By David Andrew Wiebe
Although the world at large has continued to make the shift from the Industrial Age to the Data Age, the music sector has lagged behind. When the book industry started moving online, Amazon.com was prepared with their user-friendly Kindle platform. Thanks to that, they see very few instances of piracy and illegal downloading.
When music went digital, everybody's initial exposure to it was Napster, which could basically be equated with piracy. Several legal-and-honest online stores have emerged since (like iTunes), but it took quite a bit of time for anyone to develop an application or program that matched the ease and convenience of file-sharing.
That is the reality we still find ourselves in nowadays. Surely, music continues to get bought, but the demographic that grew familiar with free music continues to prowl the online world for a handout. Many other people have also been drawn in by the allure of instant gratification.
The Big Break
Record labels are not in a position to consider taking big risks on artists. There was virtually never a time when each and every garage band was getting signed, but alas even development deals have become a thing of the past, unless we're talking about some of the labor-of-love independent or upstart labels. Major labels will not look your way unless they feel you could be immediately marketable.
Even so, you'll find independent musicians creating six-figures from their:
- YouTube channels
- Live performances
- Licenses and Placements
There are some undeniable possibilities in these sectors, but many musicians will find these prospects questionable too.
Going viral on YouTube requires hard work and perseverance, and most likely a little luck (cute kittens might help too). Achievement on stage entails coordination, a solid work ethic and recognition. You will find an increasing number of placement possibilities showing up day-to-day, but not only is competition fierce, reps are often only looking for a single genre of music at any given time, and you may not have any concept of what they're going to be searching for next.
Nonetheless, this does not mean that these are the only opportunities accessible to musicians determined to make a living within their passion. A lot of the good results we see these days come from one of the three areas already described, but a growing number of new ideas and alternatives are coming out from the woodwork. If you consider yourself ambitious and you have a burning desire to have full control over the music you create, you could consider music entrepreneurship.
A Possible Alternative
Most musicians depend on their music careers to provide them with the results they are trying to find; monetary or otherwise. They work a job by day to pay their bills, and take what's left over and put it towards their music career, praying and dreaming about the huge break.
What if, rather than working a job, a musician constructed an asset (or multiple assets) that created a substantial passive income stream on the side that not merely covered the bills, but allowed for the total funding of their music career?
After all, what would be the two things that hold most musicians back? Money and time. The problem of time can generally be solved with enough money. The problem of cash could be solved by putting time towards a vehicle that has the potential to continue to pay out over the long-haul.
Is music entrepreneurship idealism? Well, becoming an entrepreneur calls for a new mindset, and it isn't usually effortless. However, you can find examples of individuals who've constructed businesses as a way to pay for his or her passions. If they can do it, then what's to say an artist can't?
The big query, needless to say, is what to do. A musician has to take an inventory of their capabilities, talents and knowledge and carefully consider what type of organization or asset they might construct.
It may be worthwhile to think about possibilities within the industry, like starting an agency, a label, a marketing firm or possibly a printing and design service. Nonetheless, it is essential to take note of the fact that services and firms of this nature are a dime a dozen, and unless your offering is specifically special and valuable, you could end up spinning your wheels instead of creating an asset.
If you find that you have abilities and know-how that could be applied to enterprise outside of the music sector, then you may consider giving these a try. If you are a solid writer, you could write, buy and flip blogs. Maybe you could obtain real estate and rent out properties. Perhaps network marketing would be a viable option to make residual revenue. You could grow your self-image and entrepreneurial skills in the process.
What it takes
The journey of enterprise is not for the faint of heart. Developing an effective company is but a choice away, but to think that it will not call for patience, perseverance, hard work and sacrifice is merely na�ve. Music might have to take a backseat to your business for a while, while you realize your financial goals.
Becoming an entrepreneur implies becoming a problem-solver and solution-seeker. An entrepreneur always searches for ways to overcome problems, and difficulties will inevitably arise. This really is where just a little bit of resourcefulness and also the openness to learn from the examples of other entrepreneurs is incredibly beneficial.
Deciding to grow to be an entrepreneur implies growing as an individual. If you're not a reader, it's time to start reading. If you don't listen to podcasts, start subscribing to a few relevant ones. If you don't go to seminars and workshops, make the decision to get to as many as humanly possible.
Time And Money
If you are sick and tired of not having control over time and money and the ability to make the music you really want to make, then music entrepreneurship may be just the ticket you've been searching for. If you are ambitious and prepared to make some big changes in your mindset, that would be a strong indicator that you are ready.
The journey doesn't end here. This is only the beginning. If you're serious about entrepreneurship, you'll have to seek out advice, coaching and mentorship. You'll have to make a commitment to consistency and daily action. You'll have to get good at setting goals and actually reaching them.You'll have to leave your comfort bubble from time to time.
Nevertheless, when freedom and control of time and money is yours, it is possible to make music on your own terms. You would be free to realize all of your musical dreams.
David Andrew Wiebe spent the better part of 10 years pursuing a career in music. Through that process, he discovered the value in business principles and entrepreneurship. Go to http://www.DAWCast.com for more mindset tips, business ideas and music marketing advice.
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