Making it as a Musician

Start by balancing the commercial requirements and your music. You need to spend as much time finding avenues to promote and sell your music as you do on the quality of your music.

Free vs. Paid
Do people value your work enough to pay for it? Is 150,000 view on YouTube better than actually selling 100 songs? Do views and followings lead to good contracts or just penny per click ads which most people try to avoid? Almost everyone who have experience the  per click ads agree that the return on investment is very low since most people have to be tricked in clicking them. Obviously if you live in a country where the exchange rate is of such that a US penny is work a lot you might be a little more accepting of this type of income after you reach your target downloads. If you do get an advertising contract from a large company will you be asked to lie about their product to build their image while in the same add it has a disclaimer about what you are saying. What does that do to you image.

Marketing is about your image as well as perception.  As a result you need to control what you say and what is written about you. This is best done on your own website or forum. 10,000 Facebook followers sound good but are they actually interested in what you are actually saying. Will any of them actually buy your product or are they following you so you can follow them. Facebook algorithm also filters your followers in a way in which only 12% of them actually see you post. Twitter is so small that you cannot build a relationship with anyone or explain your point using it; but all your followers sees your tweets. The big question is will they read all 600 tweets they get weekly any more than you will. Of course, how many of your followers are actually software bots. Note that you can also use plugins from your website to feed twitter. You need your own website in which you have control so you can establish a personal connection and relationship with your followers, clients, customers and friends.

Building the right relationship with people is also very important.  Agents and manager have other client and is unlikely to be pushing all of them equally. It is therefore very important that you’re able to represent yourself and present your work. You have the most stake in it. Talent and quality are subjective, so although it’s okay to thing your product is the best, do not be offended if someone else’s work is preferred, and do not insult anyone for preferring it. The internet connects you to a large audience so just find your audience. Always remember that luck is being prepared when opportunity presents itself . Great talent is what make people remember you but it will not get you any job if you don’t market it, and you have to market it to the right audience.

Pricing your Talent
Most company already have a figure that they are willing to pay so simple ask them for the budgeted range they have in mind. Do not try to underprice the competition because you will end up being a miserable complainer when you get the job. You were contacted because of your talent, accept something you can be happy with.  If it’s a contract try to have a lawyer look at it, but make sure it’s not a lawyer that also do work for that company or want to work for them. If you can’t find a lawyer try and have the smartest person you know read it and then discuss it with them.

Cover Songs and Demos
All legendary groups sang covers songs and as a musician, the best way for people to judge your talent is for you to sing something they are familiar with. The only people I know who complain about cover songs are songwriters and other musicians. Note that the songwriter whose song you are singing will get royalty if you make another hit from their song so they are not the one who will complain. As a matter of fact the songwriter will be happy to write another song for you. Studios might complain if they bought the songwriter rights to the song and make more money from their artist. (Note that publishing someone’s song for free on a public website is just wrong.)
I’ve never seen any audience get turned off because a musician sang a cover songs. Any studio that’s really looking for talent will never have an audition for original materials only unless it’s a song writer’s audition. This means you should be really careful about people asking you to submit your original work because 99% of those people are looking for your ideas and will never sign you or play your music. Once an ad says “no cover songs” it normally means they are not looking for talent but only looking for ideas.
You should only send your original material to a studio you know and want to work with. Find out who write songs for that studio and if you see different names from different places on their DVD, etc. for the soundtracks, then you can contact them about submitting your work for a review or ask them about their process for determining who sings or write their soundtracks. With so many streaming channel playing the same things over and over again there is clearly a market for original content, but if you send or upload your idea to them for free you’ll never make any money. Very few people buy free stuff.

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