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What services should musicians expect to pay for on their way to a sustainable career?

By Mike on April 27, 2013 in Music Industry, Uncategorized

Assuming you’re a performing singer-songwriter or are in a band, you basically have one supreme goal; to make enough money with your music to support yourself or even better, to live like a rock star.

The sooner you come to grips with the way things are (as opposed to the way things used to be or the way you think they ought to be) the sooner you can get down to the work it will take to make your supreme goal a reality.

In the new music business, just like in the old music business, you are the creator of a product. Once you’ve created some music and you have recordings you’re satisfied with, you must reach the ears of an audience that will compensate you. The responsibility of getting your music discovered by fans and industry professionals rests more squarely on your shoulders than it ever has in the past. There are several ways to create an income stream but in the end it all comes back to an audience hearing your music and you getting paid for that. No one is more interested in your music being discovered than you are. So grab the bull by the horns and make it happen.

When you think about it, you realize this is the way it is for any product or service. Companies often spend far more money generating awareness, marketing & selling than they spend making their products. Your music is no different. Accept that and get on with it or stop complaining that you’re not getting anywhere. Secondly, even with today’s modern tools for musicians, it can still require a lot of work to stand out. If you’re not willing to put in the effort yourself, the first thing you need to do is get a manager who is. You cannot escape the need for this work to happen on your behalf, either by you or by someone who works for you.

Sure, you can hope your music goes viral and suddenly everyone knows about you and it didn’t cost you anything. Good luck with that strategy. I’ve stumbled upon awesome music that deserves to be ubiquitous but is buried deep within YouTube. Blowing up virally works for far fewer than 1 in a million. Hope is not a strategy. Having a good plan and executing it works far more often and most people who have made it in any profession followed that strategy.

Pay to acquire fans:

First and foremost, you should be acquiring fans. The only reason you should do it exclusively the old fashioned way (i.e. playing gigs to as many full rooms as you can) is if you have no other options, which only happens if you don’t have any halfway decent recordings. But if you have some recorded music your options increase exponentially because you can reach so many of your potential fans online.

Doing so isn’t free and you need to understand that. I don’t care if you spend all day on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and the new MySpace chatting people up and getting them to listen. Time is money and while you pound the digital pavement you have to pay your rent and feed yourself. It only feels free. It’s pretty costly when you add up the time you spend doing it plus the time you didn’t spend doing other things. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be active on social media. It’s great for managing an already acquired fan base but It’s no longer the most efficient and least costly way of building one.

Don’t buy ghost Twitter followers. Don’t buy YouTube views. Don’t buy Facebook likes. Don’t waste time creating the perception of traction. Spend your time and money creating real traction with real fans.

We live in an attention economy and no one will pay you money until they first pay attention. Legitimate companies are emerging with great services that essentially guarantee potential fans will hear your music. If they love it, you get their contact information and presto, a relationship is established. Compare the time, effort, and money it would cost you to play to 10,000 people to acquire 1,000 true fans vs an online service who can expose you to that many people in a few days or even overnight and deliver the fans’ contact details to you.

There are plenty of artists who earn a living with 1000 true fans. Get your 1000 true fans (at least). Learn how to monetize them. If you aren’t using the new tools out there to get this done, you’re not only working much harder than you have to, you’re being outpaced and out-competed by artists and bands who understand the new tools available to them.

Pay to get deals:

There are two kinds of deals that matter to you. Exposure deals (that expose you to a mass audience) and commercial deals (that pay you money for your work or for a license to your music). Deals can be both exposure deals and commercial deals at the same time, like getting your song in an advertisement, signing to a label, or licensing your song for film and TV. But notice that exposure deals are simply catalysts to reaching more potential fans and remember, your income always ties back to an audience hearing your music and you getting paid for that. That’s why exposure deals matter. If your song plays on network prime time or in a video game like Call of Duty it is worth more than you can imagine in saved time and money that you would otherwise have to spend to reach that audience.

Most artists who get deals are leveraging the exposure to further their career goals while often also getting paid.

But since you don’t know where all the deal opportunities are (and if you did it would take you months to network your way in), you shoud pay to expedite the process. There is nothing wrong with paying for a service that saves you time or money or both. In fact, that’s the smart thing to do.

Beware though! The landscape is rife with shady companies and shysters who will rip you off if you aren’t cautious. Your aspirations to get a deal and the closed nature of the music business makes you a target for getting scammed.

Pay for help getting deals if the following criteria are met:

* The company or professional is reputable with verifiable references you can query.

* They can point to verifiable and very recent success stories.

* They are transparent. Don’t just take someone’s word for it that they have contacts.

* They don’t take a cut of a deal or any rights to your work that isn’t at least contingent upon success they directly help you achieve.

You’re a professional with a product to sell. You should be treated professionally. You shoud have your questions answered. You should easily understand the answers. If it feels like you’re getting the runaround you probably are.

Pay for distribution:

You can’t get your music into iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and a hundred other consumer outlets on your own with any efficiency. There are companies that do this for you. It’s not expensive. Pay them.

Pay for an awesome online presence:

Unless you’re a good web designer / developer you should pay someone to do this for you. You should have your own site where you control your image and messaging. Update it frequently. Scroll your tweets from your homepage. Show fans ways they can engage with you. Run contests for a live in-home performance. Be creative with how you engage your audience from your own site.

Pay for the use of tools to help you manage your fan base:

You need to stay in touch. You need an mass email service. You need to let your fans know where you’re going to be playing. You need to sell them some t-shirts and other cool items that enable them to feel connected and part of the exclusive club.

Pay to get better:

There is almost no one in any profession that can’t learn more, can’t hone their trade, can’t be more effective. Even top athletes train every day with a trainer. Seek professionals in your field who have more experience, who have won a Grammy or two, who have worked with other top professionals and get real feedback, critiques and career coaching from them. It’s not costly and there are companies that facilitate these kinds of contacts for you.

In conclusion:

It has never been easier for an artist with good music to make a living but the responsibility for making that happen has never rested so squarely on the shoulders of the artists themselves. Instead of lamenting about all the things you must do to become successful in addition to making great music, rejoice that your destiny can now be in your own hands. You don’t have to wait around and hope to be discovered. Hope was never a good strategy in the old music business either.

Devise a good plan and spend some time executing it every day and don’t hesitate to pay for services that advance your career and that save you time and money.


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About the Author

MikeView all posts by Mike
My passions are music & business, New York & Barcelona, food & wine, Nebraska, Art, Politics, conquering new experiences, and the never-ending pursuit of a life purposefully well designed. I don't always get it right but I'll die giving it my best shot.


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  5. Ian McGrady April 29, 2013 Reply

    Hi Mike,

    Who would you pay to help get a licensing deal?

    Thanks for the article – it is inspiring.

    Best regards.

  6. Julie Butler April 29, 2013 Reply

    Hi Mike.

    Very compelling stuff! Thank you for posting it.

    I’m getting back in the music business after almost a 30 year absence. It’s changed dramatically and having had my own biz marketing for live theatre for 29 years, I’m eager to embrace these changes.

    While your post was illuminating, I wish that
    you could’ve cited some info in terms of cost and/ or companies that provide the services you refer to. I was unaware some of these existed. I will investigate further.

    Thanks Mike.

    Julie Butler Chanteuse

  7. Billy Shaw April 29, 2013 Reply

    Hey, great article! I enjoyed both reading it and thinking about it. I’d add another “pay to..” category to your well-considered list. Aspiring entertainers should consider “pay to network” including spending the money to attend industry events like ASCAP and independent events where more contacts and industry awareness can be worked. Thanks! – Billy

  8. Dwight Williamson April 29, 2013 Reply

    I don’t know about anyone else but as a novice in this industry I found all of this information extremely valuable and sounds like a common sense guidline that should be followed….I didn’t consider the exposure of e-mail addresses when doing mass mailings which could cause certain fans to bail on you so I thank you for that right off the top…I will take as much of your advice as I can afford and pray that success makes more of your advice available to me……..Thanks Again

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  10. Ariel W. Tyler April 30, 2013 Reply

    In the interest of keeping the songs fresh, they changed some musical phrases, updated the language here and there, and evolved the songs so they could be palatable to a contemporary audience. Aware of 21st Century music fans’ short attention spans, they massaged the storylines of these richly nuanced and intellectually complex fairytales and stories of seafaring escapades, until they became wholly digestible and unintimidating. The result is a collection of hundreds-of-years-old songs which sound like they were dreamed up by Mitchell and Hamer themselves.

  11. JP Mosoff May 3, 2013 Reply

    Very informative piece. I was surprised there was no mention of radio promotion as the greatest potential for increasing visability, getting gigs, getting signed to a label and/or booking agent and increasing sales of CD’s. downloads and merch.

  12. Excellent article. While paying for placement is no guarantee that one’s music will be heard, it seems to me that without any kind of paid media budget, the chances of anything positive happening diminish to zero. Many of us will never be able to make any kind of living from our music – that’s just the way the world is. But if you care enough about your music to want others to hear it, put some money behind it.

  13. Dave May 8, 2013 Reply

    Pay To Get Fans: “Legitimate companies are emerging with great services that essentially guarantee potential fans will hear your music”

    What kinds of companies are we talking about here? Indie promotions companies that send music to college radio? Companies like Jango? Street team promotions? Crazy people on Fiverr.com? :)

  14. Vinny May 8, 2013 Reply

    It’s good stuff, but I just wished he named the companies in his opinion worth using, especially for the “fan acquiring” part. I know of Jango & earbits, but I don’t find either to be “that effective”. Yes, you do gain a few fans, but what is better? what companies are best for this fan acquiring excercise?

  15. Rob Byron May 8, 2013 Reply

    First of all of all the avenues I have tried Music X ray is the best and most thorough.
    It all adds up very nicely the logic presented here but it comes tumbling down with the fans.
    Most dont reply at all,and have even forgotten where they had signed up from.
    Then the others that might give you a nice comment here and there just dont buy anything.
    They seem to have been brought up that way.
    I really would like to know of an example of someone whoi has 1000 fans and makes a living from it.
    I have 300 and make just about no living.
    Thats where it all falls down in my viewpoint
    Rob Byron

  16. Robert Lazaneo May 9, 2013 Reply

    I agree with Rob Byron. I have regular account and have my songs played on Radio airplay (Jango), Reverbnation, had my own website at Cdbaby and have an account at Music X-Ray. I have fans on internet radio,positive comments, no sales. You mentioned the closed door aspect of the music business which I believe is still true. Even with Music X-Ray, the company makes money from the song submission process, the music professionals make money from the song submission and then pass on the song. Sometimes they take the time to comment and its always some variation of” its good but–” not what we’re looking for, get an industry Pro to give you feedback to improve your chances, another expense, “It may not be suitable for our publisher but someone else may like it, so keep submitting” I think the music promotion companies, publishers, producers, mix experts will gladly accept your money but will pick up on the songs by people they know personally, songwriters in their employ or people( lawyers, accountants,road crew,) in short, anyone who has regular contact with the music professional. A publisher told me years ago that with a band an unknown songwriter has the road crew, lighting guy, producer, wardrobe person in front of him to get someone in the business to listen to his song. There is no guarantee of acceptance which is why artist start asking themselves if spending this money is worth it. Maybe start small, local gigs,issue recordings, handle your own publicity, develop real actual fans which is how bands used to do it before. When they got big enough to attract the interest of the music biz, that’s when they got noticed. Elvis didn’t apply to work with RCA he recorded for SUNN a small independent label. When he got big enough to attract RCA, then they signed him.

  17. Rachel May 9, 2013 Reply

    Hi Mike!:-)
    I appreciate the fact that you are blogging in hopes to help our hopes….as far as makin actual MONEY…is that a word??? did I mispell it??? So far, I have found the best way is to let someone hear our music and then pull out a cd, they hand me the money..(sp?) and I hand them the cd. Every body seems quite happy then…but I know their is more to it …so THANK YOU so much for your blogs.

  18. pegatha gaile May 9, 2013 Reply

    I agree with Rob and Robert. To me it feels like this also. I think it quite simple really, write good songs, get them as prof sounding as you can and then do not rely on anyone to help you that hasn’t got a personal end game. We all know with websites there are multiple ways you can make money if you think outside the box. A trite comment about someone’s work when they’ve paid for it isn’t good enough. You only have to have experienced this once to realise you may as well screw your money up into a ball and stuff it down your throat, LOL. Expert guidance, is always essential when doing business and as in most good businesses you have to estimate whether you are receiving value. Paying for fans works when you have an unlimited budget but if you haven’t it’s a vanity call. If you’re writing music because you want to be famous there are other ways you can gain notoriety in a quicker fashion with probably less stress. I get ticked off, make your money but if your going to exploit people and their dreams don’t be alarmed when they try other avenues. Hell guys, we’ve put people on the moon we can surely figure out a better way of getting there? Possibly better than squeezing into someone-else’s idea of how things should be. I admit it does take work but paying for plays on the internet that you get trapped into because you’ve already invested/wasted money on it isn’t the way forward. Paying for reviews or critiques won’t do it either, if you need to ask then your not ready. Perhaps this service here is a good one, but when you go and look at some of the artists who have trillions of likes and followers and you still haven’t heard of them. It makes you wonder if any of these prof services work? Perhaps we need a few more (possibly 2 a week) success stories that might help loosen one’s grip on our wallets. Personally, I think there must be a better way in which we can all win sooo i guess it’s thinking hats on, eh? : )

  19. Felix Barros May 9, 2013 Reply

    Could someone share the links or the websites and companies that offers each or the services mentioned?

  20. DC Cardwell May 10, 2013 Reply

    That’s a really pithy, to-the-point article which would be really valuable for all artists to read. I agree with how you prioritize these approaches and with your thoughts on what is useful and what’s not so useful.

    I have just one little question for my own benefit… you mention that “legitimate companies are emerging with great services that essentially guarantee potential fans will hear your music.”

    The only such company I can think of, off the top of my head, is Jango. I have to admit I haven’t found it useful for me, with fairly limited testing, but it seems good, in principle.

    Could you name some other companies which provide such services? You imply that it’s a new, but burgeoning, area, so I’ve a feeling I’m a little behind the game with this!

    • Mike McCready May 10, 2013 Reply

      Earbits has a product for fan acquisition and so does Music Xray. Music Xray’s is a bit complex to understand how it’s working but if your music is good, it’s the best cost per fan value.

  21. Amanda Williams May 10, 2013 Reply

    Great article, Mike! You nailed it. Thank you for presenting the information in a clear, new music business model kind of way. Our company started out as Hillbilly Culture two years ago and has developed into a huge worldwide online platform to help songwriters, artists, and music business people educate themselves about the principles that underlie our business. It’s tough because, in the beginning, the music industry wasn’t founded on principles at all. It’s becoming obvious now that the tower built on that shaky foundation is starting to crumble. The good news is that, as you say, there are tons of great resources available to help get your music out to real fans. One of our members recently told me about BandCamp as a great platform and way to control who gets your music, how much they pay for it, etc. I haven’t signed up myself yet, but intend to do so very soon. He showed me their mobile app and it’s gorgeous, fits nicely on the tiny screen without formatting errors, and makes it easier for fans to buy your music than “stealing” it would be. Of course, you can choose to give your music away for fans to share which is a viable choice for gaining new fans. Our new site is called Songwriting and Music Business (kind of a boring name, I know, but it helps people who need us find us online) and is a community of folks of all ability and experience levels who are working on their music. We invite community mentors, publishers, and film/TV producers and sups to access the member pages so that they can peruse the music and find material for their projects. We don’t charge for the ability to pitch, that’s just one of the benefits of membership with us. We just launched the new site, so no action to report there just yet, however, under our former name, we got three indie cuts for songs written at our Retreat. One of the songs has been cut 3 times by three different artists. Our upcoming conference is June 20-23, 2013 in Nashville, TN and features industry pros from all walks of the business – from fashion photographers (Kyle McLaughlin) to visionaries (Mark Montgomery – founder of echo music in the ’90s, social media strategist for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Pearl Jam), and of course, lots of Grammy winning songwriters (mostly country genre right now, but all genres welcome). The current count is 60 million albums sold and counting. You can read about it and sign up here: http://songwritingandmusicbusiness.com/conference/ Thanks again for the great article, Mike and the opportunity to plug our event. Going to share it with our members now.

  22. Jim Norris May 10, 2013 Reply

    Very well done.

    I teach Entertainment Marketing and I find that most of my students and a lot of members of the Internet generation expect that everything should be free. They don’t account for their time (our most valuable resource)and most often when you spend nothing, that is exactly what you get in return.

  23. Jim Norris May 10, 2013 Reply

    Correction to URL

  24. Stevie B May 11, 2013 Reply

    This article sums up things that I’ve always believed I should be doing. Thanks. It was inspiring. Especially the criteria one needs to keep in mind before paying companies to help get a deal. I’ll always remember this.

    Keep up the good work sir.


  25. Rosa May 11, 2013 Reply

    Great posts Mike… Thanks and greetings from Spain :)

  26. Gemma James May 13, 2013 Reply

    Hi there Mike
    I found your article very informative and interesting. I am 17 just and have just started doing gigs and building up my social media sites,I have had my website developed. I did sign with a management company but unfortunately, they took my parents money and became very guarded, promised the earth but in essence cost a lot of money. So please be careful when looking for someone to manage you, make sure you check them out thouroughly.
    cheers Gemma

    • Mike McCready May 14, 2013 Reply

      Wow. That is terrible! I’m sorry to hear that. Yes, you have to be careful.

  27. Produkt May 15, 2013 Reply

    Would have been cool if you gave us some links to some companies who are reputable at what you are suggesting. Great piece though.

  28. Eric Dwayne May 15, 2013 Reply

    Great article Mike. I get emails daily from various websites/subscription services that proclaim to be the next big internet site for Independents. The most difficult decision when (or if) spending a buck is having trust and knowing that you will get exactly what your paying for. We artists are a dime a dozen, and the web is full of great music. Reverbnation in my opinion is great as a tool for song promotion, but have found that the site offers daily promotions for a fee. With that said, an artist can go broke and continually take ones sale earnings and reinvest those earning right back into self promotion. The end result seems to be a monthly cycle of spend, earn, spend etc. My personal strategy isn’t one of profit but more of providing myself with a sustained web presence. Obviously the more places your exposed at will bring in more listeners/followers over time, and with so many artists the challenge of grabbing the “ears by the horn” is exactly that… A challenge!

  29. Peter Erickson May 16, 2013 Reply

    It’s hard to get the truth in business sometimes and in the music industry the truth seems to be a lie; I really appreciate Mike’s frank and practical approach to building an independent music business — I’m a new subscriber today!

  30. David May 20, 2013 Reply

    What companies do recommend beyond Music X-Ray, Earbit, and Jango?

    Pay To Get Fans: “Legitimate companies are emerging with great services that essentially guarantee potential fans will hear your music”

    • Mike McCready May 20, 2013 Reply

      I don’t know that I would recommend any companies beyond those.

  31. Tony May 22, 2013 Reply

    This is a great article, however highly misleading! I am a career music artist as well as web marketer and designer who has marketed Book-Movie-CD’s and used most of the music pr services out there over the past few years including Music X-Ray (No progress here) and Jango (Fans but no purchasers) Bandcamp (no progress here)as well as many others. The truth is that there really is not any effective marketing or PR companies or websites which can provide substantial fans or PR without spending thousands of dollars as with “any” product marketing and yet you still have to stay on top of their game just as the same applies to attorneys and doctors. This process is still a daunting and time consuming task in this day of internet tech and product consumption. If what you say is truthful and effective which frankly you are promoting your own company (music x-ray) “Quote: Too Complex” but not able to help in recommending websites/links/companies which have been and currently “effective” in getting the 1000 true fans. What is the point? As it seems with most of the posts in this article. Please provide us with “helpful-effective” info which can be used towards the goals stated and not just rhetoric, or better yet explain how music x-ray can achieve this, because as of yet, I have received no action at all from x-ray over the course of a few years and have moved on to other effective marketing techniques which do bring results, however in marketing one has to use several techniques to be successful in getting exposure, gigs, and satisfaction. This is just my humble opinion from someone who is doing it daily over years and playing concerts worldwide, studied and learn from every music marketing course out there as well as general internet marketing and helped many of my associates. The internet is an overwhelming situation to most and really does not have a focal point for true success. You just have to do your research, work hard as in any business and continue to develop your talent and real networking and connections with others who are already connected through their experience and relationships. To your and all music artist success!

    • Mike McCready May 22, 2013 Reply

      Hi Tony. Sorry you have not had success with Music Xray. Have you tried a fan targeting campaign recently on the site? Individual experiences do vary but overall, we see the site performing very well for our users. In general, artists with great music are getting great results. Artists whose music is not up to snuff get the same result on every site they use. That makes it challenging for Music Xray to differentiate itself sometimes. So, we place a lot of time and energy in providing value to musicians even when they are not getting deals or acquiring fans by providing insight into why the results aren’t coming and how they might be obtained by shifting strategy.

  32. ST May 22, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for the article, it stands on good principles. It’s a little discouraging, though, when I scroll down and see the titles of each section starting out with the word “pay.” I know the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” but as a married singer/songwriter with a baby on the way and a less-than-ideal job in this economy, honestly it’s hard to pay for anything else right now other than what gets us by. Of course the area I live in sucks for original singer/songwriters, so I am enlisting the help of a local agency to work with me in finding gigs, which if you’re good enough is a great route to go. I guess in the gist of things I’m paying for advancement in the industry (E.P., website, promo video, agency), so I’m not disagreeing with you when you say you gotta pay to keep going – it’s a necessary part of the biz. All I’m saying is it’s discouraging. But hey, we do what it takes, right? Chin up everyone – if you’re gonna advance, I’d rather be moving forward than falling behind, no matter how hard the steps are.

  33. Serf May 22, 2013 Reply

    There is simply no disagreement in the content, but from a writer’s viewpoint it lacks substance. As I read the article I kept expecting to find links to useful sites; many of them came to mind.

    I have been both a musician and PR professional for many years. I totally agree that there really hasn’t been a better time for artists to market their material; to take the bull by the horns. The key point you made was the difference between making a living and achieving stardom. The one element that has genuinely changed is the ability to reach that 1000 loyal fan stage. The is plenty of space on the field for artists to build a successful career if they can simply define success as making a good living doing a job they love. That’s the bottom line. The stardom program is a lottery. Sure you can buy a winning ticket, but it’s going to take a few million dollars to guarantee that.

    Several friends of mine make a great living selling music. They’ve carved a niche into the market and continue to feed it, nurture it. Some you’ve heard of possibly, others not unless you’re reading this from Germany or Japan. The fabric of the music industry has transformed and a smart business approach will get you far more mileage than stars in your eyes.

    • Mike McCready May 23, 2013 Reply

      I don’t disagree but felt the post was getting long as it was and my point was more to inform on the need musician have for specific services, assuming many know of them but have ignored them or thought they may not be legitimate. Watch my blog for specifics and other angles on this in the near future. Thanks for you comment. I appreciate it.

  34. samuel solomon (XLB) May 23, 2013 Reply

    you are really awesome especially with your use of words. honestly, people sometimes need to be SLAPPED straight into reality.
    and that’s exactly what your words do. greeeeeeeeaaaaaat! (haha

  35. paul May 23, 2013 Reply

    Thanks Mike for the informative article. I just signed up and I’m looking forward to what Music Xray can do. To add to the list of possible sites that effectively “get the word out” about one’s music, I’d like to recommend Noisetrade.com. They offer a free service connecting musicians to potential fans. The musician uploads a new CD, or EP, singles, or even simple demo’s – whatever the musician might want potential fans to hear. Then, music lovers can download whatever music they like. It’s a free download, but they are invited to “tip” the band for the music. We made our entire debut CD available to the site (You can see our page at http://www.noisetrade.com/hijodelrio). Not much happened in the first few weeks, but the people who run Noisetrade.com contacted us (quick verification that our musicianship is professional) asking if we’d be interested in appearing on their “New and Notable Music” which is featured on their homepage for a week. We agreed that the $200 cost to do so might be worth the gamble of the quick exposure. Did I mention that for each free download by a music lover, the artist receives their email and zip code info? After a week on the homepage, we’d gathered over 700 legitimate emails from around the world and had identified 5 very real markets where we can concentrate our efforts to get live gigs or do specific promotion. I can verify also those comments above that the internet generation doesn’t much pay for music as we only received a handful of “tips”. However, we are hopeful that the boost to our previously non-existent email list will prove valuable to us in the future. Hope this is helpful to someone.

    • Mike McCready May 23, 2013 Reply

      Awesome. That’s for the info and for adding to the conversation here. Welcome.

  36. Xavian May 24, 2013 Reply

    This is great information, keep it coming man. I’m 19 and I’ve been making music for 8 years and just started marketing myself in 2012 and realized everyone isn’t skrillex or Justin beiber so for those who have talent but no one to show need an already set income to invest on the things you’ve mentioned

  37. Harrison May 26, 2013 Reply

    Thanks for another great article Mike. I’m looking at Music Xray very seriously – I believe in what you’re accomplishing and the opportunities you provide for GOOD musicians. I understand that it doesn’t matter what service you pay for, if the music doesn’t have value, you won’t make headway. I think Music Xray can get us where we want to go!

  38. Adam A June 18, 2013 Reply

    I’m a songwriter, and have little desire to pay for fans. I’m more interested in developing relationships with publishers who think my songs are marketable. Over 1 year ago, I signed up for Music Xray. My strategy was to spend a budget of $1200. I had about 10 “selections” and even signed a handful of contracts with publishers. But when they started charging for diagnostics, I lost interest. Again, I could care less about building an internet fan base. I wanted to make targeted, select submissions to certain publishing opportunities. Paying an additional $10 to get fans before I could submit to an opportunity, sent me looking elsewhere.

    I joined another similar site and within 3 months (and a fraction of the cost) developed a solid relationship with a big time publisher and we’ve spent the last 2 months working together on a project. It’s been eye opening and I’ve learned a ton about this business. These sites do work, BUT you won’t make a dent unless you are strategic with your submissions and plan on spending $1500-$2000. And make sure your songs are solid! If they suck, no amount of joey or submissions will help you.

  39. Steve Metzger June 18, 2013 Reply

    Looking forward to more interesting articles. Thanks!

  40. Tommy Mack June 18, 2013 Reply

    Hi mike, Great info and spot on, we need to work on this everyday if it’s going to happen!

    Tommy Mack

  41. Tommy Mack June 18, 2013 Reply

    sorry wrong web address

  42. Mike,
    Great advice. I deal with this daily from those needing someone to assist them and help develop their talent.
    Its nice to see you taking the time to make this video to educate people. It does cost money!!

    Have a great one..

  43. Dre June 18, 2013 Reply

    Thanks so much for these gems of wisdom.

  44. D June 22, 2013 Reply

    Hi Mike,

    I wanted to share something with you.

    But first things first: thank you for your blog – very compelling ideas and I like the way your way of explain things in a precise and clear manner.

    That said, after watching the video, I have a very uneasy feeling. While I’m a novice, looks like I’m an old-school type of artist (?). I prefer spending nights with a lyrics notebook and a cigaret, eventually jumping to Logic Pro at 5am. The idea of spending HOURS clicking buttons at ReverbNation/Twitter/FB/etc. just makes me vomit. (Well… SoundCloud maybe a certain exception here – useful tool to share the material.) I’ve always thought that it you are making great music, something outstanding, then you will inevitably have great gigs, clubs will love you, people and local media will WANT to spread info about you in their circles, and it will eventually get into the ears of “right people”, who will simply see a commercial interest in you (people love him, let’s try to cash on it). While promoting bad music will cost a lot and won’t live long anyways.

    A little bit chaotic :) but… Do you think I am too naive still believing in power of “honest” music vs heavily promoted {18+ word here}?


    • Mike McCready June 22, 2013 Reply

      I think remarkable music can catch fire. I mean remarkable in the true sense of the word… worthy of people taking about it… which can mean great but not always. Psy’s Gangnam Style, Cee Lo Green’s Forget You, Crazy by Gnarles Barkley etc. Less than that has little chance of just catching fire on it’s own and must be “marketed” to the right ears. The right ears are often professionals who put the song in a movie (or similar) and once the song gets traction it does take off. But with so much entertainment pulling at the strings of consumers’ attention and the fact music no longer drives the culture (ended more or less around the time one-to-many communication became possible for everyone) you have to work it much more than in the past.

  45. D June 22, 2013 Reply

    Thank you, Mike! Makes sense…

  46. Michael R. Martinez August 28, 2013 Reply

    As a 66 yr. old composer/pianist still trying to break into the music field, I want to say that your information has been very valuable to me. Thanks and please keep up the good work.

  47. Gavin Bates September 29, 2013 Reply

    Really useful article. Thanks Mike.

    Could you please tell me some of the companies you would recommend to help me do some of the things you’ve mentioned, such as acquiring fans, exposure deals, etc?


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