As you’ve probably already found out, it’s not easy to find someone willing to sink their cash into your project. But if you have aspirations of being an artist on a major label, it’s time to figure out how to secure funding and turn a profit on a smaller scale. Why? Because almost all artists on major labels are signed now, not only because they have talent, but because they bring two million dollars or more to the table, along with a proven track record. Very little talent? Enough money gets you signed anyway.
For your first album it’s going to be difficult to interest an outside investor because they’re going to look at your offer purely from a financial payback standpoint. But you can’t guarantee them you’ll sell one download of a single!
Therefore the second best investment sources are: family, friends and fans. One of them may be in a financial position to risk a substantial sum to help you get started. If you make good choices on the where and the how, you can do an entire eight song, independent, high quality album for under $10,000, certainly no more than $50,000 including some advertising/marketing funds, so it’s possible that one close-to-you investor, or multiple close-to-you investors will fund you.
If that fails you’ll need to address the very best source of funding: yourself. Whether you invest savings, income or borrow from a bank or credit card, if you aren’t willing to “show the money” and prove you believe in yourself, why would anyone else? Better, you won’t be beholden, feeling pressure to return a profit quickly. In fact. the profits? All yours!
So why would you invest in your career? Exactly what is your business plan for recouping the initial investment? Have you mapped it out on paper?
Will you sell an average of 15 CDs at every gig? How many gigs do you perform at in a typical year? How much profit does that work out to over two years? If you only average 50 people per show and 40 of them are the same faces attending repeatedly, it’s unlikely you can sell 15 CDs per performance after that first CD release show. One or two CDs poer gig? maybe. You need realistic projections not fantasy. Do you need to start gaining new-face exposure by playing one offs in a concert setting rather than working the same bar or two over and over?
Why do a CD at all? Because it’s tangible. Selling downloads directly at gigs is difficult if not impossible. If you want to capture a long term fan while they are still excited over the performance you just delivered, get a CD in their hands!
Here’s a Christian vocal group who has recorded two albums with a third is in progress, that is seeing amazing success with sales and performances, partly due to the high quality of the song tracks we produced in collaboration with a mix studio in Maine :
Working from their roughs, we cut the music tracks here which we then uploaded to a studio in Maine where the group cut their vocals and the project was mixed (by Bob Catalano).
They sell physical CDs at performances and sell both physical CDs and downloads at CD Baby:
Here’s another way to approach making a CD:
Dan is already offering the first three songs we recorded/produced at Nashville Trax on his CD as downloads:
Market your music online? Where? When? how often?
This Nashville Trax client has also experienced success, but not through live performance or a website, rather by making videos incorporating projects we produced for him and posting them on youtube,com:
Whatever your plan, it’s critical that you keep good records, including, accounting books, photos, videos, receipts, etc. If you do decide to pursue a bigger deal or even attempt to secure an angel investor for your second project, they’ll want proof that your first project turned a profit.