Making enough money from your music to make a decent living from it is the dream of every musician. However, in order to do that you need to think like a businessperson and make your music into a business – it’s how all of the biggest artists in the world have been so successful. Below, I’ve outlined how you turn the thing you love into something that pays more than just the bills. Make your music a brand You may sniff at the idea of making your music a brand – it sounds corporate, it feels corporate, it is corporate, and none of this is in the spirit of being a musician. However, the most successful musicians have all successfully made themselves into a brand: Nirvana have their smiley face logo, Jay Z has Rocawear, and One Direction have a library of merchandize. Making your music into a brand isn’t about losing the spirit of your artistry, it’s about acknowledging you have something unique, finding a way of connecting that with your audience and then placing the value on it which it deserves. So, determine what makes your music unique and then find how you can connect that with your audience. You do this through market research. Market research In Write Your Business Plan, The Staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. sum up market research in four points: ● Who are your customers? – consider their demographics and income ● What do they buy now? – look at what is being sold by your peers ● Why do they buy? – build a buyer persona of your audience. This is so that you can get inside the head of your audience, establish what leads them buy the products sold by your peers, and nail down the reasons they would buy products from you ● What will make them buy from you? – (this is your USP) what are you selling to your audience that they can’t get elsewhere? Your products. Use your knowledge of your audience and peers to decide what your audience want from you. If you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, website, and Instagram account, you can use the analytics available through your social media platforms and Google Analytics to provide you with data to aid your market research. If you don’t have any of these social media platforms, or a website, then setting them up is the first thing you should do once you’ve completed this guide. Apply these four principles when conducting your market research and then determine what products you should be selling to monetize your brand. Once you know what products you should be selling, you then need to set up a store to sell them…. Set up an ecommerce store Turn your music into a business by making money from it. One of the quickest routes to making money is to sell products online. You can sell your music, art, merch, digital products, and even fan meet & greets. There are a number of ways that you can set up your ecommerce store (none of them very expensive): ● Use an open-source CMS – a platform such as WordPress will allow you to make your own ecommerce store. It is open source because you are able to look at the code that makes up the different pages you use ● Use a closed-source CMS – a platform like Shopify will let you build your own ecommerce store. It is closed source because you are unable to view the source code which allows the application to work ● Have a custom built site made – you can employ a web designer to build you an ecommerce store to your specifications ● Buy a readymade ecommerce store – you could find a pre-existing ecommerce store that is close to how you wish yours to be, then make some tweaks to bring it in line with your vision Once you have set up your ecommerce store you need to get people to visit it, so that you can make money from your music – anyone can start a business, but you want to turn your music into a successful business, not a failed business. How to drive traffic to your ecommerce store There are a number of ways that you can help to give yourself the best chance of visitors coming to your store: Influencer marketing Social influencers are the new rockstars. They have audiences who hang from their every word, trust their opinion, and who can be guided towards products recommended by the influencer. FameBit is designed to connect influencers with brands. Using this will allow you to find the right influencer for your music business and market your store to a receptive audience. Utilize bloggers Adopting this approach is not dissimilar to influencer marketing, in that you reach out to individuals with receptive audiences. You could get local bloggers to come to your shows and review your band, or get them to review your products and music on their blog. However, there is an additional benefit to using bloggers and this is that it can increase the SEO for your ecommerce store. This happens because when a blogger includes a link to your store it tells search engines that your store is well regarded (it increases the authority of your store). The better regarded your ecommerce store is, the higher it will rank on search engines, and the greater the chance that your audience will find you ahead of one of your peers. Pay per click (PPC) advertising PPC advertising is as it sounds: you advertise your products (on search engines, or social media platforms) and are charged a fee each time someone clicks through to your ecommerce store. The benefit of using PPC is that it allows you to bring targeted traffic to your ecommerce site, meaning that you can focus on your audience and seek them out through advertising. PPC is also measurable. This means that you can look at how the success rate of any campaigns you run using PPC, find what has been driving the greatest traffic, and then hone in on this to increase your traffic for your subsequent campaigns. Music is your passion, and if you can get your music to pay the bills, then you truly will be living the dream. But it’s not enough to simply make great music if you want this to be a reality. In order to make this happen you need to turn your music from something you’re passionate about into a profitable business. So what are you waiting for? Start living the dream.