As many of you know, I have been an artist advocate since before I even moved into the music and technology sector. Having the benefit of being a performing musician at times (granted not at the level of many of our clients at VNUE), it is very easy for me to see and identify problems and current trends in the industry. With the added benefit of having worked in technology, and constantly looking for solutions that will help artists make more money and give them more control over their art, I've been fortunate enough to create viable solutions and have a very good understanding of how to fit the pieces together.
But what many artists and musicians don't think about is this: They are ultimately the sole decision makers when it comes to creating more of an opportunity to create revenue (income) for themselves. They are the facilitator; and they can also be the roadblock.
For example, if you think you are going to make a record and strike a big deal with a label, guess what? You're wrong. Well, at least 99.9% of the time. These days, things are a lot different. Unless you already have 100K or more followers on your social media, a major label won't take a second look at you. And even if you get a deal, you likely will still be relying on your touring income for years.
But there are other ways to take control of your career and make a good living, and even succeed. Innovative solutions such as what VNUE is rolling out such as set.fm can help make that difference. Utilizing Youtube and generating interest and followers is a positive strategy. Old-school posters and flyers when you play your gigs are never out-of-style.
To be clear when it comes to set.fm, I'm not tooting our own horn, so to speak, but using this as an example. You MUST be able to think out of the traditional box.
Set.fm is our technology platform that we use with VNUE to record major artists and release the content to fans right after the show via mobile devices and the web (this is in addition to our traditional physical DiscLive products). There is no risk to the artist - we do a net split - and the artist gets the major percentage of a revenue share. As we like to say in the business, it is "found revenue," because the artist just gets on stage and does what they always do: play music.
But did you know that our technology is available for ALL musicians and artists? Musicians can download the set.fm "STUDIO" app, and utilize it to capture and upload pristine live recordings of their performances, and market it to their fan base. Artists can set their own price, and have total control over the content. You need only go to set.fm and sign up. There is no cost.
The biggest thing for artists both large and small alike is getting over the jitters for putting something out that is live and "raw". VNUE has overcome this to a large degree because we mix and master everything on the fly for our clients - folks such as Peter Frampton, Devo, Blondie, Simple Minds (above), and others. We have built up trust in that regard - quality unsurpassed.
For the average artist, however, you simply must be confident in your art, and treat it like a live broadcast. It is going to go out, like it or not, right after the show (which is how you can increase your sales potential). This additional revenue can help underwrite your tour costs, and provide additional exposure so you are not GIVING away your content to gain exposure. You have worked hard for it. Let fans support you buy buying it - and buying into you.
There are a lot of other opportunities out there too, today, to help you make money. But you must be willing to think outside of the traditional box, and take some risks. There is a glut of content out there, and everyone wants to call themselves an "artist". You need to differentiate yourself, not just by your music, but by your effective grassroots marketing, and your strategies. And you must tour. Tour hard. Fans are built one by one, at each show - not by hoping you get a "LIKE" on social media, or a one-hit wonder on the radio (fading fast, folks).
At the end of the day, the industry has changed - but the work ethic to get to the top has not. Work hard, play hard, and create a name for yourself. Be smart, and use smart tools to help get you there. Focus on that, and you stand a good chance of making a living at your art.