9 Ways Your Band Can Make More Money

9 Ways Your Band Can Make More Money

Postby KeyPlayer » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:35 am

I'm not going to tell you to abandon any of the old ways you're using to make money, no matter what they are. You should definitely keep them, but you need to keep adding "revenue streams". Add this phrase to your vocabulary and repeat it daily - revenue streams, revenue streams, revenue streams.

These days, it's more important than ever to not put all your eggs in one basket - or even a dozen baskets.

Here's some things you DEFINTELY need to be doing if you want to make more money :

1. Offer streams and downloads of your music for purchase from as many sites as possible. The best way to do this is to use a digital music aggregator service - there's many to choose from, and each one has a different model with different pricing, so you'll have to do a little research to choose the one that's best for you. To get you started, here's a few very popular services :

  • CDBaby.com - They've been doing this a long time - they'll put your music on itunes, spotify, amazon, and all the music streaming hot spots. They'll sell cds for you too. A little on the pricier side but they will distribute your music widely.
  • TuneCore.com - Newly popular, similar distribution as cdbaby, but I cannot find anything that says they sell physical cds. Link goes to a page where they compare their prices to cdbaby prices.
  • ReverbNation.com - Extremely popular with musicians and bands because they have so many promotional tools and make it easy to promote yourself. They also offer your own store, where you can sell cds, tshirts, whatever. A bit pricey but it's probably worth it for all the tools and options.
  • VibeDeck.com - Lots of cool promotional tools, including Facebook apps and custom apps, plus it lets you give away music for contests or trade music for Likes (oops - this may no longer be a good idea, since FB may punish you for this). Also lets you sell merch.

You've probably also heard of SoundCloud. I don't recommend them, as there is no way to make a dime there.

I should also warn you to not expect much money off of any of these services. If you recoup your fees, you did good. If you make more than your fees, you did better than most.

So how to make real money off your music? Sell it directly to your fans and cut out the middle man. While some of the above services offer widgets to put on your own site, they still play middle man. And unless you're very skilled at web programming, you're still going to need a service to process credit card transactions and handle the streams or downloads, so there will still be fees, but the profit margin can be much higher. Two great services to check out are :

  • PayLoadz.com - I've used this service and it's very easy, but they don't provide a player. You'll need to install your own music player on your site (for song samples - here's some players to get you started) but once your fan has decided to buy and clicks your buy button or link, payloadz takes over. They handle the credit card transaction, then your customers will be given a download link to download your music after they complete purchase. You will also need a PayPal account (free) to get paid. You just upload your music, copy the code for the "buy it" buttons to your website, then sit back and get paid. Nice huh?
  • WebsiteMusicPlayer.com - Similar to PayLoadz, but designed specifically for music, where PayLoadz is designed for any type of downloadable content. And this one includes a music player. I haven't tried it, but if I were going to try one now, this would definitely be it - it looks perfect.

2. SELL MERCHANDISE! Really, it should be about the music, but your best money makers are actually t-shirts, coffee mugs, posters, even panties. Yes, I said panties. If you have the money to print a bunch of shirts then sit on them until they sell, this would offer the highest profit margin, but most bands can't afford that option. Good news - there's an easier way.

  • CafePress.com has been doing this a long time and offers by far the widest range of products (over 450 products now). You sign up, upload your artwork, choose the products (tshirts, coffee mugs, whatever), then setup a store on your website. They do the rest - they take the order, collect the money, print the items with your artwork, ship the item, handle any customer support issues, keep their fee for the item and give you the rest. Here's a link to their pricing page, which explains it all : http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/help/p ... olicy.aspx

I researched other companies that work like Cafe Press (providing everything except the design) but none offered more products, and none offered any significant savings over Cafe Press' prices, so I cannot recommend anyone else. If you know of such a company, please let me know!

3. License your music! If you already have high quality recordings, you can license them to be used in a wide variety of ways. Most people think of theme music for movies and tv, but there are tv commercials, web commercials, training materials, video games, and more. Make sure you could easily defend a copyright claim before proceeding (it's not hard - you probably already have it covered), then jump in. CD Baby offers licensing with their Pro Plan and will help distribute your music for licensing. Other music distribution services may offer it as well, so keep this in mind when shopping for a music distribution service.

To keep out the middle man, check out other licensing options, like YouLicense.com - see what their users are looking for and how much they're paying, like the company wanting a 90 second or longer "James Bond-ish" tune willing to pay $100. Remember, you're not selling them the song, you're selling them the right to use the song, usually in a single project or commercial. You keep all of your rights to sell it and license it elsewhere, unless they specifically ask for EXCLUSIVE rights (rare, but pays a lot better).

4. Create a YouTube channel, upload videos, and monetize them. Creating the channel and uploading the videos is easy. Signing up to monetize them with ads - ( learn more about YouTube Partner Program here ) - is easy. But if you want to make more than pennies, be prepared to upload LOTS of videos. High quality music videos are nice, but you can use fan-shot videos, too (sometimes these are even more popular). You can also upload individual band members showing off their newest gear, doing a little acoustic song on their own, talking about what it's like being in the band, etc. Candid videos of the entire band sitting in a living room talking about their favorite gigs or how the band got together. Get creative - people eat this stuff up!!

5. Get the best pay possible for live shows. Did you just say "duh!"? Ok, I know this sounds too obvious, but there really are an unbelievable number of bands that sell themselves short here. Even if you you're well paid now, you could always do better. Do some in-depth research on techniques that work: where to get higher paying gigs, how to get higher paying gigs, and how to negotiate price. This could be a complete article on it's own, but to hit the top points:

  • Know your band's value, set a "regular price", then always keep this in your mind. Your "regular price" shouldn't be some arbitrary number you pulled out of thin air either - do some research to find out what similar bands in your area are getting, and take into account what your current "average" pay is. Keep this value/"regular price" in mind at all times, and adjust up or down as needed. And don't advertise your "regular price" - this is just for you, so that when you are negotiating or shopping for gigs, you won't be easily tempted to take less than you're worth.
  • When you get that good paying gig, promote the hell out of it. It will help you secure more good paying gigs at that venue and possibly others in the same pay range.

6. Give Stuff Away. Really? How do you make money by giving stuff away? Simple. Exposure. Run a contest and give away cds or tshirts to the winners. The contest itself will get you exposure you wouldn't have gotten any other way. Get creative. And don't forget to put a free song or two on your own website "just because you love your fans". Then link to these free downloads from your Facebook and Twitter accounts - make the people go to your site to get them, so they may have a look around and decide to buy something!

7. Get a Twitter account and use it to promote your band, your site, your shows, your merch, anything that might make you some money. For bands and musicians, Twitter has been better than Facebook for a while, but due to recent changes at Facebook that may prevent your posts from being seen, Twitter is now undeniably the far better choice. Don't give up your FB acct - but do get Twitter. Do it now.

8. Collect email addresses at every turn, then put them to use. Emailing fans about shows seems obvious, but what about letting fans know when you've got a new song for download (or purchase), or when you have new merch for sale ("we've got new bumper stickers!") or when there's only 5 limited edition tshirts left.

9. Never stop promoting. Despite any "sit back and get paid" comments above, you never really get to rest on your laurels if you want to make money. You have to constantly promote your products everywhere you can. Your efforts will pay off. You might find that some promotions work better than others for your particular band, but don't let yourself be tempted into putting all your eggs into that one basket. Things change in a heartbeat on the internet, so the more diverse your marketing and revenue streams, the better you will survive any winds of change.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, or even questions, please post them below.

Last bumped by KeyPlayer on Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:35 am.
"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid." --Frank Zappa

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