Most of us are sensible to know our monthly outgoings, we know what we spend on rent, food and bills. When looking for a job we’ll make sure that the income from our chosen job will cover these outgoings along with some pocket money to have fun. Our eyes will scan the job listings at the wages offered before we make any final decision. It’s pointless choosing a job that won’t bring enough money in to cover your cost of living. If you’re not qualified to earn enough money from a particular job, many people will take two jobs to cover their outgoings.
So why do people not research the music industry they have chosen to join? Label bosses forever have to deal with new producers demanding advances and expecting large sales along with a fat payment. When they don’t get this some will have a hissy fit, throw their toys out of their pram then move to another label only to discover its the same situation.
Most have the misconception that the music industry is awash with money, probably due to watching too many hip-hop videos on MTV with flash cars. These same people will be grabbing an endless supply of free music from torrent sites, along with cracked software, plugs inns and movies. There’s a clue right in front of them what’s happening to music sales.
The Internet is a wash with a plethora of information regarding producer’s experiences and the reality of this new music industry. The unfortunate truth is that sales have plummeted due to torrent sites. When a track retails for $1.99 once the shop, distributer and label takes their cut this doesn’t leave a lot left for the actual producer. It takes two minutes to work out on a calculator what you’ll earn from sales. Ask the question in forums what average sales to expect and you’ll a nasty surprise.
Your shiny finished track will be your pride and joy and be precious to you, but when coming to selling it can be a different story. We’re dealing with the public here and no one can predict how it will be received and what units it will sell. Most presume each and every track will be a hit. In reality it’s the label taking the risk, each release takes valuable schedule space. The label has staff to pay, marketing, websites, promo pools, servers, music conferences, mastering and much more to cover. No one can predict if a track will sell, but still we get unrealistic producers demanding hard and fast cash.
It’s time to wake up and see the reality of this music industry. The sensible approach is to look at music production as a hobby that you’ll earn a little bit of pocket money from. You’ll need either a full or part time job to fund your love of music, this way you won’t have added financial stress and this won’t dilute your music integrity. Go find a good music related forum/community to get advise so that you understand all aspects of this music industry. This valuable asset helps you to assist the label you’re working with, after all they are on your side too, the more hands on deck working the better.
Unlike regular jobs where you get the same monthly wage each and every month, you’ll never know how much you’ll earn from each track. You’ll never know when your next gig will be. The wages are inconsistent and can prove to be a very difficult environment to balance the books at home.
I’ll reiterate again the importance of getting a part time job to subsidize your quest of being a producer. This will make you love and enjoy your experience of making music, rather than hating the stress and business side.
Also look into the mechanics of how this industry works, many will have a track released and expect the label to get them bookings? The job of a label is to get your track (and name) marketed making sure it gets to the right DJ’s, into the right shops for sale, air play on radio shows and online and in magazines. Labels don’t have databases full of promoters and club owners, they have no need? The gig side of things falls to agents, its two completely different businesses that many think are one. A good label with assist an agent due to the marketing they provide, it makes the agent’s job easier to get gigs due to the exposure the label is giving the artist.
Now go get in the studio!