030 – Flashes of Elation: Passion

030 – Flashes of Elation: Passion

Are you passionate about what you do? Does it help you push forward when things are difficult? Are you in an endless and hopeless pursuit of what your life purpose and passion is supposed to be? Do you believe everything is pre-determined?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I explore these questions – and many others – connected to passion.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – Content I’ve been creating for my upcoming book, Flashes of Elation
  • 00:36 – The difference between The New Music Industry and Flashes of Elation
  • 01:16 – In today’s episode, we’re going to be looking at a segment titled “passion”
  • 01:39 – Pre-orders and bonuses
  • 01:59 – Passion
  • 02:14 – Finding your passion vs. choosing your passion
  • 03:07 – Doubt and life purpose
  • 03:33 – Choice and identity
  • 04:54 – Searching in my teens and 20s
  • 07:25 – Passion means suffering
  • 08:15 – Passion is hard

Transcription:

Hey there. In recent episodes, we’ve been looking at some of the content I’ve been creating for my upcoming book, Flashes of Elation. It’s a collection of essays on creativity.

The New Music Industry, which is my first book, was about the “how.” What does the music industry look like, how is it structured, how do you thrive, create, and survive in today’s music industry climate? It got into all those subjects, but it didn’t really get into the “why.”

I think that Flashes of Elation is a book that covers the “why” in more detail. It talks about motivation and inspiration. It talks about productivity and creativity. It talks about building systems into your life –  even though it’s not sexy, it enables more productivity and ways for you to create more work that matters.

In today’s episode, we’re going to be looking at another segment from the book, and this one is called “passion.”

Basically, every chapter in the book is represented by a single word, best to my ability. That’s a formatting decision more than anything, but it helps me focus on the specific topic I’m writing about.

Pre-orders for this book end on June 30, 2017. You’ll want to check it out sooner rather than later if you want to claim the extra bonuses, and I promise you’ll still be able to buy it at a nominal fee.

Now I’m going to read a segment from the upcoming book called “passion.” This isn’t necessarily the finished version – it may change a little bit between now and when it is officially published.

Passion

What are your desires for your career?I’m going to go out on a limb and say something that might be a bit controversial:

I think the word “passion” has robbed us of the decisiveness necessary to master a given discipline or craft.

We’ve been lied to. All along, we’ve been told that passion was something to be “found” or “discovered”, as if it were a long-lost lover you were destined to reunite with. It sounds romantic. But I don’t think that’s how it works.

Once upon a time, I did believe that you could have an epiphany, a moment of realization so significant that it would be etched in your mind and tattooed on your heart for the rest of your life. The sky would light up, the clouds would part, the angels would descend from heaven, and God himself would announce, in a booming voice, “You are meant to go out into the world and impact people with your guitar playing.” But even if that did happen, we would still doubt our chosen path, because that’s human nature.

Look, I tried to make it work. I searched. I waited. I asked. I begged. I prayed. I cursed. I visualized. I meditated. I gave up. I got up again. And none of those things seemed to get me any closer to my “life purpose” or, for that matter, my elusive “soul-mate”.

Friend, we choose who we become. We choose our “passions”. We choose our soul-mates.  And if you choose to wait, you’ll be waiting in vain, because very little will come of it, if anything at all.

We choose who we become. Click To Tweet

Choice and destiny

You came to this world with certain tendencies, gifts, and abilities. To try to become someone you’re not is to do a disservice to yourself. To curse your identity is to doom your life to one of people-pleasing and veiled resentment. Let me ask you something: who are you trying to impress?

You could do something you weren’t meant to do, but that will never make you happy. We all sacrifice and take crap jobs at times, but that doesn’t mean you must park and set up home there. Ride the wave of change.

What I’m saying is this:

There are things you’re good at. There are things you enjoy. There are things that make you happy. These are the things you were meant to do. The specifics don’t matter that much, such as your exact target audience or charities you want to donate a percentage of profits to, because you’ll figure that out.

What matters is that you let go of the idea that you must “search” for your passion. All you need is willingness. It won’t take long to see what you’re good at, what you enjoy, and what makes you happy, although you may surprise yourself from time to time.

Relieved yet?

***

I spent a good part of my 20s (if not the entirety of my 20s) trying to find my passion.

Despite my love of artwork (particularly drawing and painting), guitar and music, web design and writing, I kept on searching for something that was supposed to fill the giant gaping hole in my life.

In early life, I was preoccupied with arts and crafts. I would watch Mr. Dressup and other kid’s shows on TV, and follow along with the drawing, painting or crafts segments. My family moved to Japan as I was turning six-years-old, and I became fascinated with manga and anime, and even started writing and drawing my own graphic novels.

But then I found out I was good at basketball. Hell, baseball and soccer were a lot of fun too. Maybe I was meant to be an athlete?

If repeated injuries didn’t stop me, the grade 11 basketball tryouts sure did. I’d only taken a year off from basketball, but I quickly found out that the other hopefuls were miles ahead of where I was. Had I shown up to all the tryouts and worked hard, I probably could have made the team, but I didn’t know that, so I gave up.

When I performed a rap in front of an audience for the first time, at age 15, I was certain that music was the thing I’d been looking for. In ensuing years, as band members continued to quit, and projects and concerts continued to be sabotaged by the people that were supposed to be helping me, I lost that belief.

At one point in my 20s, the intersection of music and video games intrigued me. I liked music. I liked video games. Why not merge the two passions, and become a video game composer? If my love of the two mediums wasn’t enough, I’d also interviewed Tommy Tallarico, North America’s most prolific video game composer, in 2007. When this realization hit me, I’d thought the stars had aligned and I was on to something.

I applied to a New Media program at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) as it encompassed a lot of my interests, including podcasting, websites, and of course, video games. And although my application was accepted, I was late in applying, and there weren’t any seats left. Well, that was short-lived.

My point is not that I was never meant to do any of these things, because, frankly, we all have experiences like the ones I just described.

If I had a long-term mindset and was determined enough to push through the adversities I’d encountered, I might be in a different place than I’m at today.

And that’s what I want to – nay – need to remind you of. Passion means “to suffer for.”

Passion means to suffer for. Click To Tweet

“Just follow your passion”, they say, and I say following your passion is one of the most painful and difficult things you will ever do. It was never meant to be easy.

But if you give up, that’s it, end of story. Unfortunately, God’s not going to come out of the woodwork to tell you to keep pushing when you are mere inches away from success. You must make that decision yourself. You must push through the pain.

What makes passion possible is that it’s something you enjoy. Anybody that’s ever achieved anything significant has suffered for their craft. It’s just that they may not remember, because they were having so much fun doing the thing that made them happy.

You will experience difficulties in “pursuing your purpose”, and anyone that tells you otherwise might just be a snake oil salesperson.

Passion is hard. We often assume, mistakenly, that we picked wrong at the first sign of difficulty. But passion and suffering are mutually inclusive. You must remember that.

Passion and suffering are mutually inclusive. Click To Tweet

Suffering for your passion

Do you like what you read? You can pre-order the new book now.

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The Songwriter Profession Explained

The Songwriter Profession Explained

A songwriter, like any other profession, requires passion, a creative mind, and a penchant for writing.

Their main priority is to create songs for artists, bands and other musicians to perform as their own, while retaining the credit for coming up with the piece in the first place.

Often, songwriters are also performers, so they will create their own material for their records and shows, as well as collaborate with other singer/songwriters.

It’s also common for songwriters to create background music and melodies for jingles and ads. A great example of this is everyone’s favorite Mini Wheats Theme song!

To call yourself a true songwriter, you must also know how to write both lyrics and melodies, as opposed to a lyricist who just writes the lyrics and leaves it up to the artist who will be performing the song to come up with the melody.

Freelancer vs. Staff Writer

Think of a songwriter as a freelancer. Basically, they can choose to work for themselves, anywhere and everywhere, making their own schedule and creating music on their own to sell to other performers.

This is a great route to take if you’re a self-starter and enjoy finding ways to become inspired and creative through your experiences. The downside is that you are your only promoter – at least in the beginning. You must find a way to get your songs in front of the right people if you want to get your music heard and make money.

If you’re able to create and sell a few number one hits, then you’ll be set for life, but getting there can be a challenge – certainly not impossible if you love what you do.

The alternative route would be to get a job as a staff writer where you would work exclusively with a publisher at set hours in their studio.

The perks of going in this direction is that you are guaranteed a steady income and the publisher will work to not only promote your songs to major performers, but promote you in a way that would be very hard to do on your own.

They have access to a very large network that you don’t have, especially when you are just starting out.

What Exactly Do You Do as a Songwriter?

What it means to be a singer-songwriterBesides writing songs, the main goal is to create hit songs that are geared toward a very specific industry, genre and audience. Getting a few chart-toppers are what will ultimately make or break your career.

Tip: Listen to music everywhere you go and study it. Look at why certain music is more popular than other music, and recognize why certain songs are hits and others aren’t.

Generally, when a writer sits down to compose a song, they will write the lyrics first. Then they will add the melody in, which is why it comes in handy to know how to play at least one musical instrument, if not more. But this process largely depends on the songwriter.

Once the song is written, a demo is created. A demo is a recording of the song that will later be used to pitch to publishers, artists, performers or producers. If a publisher likes they hear, they will purchase the rights to it, and this is where you’ll begin to make your money.

So, working for a publisher can make your life a bit easier, especially if you’re not the type of person to enjoy putting yourself out there. If you do take the freelancing route, it’s important to always be networking, because it’s through your connections that your career will begin to grow. Getting to know the movers and the shakers is key – they will make sure your songs are heard by the right people.

Personal branding is another thing that can be key to the success of your songwriting career. If you create a lifestyle around you and your music, and cultivate a following, you will have people knocking down your door to get a piece of your talent.

Basically, it comes down to showing the world that you have something different to offer, and social media is the perfect tool to showcase this.

What Do Artists Gain from Songwriting?

Whether you plan to make it as a performer, you already have, or you’re simply writing music on the side, songwriting can benefit your career in many ways, especially if you’re passionate about it.

As mentioned above, it’s a hard field to break into, but if you have a vested interest and you’re good at what you do, the industry will naturally follow.

Good songwriting gives you credibility and shows that you are a toolbox full of multiple talents instead of just a pretty face. This can be important when you’re trying to differentiate yourself from other musicians in the business.

Although your income is not always guaranteed and you may have to work several side gigs to make it through until your music gets picked up, if this is what inspires you and drives you to get out of bed in the morning, then success is worth the price you pay – like in any other profession.

How Do Songwriters Make Money?

There are quite a few ways for songwriters to make money, but first publishers and producers must pick up their songs. Once royalties have been purchased, it then depends on the kind of royalties and what the publisher intends to do with your music.

For example, there are royalties for physical and digital music, both from the original and covered version of the recordings. If a publisher buys the “Public Performance Royalties” of your song, then you get a portion of the money generated from every time the song is performed on stage.

There are a ton of other royalties that can be generated from the copyright of your song. For more information on royalties, check out this post via TuneCore.

Conclusion

Don’t expect to be a famous songwriter right away, but if you work hard and network with the right people, your career will be well on its way before you know it!

029 – 6 Things I Learned From Believe in Yourself by Joseph Murphy

029 – 6 Things I Learned From Believe in Yourself by Joseph Murphy

Summary: Dr. Joseph Murphy is an expert on the topic of the subconscious mind. In this podcast episode, I explore what several valuable ideas I took away from reading his book, Believe in Yourself.

Believe in Yourself is a shorter volume containing great wisdom. Dr. Joseph Murphy, one of the foremost experts on the New Thought movement and accessing your subconscious mind succinctly explains how to achieve spiritual health and external success.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I look at one of Murphy’s great works.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – Believe in Yourself vs. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
  • 00:40 – Feeling is the fountainhead of power
  • 01:31 – Imagination control the conceptive realm
  • 02:37 – Your concept of God determines your attitude towards life
  • 03:47 – If you are in rapport with your subconscious mind, you unlock your genius zone
  • 04:22 – What your subconscious mind accepts is reality in the outer world
  • 05:24 – You are the master of the circumstances you find yourself in
  • 06:26 – Concluding thoughts

Transcription:

Compared to The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Believe in Yourself is one of Dr. Joseph Murphy’s shorter works.

But every sentence contains valuable insights into spirituality and personal success. I have read this book from start to finish twice, and each time I’ve gotten something new from it.

There is no way for me to summarize the entirety of the wisdom contained within, but I did want to share with you what I learned from this book.

1. Feeling Is The Fountainhead Of Power

When personal development authors talk about goal-setting and visualization, they often add the phrase, “add emotion to it!”

I think Murphy is essentially saying the same thing here. He’s pointing out that feelings and emotions have power, and that we can learn to channel them into achieving and obtaining our desires.

If you’re setting goals that don’t motivate you, you’ll find it challenging to add feeling to them. But if you become obsessed with bringing about a result, you’ll naturally take actions and move in the direction of your wishes and longings.

You must become aware of what your true desires are. And the only way to make that happen is to build rapport with your subconscious mind (also see point #4 on this list).

2. Imagination Controls The Whole Conceptive Realm

Life in the digital age is frantic. Few people take time to think, reflect, and ask questions.

“Visualization? I have no time for that!”

But you must make time for it, because most people don’t. They aren’t thinking about the desired result, the end goal, what their hearts yearn for. Many have forgotten the power of imagination.

Disney came to be because it was first conceived in the mind of Walt Disney. There are endless examples of technological breakthroughs, attractions, movies, books, and other works that would not exist if they weren’t first conceived in someone’s mind.

If you want to control the conceptive realm, start imagining once again. If you don’t know where to start, daydream. Remember what it was like to be a child sitting in a classroom thinking about what else you wanted to be doing, or what you were going to do when you got home.

3. Your Concept Of God Determines Your Attitude Towards Life

Maveen Kaura and I spent an entire episode of Using Your Power discussing this concept. As of this writing, the episode has yet to be released, but it will be out soon.

“But I don’t believe in God,” you might say.

The surprising conclusion I came to was that whether you’re an agnostic, atheist or Christian, you believe in something. And that something is your god, whether it’s belief in self, belief in aliens, or belief in an autonomous divine being.

What I’m saying is that this statement is impossible to refute.

You could replace the word “God” with the word “you”, and it becomes “Your concept of you determines your attitude towards life.” You could replace the word “God” with “aliens”, and it becomes “Your concept of aliens determines your attitude towards life.”

Basically, your beliefs affect your attitude. So, if you want to change your attitude, you need to examine what you believe in, regardless of what it is.

4. A Genius Is A Man In Rapport With His Subconscious Mind

Dr. Joseph Murphy book reviewWhat this means is that if you are well-acquainted with your subconscious mind and its inherent power, you are a genius.

Knowing how to unlock its power, and accessing God (which could be equated with building a rapport with your subconscious mind) leads to fresh inspiration, ideas, and insights.

Murphy furnishes us with practical steps on how to tap into this capacity throughout the book. See points #1, 2, and 5 on this list for how this works.

5. According To The Image Impressed On The Subconscious Mind, So It Is On The Objective Screen Of Life

Again, what are you constantly thinking about? What are you regularly visualizing? What are you picturing in your mind’s eye? How are you using your imagination?

Whether you’re aware of it or not, there are thoughts and images you are always meditating on. And in this context, I mean things you’re repeating to yourself, not the act of meditating (which is beneficial).

And whether you’re aware of it or not, your life is slowly but surely becoming what you’re repeating in your mind.

Classic personal development writer, speaker, and author Earl Nightingale said:

We become what we think about most of the time, and that’s the strangest secret.

Nightingale’s most significant discovery about life had to do with this statement. So, what images are you impressing on your subconscious mind? Your life will move in the direction of your thoughts.

6. You Are A Master Of Conditions

You are where you are because of actions taken and not taken.

This is a difficult idea for the mind to accept. Throughout our lives, most of us haven’t been taught to take responsibility for everything that’s happened. Instead, we play the blame game.

Taking full responsibility for who and where you are is empowering. Maybe we aren’t encouraged to do so because of this fact. If we all “woke up” and freed ourselves from “The Matrix”, we’d be dangerous – maybe not to people, but to the system of control we’re under.

You are a master of your conditions. But if you haven’t taken ownership over yourself, you haven’t mastered mastering your conditions yet.

The reason taking ownership is powerful is because it means you can change your circumstances. The moment you realize you can change your life situation is the moment you bestow yourself with the keys to life.

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed my insights into another Joseph Murphy book.

The ideas I’ve shared with you here aren’t necessarily what the author intended, but through my own filters, these are the conclusions I’ve come to.

Ultimately, each of us are possessors of tremendous power. But many of us have also forgotten how to harness it. When we learn how to access our subconscious mind, it links us with God, the wellspring of all knowledge and wisdom.

Thanks for reading! If you feel inclined to check out Believe in Yourself, you can go to Amazon, where you can learn more about the book, and see what others have had to say about it. Should you choose to buy the book through the provided link, I will earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

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028 – Flashes of Elation: Perfectionism

How is perfectionism holding you back in your artistic career? Are you still trying to measure up to the impossible standards of perfection?

In this episode of The New Music Industry podcast, I look at what perfectionism has meant to me over the years, how I’ve changed my approach, and some of the important realizations I’ve had along the way.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – In today’s episode, I’m going to be reading from Flashes of Elation
  • 00:20 – In my first book, I covered what the music industry is
  • 00:30 – In my upcoming book, I wanted to delve into creativity
  • 01:05 – The book is still a work in progress
  • 01:37 – Pre-orders
  • 01:55 – Today I’ll be reading from the chapter on perfectionism
  • 02:07 – Is perfectionism a positive or negative quality?
  • 02:38 – Three possible outcomes when you insist on perfectionism
  • 03:55 – Complications with my solo debut album, Shipwrecked… My Sentiments
  • 05:34 – Possible reasons why you’re a perfectionist
  • 05:42 – How timelines and deadlines help you curtail perfectionism
  • 06:27 – The more projects you finish, the less you feel the need to be perfect
  • 06:42 – The goal of creativity and how our art reflects on us
  • 07:42 – Perfection: An impossible ideal
  • 07:57 – Selective blindness

Transcription:

How being outcome focused can make you less creativeIn today’s episode, I’m going to be reading a segment from my upcoming book, Flashes of Elation.

My first book, The New Music Industry talked a lot about the “what” – what does the music industry look like, how is it shaped, how does it work?

And in this book, I wanted to cover more of the creative aspect, not only of music, but creativity in general. Whether you’re building a business, or you’re a painter or photographer, I wanted to cover a wider variety of topics. But it’s still just as applicable to musicians as The New Music Industry is, and it’s gets into a lot of things that are good to know as a creative. How to be productive, how to be motivated, how to stay inspired and find new sources of inspiration and input.

So, in today’s episode, I wanted to read a section from the book. This isn’t necessarily the finished product. This chapter could still change between now and its official release, but it does give you a good idea of what the book is going to be like, and so far, I’ve got some good feedback on it.

So, check it out at davidandrewwiebe.com/elation if you’re interested in learning about it. Pre-orders close on June 30. That is not the official release date, but that is the last day you’ll be able to pre-order and claim the pre-order bonuses for this book.

Flashes of Elation is a collection of essays about creativity, and today I wanted to read from the chapter called perfectionism.

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is sometimes seen as a positive quality, and sometimes as a negative quality.

To me, perfection is the enemy of completion, plain and simple.

Perfection is the enemy of completion. Click To Tweet

Nothing you create will ever be perfect. That’s a hard reality for us creatives to accept.

What we need to do is recognize when something is “good enough”. If you’re too lackadaisical in your work, you aren’t likely to create anything worthwhile. But the other extreme is the one most creatives lean towards – perfectionism.

If you insist on perfection, there are a limited number of possible outcomes:

  • You’ll finish your work too late. What may have been revolutionary in 2017 could be commonplace or entirely outdated and irrelevant by 2020. You kick yourself for not getting your work out sooner.
  • You’ll never finish your work. Nothing is more unfortunate – you die with your music still in you.
  • You’ll finish your work, but you’ll tear yourself apart. You obsess over details you see as being imperfect and berate yourself for it, even if it’s something insignificant no one else would ever notice. The font is too big. The web address on the back cover is incorrect. And on and on it goes.

As you can see, perfectionism doesn’t lead to a healthy outcome, virtually ever.

Perfectionism doesn't lead to a healthy outcome. Click To Tweet

I’m not saying that you should take heart in the fact that you can always re-master your album, release a second edition of your book, or add another brushstroke to your painting, though you should take some comfort in that.

What I’m saying is that you will inevitably reach a point of diminishing returns with every project. To keep working on it would be to beat a dead horse.

This is when you need to stop and call it “done.”

***

My solo debut album was called Shipwrecked… My Sentiments and it came out in 2006. It was good, but it certainly wasn’t perfect.

For one thing, I was still early in my development as a musician. I had only started playing guitar when I was 17, and the music I wrote for the project was a deliberate move away from everything I had worked on to that point. It was new, even to me.

For another, the musicians I was working with didn’t really have a clear vision for the project. This was because even I didn’t know what I wanted. So how could I expect anyone else to lay down the perfect drum part or backing vocal part? In the end, they all did a great job, but to a critical ear, it’s apparent that the album has a lot of rough edges.

But there’s one mistake in particular that still sticks out in my mind. Originally, I thought I would be able to get the domain name www.dawmusic.com for my website. As it turns out, the domain had already been parked by someone else. Evidently, the owner was in the audio production industry, and saw “dawmusic” as a valuable keyword, because, in addition to being my initials, “DAW” stands for Digital Audio Workstation – computer software used in music and audio production.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get www.dawmusic.com, even though that’s the web address that went on my album artwork. I had to settle for www.daw-music.com.  And for someone that’s a recovering perfectionist, I have to admit that this drove me nuts, and it was even devastating at the time.

***

If you’re still insisting on perfectionism, it could be that you haven’t completed many creative projects yet. And I don’t mean that as a slight.

Even outside the corporate world, projects and assignments are often subjected to timelines and deadlines. Project scopes sometimes need to be adapted, and quality might have to be sacrificed.

I do a lot of blog writing for a lot of different clients. Do I want to deliver a great article every single time? Absolutely. But I am also aware of the fact that I have deadlines to meet. I have to be realistic. All I can do is offer my best, and that – for better or for worse – means different things at different times.

Some days you’re tired. Some days you’re sick. Some days you’re distracted. Sometimes you just want to do something else. A professional knows they have to finish their work in spite of all of these things.

The more projects you complete, the less you feel the need to be perfect. This doesn’t mean you give up on high quality work. You give up on the idea that you are somehow able to draw more water from a well that has dried up long ago.

The more projects you complete, the less you will demand perfection. Click To Tweet

***

What is the goal of creativity? That depends on who you ask.

I see creativity as a means for personal expression. Everything you put out into the world is a piece of who you are.  In light of that, it makes sense that we would want our body of work to represent us in a positive light. It makes sense that we would want everything we create to reflect our most attractive qualities as human beings.

That desire is understandable. But we also know, intuitively, that beauty can be found in the ugliest places. We know that the greatest victories come from the greatest tragedies. We know that some of the greatest art was created during times of difficulty, discouragement, devastation, and depression.

Perfection is an impossible ideal. It doesn’t exist in nature. All you can do as a creative is express yourself in perfectly imperfect ways.

Perfection is an impossible ideal. Click To Tweet

Any musician will tell you that there are times for heavy guitars, and there are times for a playful ukulele. Any author will tell you that there are times for an active voice, and there are also times for a passive voice. Any painter will tell you that there are times for certain colors, and there are times for certain brushes.

But don’t artificially prolong the distance between you and the finish line. Another word for “perfectionism” is “selective blindness”, because perfectionists can never see the forest for the trees.

Do you like what you read? You can pre-order the new book now.

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9 Ways to Make More Money in the Music Industry

9 Ways to Make More Money in the Music Industry

Hey all, Happy Valentine’s! The following post is by Kristy Archibald. She is a contract writer for The Music Entrepreneur HQ.

In the future, you can expect to see more great content written by her.

This does not mean that you won’t hear from me too, of course. It just means we’re growing and evolving as a business and resource for music entrepreneurs.

So, let’s join Kristy for her first post!

The digital age is bittersweet.

We have accessibility, the ability to grow an audience from the comfort of our living rooms, and the potential to connect with our audiences on a personable level.

But we also live in the age of instant gratification. Generating an income in the music industry, especially when you are just starting out, can be a challenging uphill battle, and if you don’t have a long-term plan, you might end up giving up prematurely.

People are picky about what they spend their money on and will always look for ways to get what they want quicker and cheaper.

As result, music sales have decreased over the past couple of years. Gone are the days when launching a new album could support your entire musical career.

The good news is that no one has stopped listening to music – they have just found other ways of satisfying their listening needs.

Consequentially, as a music entrepreneur you must go the extra mile to ensure that your audience is hearing your music and you are giving them a reason to spend money on your product – like any other business venture.

Here are nine different ways you can make a living working in the music industry:

1. Music Sales

While music sales alone may not support your career, this does not mean you shouldn’t tap into it. It can be one of your most lucrative revenue streams if you’re strategic in your approach.

Here are several potential income sources:

  • CD’s: For the most part these are a thing of the past – most new computers don’t even have a CD port anymore. However, discs can make for great merchandise to sell at shows and an even better item for personalized autographs. If your fans love you enough, they will buy – it’s as simple as that.
  • Vinyl records: Ironically enough, CD sales are more a thing of the past than vinyl. Records are the new up and coming trend, and music lovers enjoy collecting their favorite band’s music on vinyl. Having these on your merch table can be a great way of making some extra income, especially after a live show. If you don’t have much of a fan base, however, do not rush into printing records.
  • Digital sales: This is the new default for music sales, and it is almost crucial for the success of your band. The most profitable way to sell music online is through your own website, but in order to make those sales you need to have an active and engaged audience. Having your music on iTunes and Amazon is great for your exposure and may result in more sales. But don’t forget that these digital distributors usually take a percentage on each sale, so be weary of which sites you are using and what the ROI will be for your band.

2. Become a Social Media Influencer

This, like any other marketing strategy, requires you to create a flawless personal brand that gives your music a unique identity.

Curating a following on social media is a relatively cheap and great way to get the attention of major record labels, while extending the reach of your music, which should automatically translate into sales.

It also opens you up to opportunities to participate in ads, do sponsored posts, attend influencer events, do product endorsements, and work on collaborations with different companies and local brands. You’d be amazed at how much can be made simply from having a strong social media presence.

3. Live Shows

Aside from making your music available for sale online, the best way to expand your fan base and sell your music is to get in front of your audience and play shows.

Ticket sales are a great revenue generator, and if it’s your own show, then you have the option of preparing a merch table to sell branded items, including CDs and records.

Playing local venues is a good way to get to know your audience, versus larger venues or local events, where you can reach people who don’t necessarily know of you or your music yet.

Lastly, there are cover gigs. Oftentimes, musicians find these to be more profitable than standard original shows at cafés, bars, pubs, and clubs. This largely depends on your market.

In Calgary, Alberta, Canada, we have a yearly event called the Calgary Stampede, which is a rodeo, exhibition, and festival, complete with parades, concerts, stage shows, and more. As result, both cover bands and country bands tend to do very well in this locality.

Whether to play cover shows is entirely up to you – some musicians love it, but others find that it doesn’t contribute to their overall goal of making music they love and making a living from it.

4. Music Lessons

This one is simple. There will always be people interested in learning how to learn how to sing or how to play an instrument.

This can be a great income source to get on the side while you’re establishing yourself in the music industry. Plus, you are technically being paid to do what you love to do. It’s a win-win!

5. Songwriting & Composing

Various revenue strategies for musiciansThis can be an efficient way to get your name out there and establish yourself as a talented songwriter. It also pays well, depending on whom you’re writing for.

We’ll be taking a closer look at becoming a songwriter in the future, but you can also listen to our interview with Helen Austin to learn more.

6. YouTube

It’s crucial to have your music on YouTube for many reasons. The main one is that YouTube is the top search engine for music fans, and the preferred medium to listen to music on, in some cases replacing the radio and even Spotify.

This is because it is convenient, being free for users to listen to anything and everything whenever they please. It also works as a powerful promotional tool for sharing, as it allows you to share your music on multiple platforms and reach thousands of people.

Lastly, there is a ton of ad revenue generated by YouTube. When your music is used in an ad or video, you will get a portion of the pie from that campaign since you own the rights to the song.

7. Licensing

Licensing can be hugely lucrative if you get your music in a film or commercial with a large licensing budget.  This is also good for the exposure of your music, as if it catches someone’s attention long enough, there is a good chance you have just gained a fan.

Getting placed is another topic we covered with Helen Austin.

8. Sell Merch & Exclusive Content

This is all part of your branding, because ultimately your music and personal brand are what make up your business.

If done well, fans will always love a good band tee. You can even look at partnering with local brands to create a merch line exclusive to those who have bought your music.

Fans will do anything to support their favorite bands and they also love to be the first to get that one-of-a-kind item.

You can also send the merch to bloggers and influencers in hopes that they will promote your music and brand, which in the end turns into more sales. Exposure is everything when it comes to the ROI of your music!

9. TV Appearances

This is just one more way to get in front of your audience and tap into a new fan base. It allows your audience to get to know you and it humanizes the music, allowing people to relate to you, which makes them want to buy your tunes.

When you can get someone to connect with your music on a personal level, you have scored yourself a fan, which is a revenue stream.