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Old 13-02-2017, 07:57 PM   #1
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Making money off your music?

How many of you actually make money off your music?

I've been making music for five years now, and everything I've released has always just been free. I decided two months ago to at least throw up a donation link on all my tracks and social media outlets.

I made $6 in two months haha, so basically nothing, but it got me thinking... I guess you really can make some money off your music. The thing is, I don't really have a reach with people, as I always assumed you kind of needed if you wanted to make money from your music. No reach = Nobody even knowing about your music.

What is the best way to get into at least making a little bit of money off your music? I know you can send songs to spotify and if they like it, they will stream it and give you a very small cut every time it's streamed. Which also, can't hurt..

Any suggestions, or advice from people who already are making a little cash on the side would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Old 13-02-2017, 08:02 PM   #2
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Re: Making money off your music?

My plan is to never attempt to get paid for my work.
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Old 13-02-2017, 08:11 PM   #3
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Re: Making money off your music?

TRUTH:

It's 2017 and you'll make more cash from jacking off online than you ever will from music unless you're the Paul Stanley type OR insanely talented+people like your music.

Forget it.

Your dreams? Flush twice.

#It'sAllNystagmus'Fault
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Old 13-02-2017, 08:30 PM   #4
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Re: Making money off your music?

Yeah..it's possible..but don't hold your breath too long or you'll die poor.

Basically, you will make a few bucks on and off, but not enough to make a living..and that's even using services like Robif..sorry..SPOTIFY and selling via Bamdcamp and any other outlet you can think of or find.

Also, it is kinda a number games, meaning if you have a bigger following, then it only stands to reason that you have a bigger group of people who might by from you..and I stress MIGHT, as many will just rip the shit out of your stuff and never give you a penny/cent/dime in return..but you really have to be cool with that in the first place.

I think too many noobs start out thinking they'll plug away at it for a couple of years and then be making big bucks..but that only happens to mainstream acts who can get their faces into the minds and pockets of the masses out there..and face it, the majority of us on IMDf and here because we're not those kind of people..if we were then chances are we wouldn't be on here.

So, if you're happy making small potatoes, then get out there online and use every hour of every day promoting / marketing yourself..oh, and don't forget to produce really kick-ass music, too..without it you're going to make zip-all.

Alternatively, you can do what I and many others..in fact, what you've already started to do, and that's produce your stuff and put a donate link up with it..or sell it real cheap and count your blessing when somebody bites.

I think if you start chasing the green giant, then you end up getting sucked into that fucking vortex of a life, where you start forgetting the real world and start believing your own hype and spin..it all becomes about money and numbers and sales and fans and contracts and marketing and on and on ad nauseam!

In the end it's your call..there's no right or wrong way..just the way that fits you best and whatever makes you happy.

Best of luck, dude with whatever road you choose to travel down.

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Old 13-02-2017, 08:40 PM   #5
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Re: Making money off your music?

Write a couple e-Mails to labels that sell your kind of music. Shouldn't be too hard for you to find some decent labels for your music, right?

Other than that, performing live is probably the best way to make some money. ^^

@Edit: On the you won't be able to live off it debate: I don't think you have to deny yourself the possibility of making a little money just because
it won't sustain you as the main income-source. I try to get all my tracks signed, produce to the best of my ability and get better. I'd produce anyways,
so why not try your best to get it out there and make a few bucks and maybe, if you're really lucky, you'll make something really successful. Don't count on
it, but don't deny yourself the possibility of it happening. ^^

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Old 13-02-2017, 08:44 PM   #6
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Re: Making money off your music?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotApplicable View Post
My plan is to never attempt to get paid for my work.
Same here.

But for OPs sake, I think if you want to make money directly from your tunes, your best bet would probably to try and throw your tunes on a bunch of licensing sites, so corporations can use them in their internal HR feel-good lets-go-team presentations or some other soul crushing version of that. Though I think they prefer butt-rock for that kind of shit.

So you're probably better off trying to make money on the things surrounding music making instead. That is, selling pickaxes in the gold rush: sample packs, YT tutorials with ads plastered all over, blog articles with affiliate links, one-on-one Skype tutoring or something like Patreon, offering mixing and/or mastering services.

At least that's my perception, just following stuff on the interwebz.
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Old 13-02-2017, 09:28 PM   #7
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Re: Making money off your music?

Yeah you guys have the right idea... I don't plan to make a living off it, but even just the donate buttons being up are bringing me in a bit of money with zero work. I think if you had enough of these little extras, you would make a bit of money from all these sources.

And hey, it's not much, but it's still something and over time those small sums can add up over doing something that you're going to be doing anyways, right? I don't think I'll ever stop producing, I do it for fun so if I can make a little bit of money from doing something I love. It's win win.

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Old 13-02-2017, 09:57 PM   #8
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Re: Making money off your music?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaotix View Post
Yeah you guys have the right idea... I don't plan to make a living off it, but even just the donate buttons being up are bringing me in a bit of money with zero work. I think if you had enough of these little extras, you would make a bit of money from all these sources.

And hey, it's not much, but it's still something and over time those small sums can add up over doing something that you're going to be doing anyways, right? I don't think I'll ever stop producing, I do it for fun so if I can make a little bit of money from doing something I love. It's win win.
The problem with the donate button is more often than not people will just take the music for free. People are more likely to spend a fiver on coffee than your EP. Don't undervalue your product. Have a minimum charge. Level of fame doesn't matter to me on BandCamp. I just favorite stuff and come back and buy when I can afford it.

Having a minimum purchase price, then the option to pay more is the best option on BandCamp IMO. I've often paid more when I thought the music was under priced.

Coming from a retail perspective (I work for a small business and help price products), you can actually under price things and people will believe "well, that is so inexpensive it must be crap." Music isn't different these days.
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Old 13-02-2017, 10:49 PM   #9
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Re: Making money off your music?

Quote:
Originally Posted by relic View Post
The problem with the donate button is more often than not people will just take the music for free. People are more likely to spend a fiver on coffee than your EP. Don't undervalue your product. Have a minimum charge. Level of fame doesn't matter to me on BandCamp. I just favorite stuff and come back and buy when I can afford it.

Having a minimum purchase price, then the option to pay more is the best option on BandCamp IMO. I've often paid more when I thought the music was under priced.

Coming from a retail perspective (I work for a small business and help price products), you can actually under price things and people will believe "well, that is so inexpensive it must be crap." Music isn't different these days.
Those are some good points. I'm not even on Bandcamp, but I've thought about signing up on there for awhile now as I feel Soundcloud is starting to hiccup lately. It's less about the music, and more about the money for them as of lately and it shows.

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Old 13-02-2017, 11:05 PM   #10
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Re: Making money off your music?

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Originally Posted by Chaotix View Post
Those are some good points. I'm not even on Bandcamp, but I've thought about signing up on there for awhile now as I feel Soundcloud is starting to hiccup lately. It's less about the music, and more about the money for them as of lately and it shows.
Just a few thoughts as a consumer and retail manager. I have never made a dime off my music. Band Camp is a good pre setup shopping cart that doesnt rip you off and has options for physical media and merchandise. Bit you have to do a good job of directing people there. The listener end and trying trying to find new music is pretty awful.
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Old 13-02-2017, 11:32 PM   #11
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Re: Making money off your music?

Making money on anything pretty much comes down to marketing and advertising. It's about letting the people that would enjoy it and possibly buy it know that it exists, where to get it, and how much it is.

Just sticking things on the internet doesn't do much these days. Even places like BC and SC are just awash in seas of mediocrity, and the chances of someone just stumbling across your music enough times to make you anything or develop a real fan base is slim to none. You need to put it in whatever online or real world venue where the people that like the kind of music you make find out about new music.

As someone who's musical knowledge and interest ends in 1970 with Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother, I have no idea how you'd go about that. Probably with pinterblogs or instatweets or whatever the kids are doing these days.
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Old 14-02-2017, 02:24 AM   #12
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Re: Making money off your music?

Under 100 bucks so far. I applaud you for trying to make music pro bono, but having put so much effort into my music I simply can't give it away any more.
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Old 14-02-2017, 06:05 AM   #13
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Re: Making money off your music?

Made a decent scratch from music. But not really my music.

In terms of music making / art scenes the best money you'll make is in DJ'ing. But then it's not really that much. Weeks where I was booked for 3+ gigs I could pull in a few hundred to a thousand. But then the amount of work outside of actual DJ'ing made this really not worth it. My rule of thumb for DJ'ing is that for every hour you play rekkids requires four to six hours of promo/preparation/etc... So when your rate's $150 an hour and you account for all of the extra hours you don't get paid for, it amounts to not much.

Another good revenue source was commercial work in advertising and gaming. There was one gaming company (read: gambling) that I did some work for some of their Vegas machines. Typically pulled in $400 a job. Typically there were eight to twelve sound sets where I needed to create super short, short, medium and long versions. Used to average around two minutes of actual audio.

This kind of work is great if you can knock it out in an hour or two. But that doesn't really happen. Typically you'll submit two hours of work and then you'll spend a few hours going back and forth dealing the change requests from the client, and that's not accounting for the actual time making the changes.

Thing is, once you get below a $100 per hour rate for creative work, it's not really worth it. Like now, I couldn't sustain my services (mainly tech / web, sometimes VO work and video editing) for less than $150. I would lose money.

And if you think that sounds like a lot of money, let me break that $100 down:

30-49% tax, we'll call it $30.
5-10% electricity, so $5.
15-25% equipment, so $20...

So just there we're already down to $45 dollars left for actual wages...

Oh wait... I forgot about insurance... there's another $2+K a year... Oh you remove your equipment from your premises... sorry that's double.

Oh... and it's tax time so you need a business account, there's another $500-$1,000 a year...

And that's literally the tip of the iceberg. That doesn't even account for all of the resources and equipment that need to be delivered as parts of the work I do (servers, storage, training and documentation... etc). And again, it doesn't account for the unbillable hours - training, meetings, phone calls, emails, installation, deployment, handover, and the rest.

Thing is that if you want to sustain yourself through creative work you have to be self motivated and you have to be a business person. Loving the work is good. But the reality is that 80% of your time is not going to be spent on doing the work that you love. It's going to be spent doing all of the boring shit that makes the work possible.

Honestly, if I had my twenties over, I wouldn't try to "make it" with my music. I would find a job working in film, TV, radio and/or advertising, where I could go in and earn a salary for doing something similar to what I love... because the music / freelance style industries are never going to be profitable. The professionals in those industries know that they can exploit people's passions to get them to do shit that they wouldn't do in other employment situations (unpaid hours, less than award wages, etc).

And if you find all of this to be discouraging, don't be... because if you love doing creative work and you have creative skills then there are a shitload of jobs that you can apply those skills to which are kind of fun AND rewarding - financially or otherwise.

I guess the TLDR version is:

1. Don't pursue creative work unless you're significantly invested.
2. Always be on the lookout for other opportunities.
3. Always assume that you won't end up where you expect.
4. Have really flexible goals, or better yet don't have goals. (An arrow that isn't aimed never misses its target, etc)
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Old 14-02-2017, 08:36 PM   #14
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Re: Making money off your music?

Pocket money. Bought some gear, helped pay rent.

In all (over 4 years) about 1500 USD, one lump sum at one point and a trickle afterwards.

Unless you're touring (and even still if you are touring) making a living off of music sales alone isn't realistic.

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Old 14-02-2017, 11:02 PM   #15
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Re: Making money off your music?

I lose money due to this filthy addiction, you don't? My first unrealistic goal would be to break even, and that'll never happen.

I've made way more money doing basic audio restoration IRL than I'll ever make online, and more money online with sample packs (although not much) than with original tracks. Even doing cover gigs outweighs thousands of Spotify plays.

Basically: 1) Get off the internet 2) Play other people's music in some way or another

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Old 14-02-2017, 11:11 PM   #16
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Re: Making money off your music?

You'll definitely not make any money if you never bother trying. Don't be a twat, just shill it everywhere.

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Old 15-02-2017, 12:35 AM   #17
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Re: Making money off your music?

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Pocket money. Bought some gear, helped pay rent.

In all (over 4 years) about 1500 USD, one lump sum at one point and a trickle afterwards.

Unless you're touring (and even still if you are touring) making a living off of music sales alone isn't realistic.
I remember talking to someone who worked at BeatPort once and he told me that the site averages 95 units per release. Where a unit is a single track.

Then I didn't feel so bad about our sales figures...
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Old 15-02-2017, 12:51 AM   #18
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Re: Making money off your music?

Prefacing this by saying I have no interest in making money from art so this is all just curiosity.

Is there a way to 'make it big' and 'get discovered' via the internet that doesn't involve pandering to every blog known to man and aggregation services like Distrokid and Tunecore? Besides the obvious 1:1,000,000 chance of someone happening across your song and it somehow becoming an overnight sensation via :moderninternets:, it seems like there's no way to actually get yourself in the digital spotlight in a grassroots DIY method. Everything I've seen hinges on paying services to shill for you. Is that accurate?

I guess you could spend the time going from blogger to blogger, striking up a discussion, introducing your music and moving to the next one. You could spend time on reddit and IDMf and whatever other places there are like this talking to people and showcasing your songs. That sounds very time consuming, but it's more akin to walking around wasting an afternoon putting up flyers and doing regional tours than just paying someone to talk about your bedroom recordings. It actually sounds time consuming enough that you probably wouldn't have a lot of time to make music. Am I correct that the aforementioned services just cut out you doing all that time consuming work in exchange for cash?

My understanding is that most larger labels don't want unknowns, they want known quantities they can trade on. Bootstrapping to the point where labels of a certain size will deal fairly with you and possibly push you into an orbit to make a living off making your own music seems like a strange and expensive road these days. That's a long way from bedroom kid with a pirated FL copy to having a manager and people getting you dates and asking when your next album is going to drop.

I dunno. I'm old. I'm jaded. I'm generally unhappy with the way the world works and have been for a long time, so it's not really a surprise that I'm pissed off about this imagined pay-to-play network which doesn't seem to have a realistic work around. I'd love to hear that I'm wrong.

tl;dr - Get the hell off my lawn. But before you go, how do you get your music out there so people can find it and you can become a rock star?
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Old 15-02-2017, 07:47 AM   #19
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Re: Making money off your music?

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Originally Posted by Artificer View Post
I'm jaded.
Lol nope silly jaded is jaded

OK sorry I couldn't resist, I'll add what I can to the conversation as I've actually been following this.

In response to doing the legwork and introducing your music to people yourself, I would agree, but it's worth noting I'm a shy introvert who's tall and good-looking but never opens his mouth except to make smartass comments, so I come off as an arrogant ass (kind of like parts of that statement there). In short, I suck the rock's cock at networking. That said, I've been at that stage for a few years and just haven't found many places that I think are worth the trouble of signing up to post links to my stuff on, so there's not even much opportunity for people to stumble upon it. And as for going to bloggers and the like, my main influences are Daft Punk who I'm gonna fall flat in comparison to and Justice, who many onlookers feel are past their prime, if reviews of Woman are to be believed. So introducing myself as a guy who wants to make music like those dudes but with my own twist just doesn't feel like a strong sales pitch to a blogger. Certainly not one that's going to put them in a tolerant frame of mind and leave them thinking much, if anything, of my work (other than derivative, that's a great slam!).

If I were going to try and make money off my music, I'd get myself a partner who can handle the bulk of the networking load and leading the lifestyle for the publicity for me so I can just be the bedroom producer nerd and cash my checks, design the live show (and believe me I have as much a vision for a live show as my music if I ever do one), and speak when spoken to.

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Old 15-02-2017, 08:08 AM   #20
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Re: Making money off your music?

Quote:
Originally Posted by White Noise View Post
Lol nope silly jaded is jaded

OK sorry I couldn't resist, I'll add what I can to the conversation as I've actually been following this.
We think the same things at the same time

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How to make money making music? MatrixGravity The Studio 108 04-03-2013 11:31 PM
Need some information - making money from your music (as an independent artist)? WillyZi Music Scene Chat 4 20-04-2012 01:25 AM
How do you tell when your music is good enough to start asking for money for it? fimpson Music Scene Chat 25 20-03-2012 12:50 AM


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