How to Hire the Best Music Managers in the Industry | Music Management

You should start seeking a music manager when one of two situations occur:

1) The workload of managing yourself as an artist has become too much for you to handle and is taking time away from your music.

2) Your knowledge of the industry has carried you as far as you can, and you need to bring in someone with experience and expertise.

Hiring a music manager is the next logical step before getting signed to a major label, the manager can use their industry experience and contacts to help take your career to the next level. A good manager will be able to get you support slots with major artists who already have an established fan base, get your music played on radio and featured in major publications. For a small proportion of your royalties, the manager can significantly increase the income for an artist paying for themselves several times over.

How to find a music manager?

There many aspects to finding the right manager for you, and especially where to look. You need to make yourself an attractive proposition and make sure you’re in the best position you can possibly be before presenting yourself to potential managers. Here’s our best places for finding a manager.

– Linkedin

Linkedin is the best place for connecting with industry professionals, it allows you to search and connect with various people from the industry depending on their job role and place of work. To connect with someone on Linkedin you need to have at least one shared connection, so in the beginning you may find yourself having to attempt to connect with a lot of people in order to start building your network and allow you to send connection requests to the people you are targeting.

With Linkedin sending random connection requests to people isn’t going to make you stand out from the competition. What you post on Linkedin is just as important, whether you’re writing your artist career diaries in the native blogging platform for Linkedin, or simply commenting and sharing content relevant to the industry, the more you get known in the industry the better managers you will attract.

Linkedin now has an ad platform which is incredibly powerful and underused in all industries. You can run ads on your latest music video to only people who have the job role “Music Manager” or “Artist Manager”, this will mean your music gets in front of the right people. You can then connect with everyone who liked your video and sending them a message thanking them for the support.

– Instagram

Instagram has become an incredibly social platform, what once was a social media just for photography, now it is a place where everyone in the industry can get a feel for each other and understand their value and what they offer to the music industry. You can search people and hashtags to be able to connect with influential industry members. If you can’t connect with someone on Linkedin, you can search their name on Instagram and then DM them making them aware of your music.

Instagram is a great way to find out what a person is really about, if they’re spending their time bragging about their lifestyle or posting stories which aren’t related to music then they probably aren’t the best fit for you. You need to look for someone who is going to be committed to you as an artist rather than constantly attempt to improve their image in the industry.

– Live shows

Live shows are where the true music lovers hang out. When a manager has a passion for emerging artists and taking them to the next level they are usually found at live gigs.

Many management companies go to showcases to view the latest local talent and approach those which they like with a business card and a short pitch asking if they’d like a meeting. So if you’re spending all of your time in the studio or in your bedroom making music, you should be out there performing and showing off your true skills, it will always help to prove you are the full package and have the potential to sell out venues in order to earn an income for both you and the manager.

– Management companies

Speaking of Management companies, these guys are a great place to start if you’re looking to get a more professional organisation on board for your career.

You can find music management companies by simply googling, or if you’d like to be more specific there are many industry directories which will list all of the management companies in your area. We recommend somewhere like The Unsigned Guide which is a full directory of all of the management companies, labels and music PR companies which will allow you to go through each one and send them an email with your music CV.

– Networking events

The music industry is renowned for having a strong network of events for other industry members to meet and greet each other. Music managers are constantly attending these events to meet both artists and grow their own contacts. We strongly recommend you attend as many events as possible to not only meeting music managers but grow your own network too. You can find the latest music industry events on places such as The Music Managers Forum and Meetup.com.

Our tip for networking events is to get to know everyone in the room, as soon as you walk in just start speaking with people, find out what they do and a little about them and if you keep the momentum up you will eventually have spoken with everyone in attendance.

If you are a little introverted and struggle to speak to new people, I always recommend to arrive 30mins early to the event and help them set up, maybe set up the chairs and tables and introduce yourself to the organiser, the organiser will know every single person worth knowing at the event and will introduce you.

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Do you need a music manager?

When you introduce a music manager to the equation, things can get complicated. You’re adding another opinion, another person to keep happy and someone else who is going to take a proportion of your royalties.

Usually artists decide to get a music manager too early in their career, they think that it is a missing piece in their puzzle of a successful music career. This is often caused by artists looking to major established artists for inspiration on how to be successful and see that they have a manager and a label so logically you should have this too. But the longer you hold out on getting a manager the further in your career you will be, which means you can attract better and more influential managers.

You should take on a manager when the workload gets too much, or you need more music industry experience and contacts to help you in your career.

A music manager can’t turn around your career single-handedly, you will need to continue to do things for yourself and ensure your music is as best it can be to allow your manager to do the things that they’ve been brought on to do. You won’t get the most out of your manager if you stop doing what you’ve been doing so far and hand it all over to your manager, this will not move you forward, your manager needs to enable something, whether it is free up time for you to focus on other things, or for the manager to introduce new aspects of your career which you couldn’t do yourself.

What does an Artist Manager do?

There is no one specific framework for a music manager, managers can contribute to your career in many different ways, and that’s why it’s so important to find the right one for you, the manager should fill gaps in your skillset and knowledge in order to strengthen your progress as an artist.

-Invest money in to your music

Some artist managers, and especially management companies are willing to invest money in to your career, whether it’s hiring a music PR company, funding music videos or just generally helping you with your personal finances, if they company has the available funds and believes in your career they will invest.

However, don’t forget that if they do invest in you, they will expect their investment back once you get signed, and this can significantly hinder your chances to get signed if the management company demands their investment returned from your advance from a major label. For example if the management company has invested $40,000 in to your career, they may demand a major label pays this investment off before signing you which could lead to your deal falling through, so be careful how much investment you allow yourself to receive.

-Organisation and Mediation

Artists and musicians often need a lot of help in getting organised, with multiple members in the group who often have their own agenda and ideas the management can provide stability and planning to ensure everyone is on the same page. This becomes especially useful when you’re an artist on tour and require transport, logistics, financials and promotion.

An artist will often find themselves in a situation where they have a disagreement within their band, usually this is over a creative direction. The manager can act as a mediator for the discussion and help resolve differing opinions and ensure that everyone is happy with the direction or decisions being made for the artist. The same goes for third parties who may not be acting appropriately or in the interest of the artist, so the manager can deal with these situations and ensure everyone involved on the project is operating effective and efficiently.

-Makes introductions to influential people

Managers who have been in the music industry for a long time should have an extensive address book which will allow you to get your music in front of the right people.

Those who are influential in the music industry such as major label A&R’s, producers and other artists you can potentially collaborate with are incredibly difficult to get in contact with. They receive thousands of emails every week from artists looking for their attention, therefore it is only natural for them to trust people they already know to act as a filter of who to take seriously. A manager will help you get your foot in the door with these people.

What to look for in a manager?

Don’t be too hasty when hiring a manager, you need to make sure they’re the right fit and it’s going to help progress your career, hiring the wrong manager can have devasting effects on your career and has often ended artist’s careers early. The reason for this is that you can get stuck in a 2-3 year deal with an ineffective manager at the most vital point in your career and once all of the opportunities have passed you by they won’t return again.

-Aligned vision

Before signing the contract with your management, ensure that you have the same vision and timeline as your manager.

After you start to work with a manager you may realise that the vision and direction you had in mind for you as an artist may not be the same as your manager’s vision. Discuss timelines, goals, releases and the future of your music with your manager to ensure that you are both in agreement of how to move forward in your career.

It’s important your manager will find opportunities for you. A lot of managers end up incredibly excited by your project in the beginning, but as time passes by, they lose the passion and find another project. You need to find a manager that will see things through. Managers can often promise you the world before you start working with them but once you’ve signed the contract things slow down immediately. Make sure that your manager is constantly looking for opportunities for you, often managers can take it upon themselves to protect you from wasting your time and money, but if they are too aggressive with this they end up doing nothing and your career dies, but the manager prides themselves on having “saved you”.

-A track record

There are many managers out there who have had success with one or two artists and 10-20 years later are still living off that credibility. A lot has changed even in the past 5 years in the music industry, so find out what the manager has achieved recently with other artists. But don’t stop there, check their social media to see who they’ve tweeted about in the past 2 years because there is sure to be some artists that were previously on their roster but didn’t make it.

Reach out to previous and existing artists on their roster and ask their opinion of their manager, if they are a good manager, they won’t mind you doing this and the other artists on their roster will be more than happy to pass their opinion to you.

How much is a music manager paid?

A music manager usually takes 10% – 15% of your income as an artist. As mentioned earlier, this can be money well spent and with a good manager you won’t even notice it as your income has increased so much.

When you sign your contract, you should ensure that you have targets to hit before the manager receives a cut of your royalties. For instance, you could take your current level of income and add a clause in to the contract that the manager does not receive royalties until a certain level of income is met, or it come be a non-monetary target such as securing a support slot. This is to ensure that the manager does not end up doing nothing for the entire term of the contract and you can easily get out of the contract if nothing is happening.

If you’d like to see what a music management contract looks like, the Musicians Union have a template contract you can download and read through the clauses.

You should never pay upfront of monthly for a manager, these deals are usually offered by managers who know they aren’t able to get an artist to a significant level and therefore won’t earn any income, so they try to get money upfront.

Summary

Managers are incredibly useful in the industry, and every successful manager will need someone trustworthy to handle their day-to-day admin as an artist. But don’t jump in to an agreement too quickly and read these tips carefully as you may end up getting your fingers burnt when things go wrong.

Best Music Distributors for a Successful Single Release in 2019

For this article we have reviewed distributors based on the following categories

– Success rate with Spotify playlist pitching

– Customer service

– Pricing

– Key Features

This is a completely unbiased review, we have no relationship with any distributor, nor are there any affiliate links within this article.

We’ve surveyed artists across various platforms to collect opinions on music distribution companies as well as taking an analytical approach to each platform to compare their packages and customer experience.

In early 2019, Spotify announced their recommended distributors, as getting on Official playlists is a priority for the majority of artists who are releasing music this would be something to strongly consider when selecting your distributor. Even though some distributors pay out more in net royalties than others, the gains from being added to a Spotify Official playlist will far out-weigh the royalty payments you’d receive from not being added to any playlists.

Here’s Spotify’s preferred distributors:

This has helped us narrow down the options to consider for this review due to the force of Spotify in the industry and how their influence can help an artist blow up overnight simply by being added to a few of their large playlists. Spotify stated that the distributor you use does not affect any decisions about how content is treated by their service, however, before the Spotify for Artist’s platform was released, the old method of submitting to Spotify playlists would be each individual curator’s Google form which they created to allow people to submit. And on every form, they asked for the distributor you’ve used, which is an indication that the distributor does play a key role in the consideration for your track to be added to a Spotify playlist.

Customer Service – Winner: Distrokid

When working with Burstimo, we have a lot of things we need from your distributor so we can pitch your music to get it in the right places pre-release. This can cause a few issues as distributors aren’t generally set up to deal with pre-release so these requests can come a little out of the blue for them. From going back through previous emails dealing with these 3 distributors, we found Distrokid to have the most personal approach and quickest turn-around in terms of dealing with requests. It’s worth keeping in mind that the cost of distribution is as little as $20 per year, so less than $2 per month. So, hiring full-time support staff to fulfil requests can be costly for a music distributor who could be dealing with thousands of requests per day.

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Price – Winner: Distrokid

There’s a mix across the board of what’s better, an annual fee or giving up a proportion of your revenue from royalties. This to me is a mistake artists are making because everyone always thinks their next release is going to blow up, which means that you find a royalties calculator and see how much money you’re going to earn from 100,000 to 1m streams. But unfortunately, 99% of artists don’t make it above 1000 streams on Spotify and the distributors know this, so the annual fees are the most profitable option for them in the long term.

CDBaby

$9.95 per song – 9% commission

Distrokid

$19.99 per year unlimited songs – 0% commission.

EmuBands

$42.50 per song – 0% Commission

Based on the Distrokid’s website, they charge $19.99 per year for unlimited songs and albums and 0% commission, which really is by far the best deal of the 3. If you only plan to release one song this year then CD Baby is the one to go for, but I very much doubt this applies to many readers of this blog.

Of course, if you stop paying the annual fee there’s a likelihood your royalties will no longer be collected and your music is taken down, whereas with CD Baby you pay a single upload fee and your music will never be taken offline. However, my assumption is that if your songs are a success you’re going to keep releasing and therefore will be willing to continue paying the annual fee of Distrokid.

As for EmuBands, this would only be an option if you are an established artist who is confident that you will be receiving over 100,000 streams.

Features – Winner: CD Baby

EmuBands

EmuBands give their users instant access to Spotify for Artists, which means you can submit to Spotify Editorial playlists immediately, as well as receive instant verification for your Spotify profile for that extra credibility.

EmuBands also includes Shazam registration, this means that if anyone hears your track while they’re on the move, such as played on the radio, at a party or even used in the background of a YouTube video they can Shazam your track and immediately add it to their own Spotify playlist to listen later.

CD Baby

CD Baby’s key feature is their Show.co platform which allows their users to create pre-save links. This is available to non-CD Baby customers but the partnership between the two brands complement each other well. Pre-saves aren’t a native Spotify feature, it involves your fans allowed Show.co to control their Spotify account and automatically save your track as soon as it is released, this can have a positive impact on the Spotify algorithm and help your track to get picked up by Discover Weekly playlists quicker and possibly even editorial playlists.

Instagram music is becoming more and more popular and having your track available for people to use in their Instagram stories is a great way for people to discover the track, so we recommend upgrading to the CD Baby pro package which will include this option.

DistroKid

Distrokid isn’t as feature-rich as CD Baby, however they do have the feature to allow people to split payments. This is similar to splitting an Uber-fare, you are all part of the same track and as royalties come in, they are split accordingly. Every contributor to the track will need to have a DistroKid account which they’ll need to pay for, so unless you really have communication issues within your band, we wouldn’t recommend opting for this as it could end up costing significantly more.

Our Verdict – Winner: Distrokid

When you’re an emerging artist, the price and the opportunity to have your music discovered by a new audience are your two main priorities. So, for us we think Distrokid just edges it due the cost effectiveness and their ability to move quickly. This means you give yourself the best chance to get added to Spotify playlists due to how early you can get your track uploaded to the platform and submitted to the editors without breaking the bank. They also have a fantastic reputation for accurate royalty collection and prompt regular payments. Spotify now owns a stake in Distrokid, which means having your tracks released through them sets you up with extra assurance for the future, with the theory that Distrokid and Spotify’s relationship may be brought even closer with direct uploads to their platform.

There are of course other music distribution companies out there such as Tunecore and AWAL who we have heard great things about, but after Spotify’s announcement we felt taking a close look at their 3 platforms which they recommend.

Is Lewis Capaldi a wake-up call that content producing musicians are going to dominate the industry?

Lewis Capaldi has been UK #1 in the Official Charts for 4 straight weeks.

As someone working in the Music Industry, I’m ashamed to say that I discovered him not through listening to him on the radio, not because I was hunting through Spotify’s niche playlists, but because a colleague at Burstimo showed me an Instagram story of him wearing a pair of heart shaped sunglasses and explaining to his audience that with his iTunes royalties he’s going to buy his mum a new hoover.

Ever since that point, just like his other 650k followers, I was hooked. Every time he posts a new Instagram story I’d instantly watch to see if it’s another one of his funny rants or anecdotes. And even when it wasn’t, I’d still cycle through his other stories which are essentially ads for his singles, albums, music videos and gigs. Luckily, I absolutely love his music as well as his content.

Now labels and managers are asking their artists to “be more like Lewis Capaldi”. And you can see exactly why, I haven’t bought anything on iTunes since 2006, but I bought his single just because I wanted him to get UK #1. Everyone in the office is attempting to get tickets to his gigs as soon as he advertises the availability on his story, and as soon as his music video was released for ‘Someone You Loved’, we immediately went to watch it.

What is significant about this, is we aren’t clicking his stories because we wanted to know when his next gig was, or know that his music video has been released, we just wanted to take a break out of our day and consume a little bit of his content and we ended up taking notice of an ad or a call to action.

You simply can’t buy that level of attention and engagement, this only comes with nurturing an audience and providing so much value on a consistent basis that when you do ask your audience to do something, they’re willing to cooperate. Artists are one of the very few commercial operations who have the ability to create a personal relationship with their audience, unlike brands such as Coca Cola and Nike who still need to sell their products but need to invest millions in content production to make their Instagram stories even worth watching.

Lewis Capaldi’s success is only a small sign of things to come, content creators who have built a ready-made audience are already beginning to release their own music and generating streams and views far beyond what most artists are able to achieve via traditional promotion methods.

Just look at YouTubers such as JoJo Siwa and Scotty Sire, who are able to reach up to 680 million views on their music video. To put that in to context, Rita Ora’s most viewed track on YouTube stands at 294 million views.

I know the pains that you’re facing, you’ve probably already begun to recognise these trends, understand the importance of social media in the future of the music industry and there’ll be more of these artists coming through over the next 5 years. We face so much resistance from artists who tell us that they want to be taken seriously and don’t want to be a gimmick in order to be successful and promote their music, they want their music to do the talking and carry their career… meanwhile Lewis Capaldi is posting to Twitter comparing his face to a potato smiley…

But the point of this is, artists don’t need to be funny to launch their music career, they just need to be creating content on their social media in order to engage and capture a fan base.

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Helping artists use social media

Musicians tend to have the mindset that because they’ve invested time and money in to their music, it means that it is their gift to the world and therefore they shouldn’t need to do anything further to add-value to people’s day. Unfortunately, asking someone to listen to a 3-minute track from an artist they haven’t heard of is taking up a lot of time. The amount of content we can consume in 3-minutes in 2019 could never have been imagined back in 1995. Before mobile phones and social media giving up 3-minutes to listen to a new piece of music didn’t seem such a large investment, but in that time, you could have scrolled through 100+ Instagram posts. This is what needs to be sold to artists, in the age we live in you’re asking a lot more of your potential fan base than you can ever imagine, you’re asking them to take a risk that your music is going to be worth their time listening to and bring more pleasure than those Instagram posts.

To get our artists to create social media content they need a framework to work from in order to not constantly require prompts or the social media team to repurpose old content to keep things active.

The artist will need to establish the type of content they can create, whether they’re going to be funny, voice their opinion, set themselves goals and challenges, music-based content following the writing and production process from beginning to end or simply behind the scenes footage from their latest tour.

Their timeline over the next 4-8 weeks will allow you to give the artist targets and suggestions to produce content for their social media accounts which means they don’t have the dreaded “what do I post today??” creative block.

A lot of artists tell us that they’re not comfortable talking to camera, but what’s often overlooked is how versatile social media really is. Instagram offers so many different ways to post content, you can write mini-blog posts underneath images, text-based Instagram stories or even start podcasts, social media isn’t just about talking to camera.

Once they’ve began creating social media content, they can then start working with other large social media influencers where some have a larger platform than NME, Rolling Stone and Q Magazine put together! Both Lewis Capaldi and Tom Grennan are appearing on the YouTuber Jackmaate’s podcast which will give them huge exposure to their personalities as well as raising awareness of their music to JackMaate’s audience of 1 million subscribers.

The possibilities for growing artists on social media are endless, and there is no barrier to entry. It doesn’t cost money to start posting or to collaborate with large influencers in the space.

How Musicians Can Earn More Money to Invest Back into The Music

The money should never be the drive for a musician as the passion for the music should be what pushes you to work and achieve your goals daily. However, we know that having money to invest into the music puts you in a better position to be achieving your goals and at a quicker rate.

So in this blog post, we’re going to explain how you can start becoming financially wiser, leading to more earnt, more saved and most importantly, more growth in your music career.

What Does It Mean to Be Financially Wiser?

Being financially wise as a musician can mean your career moves quicker as you have more money to invest into the music, but you also understand which areas are best to invest in to achieve the best results.

Being a financially wise musician is broken down into 3 mains areas which we will discuss in this blog post: 

  • How can you get more money to invest into the music? 
  • How should you be spending it to progress your music career? 
  • What is bringing in the money?

How Can Musicians Make More Money From Their Music

Making money from your music is what the majority of you are interested in. The money in music is broken down into 4 areas – digital streaming, live events, merchandise and securing attention. So, we’re going to run over each of these income sources and explain how you can take advantage of them to bring in more of an income, be going full-time with your music quickly and eventually be securing a large amount of money from the music alone.

Digital Streaming

Digital streaming is behind the biggest rise in music sales in 2 decades, showing that this is where you’re going to see the majority of your revenue coming in. Physical sales are close to non-existent, so focus all of your attention on digital streaming when looking to bring in an income from music revenue.

Spotify is the leading streaming platform currently and although it may not pay as much per stream as other platforms such as Napster, it has the biggest audience, meaning the biggest reach, and it’s the only streaming platform to have such a powerful algorithm that you can simply upload your track and see millions of streaming come through overnight due to one playlist add. 

Spotify pays an average of 0.00437p per stream, so securing 1 million streams would mean you’d receive around £4,000 worth of revenue. Although this may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, that £4,000 of revenue is easier than ever to secure and it’s 10x easier to see revenue come through from streams compared to physical sales. 

To be taking advantage of Spotify’s algorithm, securing more streams and therefore more revenue, you need to be focusing on having high quality music, so Spotify will push it out to more people and the audience will actually stream and save it, and then you need to be getting it added to playlists. Getting added to playlists is now easier than ever as Spotify have announced a submission form via Spotify for Artists which means your track will get put in front of the appropriate editors. As well as making sure you’ve submitted to the official playlists, you need to be pitching to user curated and branded playlists, as this will mean you generate more streams, triggering the Spotify algorithm even further.

You can read more on how to submit to Spotify playlists here: http://www.burstimo.com/spotify-playlists-guide/

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Live Events

Live events are where you can start bringing in larger amounts of money from ticket sales, taking a percentage of ticket sales or a flat fee from the promotor. Global ticket sales are currently at a record high, so this is best time to be performing live, securing an audience and building your live portfolio. 

Also, if you’re signed up to PRS, that means if you perform a song that is registered to them, they will pay you. Every venue should be PRS registered, so make sure to check prior to your event and discuss it with the venue. 

Live events act as a marketing tool too as if you’re supporting a large name or you’re playing outside of your local area, more people will discover you and potentially be converted into a fan, which leads to them investing in you by streaming your music, paying to see you live again or buying merch. Therefore, it’s key you perform every set to your best ability, even if you’re only playing to 3 people, as converting one individual into a fan has an amazing return on investment. You invest your time and in return you will have someone’s attention, which means you can monetize this attention in whatever way you wish.

Merchandise

Whilst at your events, you can also be selling merchandise. If people are at a venue to see you perform, they’re already investing their time in you, so a sale is a lot easier in this circumstance. Make sure to plug your merch at the event too, perhaps mentioning it in your set or saying you’ll be by the merch stand after you perform, persuading people to look into your merch further.

There is a lot of money in merchandise, hence Warner just spent $180 million on a merchandise company, so take advantage of this. Be creative and imaginative with your merchandise as it’s a competitive field to try to secure sales in. Don’t plaster your band logo across a t-shirt, instead focus on creating such visually pleasing products, that even if someone doesn’t know your music, they would invest.

Secure Attention

The final area where artists can start bringing in money is by securing attention. We’ve often mentioned this throughout this blog post, and if you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know we say this daily in our videos, but what does it actually mean? In 2019, people don’t pay for the creative anymore as the simplicity and affordability of music creation and distribution has meant that this industry is oversaturated with music and the music consumer is inundated with choice. Therefore, the money is no longer in the sales of music but instead all of the above – streaming revenue, merchandise and live events. However, you cannot see financial success in any of these areas unless you have secured the attention.

Securing attention in this digital era is extremely difficult because the consumer is in the routine of scrolling, taking in short-form content and only engaging once a trusting relationship has been formed but this mean when you do have the attention of the consumer, you have a great deal of power and monetize this attention and sell whatever you wish. 

Securing attention is only possible in one way in this technology era and that’s through social media. The majority of successful artists have built strong fan bases entirely through social media as it allows an audience to grow exponentially by forming personal relationships with a click of a button.

 You can learn how to grow an audience on Instagram here: http://www.burstimo.com/promote-your-music-on-instagram/

This final tip for making money from the music is the way to become a successful musician but also be bringing in a large amount of income quickly because any artist that is selling out stadiums, securing millions of streams and making money from merchandise, has the attention of the masses.

Where Should Musicians Invest Their Money to Grow?

Your investment strategy as a musician should be focused on the most important 3 areas, which are the music creation, music distribution and music marketing. Each one of these things is essential to your musical growth and if one isn’t invested in as much as the other or you find that you’re spending less time on one area, you’ll fall behind as this digital era only works in the favour of the artists that can create the best music, distribute it to the biggest and most platforms and then engage the largest audience.

Music Creation

The music you create is your brand, it’s the product and if the music isn’t to a high enough quality, you won’t see growth in fans or in income. Therefore, you need to be investing into the music creation, so to see a high ROI.

There are two ways you can invest into the music creation and that’s either investing in self-production or in to studio time. There are so many different production software and recording equipment you can invest in, which will lead to amazing quality music, made simply from your bedroom. However, if you don’t have the time to do this or the time to learn the skills to use this software, then you need to invest in studio time and the professionals to produce the music. 

Either way, it’s key your music is the best quality it can be because it will lead to more streams, which equals more revenue, and more fans which means more ways to monetize on this attention, such as growth in ticket sales, merchandise and potentially brand collaborations.

Music Distribution

Music distribution in 2019 is easier and cheaper than ever, so it’s something you can spend little time and money on but is key to your music and financial growth as having your music on the top performing platforms means a higher chance of being discovered, so more streaming revenue, and then a higher chance of growing your fan base, so more streams of income from having a larger audience.

Start by self-distributing by uploading to free platforms such as SoundCloud and YouTube. Then, you must get a distributor to upload your music to every other platform such as Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer. As Spotify is the leading music streaming platform, we’d suggest using their preferred distributors who are CD Baby and DistroKid

Invest in the distribution package which allows you to set the release date at least a month in advance as that will allow you to promote pre-release and also submit to Spotify Editors via the Spotify for Artists submission form, leading to a potential placement on a Spotify Official playlist. Learn more on how to do this here: http://www.burstimo.com/how-to-get-your-music-on-to-spotify/ 

Music Marketing

The final area you should be investing your money to see musical growth is in the marketing of your music. This is the most important aspect of your approach to musical success as you can have the best track in the world but if you don’t market it correctly, it will fall on deaf ears. Therefore, you need to be investing in your music marketing, whether that’s via hiring a music PR company, putting money behind SubmitHub for online coverage or investing in social media ads.

The majority of music marketing can be done completely free. For example, you can write a press release, pitch to blogs, radio and playlists yourself and this doesn’t cost a thing. However, changes to social media algorithms have led to organic reach getting significantly lower, so investing in social media ads is worth every penny.

You need to be putting money behind each post on Instagram, experimenting with the content and the audience you’re targeting. Once you’ve found the content and the audience which has the best engagement rate, stick to it, producing daily content and boosting it via ads. The return on investment on social media ads isn’t immediate because people may become a follower but that doesn’t mean they will buy merch or tickets to your show. Instead, measure the success by the engagement you see returning on that investment as when you have attention, the money can come in through many different income streams.

Everything Is Free

Although you should be investing in social media advertising, YouTube ads and influencers, the majority of music marketing is completely free as long as you invest enough time. If you have the time to sit and pitch to blogs, personally email every appropriate Spotify Editor or spend all day going through LinkedIn to find the right producers at the correct radio station, then do it because it will mean you get the results without spending anything.

However, if you don’t have the time or you’d just rather spend your time focusing on something else, you need to outsource, whether this is to a music PR company, a music marketing company, a social media manager or a graphic designer. Invest your money into the marketing, otherwise the money you invested on the music creation and distribution was a complete waste.

Where Can Musicians Be Saving Money

Being a full-time musician puts a lot of pressure onto the music, so you will either be at a point where the music isn’t bringing in enough or you’ve already tried and failed. Both of these are completely normal and have happened to the majority of musicians, so how do you start bringing in money to become a full-time music?

Have a Main Source of Income

To begin with, you shouldn’t be attempting to go full-time with your music. You need to be working a full-time or part-time job that will give you the financial security of perusing music in your free time and allow you to be able to invest into your music career, whilst not being at a financial risk. Having this main source of income will allow you to explore your musical goals, invest in equipment and professionals to help you progress and also give you that extra push in the right direction, which will eventually mean being able to go full-time.

Make Money From The Music

Next you need to be bringing in as much money from the music as possible and in the early stages of a musician’s career, that is broken down into 4 areas we’ve explained – digital streaming, live performance, merchandise and securing attention. Make sure to be taking advantage of each of these areas whilst also bringing in your main source of income from a full-time or part-time job. 

Save More Money

To be able to invest more into the music, you will need to be saving more money that you’re bringing in from your full-time or part-time job and also the money you’re already making from the music. Often, we easily get confused with how much money we need to survive and how much money we like to spend. Being a musician can be expensive as you’re constantly wanting to invest in new equipment, studio time, professionals to help you develop and social media ads, so you need to be saving as much as you possibly can, so you can be investing as much as possible into the music.

To make sure you’re saving as much money as you can, you can create a spreadsheet like shown here. This will outline how much money you have coming in and how much you’re spending on the essentials, leaving you with how much you have left to invest into the music. 

For a lot of you, that ‘other’ section will be where you’re wasting the majority of your money as this will include clothes, nights out and unnecessary purchases, which could actually be invested into the music.

To guarantee you’re not spending unnecessary amounts, stick to the things that you need to survive – a roof over your head, food and perhaps petrol to get to and from work. You’ll be surprised at how much you’re wasting if you start to make a spreadsheet like shown.

Now you know how much you have left over after spending on the necessities, you know how much money you have left to invest into the music, which as we’ve stated above should be spent on music creation, music distribution and then music marketing.

In Conclusion…

It’s easier than ever for musicians to start bringing in money as long as they’re investing in the areas we’ve said, saving as much money as possible and taking advantage of what this digital era has to offer.

If you follow all of these financial tips, you will become a financially wiser musician and a financially wiser musician is a successful, wealthy one. 

How to Make a High Quality Music Video which People want to Share

Making a music video can be difficult as an artist, you’ve focussed all of your energy on perfecting your latest release and organising a music video shoot is the next daunting task. You need to recruit the right people, negotiate the right price (how do you know what everything even costs?), come up with your own concepts, and manage and organise the entire process on your own.

This guide to making a music video will cover everything you need to know about getting the best quality music video which gets shared around the world.

Amazing low budget music videos

The more money you invest in a music video does not necessarily improve the quality, some of the best and most popular music videos ever made have been created on a minuscule budget.

Here’s some incredible examples of low-budget music videos which have broken an artist in to the mainstream due to the creativity and quality of the video.

The Black Keys – Lonely Boy accumulated almost 93 million views and is a simple music video where one of the extras (from what was supposed to be the original music video) was caught dancing in the corner along to the track. They asked if they could film him dancing to the entire track and the rest is history.

Going back even further, in 2009 OK GOset up a camera and some well-positioned treadmills in order to choreograph their music video for “Here it goes again”. This was one of the first music videos to ever go “viral” on YouTube, accumulating 44 million views.

Hire a videographer

We always recommend hiring a professional videographer, if you have the resources to shoot the video yourself then absolutely go for it, but to get dynamic and moving shots with the entire band in frame you’re going to need someone there to help, otherwise the entire shoot will be created on a tripod so will look very static and dull.

To find a suitable videographer you have multiple options available to you:

Freelance videographer

This is the most popular option which artist usually go for, it’s expensive but you’re going to get someone who really knows what they’re doing. You’ll be able to see their previous work either on their website or they can link you to their portfolio.

You should meet with the videographer before the shoot to discuss ideas and ensure you’re on the same page. If the videographer is coming up with ideas that you’re not feeling is right, then don’t work with them and find someone else because this will probably be the case through the editing process too and there will be a lot of back and forth which can not only be frustrating, but it can push your costs up too.

There are many great ways to find a freelancer, but our most effective method is actually to use job sites such as Indeed, they’re completely free to post job roles and you can get 100 – 300 applications within just a couple of weeks.

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A Music Video Production Company

This is by far the most expensive option, but you’ll get what you pay for. Established Music Video production companies have a team of highly trained staff who you can rely on to give you a high level of customer service as well as a quick turnaround. They usually have the best equipment to make your music video that little bit more special.

With these companies, ask to see music videos they have maderecentlyrather than relying on large artists they worked on years ago, because the companies usually have a high staff turnaround and you probably won’t be working with the same personnel who created the examples they’re showing you.

A video production company does make you feel safe knowing that you’re going to get a high quality of output the majority of the time, and if anything were to go wrong, you’ll like get a refund or the option to reshoot the video.

The problem with going with companies such as this is that their staff are forced to do this job 9-5, 7 days per week, meaning they have to come up with ideas and shoot on a regular basis. In a creative industry people can become burned out when they’re expected to come up with concepts so often, so you may actually find a freelancer has more passion and creativity towards your project as it’s more of a novelty and they’re be excited to be working with you.

Work with Students

This is the tip that all professional videographers hate to hear, because they know that sometimes passionate University students can do a phenomenal job of a music video and are willing to do it completely for free.

To get hold of a Uni student the best point of contact is the university themselves, universities have dedicated staff members who’s job is to find careers and experience opportunities for the students, so they will gladly help publicise your requirements to any students who are capable of fulfilling the role.

Find a location

stunning location with trees

Finding a location to shoot can sometimes be the most fun part of the planning of your music video. You first need to decide the tone of your video, whether it’s going to be industrial, city/streets or landscape views. This will help you narrow down where to look for your location to film.

If you’re looking for landscape views, maybe you’d travel to Wales or Scotland for that epic drone footage, or if you want city streets you could head to London at 5am for the sunrise and pick up some epic shots which simply aren’t possible during the day.

Once you know exactly what you’re looking for you, can use a tool such as UKFilmLocation.com which will help you find the best locations to film. This is a database of thousands of places which are available to be used as location for filming, either for free or to rent.

How much does a music video cost?

The cost of a music video very much depends on your ambitions and which videographer you chose from our options above.

A good quality music video can be anywhere between £500 and £8,000, with the average music video costing around £2,000.

Usually to finance your music video the band member would split the cost between themselves, so if the music video costs £2,000 that’s £500 each between 4 band members.

Coming up with Creative Concepts

The best concepts come from the core message behind the song. It doesn’t have to follow any of the lyrics within the song, but if you keep the message the same but through video this will result in a remarkable music video which gives the song the true representation it deserves.

Coming up with a new concept isn’t something you can force, give yourself a week to brainstorm some ideas, creating a dynamic within the band which allows people to propose ideas no matter how stupid or impossible, because one of those ideas may just end up being a genius one. Sometimes all it takes is going down to the pub with a notepad and pen and having a few beers!

The simplest concepts can work best, especially for an emerging artist, you may not have the credibility to capture someone’s attention to watch your full video until the end, so plot twists may be one to stay away from. A video of the band playing in a unique location could get just as many views as an in-depth story line with incredible cinematography and actors.

Once you have your concept, storyboard the entire video. This will give you an indication of the flow of the video and whether it’ll be interesting for the viewer. You can go as detailed as you like to include camera angles and costumes.

Decide which song is best

To decide the best track from your EP for the music video, we always recommend anonymous voting. The problem with being an artist is that your close friends and family won’t give you their true opinion. If they think your track is terrible they’re unlikely to break the bad news to you. This doesn’t help your career and will only hold you back.

We recommend allowing people to vote on tracks anonymously using a simple app such as Strawpoll. This will allow you to send everyone a link which lists each of your tracks (and the option of none in case they don’t like any of them). This way you’ll get the true opinion of people on your music and prevent you from wasting money on a music video for a track that people don’t even like. This can be tough news to take as an artist, but the best way to improve is to receive critical feedback.

Arranging the logistics

There are a lot of people involved in a music video, especially if you’re asking for help from friends or you’re employing extras. So making sure everything goes smoothly on the day is important to get the best shoot.

Schedule your shoot

When people are volunteering, it’s difficult to be firm on the dates that they’re needed as they may have other commitments, and after all they’re helping you!

Not only this, you need to find out everyone’s availability and find the date which everyone is available (or at least the most available date). This is best achieved using an app such as Doodlewhich will allow you to send everyone a list of potential dates, and they can let you know which are available. Eventually it will become clear which is the best date for everyone.

Arrange transport

You’ll need to get everyone to the location if the shoot is taking place out of town. The most cost-effective method of transport would be to hire a mini-bus. Not only does this save money, it makes sure everyone gets there at the same time and doesn’t get lost. It allows you to stay in complete control on the day by keeping everyone in one place.

The Editing Process

After the shoot the video will need to be edited. This is done by the videographer who will probably already have an idea in their head how they’d like the video to look. It is best to leave the videographer to do their thing for a few days and then allow you to see the first draft. It is here you can let them know your opinion on whether they’re on the right lines or not.

With your videographer, set milestones which allows you to understand the time frame they’ll be working under. If you don’t do this they make take longer that you’d like to edit the video, sometimes time pressure can result in a better video. Be aware that every time the video editor sends you a draft, it can take up to 30mins to export the video then a further 10mins upload it to a drive such as Dropbox, so all of this can take up time.

Once the videographer has finished their next draft, you can start getting involved to make smaller tweaks. Remember, all of the colour adjustments can be made at the very end.

How to promote the music video

Once you’ve released your music video, you need to get people watching it. This can be done using social media, YouTube ads or pitching it to major publications.

You can read up in detail on how to promote your music video here:http://www.burstimo.com/music-video-promotion/

In Conclusion…

To make the best music video possible, you need a combination of creativity and organisation to have the best outcome which has the potential to go viral across the internet. Remember to use the tips to make sure every member of the team knows what is happening and you don’t end up wasting your money on a failed day of shooting.

How Much Does Music PR Cost?

“Well… What’s your budget?”

The question which should make you run a mile from any music PR companies who are asking you this question.

This is the first sign of a company attempting to extract as much money as possible from you in order to provide you exactly the same service and results regardless of the budget you give them.

With Music PR, the results are determined by the quality of the music, the artist’s history and previous press and their angles. A PR company isn’t able to create bespoke packages where the more you pay the greater the results because a PR company has already done the hard work, they’ve gained relevant press contacts who are willing to consider music when they send it, so it doesn’t take more work to send a few more emails to the most sough-after people.

A Music PR company should already know the price a campaign is worth, and if the music is right for them, they will know the estimated results. Most music PR companies will work on either a 4 week – 8 week timeline, where they will be pitching your song and press release to influential journalists both before the release of your track and after.

The price of music PR varies, from £700 – £1,000 per month. The price is dependent on the reputation and experience of the music PR firm, so if you’re looking for a company who are able to secure high level press then you’ll be looking to hire a publicist at the top end of that price range.

Most companies in the UK will allow you to pay in instalments, usually one payment before your campaign has commenced and a second payment half way through your campaign.

What a PR campaign involves?

1) Writing the press release

To ensure that both the artist and PR company agree on the direction of the campaign, the publicist will write a press release for your approval. You have the opportunity to make amendments, and once you are happy you make your first payment

2) Pre-release and premieres

Using a private SoundCloud link and your press release, the publicist will send out to blogs, and if you’re looking for a music blog to premiere your music the publicist will find the best possible blog to premiere your track.

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3) Post-release

By this point, your release will have momentum and you’ll make your second-payment.

The publicist will reach out to more blogs using the traction from the publications who covered the track pre-release. The coverage you receive can also lead to being added to Spotify and Apple music playlists.

Summary

Don’t try to go cheap with Music PR, as it’s a speculative investment and can be a stressful process, so ensure you’re in safe hands by hiring companies who are providing consistent results.

If you’re wondering who is best to hire and how to filter out the crap, you can read our blog post on the questions you should ask music promotion companies before hiring them: http://www.burstimo.com/5-types-of-music-promotion-companies-how-to-filter-out-the-bullst-and-choose-the-best-one-for-you/