Want To Make $50,000 a Year In Music? Start With One Dollar a Day.

A big part of this blog is to figure out how to actually make money with music.  However, I’ve been talking about giving music away for free, buying fancy tablets, and paying for web hosting.  If you look at my “financials” page, you’ll notice a downward trend in money for my guinea pig band Shiplosion.

How does a musician make money? Honestly, I don’t know for certain.  But, I think I have a couple of ideas.  However, these ideas are based more on the individual musician, and not the band as a whole. Why? The individual can make more money and have more control over their finances than an entire band.

Start Earning One Dollar A Day Continue reading

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This site might be down and not updated much this month…

Sometime this month, I will be transferring this site from WordPress.com hosting to my own hosting.  I will have to export everything (comments, posts, pages) and import back into the new host.  During this time, this site will look ugly, be hosed, and will ruin your RSS links. Continue reading

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End of the Week: Online Marketing and Inspiring Advice

Online Marketing:

Songwriting

Touring and Playing Live

Advice

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    5 Steps To Become a Mobile Merch Table

    Peddler, 1849
    I did it.  I took the plunge.  I bought a tablet.  Not the iPad, though.  I got a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.  I bought it for this post, in fact.

    Why would I do such a thing?  Well, I’ve been kicking around the idea of making the merch table mobile.  I’m not saying replace the merch table entirely, but to expand on it by making each band member a walking merch stand.

    I was inspired after reading Michael Brandvold’s 2000 Things to get 20,000 Fans.  The latest article was “Press The Flesh” meaning to actively network and talk with people right after a show.  But there are two conflicting things, working the room and working the merch table.

    In an ideal world, everyone would flock to the band’s merch table right after the show ended.  In reality, for smaller bands, everyone immediately flocks to the bar or outside for a smoke.  Also, some clubs or house shows don’t have a place to set up a merch stand.

    The solution?  Be your own merch table.  Combine networking and merch sales.  This is where the Samsung Galaxy Tab comes into play. Continue reading

    Posted in Merchandise | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

    How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 3: Themes

    After installing WordPress, you need to choose a theme which is the look and layout of the site.  WordPress has many free themes, so it’s a matter of personal taste choosing which theme you want for your site.

    As far as I have been able to tell, there are no themes that really help out musicians in particular.  Even though the theme claims otherwise, the only difference I’ve seen with themes tailored for musicians is they provide a default picture of a guitar or something.  Not really helpful.  Plug-ins and widgets are what make the blog useful for musicians, so worry about layout first when it comes to themes. Continue reading

    Posted in Website, WordPress | Tagged , , , , , , | 18 Comments

    Weekly Music Advice Round-Up: Make A Million Dollars on YouTube

    Here’s a few articles I spotted this week.  Figured I’d start sharing cool articles I find on a weekly basis.  My big take-away is that YouTube is what every musician should focus on.

    YouTube is looking better than a label, MySpace, CDs, or even touring….

    Posted in Weekly Round-Up | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    How To Recruit Band Members: Get Your Ad Headline Right

    (I might put this post under the category of either “obvious” or “doh!”  Either way, I kinda slapped myself in the forehead after realizing what I’ve been doing.)

    I’ve been trying, rather unsuccessfully to recruit band members.  I just discovered my problem.  The headline to my ads were wrong.  I just changed the headline and immediately got three hits from musicians.

    For the headline, include what instrument you play in addition to what instruments you are looking for. Continue reading

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    What to do with broken equipment? Make art!

     guitar in 2

    Another Music Experiment:

    Make broken equipment art.  Then sell it. 

    Broken strings, cymbals, cables; turn them into something fans would love.  Decorate a CD case with broken strings.  Make an artistic logo and signature on the broken snare head. 

    Also cool, mark down which shows this equipment was used at. 

    Otherwise, your broken strings, cymbals, and whatever will go to waste.  That’s money down the toilet.

    Posted in Experiments, Merchandise | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 2: Installing WordPress

    My previous post covered setting up a domain, hosting, and e-mail.  In this post, I’ll briefly cover installing WordPress on your website.

    First off, WordPress is blogging software. However, it is highly configurable and allows for multiple plugins. Once you have it set up, you won’t need to be an expert at HTML and Javascript to have a working website.

    Be warned, there are 2 different WordPresses! WordPress.com is their commercial blog hosting site. WordPress.org is the project for the free software that powers WordPress. The commercial site doesn’t allow plug-ins or your own advertising (like using Goggle’s AdSense). No plugins means it’s much more difficult to customize your own MP3 players, galleries, or upcoming gig calendars. Also, the .com version serves up their own advertising on your blog. You could be a death metal band and get Justin Bieber ads. Nothing you can do about it except pay more money to stop the ads. Continue reading

    Posted in Website, WordPress | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 1: Domain, Hosting, and E-Mail

    First off, I’m definitely not the first to do a site like this or to do a blog post about it.  Do an internet search, and don’t take my word for gold.  Actually, trying WordPress is a first for me.  I might end up hating it.

    I went head first with WordPress and GoDaddy.  That doesn’t mean you should do exactly what I do.  I know how to program and learn new web technologies.  But, I’m limited on time and cash, so I chose WordPress as a CMS  (Content Managment System).  I also chose GoDaddy because, well, they have hot chicks on their ads.  And it’s easy to find discount codes for them.

    Chris Rocket of Promote Your Music has a great setup for musicians for $23.  Please read this as an alternative to see if it fits you better.  My setup costs about $80, but for a full year.  This amounts to $6.70 dollars a month, but you have to pay the full cost for the entire year.  Do not do what I describe unless you have $85 in the bank.  Even Chris’s recommendations cost you a monthly fee.  Calculate the full year balance to see what is best for you.

    GoDaddy

    GoDaddy tries to upsell you on everything at every step.  Some of the things they offer seem like you really need them.  “Drive more traffic to your site!”  “Domain Privacy.”  “Secure certification of your site!”  But you don’t need them.  These really don’t do much for you except tag on a significant increase in yearly cost.  You are a musician, and you are broke.

    Here’s the golden rule.  When in doubt, go cheap!  Remember this.

    Choosing Your Domain

    GoDaddy.com is a hosting and domain site.  The domain is your address on the internet.  When you see something like facebook.com, that’s a domain.  You want a unique domain for your band.  Actually, even if you can find the domain name you want, double check that shit.  If you’re using “dashes”, you’re doing it wrong.  If your search for your band name turns up a page of results before the name of your band, choose a different band name.  That’s why I chose “Shiplosion” for my band name.  No one has that name, and it’s unique.  If your name is “The Band”, good luck, fool.

    DON’T STICK WITH A COMMON BAND NAME.  Make sure your band name will come up first if people just search for your band name.  If you have to tell people to use quotations in their google search to find your band, you’re doing it wrong.  I know.  My last band was called “The Them”.  If you don’t use quotations, my last band’s name conflicts with “Them”.  Van Morrison is still way more popular than my band.  Seriously, research a bit first to save yourself years of heartache.  3 years into your career is the worst time to change the name of your band for legal reasons.

    Now that you have a band name, go to GoDaddy.  On their front page, you can type in to see if your band name is available as a .com.  The “.com” is the most memorable domain name.  I would suggest getting a .com.  If the .com name is taken, I’d recommend getting another band name.  Most people will naturally search for the .com name and will give up searching for you if they don’t find it the first time.

    Domain name search

     

    Do I need .co, .org, and .net as well?

    Now, remember GoDaddy will try to upsell you on everything.  You don’t need multiple domain names for your band.  You don’t need a .mobi, .co, .music, or whatever they are selling.  Just get the .com.

    Choose the ".com"

    Just choose the ".com".

     

    Domain Settings

    The next step is choosing how long you want to purchase the domain name.  I chose one year.  GoDaddy will notifiy you when your domain needs to be re-registered, so don’t worry about losing it.

    Choose to leave your domain uncertified.  Again, a “certified domain” is just another upsell that’ s not necessary for your site.

    The next step wants you to sign up for extra “privacy” settings.  Ignore this, unless you really, really don’t want your address listed on “WhoIs”.  Every domain gets entered into a “domain registry” that lists your name, phone number, address, and when your site registration expires.  This is so people can contact you if they would like to buy that domain.  Also, so the public, in general, knows who owns this domain name.

    From what I’ve read, this privacy protection doesn’t do much for you.  So it’s your choice to hide your whois info.  Personally, I haven’t seen any extra spam or any type of identity theft.

    E-mail and Hosting

    The next step is setting up your e-mail and your hosting.  The e-mail part is optional.  You can set up a free Gmail account.  Personally, I prefer having e-mail that has my band’s website on it.  I chose the smallest number of e-mails and storage.  I will probably only use one e-mail address, and I doubt I’ll need to store more than 2GB worth of mail and attachments.

    The hosting part is important.  The domain name is just a name.  In order to have an actual website, you will need hosting.  Hosting means they give you a place to put your website.  Choose the 10GB, economy option.  You can upgrade later if you hit that space limit, but why waste money in the short term?

    The other two items I ignore.  “Drive traffic to your site”?  You know what actually drives traffic to your site?  Content.  That means your music, pictures, show dates, and videos will drive traffic to your site.  Nothing else.

    SSL certificate?  How secure do you think websites are if anyone signing up with GoDaddy can get an SSL certificate?  Useless.

    Paying:  Keep it cheap and don’t forget the promos

    Now you’re at the last step:  paying.  Remember, they’re going to try and upsell on this page.  Keep it simple.  Choose cheap and choose least number of years.  If you have the dough, you can potentially save money by choosing 2 or 5 year plans.  Personally, I don’t have that much cash.

    The important thing however, is the “Enter Promo Code”.  GoDaddy has a TON of promo codes!  Go to Google and search for GoDaddy + promo code.  You might be able to save yourself 5 to 15% off the cost.

    That’s it for part one.  The next part is actually new to me, installing WordPress.  I just installed it the other day, and, it’s cool, but a bit challenging.  However, if you want a website, and you don’t want to learn web design, WordPress is awesome.

    Posted in Website | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments