How to actually make money with your music
Today we’re going to talk about how you can build a die-hard fanbase and actually make money from your music.
Streaming platforms and social media are amazing tools to grow your audience
Social media is where all the attention is. Whether you’re grabbing that attention organically or with ads, you can drive it to Spotify, Apple Music etc.
No other time in history has it been so easy to get someone to listen to your music. These new potential fans don’t have to pay anything. They already pay for their monthly subscription.
Unfortunately, building an audience on streaming and social media platforms alone is risky. This is why…
You need to own your audience
Owning your audience means having a platform you control, and have a way to directly contact your fans. But why is this so important?
On social media only 5-10% of your followers see each post
On streaming platforms you have no way to contact people
Platforms can shut down, change the rules or determine your content is no longer what they want
If this sounds crazy, just think about Vine. Think about the possibility of a TikTok ban in the USA (or the reality of it in India). Think about how Twitch recently severely limited how content creators can integrate brand deals.
Image if this happened to Instagram or Spotify! For that same reason…
You need multiple revenue streams
If you own your audience you can give them compelling offers for products, merch, experiences or subscription clubs to join. This not only brings in extra cash, but it diversifies your income streams.
Here are some ideas:
Physical music (yes people still buy CDs and Vinyl, even cassettes)
Digital music (released, or alternate versions like instrumental, acapella, stems etc)
Merch (t-shirts, hoodies, hats, wristbands, keychains etc)
Personalized physical merch
Monthly subscription for exclusive content, unreleased music, demo access etc.
Pre-recorded live shows
Custom written songs for superfans
Choose the products that make the most sense for you and your target audience.
However when it comes to actually owning your audience, building your own platform and selling products…
You need a tech-stack
Your tech-stack refers to the selection of software platforms you use to run your music business.
Typically this comprised of:
Unfortunately having all of these services can cost a pretty penny. Drip, Squarespace and Shopify will run you over $90 per month and that doesn’t even give you any sales funnels (the best way to sell stuff online).
Thats why I created MusicFunnels, where you can get your entire tech-stack for only $27/mo on an annual plan. Cheaper than Shopify alone!
Many platforms will charge $60-$100/mo for ONLY sales funnels.
But I want to take you through a couple of these other platforms in some detail. First, lets talk about…
Shopify is, hands down, the best online store platform in the world. I’ve used Wix, WooCommerce, Squarespace, my own platform and more. Nothing holds a candle to Shopify.
They’re 100% focused on being an online store
They integrate with Spotify & YouTube directly
They have thousands of plugins to customize the platform
They integrate directly with print-on-demand companies
Amazing app for store owners & customers
There are downsides though:
It costs $39/mo ($29/mo annually)
It sucks at building websites
Every plugin costs extra per month
Fancy themes either cost over $150 or you need a software developer to build them
They know they’re the best and they charge like they’re the best.
With MusicFunnels we’re not trying to be a better online store than Shopify, we’re trying to give you everything you need in one place at a price indie artists can justify when they’re growing. Plus down the line you could add-on Shopify as your store and keep your website / funnels with us.
WooCommerce is a free commerce plugin for Wordpress. Wordpress is free but it requires a hosting plan to run the site.
Here are the benefits to WooCommerce / Wordpress
Cheaper than Shopify
More customizable than Shopify
Can also build a great website on it with no code / cheaper themes
Decently affordable funnel integration with FunnelKit
Thousands of plugins, loads of integrations
Great app for store owners
But of course, there are downsides:
Pretty massive learning curve for most people
Most useful plugins do cost extra
Your site will require some amount of maintenance and you will experience technical hurdles along the way
If you aren’t careful you can end up with a slow website
I love Wordpress, but I hesitate to recommend it to people unless I know they’re tech-savvy.
I also cover Wordpress / WooCommerce in my Fan Growth Machine course.
I’ll just get it out of the way and say in Fan Growth Machine I cover MusicFunnels, Shopify, Wordpress, Squarespace, Drip and more. The point of the course is that you learn how to build a platform to start owning and monetizing your audience, but giving you options in how you choose to do so.
How do you sell anything though?
Of course just having a platform does not mean you’ll sell anything. You have to be proactive in getting people to join your list and buy your products. There are multiple ways to do this.
Here are a few examples:
Offer a free download if people join your list (lead magnet)
Setup an automation sequence to warm up the list and introduce them to your products
Talk about your lead magnet and products in your social media content
Run an ad campaign on a free + shipping / handling offer with Facebook ads
Retarget your audience using ads to get them to check out your newest merch drop (for larger audiences)
Every month not only drop a public song on streaming platforms, drop a 2nd song thats exclusive to your membership platform.
Release music that is exclusive to physical music formats, or give early access to people that buy music through your store / funnels
In all of these examples you’re either pushing the offer with organic content and/or social media ads (like Facebook ads). You could also push these offers at shows or whatever method you have of reaching people.
At the end of the day you need a great product that provides real value, and then you need to figure out how to effectively community that idea to the right people. What that product is is entirely up to you!
Evange Livanos and Zack Zarrillo own a full service music management company called Alternate Side that rakes in over 30 million Spotify streams per week. They manage artists like Caveton, Erra, Fit For A King, Chelsea Grin, guccihighwaters and many more.
Check out my interview video with them:
In case you don’t know, I have a podcast! Currently there are 43 episodes and it has over 20,000 downloads.
I reviewed Indie Music Academy’s Spotify playlisting service on my blog recently.
Recently i’ve been posting a lot on Twitter:
How to make it as a music artist:
- Record labels
- Music videos
- Radio promotion & PR
- 1 album / 2 yr
- Self distribution
- Social media
- Social media ads
- 1 single / 4-8 weeks
The new way has no gatekeepers and is MUCH cheaper than the old way.
— Andrew Southworth (@southwortha)
Jun 12, 2023
Here are some music industry news highlights from the past week.
Spotify is considering adding full-length music videos to its app
Canva signs deal with Warner / Merlin to let creators use songs in their content
82% of 18-44 year olds have posted a video online in the past year
Seventeen music publishing companies filed a lawsuit against X corp (Twitter’s parent company) for copyright infringment
TikTok shows off Ripple, an AI music creation app that can turn a simple hummed melody into an entirely produced and mastered song within seconds
Quote of the Week
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.
Love or hate Apple, Steve Jobs is full of amazing quotes like this. I can say with certainty that this one is true. Working 60 hours per week on something you love is significantly easier than working 20 hours per week at a job you hate.
Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:
My courses. Spotify Growth Machine teaches you how to use Facebook ads to promote your music on Spotify. YouTube Growth Machine teaches you how to grow a YouTube channel organically and how to use YouTube ads.
My ad agency. Forbid Media specializes in running Facebook conversion ads to promote your music on Spotify.
Website / Store / Funnels. MusicFunnels is the best all-in-one platform for music artists to make a website, online store, sales funnels and build their mailing list.
1-on-1 consulting. You can book 1-hour calls with myself or Alex Bochel here.
🚀 Spotify Growth Machine Course: https://learn.generastudios.com/spotify-growth-machine
🏆 Hire us to run your ads: https://www.forbidmedia.com/
🌍 Best website / store / funnels for music artists: https://musicfunnels.io/ (get your 14-day FREE trial!)
🎬 YouTube Growth Machine: https://learn.generastudios.com/youtube-google-growth-machine/
🧑💻 Consultations: https://generastudios.com/pages/consulting
⌨️ Chat in the community (FREE): https://community.generastudios.com/
Discount / Affiliate Links:
►►Best sales funnel for Wordpress: https://funnelkit.com/?ref=andrewsouthworth&campaign=YouTube
►►Best sales funnel for digital products: https://generastudios--checkout.thrivecart.com/thrivecart-standard-account/
►► Get 7% off DistroKid when you signup through my link → https://distrokid.com/vip/andrewsouthworth
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►► FeatureFM: https://feature.fm/andrewsouthworth - use code ASOUTH30 for 30% off for any annual plan!
►► Get 5% off Moonstrive Media campaigns with coupon code "ANDREWSOUTHWORTH" here: https://www.moonstrivemedia.com/?ref=ANDREWSOUTHWORT
►► Try Indie Music Academy’s Spotify playlist service here: https://listengenera.com/ima-spotify.OYD
►► WordPress Website Hosting: https://www.siteground.com/go/AndrewSouthworth-YT
If you’d rather just purchase the e-book, or physical book or audiobook you can do so here.
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