Wednesday, August 27, 2008
How NOT To Make Money In The Music Business!
I get all kinds of email regularly asking me about free beats. Okay, I know that my original site was called www.Free-Hot-Rap.com, and I guess I should've saw it coming but damn!
Here's a little business lesson: the reason anybody or any business gives away anything free is to get something in return. At my site I offer free beats as an incentive to my visitors to give me their names and email addresses. Now, if I gave away more than the 7 free beats that are posted on my site, then I wouldn't be in business long would I? In fact, I don't know to many business that offer their product free forever. Many business use the 'free sample' technique. I has been used for years...way before there was ever such a thing called the Internet.
How does this apply to you and the music business?
For starters, sending out demos is giving the recipient a free sample. Most demos have 3 to 5 songs on them. More established artists use their whole album as their demo.
Let's relate this to social networking sites like MySpace.com. If you sign up as an artist on MySpace you get to upload several songs. You can choose to let the visitors of your page download your songs if you want to for free or you can place a link on your site where they can buy your song or album for money. Personally, I like to get paid for my hard work.
Its funny because many artists wonder why they never make a dime and it's because they don't understand the music business is a business. The sole purpose of a business is to make money. Its not so that the owners can have more time and freedom or be more flexible or give people jobs. Its to make MONEY!!!
The sole job of a business owner is to generate revenue and raise capital. Without these, the business will not exist long. I don't care if your selling wigets, CD's, beats, make your own beats services, dance lessons, cooking lessons, toilet tissue, candy bars, ham sandwiches, shoes, computers, etc. The bottom line is how much you've made at the end of the day.
I know this might sound harsh for some of you but its the truth. Anyone who is in business to do anything else is setting himself or herself up for failure.
Listen, I AM Hiphop and a true understanding of the kulture of Hiphop helps you realize what has been called "street entrepeneurship". Its a long term for hustlin'. If Russell Simmons didn't get paid for all his work with Kurtis Blow and Run-DMC, we wouldn't have heard of LL Cool J or even Kanye West. Same goes for Diddy. No Diddy, no Biggie Smalls, no Mary J. Blige, etc. The list goes on.
If you want to be a failure in the music business here is the recipe: Do everything for free. Spend time (and money) getting your songs recorded, put together a press kit, spend all kinds of time (and money) getting exposure for your group, give away your songs and albums for free, do free shows, and give away all the rights to your music. Did I leave anything out?
Now if you want to get money you must do the opposite. Spend some time learning about the music business and figure out ways you can make money in the business. And don't fall under the stupidity of the "Keepin' It Real" idiots. Keepin' it real is keeping your bills paid. Keepin' It real is feeding your kids. Keepin' it real is being able to buy the things you want to buy by earning money from your God-given skills and abilities. Keepin' it real is building enough wealth to last for several generations. If you want to make money, follow this formula. If not, follow the first one.
And as with all things you want to be good at, you must practice. Success is usually not an accident. If you want to be a better Hiphoppa then focus on your chosen craft, whether it be emceeing or street entrepeneurship. You may have to spend some time and money on it but if you don't focus on the end result then you won't get ahead in the game...and believe me it's all a game.
Let's Make It Happen!!!
Mello Melanin, The Hot Instrumentalist