They say when you do what you love, you never work a day in your life. If you are in love with music and want to make this what pays your bills, we have some rules for you as an independent musician. We know it’s tough to break into the mainstream while juggling a full time job to support your love for music. Props to you for working towards your dream.
Think of being a musician like a business. With any start up business, there is a business plan. A passion project will be contagious for everyone that is exposed to that passion, but at some point, if you want to make a living doing your art, you must work it like a business. Start by writing down a mission statement that will remind you about the passion you want to share, and help others to align to your cause. Having a business plan in place will also help you to focus on your day-to-day operations and what you need to do to make money living that passion, and sustaining it.
You want to be able to calculate your expenses when figuring out how much to charge for your merch. Many artists follow the average value when selling a product, while some are delusional about the product’s value. Others, especially road musicians and comics, start to take what they can get for a multiple item sale after a show. This is where knowing the limits from your business plan, which was well-researched, will help you to live under normal business conditions, and hence be able to sustain your art as a living.
Take an indie musician in the following example. To sell a CD after a show for $10 is normal, while asking for $30 makes it much less probable for point-of-purchase sales as your audience walks out the door. Setting up a profitable studio arrangement, or producing your music at home will allow you to keep costs low, hence passing on the savings. If someone wants to play “Let’s Make A Deal”, then be a great salesman: “I see you really are a fan and want some of my music to share, and I would love to help you out, so I can give you a digital download card for $5, and I’ll even sign it for you!” The last time we ordered download cards we got a great deal, which expanded our ability to make a profit at live shows. You can still meet your needed mark-up and please your fans; you just need to be smart about it.
[Reprinted From: http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/]