Do you want a music career or an expensive hobby?
For unsigned artists and aspiring musicians it is now tougher than ever to make it in the music industry in 2018. While social media has changed the game for everyone and given us free platforms to showcase on, the market is now completely saturated making it harder than ever to stand out, find followers and get attention.
Kollab is a service that caters for artists who want to make their music the best it can be. We don't really use labels other than the word 'musician', but some common terms you might get referred to are...
- unsigned artist
- 'up and coming' musician
- part time/bedroom musician or DJ
In the past these terms would have had an almost derogatory connotation to them, implying that if you don't have a major record deal you aren't a 'serious' musician.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and in 2018 the lines are more blurred than ever between 'real' artists and 'bedroom' artists. For example, there are musicians who get hundreds of thousands of plays across Spotify and iTunes yet still work day jobs. That's the reality of the music industry in 2018.
When is your music an expensive hobby?
Music industry expert Rick Barker delivered a podcast recently that argued if you aren't making at least £5000 a year through your music, you're not really in the music business. It's until this point you simply have an expensive hobby.
This might seem a little harsh but it does not need to be taken as a negative, more as a way of setting realistic goals for your musical career. (By the way, we will have a great blog post coming soon on goal setting for musicians).
Are you spending money on the wrong things?
In our opinion, musicians who want to become really successful (or at least make a living out of their music) are often spending money on the wrong things. This has become more apparent since the launch of our website.
For example, a lot of our customers will have invested typically in the following:
Laptop or desktop computer (often brand new Apple iMAC): £800 - £1400
DAW (rarely the free versions that offer the same functionality): £200 - £600
Various plugins (they'll probably never use): £200 - £500
Instruments (one of which they will play 95% of the time): £500 - £5000
Social followers (paid likes, you know who you are): £50 - £100
Merchandise (mostly sat in boxes at home): £50 - £500
Social advertising: £50 - £100 per month
Home studio accessories: £100 - £1000
Studio hire: £100 - £1000
There are probably a few things missing from this list, but you can see how this musician lifestyle can have a big impact on your wallet. No wonder most musicians are struggling!
Look, there is nothing on this list that is a waste of money per se, but the majority of this list is un-necessary before you have taken care of the most important aspect of your career...your product.
What is your product? It's your music, of course! When people say to me 'I can't afford to spend £300 on a producer, besides I have Logic I can do a pretty good job myself', straight away I know they are walking down the wrong path.
Investing in making your SONGS the best they can be is the smartest move you'll ever make.
Remember we talked about how saturated the market is? Do you think you are going to have any chance of cutting through the noise if your production, songwriting, instrumentation and arrangement is less than perfect? Of course you won't, because there are millions of others out there who are investing the time and money required to make their songs radio friendly, not owning the latest copy of pro tools, a 32 inch wall studio monitor or a limited edition PRS guitar.
Take our advice the next time you are going to make a musical purchase. Instead of buying that new instrument or piece of software, invest it into your own song. Get that producer, vocalist or musician that will add something to your music and give you something you can then take to the market.
My music is a hobby, so what?
We should also remember at this point that having an expensive hobby is not necessarily a bad thing. There are lots of expensive hobbies after all; golf, scuba diving, collecting expensive analog equipment...
We had an order from a self proclaimed 'bedroom musician' last December and we were stunned by the quality of his original music. The order was for a live orchestral string section, and although it was not cheap this was a worthy investment for this particular customer, as his original music was a hobby and passion worth investing in. This was probably a better way for him to spend his money than on a set of golf clubs or a scuba diving trip.
So get clear on what your intentions are for your music, and as an exercise try utilising some of the budget for your next musical investment in our service. Unlike a physical item which will only depreciate or offer limited benefit, we give you the tools to create something far greater for a relatively small outlay in the grand scheme of things...