The fact is the biggest artists in the industry are entrepreneurs; Jay-Z, P. Diddy, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Kenny Chesney, and many more viewed there music career as a Big business opportunity. It is your responsibility to get that same type of vision for your music, you are an entrepreneur and you are the product that you will turn into a multi-million dollar company.
Your first step as an entrepreneur is to understand the concept between employment, small business, and Big business entrepreneurial ventures. An employee exchanges dollars for hours and values security. A small business owner employs people and values independence but stops making income if they stop working (ie doctor, lawyer, sales, etc.). However, a Big business has 500 or more employees and is a money making system which is self-sustained (ie McDonalds, Hamburger University, and Sysco). So, how does this big business mentality relate to our music careers? Think of cover shows as the revenue you receive as an employee in the music industry; maybe it is not exactly your ultimate goal but it helps keeps the lights on. Your original music is the small business, every time you have ever sold a ticket or album that was revenue for “YOUR MUSIC” Incorporated. However, if you stop directly selling and promoting your revenue for that small business would cease. The Big business owners are like the Dr Dre’s of the world that created legacy money which they pass down to generations. Many said that his Audio company had no place, and yet, within a decade he was able to leverage his brand equity as an artists to net almost 1 Billion in personal cash from the sale of that company. Lady Gaga has her Monster perfume, Eminem has Shady Records, Taylor Swift makes insane revenue on all of her merch, but why do you think that is? All of these people figured out there story and differentiator in the music industry and then monetized the brand they created around that story.
So, remember, all great artists in the industry viewed there music career as a big business from day 1. You must do the same. Viewing yourself as a big business there are a few core elements you must be clear on before you really can grow to the extent you envision in the industry. First, what is the name of your music project? Next, what makes your music and story unique? What is your competitive advantage? What is your 6 month, 12 month, and 24 month plans for growth? What are your goals (ie bring a message to the world, create music full-time, have a passive income from music which pays all my bills, write 200 songs this year, perform 100 shows, bring your message to the world)? What is the long term vision for your music? How will your name and brand communicate that vision? What is your break-even and what will it cost to scale (grow) the business? A good place to start is to answer these questions and perpetually go back to these questions to make sure you are continually aligning yourself with that vision. Once you know the finances, marketing, and plan for growth for your music the sky is the limit in growing your empire. Plus it is a million times easier to ask these hard questions of yourself and your music now then it is to try to change and readjust course with a band name or logo which wasn’t a true reflection of the vision or sound of your music. Trust, this stuff is crucial and it’s what the big wigs at Universal and Sony are looking for to get involved with independent acts. Much love fam!