Google is stepping into the music streaming game in Canada with Monday’s launch of Google Play, the latest in a growing number of services.
The company announced that its all-access subscription service would be the centrepiece for a broader digital-music service that offers music on mobile phones, tablets and personal computers. Aside from streaming, users can also buy tracks for their personal collections, quite similar to Apple’s iTunes store.
Google’s streaming service is one of the most extensive offerings available to Canadians yet, and a highlight of the technology giant’s launch into selling music in Canada.
Google Play Music users will have streaming access to 25 million songs, which the company says is several million more tracks than its U.S. users can access. The cost is $9.99 per month, after an introductory rate.
There are many articles out there telling indie musicians about all the cool ways they can make money in today’s music industry. However, all that money that you could potentially make probably won’t equate to very much if you don’t have an understanding of personal finance and budgeting. Without a sense of finance you could see your hard-earned cash going down the drain as a result of impulse buys, unstructured saving, and over-spending for your projects and tours.
If you’re far enough along in your career, your manager or accountant may take care of budgeting and finance, but, especially in today’s industry, most musicians starting out may only have a friend or classmate acting as their manager. With all the stuff you need to get done, something as mind numbing as finance tends to get pushed under the rug in favor of more glamorous activities like recording, writing, and talking with fans on social media. But the fact of the matter is, it’s not glamorous to throw money away. And that’s exactly what you could be doing with poor budgeting and finance.
So how can you get a better handle on your finances and get the most money out of your music? It’s actually a lot easier than you would think - no boring accounting lecture necessary! With just 5 quick fixes, you can be more organized and make more money.
In the past, money was a huge barrier for musicians, and one of the main reasons many were forced to tie themselves to a record label. Today, many musicians are finding their own ways to creatively fund their albums and tours, with the most popular option being crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a huge undertaking, but, if done correctly, you can come out of it with a whole lot more than just money. It also presents dedicated and creative artists a chance to connect with their fans in a whole new way.
Learn how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign with these 5 tips:
1. It takes a crowd.
I think a lot of people mistake crowdfunding for an endless well of money, but, the sky is not the limit. The amount of money you can raise is entirely dependant on the size of your fan base – your crowd. Generally, the more fans you have the more money you will be able to raise, although there are other variables like fan dedication and income level. Amanda Palmer was able to raise upwards of a million because she has a huge, dedicated fanbase with spare cash to throw around. Pretty much the perfect scenario.
There’s no way to tell exactly how dedicated your fans are and how much money they would be willing to donate, but you can look at some figures to get a better idea. Look at how many people you have on your email list, how many people come to your shows, and how many people you have following you on social media. Don’t assume that every one of your fans will donate – even the most amazing musician in the world couldn’t accomplish that.
There’s a buzzword I see popping up a lot lately in articles about how to become a career artist: superfans. The idea is that if you have a subset of your fans who will support everything you do – buy every album you release, go to all your shows, buy all your merch – then you can build a sustainable career with the support of these hyper-dedicated fans.
As someone who has made a career as an independent artist, I have found no better way to build a collection of superfans than partnering with existing fans to put on deeply connective concerts in their homes. The remarkable success I’ve experienced with this model has led me to abandon traditional club touring, instead performing almost 150 house concerts in the last 2 years.
House concerts are the most connective, fulfilling, and rewarding performance experiences I’ve had as an artist. I’ve built relationships with fans at house concerts that have turned into meaningful friendships. And those connections go both ways; it’s not surprising to hear a guest at a house concert say, “I’ve never been to anything like this before and it’s the coolest thing I’ve done in a long time!”
I’ve thought a lot about why house concerts are so good at turning audience members into committed fans. I think it comes down to intimacy, exclusivity, and connection.
Social media is the cornerstone of your music career. It’s what lets you stay in touch with your fans. However, it’s hard to find a balance between social and promotional – after all, you still need to sell your record or tickets to your show. Here’s 10 secrets to help you find that social media balance.
Socializing is, by nature, a two-way exchange. Try holding a conversation with someone with your ears plugged. Social media is talking with your audience! There are other tools out there for talking at an audience. Make it a habit to read comments and messages. You’d do the same on your personal accounts, wouldn’t you? By listening to your fans you could also get valuable information like what new song they are digging the most or what they liked about your show last night.
2. Leverage Online and Offline
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. While some artists have managed to build their career on one channel, most of us need to find a balance of online and offline. Maybe you leverage Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and some local shows in your area. The key is to think about how you can send fans from online to offline and visa versa. You need to create a flow.
All the rage, at least with regards to income from digital music distribution, has been centered around YouTube monetization. However, the problem is that many artists are misinformed on even the basic strategy about obtaining more views and subscribers, which ultimately leads to more income.
We stumbled upon a very informative case study from Flight Drummers on how they were able to build their YouTube subscriber base and capture 500,000+ views in a 10 month time frame.
Check out the entire article below and see if you can adapt some of their strategy to help improve your results!
As an avid marketing blog reader, my inbox and Feedly are constantly filled with fantastic marketing techniques on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
Although I use these social media sites heavily, I’d like to bring in another extremely powerful (often overlooked) marketing platform to the table—YouTube.
At the beginning of 2013, my business partner and I decided to attempt a different marketing tactic for our (slow) growing drumming education company, Flight Drummers.
We constantly used Facebook and Twitter as our prime marketing resources, but it was soon apparent that the dream wouldn’t last long if we didn’t pick up more traffic or make more sales.
That month, we studied our competition hard and realized that Youtube was a rare marketing commodity in the drumming industry. Sure, a majority of drumming education companies had Youtube channels, but the view count, subscriber count, and interaction was minimal.
Seeing as this was a difficult marketing strategy for competition in our niche, we decided to capitalize on their weakness by filming some Youtube videos.
The following month, we geared up, filmed, edited nearly 70 videos, and began harnessing the true power of Youtube.
Within three months, we had accumulated more than 100,000 Youtube views with 1,800 subscribers, and by month 10, had generated 500,000+ views, accumulated a Youtube subscriber base of more than 8,400 people, and established paid members in 14 countries—primarily through Youtube.
Despite our current success with Youtube marketing, it wasn’t until we began following these eight steps, that we began to experience 2,000-3,000 views per day (5,000-7,000 views on release days) and a highly interactive subscriber base.
It’s almost spring and you know what that means…TAX PREPARATION TIME! This can be a very daunting time of year for most indie musicians; however, our good friends at SonicBids has written a great article to give you a helping hand
If April 15th isn’t already circled on your calendar, then the constant barrage of TurboTax and H&R Block advertisements will soon have you sweating about filing your taxes. Until software programmers come out with a package especially for us musicians, there are some basic things you’ll want to know – even if you hire a professional to help – to save yourself time and stress with tax prep.
As a self-employed musician, you need to know more about taxes than the average worker bee. You may be earning money from several different sources (solo gigs, session work, teaching, recording, songwriting, merchandise, etc.), so it’s important to know how to keep track of everything and which tax forms you’re required to file.
So gather your receipts and check stubs, and let’s talk about need-to-know tax info for you and your band.
One of the best ways to grow is to look at what’s worked for other indie musicians and adapt it to your own career. Here are 5 great strategies with real examples to get you going. A lot of musicians think they can’t start making strategies to move their career forward until they’re making money, until they take some business classes, or until they get a manager. The coolest thing about these strategies is that you can start using them TODAY.
1. Make a Plan from the Start
Making a great plan is one of the best ways to get to that music success you deserve. Not only do concrete goals give you something to aim for, they also help you decide what your first step should be.
Try to make your goals as specific as possible. Instead of saying “I want to be rich and famous,” try something specific like “I want to be able to be a full time musician with a yearly salary of at least $75,000 and be able to tour outside my home state.” Break down your lofty goal into smaller tasks like “gather contact information for local venues,” “contact 5 venues this week,” and “connect with another band to share a gig.” Suddenly finding a way to reach that goal becomes more manageable.
If there is one thing that almost every musicians dreams of, it is of that first major tour. Its that feeling of playing night after night, in the best venues of all of the major cities around the world, and always to a sold out crowd. But before that will ever happen, you need to answer one major question: Do you have a plan? If not, you can be sure to kiss that dream goodbye. And if you do have a plan, is it good enough? Music is a business just as anything else, and as such it is your job to play entrepreneur and marketer. While it is your product or service you are trying to sell, it is also your job to expose your music to the public.
First we will take a look at forming a proper plan, followed by exploring different strategies for putting that plan into action. The following are very important steps to ensuring that you have a proper plan in place before you even attempt to get that first gig:
1) CHOOSE THE RIGHT VENUES
Every venue has its own style, and is known for showcasing music of specific genres. Some venues are known to hold rock concerts, other are known for hip-hop, so on and so forth. It all comes down to the location, and the surrounding music scene. Picking the right venue for your gigs is very important, as is the first step towards growing your core fan-base, which will ultimately increase the attendance at your gigs. If your not playing to a crowd who won’t absolutely love your music, then you haven’t targeted your audience correctly.
As with any well thought-out marketing strategy, the first important step in promoting yourself and building your brand is knowing who your audience is. If you are trying to build a core fan-base, you better be sure you know who that crowd will consist of. If you are playing acoustic folk/rock, don’t play in a club for people who are looking to dance to reggatone. The same thing goes for hip-hop artists- don’t play in a coffee shop filled with art students who listen to indie rock.
Getting a record deal is the musician equivalent of a high school ball player making it pro, only with fewer head injuries and lower odds of an overdose. Two albums into my career as a rapper, I had a hit song, and the recording industry whisked me off to Hollywood. My fairy tale lasted 11 months before they abruptly dropped me from my recording contract without ever releasing my album, despite my first single going gold (selling over 600,000 copies in just a few months).
In that short time, I got a crash course in the recording industry: how it works, how they exploit and manipulate young talent, and how to go from having nothing to everything to nothing again in a very short period of time. My name is Spose, and this is an inside look at how the sausage is made.