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Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby dubbmann » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:46 pm

Zukan wrote:No one in our industry is making money bar the frontmen.

To the OP, if you don't know this yet, Zukan is a voice to heed around here, especially on the business realities.

PErsonally, I concluded 14 years ago that the days of making money in music were over when I read an article saying MySpace (!) had over 6,000,000 accounts registered to musicians. Consider that this was before Garageband (I think) and early in the days of freeware recording/DAW/softsynth/FX software meant that every tosser with a few hours on their hands could put out a track that might suck but still contributed to the noise level on the 'net. I have no idea now how many creator accounts are on FB, Spotify, GB, etc but I'd guess it's approaching 100,000,000 if not higher. That's not even needle-in-haystack odds, mate.

Back to that MySpace article. WHen I read it I put up a post here called "When Music is Free, Will You Still Make Music?" which IIRC disappeared w/o a single comment. There's a fine line that creative types need to walk between confidence and self-delusion, and I can't say I"ve been great at it myself. That said, apart from a few moments in the early 2000s when I thought I might have an in at some electronic music labels (sadly wrong, but one of them has since gone defunct so it might not have mattered anyway) I always approached music from the talented (I hope) amateur point of view. That can be a hard pill to swallow but as others here have posted it really was always the case that talent alone could not produce a successful career.

Modest living and realistic expectations are the best advice I could give to any 'yoot' aiming to make money from music. Sorry for the downer.

Cheers

d
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby zenguitar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:29 pm

I am reminded of Mad Lizzie who used to busk enthusiastically with a metal bodied resonator guitar. She had a pitch outside Superdrug, next to Woolworths, and on one occasion the manager of Superdrug gave her £5 to go and busk in another part of town.

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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:03 pm

I might try that one day, now I'm retired...... :bouncy:
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby artzmusic » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:15 pm

Musicians I talk to here in the States lament how the music has died. It seems that to make money these days it is by live performance but there are few venues that pay. And it better be that kind of special live performance that knocks peoples' socks off and lands you in a resort or theme park setting. Musicians of this caliber often get promotions and endorsements to keep them going. I see them in Tennessee and Orlando often. Of course you'd have to be willing to relocate. Few people recognize the energy required to get there or have the spirit to pursue such a goal.

If you are happy to play locally as I do, it will take years just to recoup the cost of equipment so the idea of making a profit is questionable. For example: Guitar $7000, amp $1000, minimal lighting $200, Lexicon $300, tablet, stands, cords, flight case, pedals maybe $600. And you have to really put on a show just to generate $100 in tips per gig in a restaurant/bar setting.

BTW some people still purchase CDs as souvenirs on live gigs.

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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby johnny h » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:53 pm

dubbmann wrote:Modest living and realistic expectations are the best advice I could give to any 'yoot' aiming to make money from music. Sorry for the downer.
It is possible to make money, even very good money, from music today. It can be a struggle but gig money is increasing all the time, there are more festivals than ever before and PRS checks still come in.

The cost of making music is so much cheaper than its ever been. You don't need to rent a big studio (that's why they've all gone bust) and all the information you could ever want is out there on the internet.

You just have to do it all on your own and to a really impressive standard, have a great social media game (instagram is where its at these days) and find good people to support you.
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Jan 17, 2018 9:06 pm

Speaking as a live music bottom feeder of 20-odd years...
The live circuit is very much location dependent. I have some friend in London who get a reasonable paid gig doing original music. Up here in York, the only decent paid gigs are for covers nights. If you want to play original music there are two (no, three, I forgot about a new one) venues and I can think of just one pub that actively puts on original acts. For anyone other than the headlines those venues work on a £1 per flyer model, so you have to be seriously popular locally to get any kind of a return (tough enough as a solo act but pretty much pointless if you have to split it 4 ways).
The only way that I've found to make any money playing original music is by putting on the show myself - which obviously requires investment in kit and you're also bearing all the risk of a no show.
If I was going to try and take myself seriously I would have to move cities - you need to be where the scene is.

I reckon...
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby BroGodJaryMane » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:05 pm

Content ID, providing value via ebooks and tutorials, freelancing for events and weddings is always a HUGE market. You can even hop on the fact that Facebook & Instagram are about to monetize music use! Check out this video about it there's even links to sign up https://youtu.be/yqPQsasRoZc
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby dubbmann » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:39 pm

johnny h wrote:
dubbmann wrote:Modest living and realistic expectations are the best advice I could give to any 'yoot' aiming to make money from music. Sorry for the downer.
It is possible to make money, even very good money, from music today. It can be a struggle but gig money is increasing all the time, there are more festivals than ever before and PRS checks still come in.
Hi Johnny,

I'm seriously interested in your story - and not trying to take the piss! Can you writeup a your experiences in some more detail? Maybe for an SoS end-of-mag Personal View piece (do they still run these? I hope so). What type of music do you play, what venues, mgmt vs. DIY, labels, etc. I know it's a lot but as I said I am interested in how you've made it. I don't doubt in the least that you have - and sharing it might be a good counterpoint (hah!) to the general tales of woe and gloom that many of us have shared here.

Again, not a wind-up - I've read your fiercer exchanges over the years and am not trying to start anything, just curious.

Cheers,
d
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby johnny h » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:00 am

dubbmann wrote:
johnny h wrote:
dubbmann wrote:Modest living and realistic expectations are the best advice I could give to any 'yoot' aiming to make money from music. Sorry for the downer.
It is possible to make money, even very good money, from music today. It can be a struggle but gig money is increasing all the time, there are more festivals than ever before and PRS checks still come in.
Hi Johnny,

I'm seriously interested in your story - and not trying to take the piss! Can you writeup a your experiences in some more detail? Maybe for an SoS end-of-mag Personal View piece (do they still run these? I hope so). What type of music do you play, what venues, mgmt vs. DIY, labels, etc. I know it's a lot but as I said I am interested in how you've made it. I don't doubt in the least that you have - and sharing it might be a good counterpoint (hah!) to the general tales of woe and gloom that many of us have shared here.

Again, not a wind-up - I've read your fiercer exchanges over the years and am not trying to start anything, just curious.

Cheers,
d
Hi Dubbmann, I don't recall any fierce exchanges with you in the past but I do hope it all got resolved amicably!

I don't promote my work here. Its a strange place, seems to be a much older crowd than most music sites, hence the far more conservative politics and older music tastes, but its an interesting counterpoint to the more popular places.

For me, I got signed onto a small label owned by a successful electronic artist and they helped push out PR and put some records out, got me featured on some of the music sites (FACT, Resident Advisor, XLR8R, Pitchfork, Boiler Room) and it grew from there.

Most important thing to do is never spurn your chances, no matter how small. If you get a gig playing to 50 people, play well. If you get the chance to give your record to someone who could sign you, make sure it sounds really really good. People are prepared to give you a chance. Second chances, not so much.

Also, one thing .. both your websites don't work ..
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:20 pm

Arguably it's beyond the remit of the magazine but a series of short articles about how people are successfully adapting to the current music business would, I think, be a very interesting addition to the magazine.
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby blinddrew » Fri Jan 19, 2018 8:34 pm

On a related note, I'm watching this at the moment and it's quite interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcIAJjFZgW8
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby job » Sat Jan 20, 2018 9:21 pm

I think you should all boycott streaming services. Why do they even exist? Because the largest chunk of content consumers are too cheap to buy an album and too lazy to import it into a media player? Boohoo. Then don't have music to listen to. 10 quid a month for unlimited plays of unlimited bands where the service makes millions off of other people's creations and the creators themselves make nothing. What a joke.

Likewise with youtube. It's a hair's breadth from ligitimised piracy. 100's of millions of views on some videos and the artist has made what from it? A buck? Google basks in billions from ad revenue. What a joke this is, too.

Boycott them all. The only losers a year or 2 from now will be the streaming services and those too cheap to buy music, so who cares!

Or maybe i'm completely off the mark... :beamup:
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby blinddrew » Sat Jan 20, 2018 10:06 pm

I think you may be trying to put the genie back in the bottle there Job.
The technology exists, if it wasn't youtube and spotify it would be someone else.
Look at it another way, 20 years ago, if someone had offered me a platform to distribute my music to virtually anywhere in the globe, instantly, for free, I'd have bitten their hand off...
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:43 am

job wrote:I think you should all boycott streaming services. Why do they even exist? Because the largest chunk of content consumers are too cheap to buy an album and too lazy to import it into a media player? Boohoo. Then don't have music to listen to. 10 quid a month for unlimited plays of unlimited bands where the service makes millions off of other people's creations and the creators themselves make nothing. What a joke.


None of these is making any money (as a business, of course, CEO and floor sweeper get their paychck, of course). They keep existing only because attract new inane investors and their cash but more and more don’t believe the fairy tale anymore, so sooner or later they will go under.

Likewise with youtube. It's a hair's breadth from ligitimised piracy. 100's of millions of views on some videos and the artist has made what from it? A buck? Google basks in billions from ad revenue. What a joke this is, too.

Boycott them all. The only losers a year or 2 from now will be the streaming services and those too cheap to buy music, so who cares!

Or maybe i'm completely off the mark... :beamup:

Youtube is cushioned by Google’s immense cash pile, so even if it bleeds money it can actually go along so long G keeps printing cash. There the only option are legal challenges and class action suits,so every producer of music should join an association which actually mounts these..
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:25 am

The best one so far is Amazon Echo.... I was bought one for Christmas, and it's not bad, soundwise about on a par with my Pure DAB radio and the speech recognition is remarkable. But I'm basically using it as a glorified radio 'cos to listen to my own, already bought, music I have to subscribe to a service so I'm paying an annual subscription to listen to music I've already paid for! :headbang:

If it would work as a normal bluetooth speaker that would be something (maybe it will but I haven't worked that one out yet) and, at the moment I can upload 250 tracks to the cloud and play those free but they're discontinuing that service soon...........

I'm sure I'll find other things 'Alexa' can do for me but so far I haven't. TBF I haven't yet made the time to properly search for what it will do.

I feel a new thread coming on "What can Alexa do for you?" :D
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:13 am

CS70 wrote:Youtube is cushioned by Google’s immense cash pile, so even if it bleeds money it can actually go along so long G keeps printing cash. There the only option are legal challenges and class action suits,so every producer of music should join an association which actually mounts these..
And let's not kid ourselves, Youtube is about much more than music. We, as music creators, are a very small fish in a very big entertainment pond. And music, as a social glue, is simply far less important to people than it used to be.
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby job » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:24 am

CS70 wrote:They keep existing only because attract... investors and their cash..

This is always how big money is made.

Youtube is one of the biggest assets on the internet. This directly translates into a favourable perception, which in turn translates into a higher share price for the parent. Don't kid yourself that people aren't making a mint.

blinddrew wrote:We, as music creators, are a very small fish in a very big entertainment pond.

But yet one of the first things people say when the complimentary entertainment (music), isn't there is, hey, where's the music?! :thumbup: It would be interesting to see a graph showing hours of music consumed over the years. I bet a buck that it's higher now than ever. The difference is that we just need to type 'Trance Mix' into youtube and we get a hundred years of it for free.
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:03 pm

job wrote:But yet one of the first things people say when the complimentary entertainment (music), isn't there is, hey, where's the music?! :thumbup:
True, but that kind of complimentary music is exactly the kind of thing that is going to be largely AI generated in the next five years or so. Well, that's what I reckon, I note that the guy writing the Library Music articles in SoS disagrees. I'll let him buy me a pint if he's right. ;)

job wrote:It would be interesting to see a graph showing hours of music consumed over the years. I bet a buck that it's higher now than ever. The difference is that we just need to type 'Trance Mix' into youtube and we get a hundred years of it for free.
Two words for you - video games.
In the "golden age" of music (whenever that was) video games were a completely niche market and mostly played in an arcade. Now they're ubiquitous and still rapidly growing - spend on video games (including on mobiles) has doubled in the last ten years. That's where the entertainment dollar is going these days.
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Re: Is it actually possible to make money from music anymore?

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:08 am

job wrote:
CS70 wrote:They keep existing only because attract... investors and their cash..

This is always how big money is made.


Well, not really. Big money is made by delivering solid profits quarter after quarter, as a consequence of a great product or a ok product with a well tuned organization. Google or Apple are good examples of the former; any "regular car" maker is an example of the latter.

By attracting investors promising something which isn't attainable, exploiting the "meeh too"("meeh" like in "sheep") you make a bubble (if the mass is big enough, like it was for the dot com) - which means that a few make money and a lot lose it - or simply investors lose their capital. With music, the math of paying operational expenses including the due rights, maintaining a large free usage base hoping to rack up ad money and keeping the prices very low simply doesn't add up, today and tomorrow. Even cheating on the rights (or paying a pittance), these companies do not make money.

Give it enough time, a decade at most, and no more Spotify, no more Soundcloud, no more Tidal.

Youtube is one of the biggest assets on the internet. This directly translates into a favourable perception, which in turn translates into a higher share price for the parent. Don't kid yourself that people aren't making a mint.

Youtube, for all the available information (of course Google doesn't disaggregate) does not indeed seem to have made a dime ever. Unless you can show someplace saying something different of course, last I checked was about a year ago. It's a loss business. But it doesn't need to make money - so long Google as a whole does... as its popularity is enormous, it has different byproducts (consumer data, for one) that the top guys at Google (and their board) think are worth paying for. It's not dissimilar to a Target customer card... only it sells or gives away other people's property, and that, Target doesn't do.

My guess (and of course it's just a guess) is that it will continue so unless it starts to become too much of am economic liability. Paying operating expense and the little money they give to content owners is something, but again, *if* class actions and lawsuits start to pile up and judicial precedence start to clarify the meaning of fair use and really apply the rules to the digital domain, my $.10 is YouTube will start bleeding so much money that even Google will have to take notice. And then either they'll clean up, or sell or close down... or decide that what they get out of it is worth a price much bigger than what is now. Without knowing the economic value they attribute to YouTube's data, it's hard to say.
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