4 Ways for Musicians to Invest Their Money to Bring in an Income

When you finally start making money from your music, it can be very tempting to spend it all on one piece of equipment or a celebratory night out, but this isn’t going to help you grow. Instead, you need to have an investment plan in place to strategically spend your money in ways which will get your closer to achieving your goals and give back to yours fans but also help with the development of the music.

You need to know what you’ll be investing in, how much and the benefits of that investment because most emerging artists don’t have a lot of money to play around with, so every penny spent needs to have reasoning.

In this blog post we’re going to outline the most important areas that you should be investing your money, which will lead to growth in fans, streams and revenue.

1. CREATION OF THE MUSIC

The first place you should be investing your money is into the music itself. Far too many artists focus on spending money on a music video and merchandise but if the music isn’t strong enough, you won’t be in demand, so won’t be able to bring in an income from any other area and the money you invest into the assets is wasted.

Even if you’ve written the best track in the world, if it’s recorded badly, no one is going to want to listen to it, so there are two ways you can invest into the music creation:

SELF PRODUCTION

In this day and age there are so many production software and recording equipment to use, so anyone can record, produce and master music from their bedroom.

This can be a fantastic investment as you’re not only saving money on not having to go into the studio and hire producers to do the work for you, but you’re also allowing yourself the time to create a product your proud of, rather than worrying that if you’re in the studio too long you could get charged more. You have complete control over how the finish product sounds and you also have the opportunity to experiment too.

Self-production also allows you to release music as often as possible, which means you can be collecting more revenue as there’s a higher chance your music will bring in streams if there’s more of it.

Below are a few recording softwares we’d recommend:

Record player

The only thing self-production requires is the skills and the time to produce and learn the craft. The skills part requires you watching YouTube videos, reading blog posts and listening to podcasts but all these resources are free and give you the chance to learn the skills immediately and in your own time. However, if you don’t have the time to learn these skills, then you need to outsource.

OUTSOURCE

So, you don’t have the time or skills to self-produce, so instead you need to outsource to get your music up to the right standard. Going into a recording studio and hiring producers is expensive, however it’s essential for your growth and is the most strategic way to invest your money. These specialists will have the skills to make your music sound exactly how you want it, meaning you create a product that fully represents you as an artist and you feel is strong enough to put out to the market.

Having a high-quality produced track also means it will get picked up better by the Spotify algorithm, receive more radio play and potentially get a sync opportunity. All of these things are impossible if the track isn’t at a high standard, so invest the money and you will see a ROI, whether that’s financially or through forms of promotion, which will in the long-term lead to financial gains.

2. SOCIAL MEDIA GROWTH

With Facebook changing its algorithm in early 2018, getting your content out to your audience organically can be difficult, let alone reaching a whole new audience. Therefore, social media advertising is a fantastic way to invest into your overall growth as it gets your content in front of your already existing and target audience, whilst being able to keep to your budget and watch the engagement closely to see how well it’s performing.

Uploading Instagram picture

With every post you should be experimenting with your content and the audience you’re targeting to through your ads, so to see which content has the best effect with each audience and each platform. We would highly recommend putting out visual content as it’s cheaper and has higher engagement. This can be anything from a short clip of your music video, to a behind the scenes shot of you at your last gig. Anything that gives the audience a taste of your personality and a sense of meaning, rather than spamming them with impersonal content such as your single artwork and a link to the track.

You don’t need to be spending lots, even just £10 here and there will guarantee engagement if you’re using the correct content. Create content which isn’t an obvious ad but adds value to your audience as once you’ve gained an audience’s trust, you have the attention and that means you can monetize that attention in whatever way you wish, such as ticket sales, merchandise or streams.

For more information on creating high performing social media ads, you can read our blog post 5 simple steps to promoting your music on social media – http://www.burstimo.com/promote-your-music-using-social-media/

GOOGLE ADWORDS

As well as social media ads, you can look at investing into Google AdWords, especially YouTube TrueView, which is Google AdWords for YouTube videos. TrueView creates sponsored videos before a full YouTube video, meaning your music video can appear before a major vloggers latest upload. As long as your content is visually strong, YouTube TrueView is fantastic for engagement and overall growth for an artist.

3. CONTENT CREATORS

Humans are visual creatures, meaning we love taking in content through images and video. Artists should take advantage of this as it’s now easier than ever to capture this content. Take control over this and hire professional photographers and videographers to follow you on your journey, create fantastic artwork and also accompany you to live events.

Guitar band performing

Although everyone can take images on their phone, if an artist has an amazing track but the artwork is a fuzzy iPhone shot, you won’t entice an audience. Instead, focus on getting photographers and videographers to create high quality visual content for you, which you can push out to your fanbase via social media ads.

As we mentioned earlier, social media ads and YouTube TrueView are fantastic investment strategies for artists that want to grow their online presence and fanbase, however if the content isn’t strong enough, these ads won’t work in your favour. Therefore, outsource these photographers and videographers to create this content for you, to really see the impact on your ad investments.

These strong images and videos will also increase your chances of securing good music promotion, high follower playlists and also getting noticed by new fans, meaning the investment you make into these content creators will lead to more opportunities, so more ways of bringing in an income.

4. LIVE PERFORMANCE

People love listening to music and artists love performing it, meaning live events are beneficial for both the consumer and the creator. However, no one wants to watch and pay for a performance with poor audio, bad lighting and the instruments are constantly breaking. Therefore, you must invest into your live events if you want to see more money secured through ticket sales, merchandise and converting your audience into fans, which will lead to them investing in your further.

Whether this be on the lighting, your instruments or the sound equipment, it’s essential you’re spending money on your live events because if your performance is poor, word of mouth will get around and that could jeopardise your musical career.

Band performing

IN CONCLUSION…

You should really be thinking about your investment strategy if you want to progress in your music career, build your fan base and also start bringing in a strong income. We know this isn’t the fun side of being a musician, but it’s still a key part of a musician’s growth, so if you follow these 4 investment steps, you’ll find each investment has a strong ROI and will lead to an increase in revenue, ticket sales, fans and overall income streams.

How to Promote Your Music With No Budget | DIY MUSIC PROMOTION

As an artist, sometimes it can feel that if you don’t have money, then you don’t have any opportunities to get your music out there, but this isn’t true. In this digital age, there are so many music marketing techniques that anyone can do on absolutely no budget, offering every artist a fair chance of success.

To run Facebook ads, hire a music PR company or pay a videographer, costs money and we know that not everyone has that money, so here are our top tips for promoting your music on zero budget, which will lead to more press, more streams and more overall growth.

ONLINE PROMOTION 

The internet has opened up endless possibilities for musicians to start pitching to blogs. Getting online coverage can increase the overall hype around a release but also help with your image, plus it doesn’t cost a penny.

Working on Mac Laptop

HOW TO PITCH TO BLOGS

You need to first write the press release. The press release is the make or break as to whether you’re going to get online coverage or not. Writing your press release is pretty similar to writing your band biography but this time around you need to make it more focused around this specific production, whether that be an EP, single or video release.

Everything needs to be compelled into this one document, so the easiest starting point is to note down some key factors such as who you are, what makes you stand out, what genre your music is, when you’re releasing, what you’re releasing and who influences you. A good exercise to do while writing the press release is replacing another artist name with yours and if it still is fitting for them, then you have made it personalised or different enough.

The first paragraph of the press release should be the most engaging and should tell the reader what you’re releasing, when you’re releasing and what sort of sound they should expect if they chose to listen to it. The first line should be something catchy, that has that stand out point and will make the journalist want to continue reading.

Examples of things that may make you stand out are…

  • Who you’ve supported
  • Who you’ve worked with
  • Any previous coverage
  • Anything different!

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the actual body of the email, showing the headline needs to be super catchy to actually get the email opened. We always suggest writing the headline last as you’ve gotten into the flow, you know what angle you’re going in at and you’ve worked out the key points. Make it powerful, using an active voice rather than passive.

HOW TO GUARANTEE ONLINE COVERAGE

Now you’ve got the press release, you can start pitching to blogs. To email these journalists, you simply copy and paste the press release into the body of the email and then above, you need to write the main pitch. The pitch itself needs to be personal, not a general copy and paste that you’re sending to every journalist you want coverage with. The pitch needs to be a shortened version of the press release, getting to the point, stating what you’re looking for from the journalist but most importantly it needs to have a way to stream the music – we always suggest a SoundCloud link.

This process can be extremely time consuming but it’s completely free, can result in some fantastic features which will in turn engage new fans and also boost your overall image and acts as a springboard to further promotion.

RADIO PLUGGING 

Radio plugging is another effective way of promoting your music and can be done even if you have no money by pitching yourself. Securing radio play will mean collecting royalties and having a higher chance of being discovered by new fans, both of which leads to growth in your music career.

HOW TO PITCH TO RADIO

You simply get the pitch and the press release that you have been sending to journalists (as explained above) and you adapt it so it’s fitting to send to producers, presenters and DJs at radio stations.

The main things you’ll need to change are…

  • If you’ve been pitching an EP/album, you’ll have to choose one single to plug
  • The track may need to be edited if it’s over 4 minutes and has swearing (make it radio friendly)
  • What you’re looking to achieve will change to a play, session or interview
  • You’ll also need to send them a download link as well as streaming link (WeTransfer, DropBox, Google Drive

HOW TO SECURE NATIONAL RADIO PLAYS

Everything above explains how to get radio play but before even thinking about approaching the larger stations, you need to create a portfolio of plays for the release. Start with your regional radio stations and then look into genre specific stations. Both of these areas are easier to secure plays on, give you a radio portfolio and will show you how well the track is getting picked up.

Once you’ve received plays on both regional and genre specific radio stations, you will be able to pitch to national radio stations. Make sure you’re pitching to the right producer/presenter who covers your genre as if you’re a rock artist approaching a pop show, you’ll end up frustrating the station to a point where they won’t want to play you at all!

YouTube Sync

Another method to promote your music with no budget is YouTube sync. YouTubers are constantly looking for non-copyrighted music and as a musician, you can provide them with that. The results are immediate as you know that if your track is used in a video, it’s guaranteed to be listened to by the YouTuber’s X number of subscribers and the audience is already there, dedicated to watching the content.

Keyboard Overhead Shot

HOW TO PITCH TO YOUTUBERS

To start plugging to YouTubers, you firstly needed to think about where your track would be fitting. Explore the YouTube community, looking into what sort of YouTubers use what style of music. For example, a pop artist may find that they’re more fitting for travel vlogs, but a hip-hop artist is more fitting for fashion videos. Explore YouTube to find which YouTubers use similar music to yours and then focus on that style of YouTuber.

Once you’ve found a YouTuber, go on their ‘About’ section and you’ll find their email. Drop them an email offering your music royalty-free and non-copyrighted, so you don’t collect the YouTube Content ID royalties.  All you should ask for in return, is that your track is linked in the description.

YouTube plugging seems to be extremely underrated right now, so make sure you jump on it before everyone else, as it means you’ll have a closer relationship with these YouTubers and they’ll always choose to feature your music.

This method of sync is a modern-day promotional technique that is a style of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is always thought of as being expensive and only fitting for corporate marketing but in this case, it’s completely free and ideal for musicians, benefiting both the YouTuber and the artist.

Create Content

Instagram Phone

Our final tip for promoting music on zero budget is creating content. This is so simple, free and can also be the quickest method to growing your brand as an artist. Many seem to think that creating content when you’re a musician is just posting an Instagram now and then or sharing a review you received on Facebook, but that is not what will get your music out there. The content you create to promote your music, doesn’t actually have to be based around your latest or upcoming release, it just needs to be content that becomes in demand and captures someone’s attention.

Anything that gets a relationship between you and your fans means that you’ll be in demand and by the time you release a track, that’ll be in demand also. This content is entirely free to create as nearly everyone has a phone nowadays, meaning you can create pictures, videos and podcasts all from your phone.  Any form of content is the chance of growing your fanbase overnight.

HOW TO HAVE CONTENT TO SHARE DAILY

Being a musician means that your time is split between the music, your family and friends and most probably a full-time or part-time job. Therefore, content creation probably isn’t at the top of your to do list, but it really should be. In this digital era, the content an artist creates becomes their branding, so if you’re not posting daily, you’ll lose your audience’s attention and the attention is where the money is for an artist.

To be creating content daily, you can use a tip called Long-Form to Short Form, which is ideal for musicians as long-form content is simple to shoot. Long-form content is basically anything that you could post on YouTube that is longer than 1 minute, for example your live set or you recording in the studio. This sort of content can easily be created as you can simply set up a camera or your phone and leave it recording. Long-form content is perfect for YouTube where people enter the platform with the aim to engage in long-form content and sit and watch something. However, people don’t enter Instagram or Twitter with much of a purpose but to scroll, so you need to be creating short-form content for those.

To be creating short-form content, you need to be editing down the long-form, finding the most engaging parts, which would be interesting for someone on a platform such as Instagram. For example, you could upload your live set to YouTube and then edit out a part where you’re speaking to the audience about the meaning behind a track. From here, you subtitle it and add a caption which would engage someone scrolling and you’ve got short-form content from your longer video. This content strategy is super simply to put into action but only if you’re filming as much as possible.

Instagram Story Insights

IN CONCLUSION…

It’s pretty clear from this blog post that you do not need money to promote your music. This technology era offers emerging artists a better chance than ever of marketing their music, with so many different platforms and outlets to pitch their music to. As long as you’re dedicating the time to it, promoting your music can easily be done on zero budget, resulting in more streams, more fans and more of an income to be able to invest back into the music. 

5 Reasons Why You Need a Photographer at Your Next Gig

As a musician, your main aim is to get people to listen to your music and although streaming is the easiest way to get you music discovered, nothing compares to live performance. Performing live is the best way to directly connect with your fans as they get to see you on a personal level, interact face to face and finally bring to life everything they’ve listen to and seen online.

It’s estimated that live events in the music industry will be worth $31 billion worldwide by 2022, so we all know the money is there but how does an emerging artist go about bringing in money from their live events? Well in this blog post we’re going to explain exactly that and how getting a photographer can result in more ticket sales, more fans and result in a high return on investment.

1.PHONES ONLY WORK TO A CERTAIN DEGREE

If you want to attract more people to your gigs, then a phone video isn’t quite going to cut it. Although a phone video/photo is rawer because it’s shot from the crowd and has a personal feel to it, phone videos are not at a high enough quality to promote your live events and don’t do them justice. The footage has flat and blown out colours as well as audio that doesn’t capture your true sound, it’s something you really don’t want to use for promotion, therefore investing in a photographer or videographer for your next set, could lead to more sales for your next one.

A photographer/videographer is going to be using a professional camera, so you will be getting higher quality content to use for your social media and to add to your EPK. Once you’ve received the images or videos from the professional, you can edit them into Instagram ads, which you can then use to promote your next gig, which will lead to more ticket sales as a true representation of your gigs should prove to an audience that it’s worth investing in you.

Make sure to message your photographer/videographer prior to your gig to explain things such as lighting and sound so to help them get the best shots possible. You need to also explain what your set will look like, so they know what to expect and where to be at what time. You can also take advantage of the fact someone’s shooting the event by singing to the camera or jumping into the crowd, just to add that extra bit of exciting content.

Crowd Shot with confetti

2. HIGH QUALITY VISUALS ATTRACTS MORE FANS

You all want to have as many fans as possible because fans are what makes you succeed as an artist and the visuals are what can draw them in. Humans are visual consumers in 2019, meaning they take in visual content far more easily and engage with it at a higher rate. Therefore, having these images and videos to put in front of your already existing audience and potential fans, will lead to more interaction and therefore more fans.

If all you ever post is gig announcements rather than actual visuals from the live events, it will bore your audience but by having photos from your gigs, people will see what your gigs are like and will be more likely to want to come.

These visuals can also be shared around too, being uploaded to the photographer’s social media accounts and the company/venue’s that put on the gig. This means that you are going to be seen by a larger audience than just the people that follow your account, growing your fan base like never before.

O2 Academy Brixton Instagram Account

3. PHOTOGRAPHS ARE PART OF YOUR BRANDING

You need to remember that you’re creating a brand as well as making music and in this digital era, the content you put out is your branding. Therefore, the photos and videos you’re putting out to the world, will identify to the consumer what your sound is, what your message is and will persuade them to follow or not engage at all. High quality visuals are what will draw someone in as it shows you’re professional, take your music seriously and good quality images and videos will also represent your image, so the consumer will know what to expect from the content alone.

If you can put on a good show and have photos of you with a large crowd, then larger venues will be more likely to let you play there. This is because the venue wants to make money too so if you can bring in lots of people then they’re going to make more money. This is also the case with press and radio, if they see you’re bringing in a crowd from images and videos, they’re more likely to feature you as they know you have a dedicated fan base there and that will benefit them also.

Any sort of visual content is your brand, so investing in these photographers and videographers is well worth the money and has a high ROI financially but more importantly with your overall growth in fans and engagement.

4. IT GIVES YOU MORE CONTENT FOR SOCIAL MEDIA

Being a musician can be extremely difficult as you’re having to juggle the creation of the music, the promotion, releasing and then on top of that, most probably a full-time job, so sometimes your social media profiles can be neglected. However, as we’ve already mentioned, the content you create is your branding, so you need to be posting daily and having this content from gigs, provides you with the content you need to be able to post regular.

These photos and videos can be extremely engaging as it offers something different from your usual content, allows your followers to see you live and is also exciting for the people that went to the event. You can even caption the post “Did you come to our gig on Friday? Try to spot yourself in the audience”, which will encourage more engagement and trigger the Instagram algorithm to push your content out to more people.

5. IT CREATES A BETTER EXPERIENCE FOR FANS

Although fans will record and photograph part of your set as a personal memory of the event, you can hire a photographer to take better quality photos for a record of the event too. You can use this to encourage fans to focus more on having a good time and enjoying the moment, rather than worrying about getting the photo or short clip on their phone because you have someone taking photos.

A lot of large musicians such as Kendrick Lamar, The Lumineers and Guns N’ Roses have already started to do this at their concerts to create the best experience for their fans and to go back to what concerts used to be.

WHERE TO FIND THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOU?

Now that you’ve decided that you’re going to get a photographer or videographer to your next gig, you now need to find the best one for you. The place to start is social media, mainly Instagram as it’s designed solely for sharing photos and videos. You could just search ‘music photography’ and find some amazing work but the accounts could be from another country so to filter these out, search by location and look at the venues in your area or where you’re performing next. Once you’ve found the venue, look at posts it’s been tagged in and posts with the venue as the location. 

Instagram Tagged section

How to get Signed to a Record Label | Getting Signed

Most artists still have it seared in their minds that signing a record deal will make their musical career change overnight and are constantly wondering how to get signed to a record label, but do you really know what a label can do for you and if it’s the best direction for your music? Signing with a label can be fantastic for some artists but disastrous for others, so let’s break down the pros and cons of signing with a record label, which types of labels you can sign with and the contracts they offer.

It’s quite clear as to why artists want to sign a major label record deal. With Universal holding the entire top 6 albums positions in Billboard 200 in October 2018, artists want that level of success and see a major label as the only way to get there. However, the independent labels have had success too. One such success being Ben Haggerty, aka Mackelmore, who decided to release his debut single ‘Thrift Shop’ completely independently. As of 2017, Haggerty was estimated a net worth of $18 million.

You can stay completely unsigned, sign to an independent label or potentially get a deal with a major label but what are the issues and benefits of each?

1. How Labels Operate in 2019

What a record label offers an artist in 2019 has had to shift hugely due to the industry’s drastic changes. Instead of promising artists the opportunity to get on TV or sell physical albums, the label must be focusing on social media presence, plugging tracks to YouTubers, brand collaborations, relationships with digital streaming platforms and general fan base growth outside of music sales. If a label isn’t offering you this, then what is the benefit?

In recent years, you may have seen major labels signing individuals who have gone ‘viral’ or blown up on social media, examples include the ‘Cash Me Outside girl’ and ‘Walmart Yodelling Kid’, both signed to Atlantic Records. This is proof alone that major labels are looking for the next viral trend to sign, so they immediately have a guaranteed income off the back of that artist.

Walmart yodeling kid at Coachella

The overall label business model has had to change with the times, meaning artists can no longer approach a label for a deal simply because they think their music is strong. A label is looking for you to be in demand, or see potential of you being in demand, whether this be through social media figures, live event turn out or even just extremely marketable music. This may differ slightly for independent labels who focus more on the artists development over time, but we’ll get into that more later.

A label isn’t going to knowingly enter into an arrangement that could potentially expose them to liability, tire out resources and destroy strong contacts, so take a step back and see what you’re offering them, before pushing them for an offering. Before even thinking about getting signed you need to polish your sound, grow your socials by creating consistent content and perfect your overall branding.

2. Indie Vs. Major Labels

In theory, anyone can state that they are a record label if they want to. Everything from a multi-million corporate machines down to a kid sat in their living room, so it’s essential you know the difference and research who is what.

A record label is defined as independent if it’s completely funded independently and is not at all connected to one of the main major labels. Unlike major international labels who have enough money to operate their own publishing, distribution and marketing, indie labels outsource everything to other companies, working alone with outside resources to help grow their artists. A major label is defined as a label that commands a high percentage of annual record sales and can publish, distribute and market all its own content. The distinction between Indies and majors is fairly exaggerated in the press but the big selling point of any major record label is of course its financial clout.

Many people seem to believe that record labels have died recently, or all artists are suddenly going down the independent route. This isn’t true but where there were once six major labels in 1998, now there are just three remaining: Sony, Warner Music Group, and Universal, which became the largest international record company after merging with EMI in 2017. The labels haven’t disappeared or stopped producing well-known artists, they’ve just had to adapt with the times, which means becoming more technologically advanced, which many artists have been able to do themselves, independently.

When you sign a major record deal, you are often signing away a large percentage of your record sales. This may seem sort of backwards but by giving away a percentage of your earnings, the record label will be spending more on your progression and musical growth. According to TheRoot, for every $1,000 in music sold, the average contracted major label recording artist makes about $23.40. Whereas Digital Music News stated that an unsigned artist makes 4x more from streaming than a major label artists, so you must take this into consideration. Although you’re giving away a larger percentage of your record sales, your supplies are close to infinite with major distribution, booking agents, high end producers and marketing agencies, proving the major labels have the budget to allow them to access top-notch professionals.

With a major label, you’ll probably have your point of contact but with the staff turnover at the majors being so high, you could wake up one morning to find the person that supported your music from the start, no longer works there and the whole label has lost interest. The indie labels however, have a more personal approach as their team is smaller. Your music succeeding will help them as much as it helps you and they quite often gain strong relationships with their roster, which means it’s a long-standing contract, unlike the majors who can drop artists extremely quick. You can try to include a ‘key man’ clause in your contract to try to avoid your point person drifting off, but often the bargaining power is against you when signing a major label deal, so scoring this is never guaranteed.

What’s clear is the main difference between indie and major labels is the money behind them. The issue with independent labels is that they can range so greatly in size, success and funds, meaning they may not actually be beneficial for you at all. You need to weigh up the pros and cons but also look into what you want to gain from being with a label. If you want to give the labels what they want, which is essentially the sound that is most ‘in’ currently, then a major label is fitting, but if you want to stick to your roots, securing a legitimate fanbase gradually, then perhaps a passionate independent label can help you.

3. How to Attract Record Labels

Record labels are difficult to get in contact with, especially as there are just so many artists dreaming to get signed to a major label.

What the labels are looking for

The secret to getting signed to a major label is to actually not aim to get signed to a major label. Artists assume their music will be the reason a major label will sign them, but Major labels are looking for artists who are the ready-made package. Due to advancements in technology, it’s not possible for an Artist to blow up completely due to the Spotify or YouTube algorithm, which means that labels are looking for Artists who already have a fan base and tracks which are organically generating streams month by month, long gone are the days of taking a risk on an artist who has good music and pushing them out to radio and music channels.

How to get your music noticed by labels

The major labels have A&R teams who are constantly scouting Spotify playlists looking for artists who are on the rise and generating a loyal fan base big enough to sell out their shows. But sometimes you can be unlucky and get missed by the A&R reps, so here’s how you can help get noticed.

Get featured on blogs

A&R’s by nature love music, they are constantly consuming music and reading about the latest bands who are gaining press coverage. So getting featured on blogs can be your first step to getting on the radar of the labels. To get featured on blogs you can use platforms such as Submithub or if you have the budget, consider getting a Music PR campaign.

Find influential people on Linkedin

The easiest place to find A&R’s from the major labels is using Linkedin, the search function will allow you to search for people based on the organisation they work at and their job role. You can then connect with them, and update your Linkedin statuses with valuable information that they’d be interested in as well as plugging your music. We don’t recommend contacting them directly on Linkedin as they’re constantly bombarded in this area. One tip is once you’re connected with them, go to their profile and click “Contact info”, it will display their email address which will allow you to reach out to them personally.

If you’re finding that you don’t have any ‘2nd connections’ in order to connect with someone, I recommend trying to connect with as many people at that company as you can, and one hack is to connect with the HR manager as they will have the most inter-company connections which will allow you to have a ‘2nd connection’ with all of the people you’d like to connect with.

Find A&R’s email address

Once you’ve used Linkedin to find the names of the A&R’s at each label, you can connect with them, but there’s only a small chance that they actually accept your invitation, so what’s the next step?

You need to email them cold and introduce them to your music. Finding their email address is close to impossible, however an industry secret is to use a platform such as Hunter.io, this will crawl the internet for email addresses at that company, and it will be able to detect the formula used for the company’s email addresses, and give you multiple predictions of what their email address could be.

Run ads targeted to people who work at labels

You can use the power of modern day advertising platforms to get your music in front of the most influential people in the industry. Both Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram allow you to run ads to people who work at specific companies. So you could set up promo videos for your music and only target people who work at Sony Music and Universal Music Group, which will raise awareness for you as an artist and may get you a follow from someone who could change your life!

4. What Deal to Sign

If you’re determine that signing a contract with a label is the right path for you, there are many different deals that you could be offered to sign.

Signing Record Deal

– Production Deal

Rather than signing to the label directly, with a Production Deal you’re essentially signing to a specific producer who has an agreement with the label to help develop artists. This sort of deal is more of artist development, helping you to create a better product, which will in time creates a bigger fanbase. All sounds great right? The small print is that you will take a BIG % cut, as many deals see that the producer can take up to 50% of royalties, so read everything careful and weigh up whether it’s actually beneficial in the long term, to take this cut in the short term.

– Distribution Deals

This deal is pretty self-explanatory. You are expected to create, produce and have the fully formed material ready and then the label simply gets the product out there. This includes anything from albums to music videos and these will go out on the label’s own major digital channels. This sort of deal is fantastic for an artist as it puts their content out in places which was never before possible, however the label looks to take around 25% of the money generated.

– Major Label Record Deal

Now we’re getting to the sort of deals that most musicians dream of and see as the typical ‘record deal’. This deal is when the label will be part of your overall development, the recording process, distribution and marketing and in most cases, the label will cover all expenses. These types of deals can be extremely complex and are different for each case but usually, the artist will receive around 15% of revenue generated.

– The 360 Deal

Many believe this is the future of label deals, seen as the newest and most successful deal that artists can take. This deal involves all aspects of the artists development, management, touring and overall brand growth in exchange for a large percentage of revenues generated across all channels, not just the music sales. The benefit of this deal is the label is working 100% on your side, using all their contacts and tools to see you grow.

The 360 Deal is becoming the go-to deal for record labels in 2019, offering a pseudo-manager style relationship looking after the artist’s entire career, rather than just selling the music itself. Although the artist will be getting all of the label’s support and attention, there’s some controversy around the idea of it as many see it as only really profitable for the label. Controversial or not, the 360 deal is becoming increasingly common in 2019.

5. Do I Need to Sign a Record Deal?

Major label record companies are business at the end of the day, they do everything they can do to create profit. Every bit of help you gain for a major label, whether that be investment into your music, your brand or your marketing, will be to eventually start creating a profit off the back of you. This comes with its issues as the artist will likely lose control over their rights but also their creativeness, meaning you need to be comfortable saying yes.

We strongly recommend you focus on being an independent artist before even thinking about signing any deal. Finding real success in music is a tough gig but in this digital age, there are so many tools designed to help artists record and promote their own music that signing a deal at such an early stage could be pointless or potentially damage your career. Not just that, but there’s a huge sense of creative freedom for artists who find success in music by going it alone and if you never test that, you may live to regret it.

With 55% of people listening to new music via video, 23% with paid subscriptions and 22% using free audio streaming, this allows independent artists the chance of exposure without a major label. Pitching to YouTubers, playlist curators and streaming platform editors gives all artists a chance to get in front of the right people, which was never before possible. Alongside streaming is social media growth, with close to half the world’s population on some form of social media. Social media offers independent artists the potential reach of half the world and the best part is, it’s free. You don’t need to be signed to get your music on streaming platforms, you don’t need to be signed to get your name out there on social media and you certainly don’t need to be signed to release the music you love. These labels have the contacts, which helps, but it’s still 100% achievable independently.

Facebook and Snapchat

The industry is constantly changing, with recent news in 2019 showing Spotify making major moves that are putting major labels on edge, YouTube releasing their own streaming platform and SoundCloud launching SoundCloud Premiere. Every day there is potential for independent artists to grow drastically through a new platform like Tik Tok or perhaps a major label will pay out a major streaming service, making it close to impossible for independent artists to get picked up by them. You never know what’s around the corner so it’s essential you’re following the consumer statistics, watching out for new platforms and testing every new promotional technique you can. A label will either make or break you, so predict the outcome based on the industry’s current trends, your goals and the label’s recent success stories as you could be making a decision that will change your life forever.

4 Reasons You’re Not Getting Played on National Radio | Radio Plugging

Getting your music on the radio can do wonders for your career but where do you even start? It may seem impossible if you don’t have a music PR company plugging away but getting your track in front of the right people is possible to do independently, if you have the right pitch that you’re sending to the correct person. This simple guide will take you through the step by step process in getting your music on the radio, all the way from choosing which track to pitch, to getting played to BBC Radio 1.

1. You’re pitching the wrong track

The first thing you must consider when plugging to radio is whether your track is radio friendly. A song that is radio friendly is under 4 minutes, has no swearing or derogatory terms and doesn’t have a strong political or religious message. The reason for this is the censorship rules in the UK, as the BBC are very strict and you’ll find they deem many songs unfit for air due to breached rules on religious grounds, drug references and attacks on the monarch.

You may have a full EP or album and you don’t know which track to pitch to radio. The best thing to do in this situation is choose the most catchy, commercial sounding song from the collection. Once you think you’ve done that, ask around and get multiple opinions as you may be bias to your favourite. You’ll soon find there is a clear winner and that is the most radio friendly track.

2. You’re pitching too many tracks

If you’re pitching multiple tracks, ask yourself why you’re doing this. If you think all your songs from the EP/Album are worth pitching, you’re wrong, there’s always a more radio friendly track. You want to focus all your energy and time into one song and off the back of this, your full EP/Album will be gaining attention.

However, if you feel your EP/Album has multiple styles throughout, that’s when you can look at promoting more than one song. If one track is a commercial pop and the other is a dance remix, you can push the remix to dance stations, giving you more areas to connect with and therefore more radio plays.

3. You don’t know how to pitch a track

Radio plugging can be a lot harder than general online music promotion, as producers and presenters are bombarded with tracks daily, hence radio pluggers are so expensive, as they have taken years to build their contacts. However, if you’re pitching correctly, you can get the same results.

You must start by uploading your single to SoundCloud as a private link. This is the easiest way for producers and presenters to stream your music. DO NOT attach it as an MP3 or just sent a link to download as this will block their inbox and they don’t have time to download something they’re not sure they will like. Your email will go straight into the bin!

Now you have the SoundCloud link, you must also create a link for the song to be easily downloaded. The most popular and easy to use are WeTransfer and DropBox. The MP3 must be titled correctly also as ‘Artist Name – Song Title’.

You need to include both the SoundCloud and the download link within your pitch as this mean the producer/presenter can easily listen to the track to know if they want to download it, then download it to play.

To start writing your pitch, you must copy and paste your press release into the email. You can read more on how to write a press release here: http://www.burstimo.com/run-a-diy-pr-campaign-for-your-music/

Above your press release you will have your pitch. Your pitch can follow the format below:

“Hi (insert name),

Hope you’re well? I am (insert name) from (insert band name). I was hoping to get your thoughts on our upcoming single (insert song title) for a play on your radio show (insert radio show title). 

You can stream (insert song title) here: INSERT PRIVATE SOUNDCLOUD LINK

Or download it here: INSERT DOWNLOAD LINK”

From here you insert important facts from the press release e.g. who you’ve supported, who you’re influenced by, information on the song and any previous press.

Finish the email with what you’re asking for from them.

“I’d love to hear your thoughts on this for a play and if of interest, we’re available for interviews.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thank you

(insert name)”

The most important part is the ‘important facts’ as this is what will make you stand out from the hundreds of other sending similar emails. Examples of ‘important facts’ that will make you stand out are…

  • Big names you’ve supported
  • Any large press/blogs that have covered you in the past
  • Producer for the single

Another way to stand out is to search a similar artist to yourself. For example, if you felt you sounded like Tom Misch, you can search to see where Tom Misch has been played and then approach the correct producer for that show saying…

“I noticed you played Tom Misch last week. I’ve got a very similar sound with my latest single (insert song title), so I’d love to hear your thoughts.”

By doing this, the producer/presenter will know what sound to expect but it’ll also prove that you know and listen to their show.

*Bonus Tip:When doing this, you can use the BBC to search. Simply search BBC Radio, then search the artist you’re looking for and click ‘Music’. You’ll then find their artist profile, with their tracks at the bottom. If you click each track, it’ll show you which show it was last played on, which you can use to know which shows could potentially play your song.

BBC Radio Tom Misch airplay

4. You’re pitching to the wrong people

So, you have your pitch but who do you send it to? Your first task is uploading to BBC Introducing and Amazing Tunes. These uploaders are the perfect gateway to national radio play, with Amazing Radio supporting emerging artists and BBC Introducing working as a springboard to BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and even 1. If your track is played by either Amazing Radio or BBC Introducing, you’ll be notified by email, so you can listen to it being played on air. If it is to be played, follow up with the correct producer thanking them and also letting them know you’re available for interview or sessions (that’s if you are!).

BBC Introducing Uploader

Now to the real pitching. You need to start small and build up and there’s no better place to start than with your local stations. If you’re from Cambridge, you can look at sending your song to Cam 105 and if you’re from Wandsworth, you could pitch to Wandsworth Radio…I think you get it. Simply search your location on Google, with the word ‘radio’ after and you’ll find tons of results. Don’t just stop there, you can look into student radio stations in your area and even online stations. This may take you some time but if you’re patient, you’ll soon enough have a portfolio of plays for your song.

Genre specific radio stations are the next path to go down. You can find these with a simple Google search or even looking through social media. Use the above tip we gave for standing out by searching for a similar artist, for finding correct radio stations too. If you think you sound like No Hot Ashes, search on Google and social media to see which radio stations have played them in the past. You can also find smaller radio stations that may have shown them support by looking at their Twitter followers.

If you’re getting stuck on where to approach next, here’s a fantastic site that may help: http://www.radiostations.co.uk

Getting Played onNational Radio

Getting played on national radio stations is extremely hard, as you’re not just battling with emerging bands but also internationally renowned artists that have people plugging their music constantly to contacts they work closely with. Don’t be disheartened, this doesn’t mean the producers will just ignore you, as you could be the next big thing that they want to have spotted first but you have to pitch to them as if you are.

Make sure you’ve collected your portfolio of plays from the lower level radio stations first and have already confirmed a BBC Introducing play. Once you’ve done that, use the above pitch but really use those ‘important facts’ to make yourself stand out. You need to have that one thing that makes them listen, whether that be previous press, a major support slot or working with a big-name producer.

Be certain that you’re sending it to the correct producer and show. If you’re an electro pop band, don’t send your track to BBC Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter Rock show, you’ll piss off a lot of people and that’s not the right way to get your foot in the door. Each radio show has a description of what they play on their site, so you can see if it’s relevant to your music. If you’re not sure after reading the description, listen back to it for 10 mins to see if you can picture your track being played on it.

Once you’ve sent the email, wait a week to see if they get back to you. These people are very busy so may need at least one follow up, even 2/3 but don’t bombard them and be polite in your following up.

This whole process of plugging your track to radio will take a few weeks but if you have the patience and time, you’ll get the results

7 Simple Ways to Start Earning Real Money from Your Music

The dream for any artist is to make a living from their music but how do you actually start making money? Besides physically selling the music, what can you do to start bringing in a wage for yourself, whilst still creating music that you love?

The key for musicians in 2019 is to diversify their streams of income. No musician makes money strictly from Spotify or only from touring, so in this blog post we’re going to give you 7 simple tips, which will lead you to earning money from your music in no time.

1. DIGITAL STREAMING REVENUE

Digital streaming is behind the biggest rise in UK sales for two decades. Spotify pays an average of 0.00437p per stream, meaning if you get 1 million streams you’ll receive just over £4,000. This may not sound like a huge amount of money, but Spotify is an easy way to gain exposure and springboard you into other opportunities to gain money, such as live events. Spotify generated $40million+ in tickets sales in 2017, showing that it is an effective gateway to many other income streams in music. Plus, that 1 million streams and £4,000 worth of revenue is easier to make than ever due to Spotify’s powerful algorithm.

To really start seeing the money come in from Spotify, pitch your music to user curated Spotify playlists, sharing your Spotify on socials and blogs and in in time the Spotify algorithm will pick up that your streams are increasing, that you’re getting added to playlists and what bands may be similar to you, meaning you appear on Discover Weekly, Top Recommendations and eventually Official Spotify playlists.

With the new Spotify submission tool allowing you to submit your upcoming material to Spotify officials, Spotify promotion is a lot easier to do yourself. You may find yourself on a major playlist, generating a large number of streams in no time, which eventually leads to receiving payment.

People sometimes complain about the royalties they receive from Spotify but besides paying a distributor to have it uploaded, the platform is free for your music to be on. You’re being offered an opportunity to make money on a free platform and that’s an opportunity you cannot complain about!

Spotify Computer

2. LIVE PERFORMANCE

People love hearing live music and musicians love playing it, so it’s a perfect match for the creator and the consumer. Gigging is one of the most profitable parts of the music industry, with estimates that live music industry will be worth $31 billion worldwide in 2022.

Chances are you’ll be making money from the tickets sold online, bought at the door or an agreed percentage of sales from your promotor/venue owner. However, there’s also two other ways to start bringing money from live events.

FESTIVALS

Alongside gigs, there’s also festivals which pay well. Festivals bring in the chance to play alongside bigger bands, receive music promotion and also collect an audience which wouldn’t be possible at a gig. All of these lead to different income sources also.

LIVE ROYALTIES

You can easily start to collect copyright royalties for performing. If you’re signed up to PRS and perform a song that you’ve written that is PRS registered, they will pay you for this performance. Every venue has a PRS licence (well they should!) to cover the costs of paying out these royalties, so make sure you do your research and take advantage of this. Every little penny counts so don’t be afraid to ask your promotor, booking agent or the people at the venue itself.

Crowd photo

3. MERCHANDISE

Tying in nicely to live shows is merchandise. f people are at your live shows, they’re going to be fans of your music and this means they’re proud to say they listen to your music, so surely, they’d be proud to wear your merch, right? Wrong! They won’t be proud to wear a poorly designed, cheaply made t-shirt with just your band name plastered across their chest.

Be creative with your merch designs. Create a design that not only represents you as an artist but is a design that people would wear even if they didn’t know your music. At the end of the day, merchandise is something that can be very profitable so don’t cheap out on it, perhaps hire a graphic designer to jump on board or buy more expensive t-shirts than you’ve done in the past. If you make something that is visually pleasing, good quality and overall a strong product, you can end up charging more and people will still happily invest.

Band Merchandise T-Shirts

4. YOUTUBE REVENUE

Years ago, artists who wanted to get discovered would have to send off their demo tapes to the labels and then sit and hope they get signed. In today’s digital age, you can use so many more innovative ways to get your music out there, allowing you to make money from loyal fans and listeners globally. One platform that works perfectly for this is YouTube.

YouTube works with artists across the world to generate revenue and help the musician earn more. Artists that put their music through third-party distributors who can submit your music to YouTube and can collect money from ads and YouTube premium. Additionally, distributors who use YouTube’s Content ID system can collect revenue from other YouTube videos such as vloggers who may use your music.

Another way to make money via YouTube is to actually start creating content yourself, which will generate a source of income. You don’t actually make money based on the amount of views you get, you make the money based on people’s engagement with the ad before or during your video, which will obviously be higher if you have more people watching your videos. Therefore, creating high quality content which engages a large audience, will start to bring in money for you. Easy ways to start doing this as a musician is creating tour diaries, vlogging your day to day life as a band or even doing Q&As from questions submitted by your fans on Twitter. Be imaginative with your content and you will be rewarded with a loyal fan base and soon an income.

BONUS TIP

In the case of collecting Content ID revenue from YouTubers who use your track and have a large subscriber base, we always suggest not collecting the revenue as the promotion from a YouTuber with over 1 million subscribers is a lot more beneficially than the amount of money you’d receive. Getting your name out there as an emerging artist is a lot stronger and will reward you financially in the long term.

JoJo Siwa YouTube Header

5. CROWDFUNDING

Crowdfunding is basically generating a small amount of money from a large amount of people. In the situation of a musician, this means fans donating a small amount of money each, with the end goal to collect a large amount. Your fans want to support you and your musical career, so crowdfunding is a fantastic way to collect money, whilst connecting and giving back to your fans.

So how do you do it? Firstly, you need to establish the platform you want to use to crowdfund. There are many to choose from, but Kickstarter and Patreon are the most established and easiest to use. You set a goal of how much you’d like to achieve and a deadline. If you meet your goal in time, you’ll receive all the money you managed to collect (Kickstarter and Patreon take 5%). However, if you don’t meet your goal in time, every donation made by your fanbase is completely refunded. So, don’t be unrealistic and set a target of £1 million but also don’t be stingy and set a target of £100 so you can make money quick. Prove to your fans that you want to work together to do something and set a challenge that you can achieve together.

One thing to really think about is why should a fan give you money? If someone randomly came up to you on the street and asked for £5,000 to create their next EP, would you give it to them? The answer is most probably no, and your fans will react similarly unless you’re offering them something in return. Be imaginative and work with your fans to see what they want. Perhaps anyone that donates over £10 gets a recorded message sent to them saying thank you. Anyone that sends over £50 gets a song sung especially for them. Anyone that donates over £100 gets a live session performed at their house. It’s easy to set up a crowdfunding page but it’s not easy to get the donations, so prove you’re working for it and that you’re thankful for every penny coming through.

HANNIE Patreon

6. SPONSORSHIP/BRAND COLLABORATIONS

You have a large following, you’re selling out gigs and you’re starting to collect a solid amount of money from streams, but where do you look to next to start creating a better income? It’s time to approach sponsors and brands that you want to collaborate with.

Start with your local area. Identify local brands that fit with your style, image and lifestyle. If you’re a surf rock band from Australia, perhaps you introduce yourself to your local surf shop. If you’re a large indie rock band from the UK, maybe you approach a clothing line, such as P&Co who have recently collaborated with The Hunna to release exclusive merchandise.

Call people, email or DM on Instagram offering them something they cannot resist. Whether that is social media posts that will increase their following or wearing their clothing at gigs, which will grow their overall brand. Work with the brand to agree on a deal that works for both parties.

WHAT BRANDS TO APPROACH

Before you approach a company, look into who they already work with. For example, Jägermeister and Dr Martens work exclusive with rock bands so if you’re a pop duo, don’t embarrass yourself by contacting them. Similarly, find a brand that is at an equivalent level to yourself. If you’re only just reaching the 5,000 stream mark and you have less than 3,000 Facebook likes, then the chances of Coca Cola giving you a $1 million brand partnership deal is very slim!

Writing a pitch to a potential sponsor is similar to pitching to blogs, radio stations and Spotify playlists, you need to sell yourself. Use parts of your current press release, bio, social media and Spotify statistics to persuade them you’re worth investing in.

Universal Brand Partnership page

7. CREATE VALUE

Music sales isn’t the problem for independent artists, it’s obscurity. No one really knows or currently cares about who you are so won’t pay for your music. Instead, treat your music as a marketing tool, rather than a form of income. If your entire business model for your music is to sell albums, your model is old-fashioned and unsuccessful. Instead, make your music available to everyone and then you can focus on creating value.

Think about the long term. If you charge people for music that they’ve never heard, it won’t get bought but if you create a dedicated fan base, giving them as much music as you can, your product will soon be in demand, meaning you can start thinking about sales. If you make something valuable enough, people will pay for it and this works exactly the same with your music.

WHO TO TAKE INSPIRATION FROM

An example many can understand is YouTube and the business model of a YouTuber. YouTuber Alfie Deyes creates daily vlogs on his YouTube channel. His vlogs are completely free to the viewer; therefore, his product is given away at no cost to the consumer. However, Alfie has created such a large fan base of over 4 million subscribers, that he has started selling products to them that are now highly in demand. Because his fanbase are so loyal and dedicated to his free content, they buy his merch, they pay to come to meet and greets and even purchase his many books. This is proof that giving out free content creates a fanbase, which creates a strong income in the long term. This theory is relevant to the music industry and should definitely be put into practice.

The money is in the attention, so secure the attention and you can monetize and make money from whatever you wish.

IN CONCLUSION…

Securing a solid income as an independent artist is easier than ever, with free platforms allowing you to grow your fan base, monetize and sell products in a way that was never before possible. In this digital era, the money is in the attention that you can secure, so take advantage of every one of these 7 things stated above and you will bring start bringing in money immediately.