How to fund your musical dream

Following a career in music is a dream come true for many. But as is the case with those who seek to pursue a career in any artform, whether it’s as a writer, an actor or an artist, the reality of having to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head can overrule all the talent in the world.

For some, that means settling for music as a hobby, as something you do after the working day is done. There’s nothing wrong with that as far as it goes, and heading to the studio or playing a gig in your local pub certainly beats sitting in front of the TV all evening.

But what if there was another way? This is, after all, 2018, and we live in an age of choice and opportunity. Wouldn’t it be just perfect if you could do it the other way round, spending the bulk of your day doing what you love, and putting in a few hours of an evening doing something else to supplement your income, at least while you have to? Here, we take a look at some 21st century options for funding your musical career.

Plan to succeed

Music is a form of art and expression, we all know that. But if you want it to be your career, you need to also approach it from a business perspective. Think of yourself as a self-employed entrepreneur, because in effect, that’s exactly what you are. And what’s the first thing any entrepreneur needs to get a business off the ground? A business plan.

Whether you are self-financing or looking for outside assistance makes no difference, a business plan will make you think about what you really need and that’s the first step towards making it happen.

Be realistic, and also be as detailed as you can. Provide an overview of what you plan to do, and a step by step analysis of how you are going to do it, including proposed timescales and estimated costs. This is also a good time to at least come up with an outline of a marketing plan.

Get a robot to make you money

If the idea is to spend the bulk of your time making music, you need to find a way to generate income that will not demand too many hours of the day. Traditionally, this has meant spending evenings doing bar work or the like, but the digital age has more elegant options.

A growing number of people are exploring the currency markets and becoming part-time traders to generate additional income. The beauty of this is that today’s automated trading platforms mean you only need to put in some preliminary research to devise the most profitable day trading strategy and then you can automate the process. In other words, the trading robot will be busy trading while you are busy in the recording studio, and all you need to do is spend a couple of hours each evening refining your strategy and reviewing the day’s trades.

Reduce costs by cutting out the intermediaries

Years ago, getting your music out in the big wide world meant massive costs in getting CDs made, and then trying to persuade outlets to stock them. Today, the world of iTunes has made distribution far easier, but it still doesn’t come cheap. But there is a still easier way.

Check out platforms like Big Cartel, designed specifically for artists of all types to distribute their work directly to fans.

Get whatever help is available

There is plenty of help out there for every aspect of your career, including songwriting, recording, touring and marketing. You just have to know where to look. Arts councils across the UK provide hundreds of grants every year, and organisations such as the PRS Foundation can also assist. Get online and search on what is available in your local area. Also, talk to fellow musicians, and if you are not already, get involved with the Musicians Union.

Crowdfunding

If there was ever a word for the 21st century, it must be crowdfunding. Here’s the theory: if a lot of people give a little financial help, it can make a big difference, and can negate the need for an otherwise crippling loan that will take years to pay back.

Crowdfunding is ideally suited to the music industry, as it allows loyal fans to give something back – and the best thing is, the more you give to them, the more they give to you. It really can turn your career into an unstoppable machine. Fans want to support you, and you want to produce more great music for them, so everyone ends up a winner.

Think you don’t have a sufficient fanbase? Think again, Rob Harris claimed to have no fans whatsoever, but he still managed to fund his entire album in only five days.

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