Having a skill or hobby through which you can make money can bring independence and a financial flow that comes directly into your hands. Say enough with being a starving artist while being your own boss as you showcase your craft can come with many collateral effects. But the truth is, many can’t sustain even a basic lifestyle on a consistent basis when they answer the call to doing their own thing in the world. As John Maxwell’s best-selling title proclaims, “Talent Is Not Enough.”
Those who think it’s sufficient all by itself often end up being starving artists who subsist on the fringes of society. To paraphrase a collection of definitions a starving artist is a person who gives up or delays material pursuits in order to pursue the art that calls them. They live in a plain vanilla and super simple life so that they can put some of the proceeds of their craft back into more projects.
Why choose to “starve” when there is plenty in abundance? Yes, there is struggle in the start of every successful business. Many businesses, however, grew past this stage, some at an accelerated pace.
Every day there are stories about the next billion dollar business industry. Music was one of the first to be listed as such an industry and still holds its place as a billion dollar industry. This simply means that if you are a musician you are going about earning from this industry the wrong way. The landscape of this industry includes YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, iTunes and many other platforms. So, the question remains that we have to tap into what is the right way? Once we do that, we have to run with it, giving it all we got.
Changing Music Scene
Gone are the days when you wrote a song and became an instant millionaire. The rules of the game are a little bit trickier. Plus, the influx of large numbers of talent into management studios everyday makes “making it big” a tough chess game. However, as with chess, it is possible to master the craft and come out a winner.
Most “starving” young artists usually make one common deadly mistake. This major career crippling mistake is not reading every single word in their first contract. This fatal error has caused you to experience some of the following fallouts:
- Bound yourself and your content to one management company for life.
- Signed away the money made from your blood, sweat, and tears and become a record label slave. You may recall how the late great music genius known as Prince highlighted this industry practice by tattooing the word “slave” on his face. He also ceased using his stage name for a while and preferred being called “The musician formerly known as Prince.”
Royalties and Rights
You didn’t get your name registered. Therefore, your name and your content are not protected by copyrights. People freely abuse thousands of copyrights every year. So, you can imagine the abuse done to the material of an indie artist whose material is not covered by copyright.
Moreover, you have given up your rights to royalties by not signing up for your copyrights. Without copyrights, there is nothing to say that the individual using your material without your permission should pay you for its use. As such once again you have successfully given persons the ability to make money off you. Yet, you stand to benefit nil.
Don’t Play Yourself
When you are famous you can always hate the paparazzi. On the contrary, when you are a fresh off the block indie music artist new to the indie music realm, you welcome cameras. Declaring your hate for this and that will turn people away from you no matter how good your music is and how good your voice sounds. People are willing to settle for lesser talent if the person chooses to start their music career humble and respectful. The musician who doesn’t appreciate the way things work, and who don’t appreciate fans or become cooperative with the media has shot him or herself in the foot.
The next way to stay hungry is to not exist. Yes, you can market your brand on social media but are you going to be on tour all year round? How else do you plan on staying relevant or maintaining your relationship with the fan base you already have? Similarly, having your own website or indie music blog without posting new content will keep you from being relevant. No relevance means you miss out on being chosen for paid indie music performances and opportunities to be a brand ambassador. Stay in touch by scheduling your posts. You can even develop posts and preschedule when they show up on different social media sites using Hootsuites or a similar social media management sites.
Furthermore, you build and maintain a relationship with your fans by staying in touch with them and not always trying to get them to buy something. Gary Vaynerchuk makes the point that one has to do more than make constant calls for action on social media platforms. He used the boxing metaphor of three to one in the title of his highly successful book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” and advised that for every one call to action (buy this, buy that, like, comment, share) you should post three pieces of valuable content that informs or shares information with no accompanying call to action. In order to master the different social media sites and get optimal results, you should read his book.
Stop Buying Into The Starving Artist Bullshit
The best way to not decide to starve is to not hold yourself to starving forever. This means choose to make smart decisions about how you begin your career. Remember once you choose to be an indie music artist or an indie artist in general, the first contract you should be looking to sign is copyrights. Never decide to starve. Instead do due diligence, find out what others have done to accelerate their creative careers, duplicate and exceed what they have done, and launch your career at the proper time and season. Don’t be another loser who’s content with working a dead-end job and working on their art in hopes to be “discovered” while living with their mom. Stop starving yourself by only placing emphasis on your talent while ignoring functioning as a sustainable business that can actually make you a living.