The Music Entrepreneur Triangle: You’ll be Lost Without This

The Music Entrepreneur Triangle: You’ll be Lost Without This

Looking to become a music entrepreneur? There are a few models that work. But the most well-worn path is encapsulated in what follows – the Music Entrepreneur Triangle. Understand this and you will have cleared a path for your ultimate success.


For famous music entrepreneurs like Dr. Dre, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and others, it all started with their music. Music is the foundation on which all other opportunities were layered in.

The temptation might be to diversify too early, diluting your focus on the work that matters most. But this hinders progress. You’ve got to become known for something first and prioritize this above all else.

What many don’t understand is the goal of the work, which is to elevate your celebrity status. And it’s much easier to become known for one thing than it is to become known for many things, which is where identifying what’s unique about you and focusing on that makes the greatest difference.

What many don’t understand is the goal of the work, which is to elevate your celebrity status. Share on X

We’ll be exploring what it means to be a celebrity and why that matters in a moment.

Chiefly, to become known, you must work, and you must become known for your work.

People love to point to what they assume to be exceptions, like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. The commonality that is often overlooked is how in both cases, sex tapes were used either intentionally, or unwittingly, to solidify their celebrity status.

Make no mistake – the sex tape was the work. That is one way to become famous, yes, but is it the most desirable? If fame is your only desire, then perhaps it is. But dovetailing that into a music career is another matter entirely.

While Hilton may have had a brief stint as a singer, everyone knew she didn’t have a bright future as a pop star. Failing in such a public way doesn’t leave a lot of room for a comeback. And in case you think I missed it, I must point out that neither Hilton nor Kardashian are music entrepreneurs specifically, though they are indeed entrepreneurial.

Celebrity Status

To beat a dead horse, the goal of your work is to become known. Becoming known will swing the doors of opportunity wide open.

Becoming known will swing the doors of opportunity wide open. Share on X

Becoming consumed with income too early is a mistake and may prevent you from doing everything you can do to grow your notoriety. Working on your passion on nights and weekends is the furthest thing from glamorous, but it’s what’s required here. A foundation of financial solvency empowers one to continue to do the work that matters most to them. An earning is made 9 – 5, a killing is made on evenings and weekends.

But let’s be clear about one thing – you don’t need to be an A-list celeb to command the opportunities or attention you desire (and you may not desire much attention at all). There are over eight billion people on this green earth. You want to be known, most of all, by the audience you want to attract, and 1,000 true fans is enough.

On your way to becoming a celebrity is the wrong time to discern who your art is for, however. You should have had at least an inkling of who your audience is before even beginning the work. Only then does the axiom “Ready, fire, aim” make any sense.

Your work contributes to your celebrity status, but in many cases it’s not enough. You need to seek out every opportunity to be interviewed, spotlighted, profiled, or reviewed. Pitch weekly if not daily.

And if you’re taking it seriously, don’t become too reliant on bloggers, podcasters, journalists, or anyone else to cover you. Take on writing press releases, guest posts, articles, and columns for blogs, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, and more, online, and off.


Starting your own brand of headphones, or fragrances, or clothing lines becomes possible and far more viable once you’ve established the other two sides of the music entrepreneur triangle – work and celebrity status.

Now that you’ve achieved a degree of fame, it’s not important that you focus on being known for one thing anymore. Most people will continue to remember you most for one or two things, no matter where you take your career from here. You’re ready to go forth and try your hand at other ventures, which can sometimes take off rapidly thanks to your celebrity status.

I won’t beat around the bush. Being a celebrity has its perks. Money will flow your way merely for doing what you’re told to do when you’re told to do it.

But when do you get to work on whatever you want? When you’ve achieved your celebrity status. Tattoo that on your mind, and remember, even then, that mishaps do occur. And mistakes are lambasted more critically in the public eye than in the privacy of your grassroots fan base. In business dealings, best take your advice from people who know what they’re talking about.

5 Tips to Boost Your Online Presence & Sell More Music

5 Tips to Boost Your Online Presence & Sell More Music

Multiple Grammy Award winner Taylor Swift said:

Music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment.

The ever-evolving music industry is extremely competitive. That makes it pivotal for would-be artists to make themselves stand out from the competition.

While performing regular gigs and occasionally having a newspaper or magazine do a write-up about you was enough a decade ago, you will have to work a lot harder to get heard today.

With more than 56% of the world’s population having internet access, having an online presence is more important than ever before.

Even if you have never thought about sharing your music online and creating website or social media accounts for yourself, a few simple guidelines will help you make your entrance into the world wide web significantly easier.

Set Goals

Although building a prolific online presence for yourself may seem rather overwhelming, it is important to understand that it is achievable. If you are aiming to instantly garner an online following akin to that of Ed Sheeran or Beyoncé, however, you are going to be terribly disappointed.

The first thing you need to do to establish this presence is to set realistic goals for yourself. These goals can include anything from having a certain number of Instagram or YouTube followers to having a renowned blog write about you.

There are no right and wrong goals when it comes to building an online presence. Simply do what you believe is going to benefit your music the most in the long-run.

Develop Your Central Hub

As tempting as it may be to establish your entire online presence all at once, it simply isn’t possible. Decide where you are going to place your focus first, whether it is a website for your music, a social media presence, or online streaming.

While you will undoubtedly expand your presence, it is essential to first make sure your hub (or online headquarters if that is easier to imagine) has a good foundation.

Maximize your hub’s potential by developing a user-friendly interface and adding only high-quality, engaging content that will appeal to both your current fan base as well as music lovers in general.

Yes, Content is Key

To have an online following you can be proud of, you need to pique the interest of prospective fans. One sure-fire way to do this is to post relevant, interesting content in creative ways.

The internet has become extremely cluttered with a plethora of media, which is why it is so important to only post content with substance.

There are a number of artists and bands ranging from Ariana Grande to Maroon 5 that knows the importance of good content that appeals to their fans. Not only do they keep their online content current and of a good quality, but they make sure that all the online platforms they make use of sport a universal feel to them.

Choose Your Platforms Carefully

When establishing an online presence, it is important to choose the platforms you are going to share your music and post content on, carefully.

Once you have decided on your platforms, you need to figure out how you are going to grow your fan base. If you have shared your music on YouTube, for example, you would want your videos to rank high in the internal search results.

SEO optimization can make an enormous difference to how many subscribers and video views you get on platforms such as YouTube and Spotify and is definitely an area you would want to place some focus on.

Remember that not everyone will be willing to pay for your music if they have never heard it before, so consider uploading a few songs for free, public spaces as well as pay-to-stream or download sites.

Socialize More

It is pointless to share your music online if you have no one that wants to listen to it. But this does not mean you have to spam everyone relentlessly with your music and other content.

Learn to get social without being spammy. Conduct a bit of research into what other artists are doing and use their strategies as a basis when creating your own.

Become more vocal in the music community, sharing other artist’s news and leaving considerate comments. Engage with your fans as well by answering questions and thanking them for their support.

Being a musician is hard work. Thankfully there are numerous things you can do, such as establishing an online presence for yourself, that will make your life a lot easier.

Income Comparison: Top Musicians vs. Those in Average Jobs [INFOGRAPHIC]

It’s no secret that music’s biggest stars rake in the dough. Between selling out stadiums and getting billions of Spotify streams, the Biebers and the Beyonces of the world make millions, perhaps deservedly so.

However, the gap between music’s biggest stars and their fans – people in average jobs – remains vast. What takes a nurse or an engineer an entire year to make can be earned by a top musician in a matter of hours.

In light of Oxfam’s recent inequality report, we felt that this massive income gap was worth studying.

To do this, we made a list of of 2017’s top earning musicians according to Forbes. The list was filled with names most of you will recognize – Diddy, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Justin Bieber, etc.

Next, we made a list of some of the most common professions in the US along with their median wages according to the BLS.

We then calculated how long it would take a top musician to make the same annual income as it would in a common profession.

The results were surprising and highlighted two things:

  • The immense financial rewards of being a successful musician.
  • The incredible income gap between average professions and music celebrities.

For example, at $105M in total 2017 earnings, Beyonce would take just 75 minutes to make the average annual median wage ($15,080).

The data is both inspiring and sobering.

We compiled our findings into an easy to read infographic:

The Highest Paid Musicians vs. Average Salaries

What do you think? Are the incomes made by top musicians justified? How long does it take for your favorite musician to make your salary?

4 Musicians Who Have Their Marketing Spot On

What can we learn from major artists and their marketing strategy? You’re about to find out.

This is a guest post via Victoria Greene. If you think you have what it takes to share with The Music Entrepreneur HQ audience, you can find the submission guidelines here.

Now it’s time to put your marketing cap on.

Having a brilliant song, album, lyric, message, or even image, isn’t everything in music. A musician can excel in each and every one of these areas, but find they are forever playing to crowd of none, on a Tuesday evening, for no money.

Getting your marketing spot on can be the difference between your music being the thing that brings you riches beyond your wildest dreams, or leaving you wishing you’d never picked up an instrument.

Below I’ve looked at four musicians who have their marketing spot on and explained the lessons you can learn from them.

Recommended reading: The New Music Industry: Adapting, Growing, and Thriving in The Information Age.

Taylor Swift – “Taylor’s dead”

Taylor Swift already had a captive audience prior to the release of her excellent “Taylor’s dead” campaign. Her 2014 album 1989 sold 1.287 million copies in the US alone in its first week of release, and made Taylor the first female two-time winner of the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

But such success didn’t see her rest on her laurels when it came to marketing the follow-up to 1989 – far from it.

On  August 18, Taylor wiped her social media accounts, deleting her avatars, posts, and feeds, exactly three years after she had released her mega-hit, “Shake It Off”. Cue mass hysteria from media figures, politicians, and her millions of social media followers.

Having snared the attention of the music world, her fans, and the media, Taylor followed her social media purge with the release of her single, “Look What You Made Me Do”, in which she explained that the old Taylor was “dead”.

The song was a serial record breaker, including having the most Spotify plays for a song in a single day. Reputation (the follow-up to 1989) then became the best selling album of 2017, despite only being released in November.

What can we learn from Taylor’s marketing genius? When people think you’re gone, that only sharpens their love for you. And that a calculated “purge” or change of direction can help energize people’s interest in your music and persona. We all love a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

How can you do this? Announce you are set to go on hiatus, before announcing your return at a later date.  Or, go all-out with a public announcement about how you’re changing direction and “purging” your old self. It just might get people curious about the new dawn.

Stone Roses – Lemons

The inspiration for this list. On November 2, 2015, a series of posters featuring lemons appeared in the Manchester hometown of UK indie legends The Stone Roses.

What’s the significance of lemons? Three of them were featured on the front cover of The Stone Roses’ hallowed self-titled debut LP, with one forming the “o” in “Roses”. Fans spied an announcement and they weren’t wrong.

That evening, The Stone Roses revealed that they would play two huge shows at the 60,000-seater Etihad Stadium in Manchester, along with performing at 2016’s T in the Park.

What lessons can we take from this? Give your fans enough information to tease and ask questions of you, before revealing the answer. Everyone loves a mystery, especially when they think they know what the answer is going to be.

Clever guerrilla marketing, “inside” jokes, and the strategic use of symbols can all help create hype for an important announcement or release.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Plaster your logo about town with either no text, or a cryptic message.  Leave little clues, or run a competition with your mega-fans premised on uncovering a mystery.

Shakira – Followers don’t lie

Ask yourself this: Which musician has the most followers on the largest social media platform on the planet? Justin Bieber? Ed Sheeran? Kanye West? Taylor Swift? The Beatles? You’d be wrong on all counts.

Colombian songwriter Shakira has over 104 million Facebook followers, 15 million more than closest rival Eminem. After him, the top 10 includes, in order: Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, Katy Perry, Adele, and Beyoncé.

Clearly, something is going right for Shakira’s marketing (she’s the first person, full stop, to reach 100 million likes on Facebook). What makes her more popular than her peers?

The 2016 Brazil World Cup helped her. More importantly, though, Shakira adds lots of content to her Facebook page and every post she creates is sent in a variety of languages.

If Shakira is the teacher, then what’s the content of her class? She knows that her fans are everywhere and that someone is always online. Adding regular content keeps them engaged and also means that she regularly shows up in their news feeds.

How can you apply Shakira’s lessons? Adding regular content will do you a world of good. Also, while you might not have the reach of Shakira right now, there are ways to improve that.

Facebook is a free platform, but it makes its money through advertising. Facebook wants you to buy their advertising and rewards pages that do. Using advertising can help you market your music to more people, increasing your likes and fan base.

Radiohead – Pay what you want

Given the opportunity to pay whatever you want for an album, what would your price be? $5, $10, $0? That’s the question that UK alt-rock heroes asked of their fans back in 2007, when they released In Rainbows as a pay-what-you-want download.

Doing this changed the face of how music was sold and paid for, marketing Radiohead not just to their fans, but the music world as a whole. UK Music Magazine called it “a revolution in the way major bands sell their music”. The average price paid for the record was $2.26.

What can you take from this? By sparking a topical debate, you get people thinking about your music – framing an argument that touches on music as a whole around yourself. You can access a broader fan-base than just the people who like your music.

How can you apply this to your music? Look at the issues that are topical, not just in music, but in society as a whole, and see how you can add to the debate.

Including yourself in the conversation means that you can bring your music to the attention of a lot more people than just your existing fans.


Being a brilliant musician isn’t a guarantee of success. Having a grasp of the value of marketing can be the difference between people caring about your music, and people not knowing about your music. So take advantage of the lessons of this article and market your music to achieve the success you deserve.