Do you have a million dollars? Most likely the answer is “no”. Are you trying to make it on mainstream US radio and promote to mediabase stations and hit the top 40? If you don’t have a million dollars to invest then you’re wasting your time. But you can make a good living from your music.
By wanting to make a living out of your music you have decided to go into business for yourself. That’s right, you have now attached the word business to your music. Any smart business person will have a business plan.
STEP ONE: First thing you need is a good song. One that everyone can relate to and has a memorable melody and a good hook line.
STEP TWO: A good recording and production is everything. Radio compresses the file and if you record it on a computer at home, that 24 bit is now 16 bit and after radio compresses it, it’s 6 to 8 bit. Do yourself a favor- go to a professional recording studio with a track record. Record on great equipment and use a skilled engineer / producer to help mix and master.
STEP THREE: Distribution. We are not a fan of digital distribution. We used to be before deals were made to stream music practically for free. It costs you money to create it- why give it away for free? As an alternative, manufacture cd’s and vinyl with some great artwork. Place them on your website for sale and sell them at your performances.
STEP FOUR: All business has to advertise or no one would know they exist and would not have any business. The same goes for you being an artist. You may have the best music in the world, but unless you advertise no one will know you exist. In this case your advertising budget includes going to radio, which is still the most viable way to get heard and to be able to tour. Hopefully you will do your investigation and choose a good radio promoter. One that goes to FM stations in all markets all over the world – not just a few stations in the US. It’s a big world out there. This is your best chance with a limited budget to make the most of your advertising dollars. We say, FM stations, because these stations always have venues that advertise with them.
STEP FIVE: Once your radio promotion has began, you contact the stations that are playing you and thank them. You offer them radio liners, radio interviews and most importantly, offer to send them a dozen promo give- away cds. Radio likes to offer their listening audience give- aways. To give your cds away, they play you more, mention who you are more and increase your exposure. Once you have done this you are that radio stations friend. So ask the stations that are playing you who their advertising venues are. Get their contact information. Call, email those venues. Tell them you are playing on xyz radio station in their town and want to come to their town to perform. Let the radio stations know you are going to do this and they will back you because if the venue hires you the venue will hire them to advertise the performance. This will get you even more exposure on that radio station. Radio will love you because they got the venues advertising dollars because of you. You get a performance date that is well advertised and a radio station that is playing your music and supporting you. Most likely when you go to perform you will have a full house of people who came to see you. You will sell merchandise, gain fans and if you do a good performance be asked to come back again. Everyone wins.
Odds are you will not become a superstar overnight but it will build your business. It will most likely take 3 or 4 single releases. It is a lot of hard work, but it gives you the possibility of building a business off which you can make a comfortable living.