Making Money-Making Secrets
"The secrets to making money in the music
business"By Bob Baker
Why is it that some people in the music business
make tens of thousands of dollars a year, while others wallow in poverty most
of their lives? Is it because the rich ones are just plain lucky? Or because they
were born into a musical family with clout? While these easy-road explanations
might be true for a few people, most of the real music business success stories
involve everyday people who discovered what it takes to make money and get ahead
by doing something they love.
It's unfortunate that so many people who pursue
artistic endeavors never make much money at it. A lot of people I know are content
simply to toy with their musical whims, never reaping a real financial gain while
doing it. Actually, I'm convinced that many of these people would feel guilty
if they made much money from music. I'm serious. Think about it.
tells them that the only way to realistically make good money is through the tried-and-true,
nine-to-five grinddoing something they're not particularly thrilled with.
Well, here's some personal advice for you:
It doesn't have to be that way for you. Why not make good
money at something that excites you, at something that holds your interest? If
your desire is strong enough, if you educate yourself and come up with a game
planand implement that plan!you can do anything you want.
your passion is being an onstage performer, an offstage support player or both,
you will find literally dozens and dozens of honest, down-to-earth, cash-producing
possibilities by putting to use your most valuable instrumentthe one that
lies between your ears: your own brain.
Remember, playing paid gigs and
getting a hefty record contract advance are only two ways to make money in this
business (although they certainly are great ways to make it). But most musical
success wannabes make the mistake of ending their search there. And that's exactly
why they'll lose and you'll gain, because there are so many more ways to tap the
lucrative music business money machine. The smart music business entrepreneurs
are already profiting from this fact. Now it's your job to find out where you
fit into the picture... and then go get your share.
The '90s is a decade
of specialization. Progress and advancing technology may make things more complicated,
but they also open a lot of doors for enterprising people like you to find a niche
and fill itand take home a few bucks in exchange for your expertise.
I can hear the pessimist in you saying, "But aren't there countless numbers of
people every year who strive to make a living with music and say they want to
make good money at itbut they never seem to get above the poverty level?"
as a matter of fact, there are. But I'm here to tell you: Don't let that sad fact
get you down, because there are also tens of thousands of people who make excellent
money working in their chosen area of the music business. And the majority of
these successful people weren't born into it. They didn't make it because of luck
or fate or mystical circumstances. They became financially independent and successful
because they made a conscious decision to do so and then took the action necessary
to make it happen. That's what sets the winners apart: acting on good ideas!
people never take action because they think "it takes money to make money"how
many times have you heard that myth?or because they "don't have connections."
Here's another good excuse: "It's not what you know, it's who you know that counts."
Don't be so quick to make these limiting beliefs part of your philosophy.
someone confronts me with one of these shallow scapegoats for not making money,
I think back to January of 1987. That was the month I came up with the idea to
publish a music newspaper in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. At the time there
was no all-music-and-entertainment publication in the city, and I was very excited
by the prospect of filling that void and creating a nice little business for myself.
only problem was I had no idea how to run a newspaper. I'd never worked on my
high school or college papers. I'd never even taken a journalism class. And I
certainly didn't have a reserve of cash to help finance my new business, nor did
I have any connections with banks or investors. So what did I do?
my own drive and determination and made use of what I did have, which was a command
of the English language and a typewriterthat's it! So when I had typed up
the four pages of the first issue, I went to a local print shop owner and offered
to run an ad for his business in the issue in exchange for a discount on printing.
He agreed. That first issue of my magazine cost me about $25 to put out. I had
it distributed to about 20 locations in St. Louis about three weeks after I came
up with the concept.
Was it a primitive start? Yes. Did I make mistakes
in the first few months or couple of years? Yes, and I still do. You may also
wonder if many people expressed their lack of faith in the magazine succeeding?
Most definitely. And, you may ask, has it become a success over the years? Without
Today, the paper, called Spotlight, runs about 36 pages a month
with four-color covers, with 25,000 copies being distributed to hundreds of locations
all over town. It's recognized as the voice of the St. Louis music scene. And
it didn't get that way because of money or connections or lucky breaks. It got
that way because I took the raw resources I had and acted on my intense desire
to make this exciting idea a reality. Over the years that same desire led to the
newspaper growing and evolving into the success it is today.
Can you do
the same thing with one of your own music business ideas?
Along with learning
a lot about life and money from running my own business, I've also had the good
fortune to meet and interview dozens and dozens of music business success storiesfrom
artists and managers to record company executives and business owners. Whenever
I meet these people I can't help but ask them how they got started, what steps
they took to get where they are now, and what qualities they believe it takes
to make money and be successful in this complicated business of music.
this research I've come to realize there are three key qualitiesor rulesto
creating musical wealth. These three keys could mean the difference between your
success and failure when pursuing your career.
First off, money-making success
has as much to do with your frame of mind as it does your luck or family tree.
Remember this first important rule of prosperity:
Wealth Rule #1:
You Are What You Think.
How many times
have you heard the phrase "starving musician"? Or how often have you heard friends
say, "I'm never going to make any money with music. Why bother?" It should be
no surprise that the people who say (and therefore think) these things the most
are among the poorest individuals you know. Remember, if you tell yourself something
often enough, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
The key, then, is to
program yourself for success. Stop thinking and uttering thoughts of limitation
and deficiency. Start getting your mind attuned to thoughts of boundless possibilities
and abundance and watch what sort of rewards come your way!
of us are so used to thinking in these negative terms, it's difficult to shift
into positive gear and stay there. A great mental technique to reprogram your
thoughts is the use of daily affirmations, which remind you of your goals and
keep you focused on achieving them. Affirmations are basically specific statements
that spell out what you want to obtain and when you want to obtain it. They should
also be read aloud every day and worded in the present tense.
"I will be a successful music publicity specialist someday" is not an effective
affirmation. It's too bland and vague. On the other hand, "I make $25,000 a year
by December of this year doing music publicity for touring bands and independent
record labels" is a much more solid, results-oriented affirmation.
Wealth Rule #2:
You Get What You Want When You Help Other People
Get What They Want.
(This phrase also makes a great affirmation, just
replace the You's with I's and you're set.)
I truly believe that a lot of
people don't become successful or make much money because they consider themselves
to be in the taking business. Their only concern is what they have to do to take
someone's money away from them. The thing that drives these poor creatures is
the prospect of jumping on what's going to make the fastest buck, regardless of
what it is. But I pity them, and so should you, because they'll never know the
joys of being in the full-time giving business.
Being a success in the field
of musical giving means that the product or service you specialize in adds real
value to the lives of the people who become your customers. Of course, the thing
that makes you happiest is being directly involved in an area of the music business
for which you have a burning desire and passion. But the aspect that will make
you rich (and even happier) is making sure your customers feel that what they
get from you is worth more than the money they have to give up.
a successful club band gives its fans a good time and the bar owner a packed house.
A photographer gives his client a hot, new image. A music teacher gives her students
the ability to make music and impress friends. Are you getting the picture?
other words, make sure you have a firm grasp on what it is that the people who
pay you get out of dealing with you. Once you know what that is, you'll know how
to promote your special area of the music business and how to make sure your customers
keep coming back for morewhile referring you to others.
line is this: Concentrate on what you're giving to the people who send money your
way. If you continue to give what they want and need, you won't have to worry
about taking anyone's money. It will take care of itself.
Let's move now
to another rule I'd like to encourage you to adapt for yourself. It's a philosophy
I've always lived by when pursuing my music ventureswhether it was publishing
my own music magazine or writing this book.
Develop an Attitude That Allows You to Make Money and Have
Fun While Doing It.
It's an outlook on life that's always worked for
me. Can it work for you, too? What would happen if your goal was to make money
and have fun while doing it? Wouldn't that put the whole subject of money in a
more positive light? Of course.
The problem is that many of us are so used
to dealing with money in stressful situations. The rent is due, it's time for
the equipment payment, how are you ever going to scrape together the cash to get
the van fixed?! For many of us, making money is associated more with scrambling
under painful circumstancesnot fun! No wonder people become so cynical about
it. I can hear you now: "What are you talking about, Baker? Making money isn't
supposed to be fun, it's something you do because you have to!"
say that's nonsense! Making money should be fun, creating music should be fun,
just as life itself should be fun. And don't let anyoneincluding yourselftell
Right now is the best time to get started on your money-making
career in music! Keep your mind open and your aim high. There's no reason why
you can't turn that million dollar musical idea into reality... starting today!
Baker is the author of "Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook," "Unleash the Artist
Within" and "Branding Yourself Online." He also publishes TheBuzzFactor.com, a
web site and e-zine that deliver marketing tips, self-promotion ideas and other
empowering messages to music people of all kinds. Get your FREE subscription to
Bob's e-zine by visiting http://TheBuzzFactor.com