How To Create A Music Marketing Budget In 2021
Posted on Jan 21, 2014
Perhaps youre starting back up as a musician after a pandemic hiatus. Maybe youve decided now is the time to finally take the plunge and turn your musical interests into a career. In any case, one of the most important things you can do as a musician is to create a budget for your musical activities.
A music marketing budget will help to create a clear roadmap of your financial goals, how youll reach them, and help you to monitor your progress along the way.
The idea of setting up a budget might make you want to drift off to the practice room instead. So weve broken down the process into four easy steps. Lets get started:
Digital Aggregators Handle Heavy Lifting For Streaming Release
A mechanical license works great for releases where people will be purchasing the music. However, it doesnt apply to streaming services. In these cases an additional streaming license is required.
They offer services that for a fee will distribute your song to all major streaming platforms, notify the composer/publisher of its release, pay the necessary licensing fee and take care of all the other legal red tape involved with releasing a cover song on a streaming platform.
Another really big player in cover song licensing and digital distribution is Soundrop. Theyre a digital aggregator and music licensor with a primary focus on cover songs.
Not only will they license and distribute songs for a low one-time fee, they are also a fantastic resource on everything that should be considered when releasing a cover online.
Set A Timeline And Be Patient
Yes, part of the benefit of singles is that theyre low pressure and you can drop them quickly. But dont be in TOO much of a rush. Plan ahead. Do it right. You wont be able to launch this song again.
Depending on the scope of your campaign, you might even need 1-3 months of preparation.
Here are just some of the things you could do to promote your single, if you have enough time:
- Communicating with reps from your distributor, licensing agency, etc.
- A Show.co page to feature your video
- Playlist and radio promotion
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Obtain A Mechanical License For Online Releases
The royalty rate that you need to pay in order to legally release a cover song is known as a mechanical license. This allows you to make and sell phonorecords of a song, originally composed by another artist.
Originally, a phonorecord referred to any physical recording of a song such as CDs, tapes or vinyl. However, with the internet that term now extends to digital downloads such as MP3s sold on your website or through another platform like Bandcamp.
There are plenty of services out there that help you to obtain a mechanical license for a cover song and pay the required royalty rate. The primary organization doing this is known as the Harry Fox Agency .
HFA is a massive organization currently handling over 100,000 catalogs for some of the biggest music publishers in the US. Their large network and simple online system make it easy for artists to obtain a mechanical license and pay fees.
This organization requires you to let them know the number of physical versions being pressed or expected download sales. You then pay the fee for that number upfront. So, if you expect to sell 1000 units, at a 9.1 cents royalty rate you would have to pay $91.
For digital downloads, youre required to keep track of how many downloads have been made. Once you reach the number of unit sales estimated, whether physical or digital, you will be required to purchase more mechanical licenses and pay additional fees.
Tips How To Make Money With Music Online In 2021
Knowing how tough it is for young musicians to fund their band, I wondered how much does it cost to start a band? Its more expensive than I imagined. $15,000 USD was what I came up with based on the costs of collective gear, rehearsal space, website and hosting, photography, design, learning to play, merchandise, first CD pressing, etc. This doesnt include transportation, living expenses, touring, promotion, and advertising costs. Its a lot of money for a group of four or five people to come up with, and the expenses keep snowballing every month. The next question is how to make money with music online, at shows, and from other sources. Below, Ill explain my approach and best tips for how to make money from your music and fund your band.
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Revenue From Streaming Music
You should give your fans every opportunity to support your career. This includes having your music available to stream, which can also help other fans discover your music. And while streaming music payouts are measured in fractions of pennies per stream, they can add up to become a significant revenue source over time.
Selling Your Music Or Beats
People are still buying music online. To give yourself the best chance at making sales, publish your music to sites like Beatport and Bandcamp. Almost none of these sites are exclusive, meaning you can publish your music to as many as you want.
Focus on a single subgenre if possible , and add your own unique take on it. If you cant bring yourself to commit to a subgenre, find something that you do really well and use it in an unexpected way! If you need inspiration for finding your own sound, check out this article about John Massaris musical journey.
If youre better at creating beats than you are with full songs, consider releasing them on a site like BeatStars so other producers and artists can work them into their songs. You can sell each for $25 and even more, making this an excellent way to supplement your musical income.
Recording And Writing Music
For music listeners, a song is a song is a song. But for the music business, every individual song is split into two separate copyrights: composition and sound recording .
Lets start with the latter. Sound recording copyrights are owned by recording artists and their record labels. There are further distinctions between different types of sound recording licenses that generate royalties, such as performance rights and reproduction rights and sync rights but for the most part, what matters is that this copyright only belongs to artists and whatever label is behind them.
Those parties may have nothing to do with the people who write the lyrics and melody of the song and thus own the composition copyright. Sometimes theyre one and the same, in which case that lucky party gets double the cash flow. If theyre separate as is the case with most pop songs and chart-topping hits the sound recording copyright is split between artists and record labels, while the composition copyright is split between whatever songwriters and publishers are involved. In the case of Counting CrowsBig Yellow Taxi, for example, the band takes sound recording royalties but Joni Mitchell, the songs original writer, gets composition royalties.
Start A Youtube Channel
On YouTube, you can make money with your own music, and you can also make money giving free video lessons if you monetize those tutorials. This guitar lesson for beginners, for example, has more than 2 million views.
In addition to creating lessons, you can record yourself performing and put the videos on YouTube. This strategy has helped many successful musicians and pop stars, from Justin Bieber to Soulja Boy, get discovered.
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Making Money From Streaming
The amount of money you can make from streaming varies according to how often your music is streamed each month, the number of subscriptions and ad revenue. When someone streams your music youll be paid a proportionate share of either the subscription revenue or in the case of Spotifys free-tier, a proportion of the monthly ad revenue.
Find out more about how Spotify pay artists on their artist site.
Remember Spinnup doesnt take anything from your royalties you simply pay a single upload fee. So why not now.
Set Up Fan Subscriptions
If you plan to regularly make new music, or create new content, you could set up fan subscriptions on your website. While its a different sales model than just selling outright, you could launch your subscriptions area at the same time as your new album. Then follow up your new release with regular updates and content in exchange for a monthly membership fee.
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How Do Independent Artists Make Money Without A Record Label
Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine, wrote a very influential essay back in 2008 on the notion of 1,000 true fans.
To be a successful creator you dont need millions. You dont need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans. Kevin Kelly
These principles outlined in his essay can be directly applied to independent artists and how they create DIY revenue streams.
According to Kelly, a true fan is someone who is willing to buy anything you produce. Quality product in saying that.
These type of fans would be willing to drive for hours just to see you perform theyd be ready to cop the vinyl versions of your music buy the latest merchandise you put out share your videos on YouTube.
If a typical independent artist is able to amass just 1,000 of these type of fans, theyll be able to make a content living.
The music industry has created an unrealistic image of success for artists.
Not all artists aspire to have number one Billboard hits, win Grammy awards or appear on Forbes. There are plenty of independent artists out there living their best life, designing their own lifestyle and creating their own version of success.
So if youre an independent artist trying to figure out how to make money from your music without a record label, where do you start?
You Should Also Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Releasing Standalone Songs
As artists, were dealing in attention economics. Gone are the days when you could disappear for three years to make your next album and expect fans to stay loyal. In our world of short attention spans, releasing music more frequently can play a significant factor in your success.
Platforms like Spotify and YouTube even reward artists who put out songs and videos on a regular basis. Obviously you cant bang out a full album every two or three months, so instead: singles!
The upsides of releasing a digital single:
- It costs less to produce one song
- You can release music more frequently, which drives algorithmic streaming activity
- You dont have to manufacture CDs or vinyl
- Modern listeners often favor singles/playlists
- Concentrating on one song at a time helps you focus your marketing, video production, etc., so you have the opportunity to turn each single into an event
- Its a moment to reconnect with or grow your audience
- Its a low-risk chance to experiment with promotion strategies and learn what works
- And best of all, putting out singles is fun
But theres still more PR power in releasing albums. So singles do have their drawbacks.
The downsides of releasing a digital single:
So lets dig into the best-practices for releasing singles. Im not sure if they all count as strategies, but theyre certainly all important considerations.
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How Do I Earn Royalties From My Sound Recordings
Making money from your sound recording involves the exploitation of that sound recordings copyright. But what is your copyright?
As we covered in ourCopyright 101 article, copyright signifies the ownership of intellectual property by a person or group. In the case of a sound recording specifically, if you own that recording, you have control over what happens to it. In fact, you can make quite a bit of money from your recording. Were here to tell you how.
A Music Video Requires A Sync License
Although obtaining a mechanical or streaming license is great for releasing an audio recording, it doesnt clear every situation. If you want to legally release a music video for your cover song theres some more red tape youll have to go through.
Placing a song to video, even if its a cover song requires a sync or synchronization license. Obtaining this can be quite more involved than the mechanical license. You need to go straight to the music publisher or composer for their permission.
You then submit a formal request and get quoted a licensing fee to use the song. Even if they do agree to allow you to release a video, the fees can be quite high.
There are services out there to assist you in this process but this may be the least of your worries, depending on the situation in which a video is being released. More on that in the next two tips.
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The Shopping Experience What Is Yours Like
We dont want to equate music sales to buying electronics, shoes, or clothes. The point I want to make is that the consumption of your music needs to be a polished and effortless experience. Think about the process of buying an Apple product, or shopping on Amazon. If those dont appeal to you, think of your favorite brand and why you like buying from them over and over again. Go through the process of discovering and buying your bands brand and products. Is it ideal? Does your best stuff come up first? Did you find the track you want coming up first? Whats preventing people from discovering or buying your music and merchandise? Is it the algorithm? The price? Somebody elses content? Optimize the discovery and conversion process for your band.
Find Different Ways To Repeat The Message
Youve got your hook now how are you going to cast it into the same waters over and over again without the fish getting bored of that same bobbing lure?
Switch the tone. You can communicate through:
- hints and teases
- facts and backstory about the song
- and more
The first thing I did was set up my Spotify pre-save campaign. Once I had the link, I started to slowly tease the cover artwork by . When a viewer looked at my profile at the end of the week, all nine of the smaller images formed a grid revealing the full artwork. Every time I posted I would share the pre-save link.
I then shifted to a more direct approach for the pre-save campaign, but with a focus on an emotional appeal
Once the song was released I put out a lyric video with tons of buried text posing as a letter from the 22nd-Century referring back to the origins of the photograph:
I then placed it inside a Show.co video feature page to drive conversions outside of YouTube:
I also repeated that little hook In 1905, the people saw something so mysterious you might say that it almost wasnt there in a number of ways throughout the campaign: emails, tweets, etc.
Then I did the obvious things, like adding a Spotify player to my website announcement bar about the song.
The next thing I did was to take a bunch of phrases from the letter portion of the lyric video and .
Lastly, I posted the complete text of the letter on Facebook.
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Compose Music For Theatre
If you like to collaborate with others and you are willing to start off small, then the opportunities for creating music for theatrical productions are endless. A great jumping off point is your local theatre. You can associate with a theatre group for work. They have frequent requirement of songs and compositions for their acts specific performance.
Songwriters Can Get Paid Advances
If you are lucky enough to have a co-publishing deal with a publishing company, they may pay you advances.
This is probably a monthly stipend, so songwriters can have time to write music, instead of having to work a job all the time.
Heres the deal though: this money is generally a loan. You wont see a dime of your royalties until your advances are paid back.
But hey, youre getting paid to write songs, and that is a wonderful thing!
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Sale Pricing & Discount Codes
Once your new music has been out for a while, offer a discounted price for a limited time. You could also celebrate the release of your new music by offering a sale on your older albums and merch.
You can use Bandzoogles sale pricing feature, or send a note welcoming new subscribers to your email list with a discount code for when they shop in your store.
Perform In Cafes Clubs Or Malls
There are plenty of malls and stores, restaurants, and hotels that need musicians to set the mood for their customers. You can definitely consider this if youre about to start your career as a full time musician. Sometimes the company provides equipment, and other times you have to bring your own. The first gig is the most difficult one to get, but once your reputation is established, you should be able to find them more easily. You might not be paid much for the work, but its a chance to practice and display your singing ability.
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