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Aaron Bethune,
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Aaron Bethune 5 months ago

You are right, times have changed, and music sales cannot be at the forefront of how you make money. Streaming has proven to increase the amount of ticket purchasing so is vital to brand/band awareness. Some key components to creating income with your music are great songs, great live talent and touring, touring, touring. Tip: Start building you fans by performing locally and expand from there so that every time you play a new market you are only days drive from an established paying market. (In other words, don't tour across the country just to say you did. Tour smart).

Music licensing has become a big source of income in the past years. However, the payouts are getting smaller as the market is so saturated. Music supervisors are the new A&R's and rock stars in the biz. Artists are hammering them with their music and driving down the value as someone is always happy to license their song for less.

Publishing is at the core of it all, and it is important you spend some time to understand copyrights and the bundle of rights that go with them. Co-write as much as you can and learn from great writers. It's an art, and there is always room for improvement. The greater the writer, the more likely they have a team working the songs they write with you. Consequently the higher the chances you will make money on those songs and get into publishing deals of your own.

Sponsorships and partnerships with big brands and third-party companies bring in a lot of dollars and opportunities to gain exposure to engaged audiences. First, identify what your music and brand represent and then see if there is a partner/sponsor that would be a good fit. The more you know about your audience and have a direct-to-fan relationship with them the more significant the value you bring to the negotiating table. Music has always brought people together and connected people under that musical umbrella. Music reaches audiences organically and has lasting power over people's memories to the experiences that are tied to the music. Music is the soundtrack to your life. A lot of companies strive to connect with their audiences in that organic and emotional way. Perhaps you can help them with making better connections!

Scott Ackerman,
City: , Website: Followed by 40 people
Scott Ackerman 5 months ago

This is an important question that I hear independent musicians ask all the time.  You are correct that the industry has changed a great deal over the years, and CD sales have taken on a far lesser role in the industry.  

That said, while fans will find new mediums for consuming music as technology and culture evolve, that demand for your work will always be there.  The important thing is to make sure your music can be purchased wherever your potential fans pay for their music.  

That might include streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and so on, or digital download stores like iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play Music.  

It’s always a good idea to diversify where your revenue is coming from, so you might think about selling merch at shows and online: things like vinyl records and, yes, even some CDs too.  

Some artists make a portion of their income from touring, both in terms of selling merchandize at their shows and also hopefully earning some revenue from ticket sales as well.  

But at the end of the day, people will always be willing to pay a fair price for good music, and the music should always come first.

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