Ideally your music would be about the art and not the money, but that generally is not the reality for many artists since money is needed to pay the bills. We want our music to have a value to those listening, and want to be compensated for our art…and there really isn’t anything wrong with that. In fact, there are many DIY musicians who are making a living from their music, even without the help of distribution partners and major labels. This may not be easy but it can and has been done.
If you want people to pay for your music there are two important factors needed to make this happen.
1) Create a great product.
You got to make sure you have a music product worth selling. If you don’t, work on your craft. Improve your songwriting skills, create professional quality recordings etc. The better your songs are the better your music sounds, and the more perceived value your music will have.
2) Get your music in as many places as possible.
It’s a numbers game. The more places your music is available for sale, the more people will hear it and buy it. DIY musicians may have a hard time moving hard copy vinyl records and CDs, but digital downloads are another story. You can easily upload them on the internet, and utilize companies like CD Baby and Amazon and streaming services like Spotify to help you get exposure.
3) Become a social media expert.
You don’t have to wait to be discovered. Take action and leverage social networks like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter intelligently. When done effectively, you can greatly expand your audience.
4) Give away your best work.
This may seem counter intuitive, but giving away your best work will get you noticed. This is a good way to get your listeners blown away with the quality of your music and get their attention. The more people who hear how great your music is, the more they will want to hear from you. This leads to increased sales.
5) Don’t get too upset over pirating.
Ok, this is a tough one. It’s pretty hard not to get upset when your music gets pirated, but here’s something to think about. If you flip out about this publicly it may hurt your perceived value, rather than help it. If people begin to think of you as a whiner they may just decide to look elsewhere for their music fix. Although pirating is clearly not ideal, it is a reality today. Provided this doesn’t get too out of hand, realize this is getting you more free exposure, and ultimately you will come out ahead.