a full-time independent songwriter and i wanted to share some details about the business side of the work i’m doing...so here’s me...taking some pride in humble, honest, hard-won earnings:"

The Road to Joy

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"Many years ago I remember standing on the side of the stage talking with a crew member of The Marshall Tucker Band...We were in the middle of our first tour as a major label act and I was chatting with him about our experiences on the road...After a while, the roadie pointed up at the sound check that was taking place onstage and in his thick Southern accent he said, “These guys are just happy to still be playing.” Things had certainly changed for these guys over the years, but they were still at it. Why?"

How to Make a Living Playing Music - Part 2

**Guest Post written by Danny Barnes as featured on DannyBarnes.com.

 

"I hear so much complaining about this subject, I just wanted to lay my practical experience on you. free... Assuming... you are financially workable and you have the music where you want it and you are surely called into the art, here goes, in no particular order..."

How to Make a Living Playing Music - Part 1

**Guest Post written by Danny Barnes as featured on DannyBarnes.com.

 

"I hear so much complaining about this subject, I just wanted to lay my practical experience on you. free... Assuming... you are financially workable and you have the music where you want it and you are surely called into the art, here goes, in no particular order..."

What We're Learning About The Music Industry

**Guest post written by Carlos A. Machado of Mystery Loves Company.

 

"With almost 200 shows and multiple music conferences in the past two years, Maddy and I have learned a ton about the current music industry. For those wanting a career as singer-songwriters, here are a two things we think are worth keeping in mind..."

I Got a Major Label Meeting and Nothing Happened

**Guest post written by Gaetano, a NYC based Singer, Songwriter, Producer, and Guitarist, as featured in his blog and on Digital Music News.

 

"At this point, we all know someone trying to “make it” in the music business. Thanks to the world of technology we live in, the industry has easily become over-saturated with thousands, if not millions, of aspiring singers, producers, songwriters, musicians, DJs, etc. Anyone with a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection can simply fill out their social media bio and give themselves whatever title they wish to be called. With too much supply and not enough demand, it’s no wonder that so many are getting discouraged while in pursuit of their dreams..."

Calendar Worship and the Jack of All Trades

**Guest Post by Bret Alexander of The Badlees and Saturation Acres.

 

"Pretty much for all of the 1990s, I played with one band. One band. That was it...Ours was a pretty typical scenario for a band around that time. The object of worship was the CD. Or even a few cassettes and vinyl. Those little circles of information were your lifeblood….. and your salvation...Cut to 2016. Things have definitely changed. Quite a bit. CDs barely sell on an independent level. Vinyl has some appeal, but I would think on the ground floor it would be a break even proposition at best. There are download sales, but as we all know if you want the music for free it ain’t too hard to find...Musicians no longer worship that little round piece of plastic. Their new object of worship is square. And much bigger. It’s called a calendar."

10 Tricks of the Trade

**Guest post written by Sylvana Joyce, NYC based indie artist, originally featured in her blog Scenipedia.

 

"Let's face it. I'm not Lady GooGoo and I'm not rolling in the deep, deep cavern of Scrooge McDucklike's money vault. But I am a small indie band who has built an intimate fan base from the ground up - enough of a fanbase that I was able to raise $2000 in less than 24 hours to fund my debut album. So let's say I have something to say on the subject of oh, being a successful indie band...here are the 10 things I think are important to making sure you're on the right track as a band and to make sure you have a long and prosperous career where you continue to grow and shoot for greatness..."

5 Music Industry Schemes That Still Exploit Artists

**Guest post written by Gaetano, a NYC based Singer, Songwriter, Producer, and Guitarist, as featured in his blog and on Digital Music News.

 

"If you’re one of the millions (yes millions) of independent artists/producers out there trying to make something of yourself, you’re going to love what I’m about to tell you. If you’re one of the shady opportunists still trying to “hustle” your way into a quick buck, you’re going to hate me. I must be totally unapologetic about this. I don’t care either."

Ten Things I'm Still Learning About Being in a Band

**Guest Post written by Jay Rutherford of Los Colognes.

 

"Like millions of other morons out there, I'm attempting to make music both the primary joy and primary financial security in my life. My band Los Colognes has achieved marginal success, just enough to get mom and dad off our backs, so to speak. Without further adieu, here’s me convincing myself I have achieved some wisdom, when in reality I have no psychological control over any of it yet. Pretend this is the Old Ben Kenobi version of me, from somewhere in the future..."