“We don’t have any money.”
Chances are if you are in a band you have said either of these phrases at least once. I can empathize, because as someone who has worked in the music industry for over 20 years, I’ve often traded financial security for passion. In fact, when I had my first big break working full time for a major record company, I tried to negotiate my salary. The response I received was something like this, “You have to sacrifice money to work in the industry.”
I don’t fully believe that however. When you put the emphasis on not having money or being broke, you are saying you’re not worth their time and effort, while also saying they are not worth being paid what they’re worth. That is not exactly the base of a solid relationship.
So how do you change it? How do you stop the cycle of “being broke?”
You get real. Look at how you spend your money and determine what’s really important to you. Is it buying another guitar to get the best sound you can or hiring someone to promote the great sound you’ve already created?
Think outside of the proverbial box. If you’re not making money right now, how can you change it? Look at what’s not working and either eliminate it or determine a better way to go about it. Pay attention to what other successful bands are doing and look at how you can incorporate that into your plan.
Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
1. Prioritize what’s most important.
Start with what is most important to you. Is it touring? Recording a groundbreaking album? Having the best equipment? Securing press in influential media outlets?
2. Determine how much you’ll need.
Now that you have your priorities straight, it’s time to determine how much you’ll need to make it happen. If you want press coverage in influential outlets you’ll most likely need to hire a music pr firm who has relationships with outlets where you want to see coverage. You’ll also need to have an amazing album worthy of attention, professional cover art and publicity photos to capture attention. Research the costs of studio time with a legitimate producer if you don’t have the capabilities yourself, professional photographers whose photos have appeared in major outlets, a graphic designer and a pr firm known to get results.
3. Raise the money.
Now is the time to break the “I’m broke” cycle and determine how you can raise the funds necessary to achieve your goals. Look at what’s worked for you and do more of it. Perhaps you are great at selling band merchandise. Brainstorm ways you can sell more in outlets you haven’t thought of before. Perhaps you are really successful with licensing. Can you push any of your songs in new directions? If you have a solid fan base who supports you look at running a crowdfunding campaign with someone like Pledge Music who will show you the best ways to make it successful.
Green Light Go: Write down everything that is important to you and your band and then rank by the most important.
Sharing is Caring: Know a struggling artist who can’t seem to get ahead? Share this article with them to help them find new ways to bring in the money they need to achieve their goals.