“Turn your passion into a paycheque” – Amy Porterfield
I’m just going to throw it out there right away. To grow a sustainable music career you need to…. treat your music as a business!
There, I said it! 😉
I know, usually when we think of people with a creative profession we don’t immediately think of them as business owners. I have been there too. For a long time the word ‘business’ sounded very foreign to me. Cold and corporate.
But let me tell you. Viewing my music as a creative business and myself as a creative entrepreneur has been a powerful mindset shift and it has had an amazing effect on my career.
It gave me direction. I realised that I should see myself as a brand, my music as my product and my fans as my customers.
Now I can imagine this idea might bring up resistance for some of you. You may be thinking; but aren’t we making art? Aren’t we supposed to make music for the love of making music? Isn’t viewing music as a product and our fans as customers taking the soul out of what we are doing?
In my experience putting your soul into your craft, creating genuine music as well as approaching your music as a business aren’t mutually exclusive. On the contrary!
Approaching your career from an entrepreneurial point of view will help make your career sustainable. Meaning your career has longevity and you are actually making a decent income from your music. And this, in turn, will create space for you to give even more to your music and your fans.
So what does it entail to run a music business? This is how I see it:
Becoming a pro. Develop your music making/performance skills as well as your knowledge of relevant music industry related topics (such as publishing, copyright, etc).
Invest time, money and effort into growing your business.
Network to build valuable business relationships and partnerships and nurture those.
Create multiple income streams such as income from music sales/streams, performing live, coaching, merchandise etc.
Be a CEO. It can be extremely lucrative to work with a management, record label and/or booking agency. I am a firm believer of ‘teamwork makes the dream work’. At the same time I would advise you to always take responsibility for your own career and stay in the drivers’ seat yourself as well. At the end of the day, no one cares as much about your career as you do! You want to be able to always fall back on yourself.
Branding and promotion. Embrace branding and online marketing to gain exposure, reach the right audience and build a faithful following of superfans who support your music, attend your live shows and wear your merchandise.
Last but not least I’d love to hear from you! Did you already incorporate one or more of these elements? If so, which ones? I’d also love to hear your biggest take away from this blog.
Let me know in a comment below 🙂
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