Why is it that some people
in the music business make tens of thousands of dollars a year, while
others wallow in poverty most of their lives? Is it because the rich
ones are just plain lucky? Or because they were born into a musical
family with clout? While these easy-road explanations might be true
for a few people, most of the real music business success stories involve
everyday people who discovered what it takes to make money and get ahead
by doing something they love.
It's unfortunate that so
many people who pursue artistic endeavors never make much money at it.
A lot of people I know are content simply to toy with their musical
whims, never reaping a real financial gain while doing it. Actually,
I'm convinced that many of these people would feel guilty if they made
much money from music. I'm serious. Think about it .
Tradition tells them that
the only way to realistically make good money is through the tried-and-true,
nine-to-five grinddoing something they're not particularly thrilled
with. Well, here's some personal advice for you:
It doesn't have to be that
way for you. Why not make good money at something that excites you,
at something that holds your interest? If your desire is strong enough,
if you educate yourself and come up with a game planand implement
that plan!you can do anything you want.
Whether your passion is
being an onstage performer, an offstage support player or both, you
will find literally dozens and dozens of honest, down-to-earth, cash-producing
possibilities by putting to use your most valuable instrumentthe one
that lies between your ears: your own brain.
Remember, playing paid gigs
and getting a hefty record contract advance are only two ways to make
money in this business (although they certainly are great ways to make
it). But most musical success wannabes make the mistake of ending their
search there. And that's exactly why they'll lose and you'll gain, because
there are so many more ways to tap the lucrative music business money
machine. The smart music business entrepreneurs are already profiting
from this fact. Now it's your job to find out where you fit into the
picture... and then go get your share.
The '90s is a decade of
specialization. Progress and advancing technology may make things more
complicated, but they also open a lot of doors for enterprising people
like you to find a niche and fill itand take home a few bucks in exchange
for your expertise.
But I can hear the pessimist
in you saying, "But aren't there countless numbers of people every year
who strive to make a living with music and say they want to make good
money at itbut they never seem to get above the poverty level?"
Well, as a matter of fact,
there are. But I'm here to tell you: Don't let that sad fact get you
down, because there are also tens of thousands of people who make excellent
money working in their chosen area of the music business. And the majority
of these successful people weren't born into it. They didn't make it
because of luck or fate or mystical circumstances. They became financially
independent and successful because they made a conscious decision to
do so and then took the action necessary to make it happen. That's what
sets the winners apart: acting on good ideas!
Some people never take action
because they think "it takes money to make money"how many times have
you heard that myth?or because they "don't have connections." Here's
another good excuse: "It's not what you know, it's who you know that
counts." Don't be so quick to make these limiting beliefs part of your
Whenever someone confronts
me with one of these shallow scapegoats for not making money, I think
back to January of 1987. That was the month I came up with the idea
to publish a music newspaper in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri.
At the time there was no all-music-and-entertainment publication in
the city, and I was very excited by the prospect of filling that void
and creating a nice little business for myself.
The only problem was I had
no idea how to run a newspaper. I'd never worked on my high school or
college papers. I'd never even taken a journalism class. And I certainly
didn't have a reserve of cash to help finance my new business, nor did
I have any connections with banks or investors. So what did I do?
I used my own drive and
determination and made use of what I did have, which was a command of
the English language and a typewriterthat's it! So when I had typed
up the four pages of the first issue, I went to a local print shop owner
and offered to run an ad for his business in the issue in exchange for
a discount on printing. He agreed. That first issue of my magazine cost
me about $25 to put out. I had it distributed to about 20 locations
in St. Louis about three weeks after I came up with the concept.
Was it a primitive start?
Yes. Did I make mistakes in the first few months or couple of years?
Yes, and I still do. You may also wonder if many people expressed their
lack of faith in the magazine succeeding? Most definitely. And, you
may ask, has it become a success over the years? Without a doubt.
Today, the paper, called
Spotlight, runs about 36 pages a month with four-color covers, with
25,000 copies being distributed to hundreds of locations all over town.
It's recognized as the voice of the St. Louis music scene. And it didn't
get that way because of money or connections or lucky breaks. It got
that way because I took the raw resources I had and acted on my intense
desire to make this exciting idea a reality. Over the years that same
desire led to the newspaper growing and evolving into the success it
Can you do the same thing
with one of your own music business ideas?
Along with learning a lot
about life and money from running my own business, I've also had the
good fortune to meet and interview dozens and dozens of music business
success storiesfrom artists and managers to record company executives
and business owners. Whenever I meet these people I can't help but ask
them how they got started, what steps they took to get where they are
now, and what qualities they believe it takes to make money and be successful
in this complicated business of music.
Through this research I've
come to realize there are three key qualitiesor rulesto creating
musical wealth. These three keys could mean the difference between your
success and failure when pursuing your career.
First off, money-making
success has as much to do with your frame of mind as it does your luck
or family tree. Remember this first important rule of prosperity:
You Are What You Think.
How many times have you heard the phrase "starving musician"? Or how
often have you heard friends say, "I'm never going to make any money
with music. Why bother?" It should be no surprise that the people who
say (and therefore think) these things the most are among the poorest
individuals you know. Remember, if you tell yourself something often
enough, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
The key, then, is to program yourself for success. Stop thinking and
uttering thoughts of limitation and deficiency. Start getting your mind
attuned to thoughts of boundless possibilities and abundance
and watch what sort of rewards come your way!
Many of us are so used to thinking in these negative terms, it's difficult
to shift into positive gear and stay there. A great mental technique
to reprogram your thoughts is the use of daily affirmations, which remind
you of your goals and keep you focused on achieving them. Affirmations
are basically specific statements that spell out what you want to obtain
and when you want to obtain it. They should also be read aloud every
day and worded in the present tense.
Therefore, "I will be a successful music publicity specialist someday"
is not an effective affirmation. It's too bland and vague. On the other
hand, "I make $25,000 a year by December of this year doing music publicity
for touring bands and independent record labels" is a much more solid,
You Get What You Want When You Help Other People Get What They Want.
(This phrase also makes
a great affirmation, just replace the You's with I's and you're set.)
I truly believe that a lot
of people don't become successful or make much money because they consider
themselves to be in the taking business. Their only concern is what
they have to do to take someone's money away from them. The thing that
drives these poor creatures is the prospect of jumping on what's going
to make the fastest buck, regardless of what it is. But I pity them,
and so should you, because they'll never know the joys of being in the
full-time giving business.
Being a success in the field
of musical giving means that the product or service you specialize in
adds real value to the lives of the people who become your customers.
Of course, the thing that makes you happiest is being directly involved
in an area of the music business for which you have a burning desire
and passion. But the aspect that will make you rich (and even happier)
is making sure your customers feel that what they get from you is worth
more than the money they have to give up.
For instance, a successful
club band gives its fans a good time and the bar owner a packed house.
A photographer gives his client a hot, new image. A music teacher gives
her students the ability to make music and impress friends. Are you
getting the picture?
In other words, make sure
you have a firm grasp on what it is that the people who pay you get
out of dealing with you. Once you know what that is, you'll know how
to promote your special area of the music business and how to make sure
your customers keep coming back for morewhile referring you to others.
The bottom line is this:
Concentrate on what you're giving to the people who send money your
way. If you continue to give what they want and need, you won't have
to worry about taking anyone's money. It will take care of itself.
Let's move now to another
rule I'd like to encourage you to adapt for yourself. It's a philosophy
I've always lived by when pursuing my music ventureswhether it was
publishing my own music magazine or writing this book.
Develop an Attitude
That Allows You to Make Money and Have Fun While Doing It.
It's an outlook on life
that's always worked for me. Can it work for you, too? What would happen
if your goal was to make money and have fun while doing it? Wouldn't
that put the whole subject of money in a more positive light? Of course.
The problem is that many
of us are so used to dealing with money in stressful situations. The
rent is due, it's time for the equipment payment, how are you ever going
to scrape together the cash to get the van fixed?! For many of us, making
money is associated more with scrambling under painful circumstancesnot
fun! No wonder people become so cynical about it. I can hear you now:
"What are you talking about, Baker? Making money isn't supposed to be
fun, it's something you do because you have to!"
Well, I say that's nonsense!
Making money should be fun, creating music should be fun, just as life
itself should be fun. And don't let anyoneincluding yourselftell
Right now is the best time
to get started on your money-making career in music! Keep your mind
open and your aim high. There's no reason why you can't turn that million
dollar musical idea into reality... starting today!
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