In 2017, physical and digital music sales generated 5.2 and 2.8 billion dollars respectively. This figure has steadily been rising since 2012, which means more musicians are taking advantage of the internet age to release and sell new music. And this is a good thing, but it also means you have to compete more with already established artists for a share of worldwide sales. As such, you have to make smart financial decisions as you are launching your music career.
Restructure Your Debt
Unless you sign with a record label before you officially launch your music career, you will have to spend a few bucks to get started. Expenses may include buying a guitar, branding business band t-shirts or travelling for shows. Either way, you are going to need money, and it is critical to know where you stand and how much you can afford. Prioritize your expenses such as paying off your student debt and health insurance before you create a music career kitty.
Keep Your Day Job
Quitting your job and following your dream seems like the perfect plan. Sometimes it works out, but other times, you will have to actually put in the work before you can live off your music. Do not quit your job if you have no other way to sustain yourself as you wait for your big break. This may tempt you into spending your savings or get further into credit card debt. You might want to create a schedule that lets you keep your 9-5 job as you perform after working hours or over the weekends.
Treat Your Music Career as a Business
Now that you have decided to make your music a career, you might want to treat it more like a business instead of a passion or hobby. What this means is, you will have to create a viable business plan, carve out a target audience, and take care of branding. While this will cost you money starting out, it is the best financial decision to make. It is also easier to sell your merchandise if you already have a branded presence.
Get the Funding Right
Now that you already know how much you can spend on your music and you already have a business strategy, you need to find funding. If you have done your math correctly, it shouldn’t be an uphill task. If you can, use your music career kitty then top it up with a grant or loan. A good business plan will make finding suitable funding easier. However, be very careful with how you spend it as it might cost more to market your music and brand as a whole than you think.
Launching a music career involves more than just the production of music and performance. If you are lucky, you can skip right to the point where you have loyal fans and are selling out shows. But if this doesn’t happen, these financial reality checks should help you out.