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Do It Your Self Musician. (Yup... you can make money at this)
You have something that is valuable.
Your music is WORTH something. So stop giving it away!! Here is where you will gain valuable information on how to sell your music by the example of Canada’s indie folk/rawker Deni Gauthier.
Learn by example and pay attention. Learn to communicate to your target audience and sell CD’s.
You are about to learn secrets that most musicians will never know about the music business...
Why getting "discovered" is a lie that died over 16 years ago (there's a better solution than hustling the roads night after night!)
The new reality of attracting loyal fans (screw this up and you're guaranteed to fail!)
How to use secret technology to build a fanatic global following (prepare to be shocked at this)
The startling difference between how musicians made money LAST decade and THIS decade (it's time you finally get paid for your talent!)
How to realistically achieve your fame, fortune and wealth in the music business (and exactly what not to do as well!)
Opt in now and lets get started! There is so much to learn...
Join the Second Records List! www.secondrecords.ca
Stop looking for a stupid label will you?
Huh? you say. Oh ya you heard me. Labels suck. Don't try to get signed. Not yet anyway. Let me tell you a story.
I know a great band that was getting very popular in Southern Ontario. Like most young bands this group was performing a bit, just enough to cover basic costs, and trying to get signed. Fact of the matter is that they were very good! Not too much time passed before they completed a demo album to sell and it got in the hands of a record label that I will not name. Yay!! They got signed!! Now they could cut a record in a really nice studio, sell tens of thousands of copies and tour the continent… just for starters.
Reality; Upon signing the Label told them that they could cut a record and that they would forward them $10,000 for the production, provide a producer and a great studio. WOO HOO! BUT, the studio is on the other side of Canada, the producer costs $100 an hour and that they better be tight because $10,000 only lasts for about a week of tracking. Oh ya, they would have to cover hotels travel, food and any other cost incurred for the recording period. Oh ya, and the $10,000 has to be paid back within a year or interest will be added. Oh, by the way, You still need to book your own gigs and we don't offer tour support to bands that haven't sold a certain amount of albums. One more thing, you make nothing on album sales until your debt is paid off, and after that we'll give you 20 cents per album sold. Sound good? And we own your music.
Wow, something sounds fishy here but I can't put my finger on it. The band broke up in a year and they are still paying off their dept. Their CD never really sold because they didn't have the skill necessary to book profitable tours.
To make this quick I'll get to the bottom line. You don't NEED a label until you are selling so many albums that you can't keep up with it. You'll just end up licking your wounds in the gutter wondering what the heck just happened to you!
Keep this page bookmarked. I will (FOR FREE) give you great ideas on how to do it YOUR SELF.
Music video examples.
Here are two you tube vids that I've done to show you two very different examples of how you can use video to promote your latest work.
"Not There Yet" is a professional video shot by www.redrubberstudio.com
"Home" is a cover by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros filmed on my iPhone in one take.
Both serve a purpose to drive traffic to www.denigauthier.com for the release of my upcoming EP.
Video is a great way to reach new fans, and spark new interest from old fans :)
3.5% profit, or all of it?
What are you doing to yourself?? You want to make it big as a musician right? Let me ask you a question here... This is called the "would you rather game", seriously fun on long car rides. It goes like this... Would you rather, eat a goats eyeball, or swim in a pool full of vomit? You can insert anything you want into the question and peoples answers may surprise you!
So know for my question (music related) Would you rather make 3.5% of every album that you sell, or 100%? One more here, would you rather play to large crowds and make a fraction of the profit or decent size crowds and make all the profit?
It's not a trick question. You see, there is more money and for some people, satisfaction, in working a local fan base, developing really strong relationships with fans, and doing things the old school way. You see, being a musician is like being a carpenter. You have a business, you need to figure out how to make money working your business. Your trade is "musician", your product is "entertainment", and CD's. In order to sell CD's you need to entertain, in order to entertain you need to know the business of booking.
What books are you reading to help you along in the world of business? These don't have to be music business books at all! It's ALL the same thing... business is business. Musician or carpenter, your choice... both are great.
Top five music specific books that will rocket you to paid musician status. - Honestly... thes are INVESTMENTS into your carrear.
Want to get serious? Well then, what makes you think you think that just going out "there" will sell your music?? It's time to invest into your future and get educated.
When I started reading these books I realized that the more I read the more chance I had at becoming successful. Did you know that if you read just 5 books on one subject, you are considered an expert in that subject? How many books have you read on music business?
Here you go. These are for you to buy and grow. Put your money on the line and invest in your future. I've read them all at least twice.
SOOOO much information on where to submit your music. REMEMBER, target your target audience.
This is a big one! Look in the back for my link to theBetween.ca
ALL you need to know? Not really, but lots of good stuff in there.
Want a glimps into the future? Part of being smart in business is getting in front of trends. CD's are yesterdays media. You still need them, but you need to look forward to the next trend in music. Digital media.
One of the first books I bought, and a great start to learning about the music business.
Mac Mac Mac!
A Mac will make you more productive. And better looking. OK maybe not better looking.
HEY! Have a computer? Of course you do. It's probably a PC right? Now, I'm not going to get all religious about Mac's right now but what I AM going to say is that a Mac will let you record mix, and master your next album all by your self with no producer, and VERY little cost compared to going to a studio.
If you are reading this you are at least partly interested in being DIY musician, I want to make this real clear. It is HARD work to learn the ins and outs of the recording world. It will take trial and error, and you should do as much LEARNING about mic placement, recording levels, and who knows what else you'll need to learn. BUT IT WILL BE WORTH IT.
Back to the Mac. Did you know that Trent Reznor, (Nine Inch Nails guy) has tracks downloadable that will open up in Garageband (software that comes with every Mac) so that fans can remix his new tunes? I read a news article recently online about a very well known artist that recorded and mixed his entire album on Garageband. I can't remember who it was, but I had heard of him. First of all it's brilliant because he did it all himself, secondly because it's an incredible marketing ploy! What a great way to draw attention to his new CD. I'll bet you Mac fans bought it to hear what THEY can do on THEIR Macs.
So think about this. Part of your business is online (let's face it, that where things are going) so you need a great computer that will do graphics (pages for $99), word processing (pages again), handle your band photos (i-photo), your video blogs to your fans (i_movie with built in i-sight) and handle all your recording needs (garage band and i-tunes). You buy a Mac and right out of the box you can do ALL these things and more.
I'm not preaching, but I have to tell you that I'm so happy I have a Mac. It's made my life as a musician a lot more simple.
Want to sell more albums? Get to work!
If you haven't hear of CD baby yet, you will, actually, now you have. It's the biggest independent reseller of music on the web. OK, it's HUGE. If you are an independent musician trying to sell your music on-line you can't ask for a better option.
They give you about 90% of your sales, set you up with digital distribution for FREE, give you a back end website that has all your accounting, inventory, and details. Allow you to edit your selling page anytime you want and see instant changes. Not only that but they give you a ton of reading on how to promote your album online and get sales. They don't require any minimum sales and will stick with you until you make it.
Best of all, purchasing an album from CD Baby online is more secure than using your credit card at the grocery store. They handle all the shipping, and headache of getting the CD to the purchaser in a timely and non-broken state :) You can link to it from anywhere, and get started today.
Check out my children's album below and see what the site looks like. They've put much time and effort into designing a site that is simple and appealing to the purchasers eye.
More on how to promote your album online later.
DENIS GAUTHIER: Between Me and You
Roots folk, and didgeridoo infused with children's music. Kids music that moms and dads actually enjoy.
Promote Promote Promote!!
What are you SELLING?
An interesting thought, when I started into music as a job I kept thinking "people will buy my art", and now after 5 years, over 8000 albums sold, and 500 concerts later I find myself thinking "How can I sell more product".
I can hear you now, "BOOO! SELLOUT!!". Ha ha! I get it,you think I'm a sell out because I make a living playing and recording music? I want you to understand this, you are NOT selling out if you start to think smart about how you can compensate your talent with MONEY. I wrote it before and I'll write it again, you are WORTH something. How many people do you know that can write a song as well as you? Or better yet, how many people can you think of that are professional that you think you could do a better job writing and performing? Chances are you are a lot more "talented" than many other people that make great money as a musician!! HOWEVER, they are doing something right. They probably figured out that there is more to this than just being a good musician.
I'm not kidding you, when you start thinking "how can I sell more product" instead of "people will buy my art" you are starting the right path to working your own BUSINESS as a musician.
Now I'll ask you this. What is your product? CD's? A great concert experience? Songs that your write? (that's intellectual property by the way, very valuable!)
All for now.
By the way, PLEASE rank my page! Comment! Let me know if you agree or think I'm stupid! Help me get this out there, we will all benefit by becoming more professional in the music arena.
Great Stuff on eBay - Need Music gear? DON"T pay full price!!
Why in the world would you spend full pop on the stuff you need when you can get it delivered to your door with the click of a button?? I'm telling you, this is the future. You can do all your research online and make a purchase without spending enormous amounts of money on our ever price climbing and depleting natural resource GAS.
Really... GAS should be a four letter word.
A few great tips... NOT just for drummers!
A couple of questions turns into some great tips!
I got an e-mail from a young musician. He's 16! How many 16 year olds do you know that are actively looking around for answers to questions about being a career musician? I know of one, and I thought that I'd write a post to answer his questions so everyone could see.
Miles is a drummer and is playing in a band called Critical Solution (go to www.myspace.com/criticalsolution3 to check them out) and asked me this first question. "Is life as a drummer harder than other instruments, or is it the same all around?"
First of all, I don't envy drummers! I can't imagine having to choose a vehicle based on weather or not I could fit all my gear in it with a friend as well! That aside, it's hard to find great drummers, Miles. They are in demand. If you can play it the gigs will come. (Well, not really, I'll explain)
Your best question was just to ask me for advice, so here it is.
1. I've played with a ton of drummers. My favorite guys to play with always had the smallest kits. I think that the guys that really play a lot get sick of carrying all that crap around so they play with a minimalist kit. Those guys can make big things happen with a small kit.
2. Play Jazz. When I started playing jazz it opened up a new world of music and possibilities. I'll tell you right now, that to be a career drummer you need to know how to play it ALL. Jazz is a great start. Get involved in your school music program and play in as many jazz groups as you can.
3. Play percussion. Learn how to play as many percussive instruments as possible. Be open minded, it's the kind of attitude that gets you gigs. When I was your age I was fairly closed minded to different genres of music and had a hard time thinking that I would pay anything other than Primus on my bass, now I play more instruments that I can count (I can only count to 10 :). Learn multiple instruments in your field.
4. Attitude is EVERYTHING. This goes for us all in all areas of life. People want to work with friends. In music, you will get calls for gigs and studio time if you are well liked. Granted you need to be able to play well, but lots of people do that. Are you low maintenance, do you contribute positively, are you a problem solver, are you happy, are you well liked?
5. Expand. Your band is going to hate me for this, but you asked me specific questions about being a drummer, and not about your band. Start a contact list of people that you want to play with, the people you meet and the people you respect.
Become a master of your instrument.
Improve Improve Improve!
What are do doing to Improve your SKILLS? OK, lets define what skills I'm talking about, because I'll be the first to admit that being a do it your self musician almost forces you to be a Jack of all trades.
I'll be writing about business skill, personality skills, and a hundred other things, but right now I'm talking about your "skills of an artist" (for all you homestar runner fans out there). Your chops, your moves, your licks, your ability to play the instrument you chose. VERY important. You wouldn't believe how many people believe they are good enough to go pro because they can play a few Greenday tunes. It KILLS me to think that with 20 minutes a day, and some self discipline most people would GREATLY improve their skills but maybe 8 percent of of "serious" players actually put the time in.
Your playing ability is NOT what gets you gigs. You heard me. It's what keeps the gigs (kind of, more on that later). You could have great sales skill and never get a repeat gig if you sucked. Now that you are working hard to be an employed musician you have to be smart about your money, and since you have a computer and internet already in your asset of musician tools, may I suggest that you take lessons online? For FREE? Do them on your own time, when you aren't out Rocking the free world, save gas by not having to drive there, and choose where you would like to focus your energy.
I met this great guy scouring the internet for free guitar lessons. His name is Jim, and he posts these lessons righthere so that you don't have to spend precious time looking for them. All that time saved can go into IMPROVING your skills.
Have a look, and make sure you thank him for the great service and time that he put into this for you. Maybe ask him really nice if he'll find some bass or drum lessons for you :)