It’s a good question and one that deserves research into you and your music as a product. What is it that you are bringing to the table that the thousands of other artists and bands trying to make it are not. And please don’t try to imagine that your music is anything more than just that…a product, but don’t get discouraged, it’s not a bad thing.
There is a great article written by Mark Mulligan with Music Industry Blog, in which he states, “…product is the beating heart of the recorded music industry. CDs, vinyl, downloads, apps or subscription services, these are the products which generate the income that allow some artists to give up the day job and focus on making great music. It is the product wrapped around the music that creates that income that helps support creativity.”
I wholeheartedly agree with that statement and encourage you to read the entire article. However, the topic of this blog is why someone, whether it’s friends, family, other artists, managers, labels, etc… won’t invest in you or your music career, and I challenge you to answer this question; Are you investing in yourself and your music? By that, not only do I mean monetarily, but also timewise. Are you willing to sacrifice for your…product?
Yes…I know. You pay for your studio time. And there was that one time that you had some CDs pressed for a show. And I understand that you’re also working while trying to do music, but no one said this was going to easy…or inexpensive.
Stop complaining that you never have any extra time or money to do other things! No one wants to hear that. Stop telling people that you “grind hard all day” for your music. All musicians should be able to say that. It’s like giving to charity and then running around telling everyone that you gave to charity. Let your actions and your music speak for you. You made the choice to take this career by the horns. Now let’s do something productive about it.
I recently did an interview with an artist named Chance. This is an artist that has been pushing great music out for well over a decade and still works hard to invest in himself as a musician. One of the questions asked in this interview was, what advice he had for someone trying to get into the industry. He said, “Simple. Only do it because you love it. Otherwise, get out. I mean this. Don’t take this poorly. If there’s a voice in your head saying, meh, then say no to music. You gotta love it.”
Too many ‘musicians’ try to break into music for the wrong reasons. They’re chasing fame and fortune and not doing it, as Chance says, for love of the craft. This all brings me to the reason I wrote this blog. An experience I recently had within the last week.
I got an email from an unsigned artist. The subject line was the same as the title for this blog. “Why Won’t They Invest In My Music?”
The body of the email wasn’t much longer. “Can you give me advice? I need HELP!” and then she listed her social media accounts.
So I looked through her accounts, listened to her soundcloud, noticed she was from the east coast, and responded back with a the below scenario and asked her to be honest with her answer. *Note. The scenario is something that happened to an artist group I was working with years ago, so I figured nothing works better than real life situations.
Your friends are about to take a trip to L.A. They have asked you to join them for the long weekend. They have a hook up on the lodging, and all you would have to pay for is the flight, (which is close to $600 roundtrip), food, and anything else you want to do.
You have also recently been in contact with a new producer. After listening to one of your records, he wants to work with you and says he has a beat already in mind and will also write the lyrics with you. Because you have mutual friends, the record will only be $500. You’ve had a chance to hear the beat at the lyrics he has come up with so far, and it fits perfectly with your sound and show you are putting together. You’ve researched him as a producer and found that he has recently written for some A-list artists.
Finally, you ordered some merch to try and push your music, when it was ready, you were short on cash, so your close friend picked up the tab for $400.
In what order do you handle these situations and why?
Here was her response…verbatim.
First, I would take the trip to L.A. I can try and schedule some meetings while I’m there, and hand deliver my Press Kits. It may also give me the opportunity to see a different market group than the East Coast. I also think that if the producer really likes my sound, then he should do the record with me and make his money on the back end after the song becomes a hit. I could give him producer credit, that way he is guaranteed to make his money back. If my friend paid for the merchandize then they would know I would pay them back when I get the money. I hate owing people money.
Plus, I have already spent so much money on the music I currently have and I’m just ready for someone else to come along and take over so I can just focus on being the artist.
I sent my response yet, but here it is.
The reason no one will invest in you is because you have made the decision to stop investing in yourself. You have a great talent, good music, and the right look for your genre, but you have the completely wrong attitude. I’m sorry, but sacrifice is part of the package, and that trip to L.A. is not as important and your career. That money can be better spent on marketing, music, or promotion. If you make it in this industry, there will be plenty of trips to L.A. and all over the world. Producers do just that…produce. They will get their credit on the track, but just in case it doesn’t take off, he’s gonna get paid up front. And you say you would pay your friend back when you got the money, well you were willing to spend $600 on a flight, that’s $200 more than you owe them, and with a little more work you can come up with the additional money to get that new record. More than likely they are willing to hold off on the pay back if they see you using money on your music and not on weekend trips across the country.
I hope you take this feedback to heart. If you’re not willing to keep investing in yourself, no one else will invest in you.
That last line is the moral of this post: If you’re not willing to keep investing in yourself, no one else will invest in you.
Here are some articles that I suggest you read on small investment you can make in your music.
And one more for good measure.