Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Count ALL The Costs: Advice For Independent Artists

Just this week I read an article entitled "The One Thing That Pretty Much Every Failed Artist Has In Common" that said, for every $1 a musician spends on recording, he or she must spend $2 on marketing and promotion. In fact, I was just having a conversation with a music industry veteran who really knows his stuff about how the music industry works and what it takes to break an artist, and we were talking about how independent artists so frequently underestimate the amount of funds they will need for an album project.

If you go to an independent artist's Kickstarter or other crowdfunding campaign, you'll typically find that they're only asking for enough money to cover studio and recording costs and nothing beyond that (i.e. all that is required for marketing and promotion such as album cover photography, imaging, etc.).

When considering who we take on as clients at paNASH Style, we look at several things such as the obvious (i.e. talent, solid business plan and music career goals, etc.), and we also want to see if the potential client has considered all the costs involved, including the cost for imaging and media coaching. It often surprises us that some potential clients will contact us with no budget for such services. When this happens two questions come to mind: do they not understand the importance of this part of their career and just consider it an afterthought? and, do they think companies will give services away for free? 

Remember independent artists, when planning your career, count ALL the costs, everything from studio time to vocal coaching and even instrument repair. Include necessary costs in any crowdfunding campaigns or in your presentation to potential investors so that no one is blindsided by any unexpected costs. By taking time to plan ahead, your potential investors will appreciate you being upfront, and you'll be in a much better position to move ahead in your music career than those who have not planned.

And never assume that someone will want to work with you for free just because you may have talent. People in the music industry have their pick of talent to work with, and they have to make a living just like people do in any other industry. Just make sure you use wisdom and discernment when choosing who to hire for services (do your research!) so that you and your pocketbook are not taken advantage of.

Whether you believe in the Bible or not, there's no denying it provides some wise instruction for very practical matters such as the ones described above:
  • Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? (Luke 14:28)
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)
  • The worker deserves his wages. (I Timothy 5:18b, Luke 10:7)
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  1. Very well said Lori! For the past 14 years, my business has been Country and Americana music video promotion. I have seen many artists that have budgeted to shoot their music video, but don't think past that to how they will get that video out to a targeted audience.

    As music videos continue to grow as a "first line, go-to" medium for new music and artist discovery, music video promotion becomes more vital to the success of the artists by increasing their exposure and making their video work for them.

    Steve Baker / Visual Image Marketing


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