The music business is complicated and competitive enough for unsigned artists looking to get their big break.
If you plan on making a decent or profitable living from selling your music online, these 5 industry secrets will bring you within closer range and give you a better chance at living your dreams – without chasing your tail, wasting your money, selling your soul, or signing your rights away.
Something you’ll never have enough of, to convert into sales.
The problem, as an unknown, unsigned artist, is that nobody knows who you are, or where and how to find you.
There is NO DEMAND for you or your music yet. You simply don’t exist to the market – no matter how good you might be, or what reviews you might get from a handful of fans.
This is why so many new, unsigned artists are willing to sign all their rights and profits away to big record companies, in exchange for some headline exposure, publicity and fans.
There is an easier, quicker, more profitable and lasting way – if you do it right.
Instead of looking to promote and sell your own original music, starting unknown and from scratch – which will take bottomless amounts of time, efforts and funding – try to apply for the rights, and tap into existing mass volumes of online demand and search engine traffic, for popular, existing cover songs by famous artists.
This might seem counter-intuitive – but it will help you establish a worldwide fan club, and lots of TRAFFIC to later convert into sales for your own original music – at no cost, and the click of a button. This is a formula MANY independent, unsigned artists use very successfully to propel them to eventual fame, or get signed by a major label.
There are three types of rights you can apply for – to get permission for covering an existing hit song, legally, and earn some money from it to finance your dreams:
• Mechanical – permission to record or re-record the song
• Synchronisation – permission to record and use it in a music video
• Performance – permission to broadcast or perform the song publicly or online
In all instances, it allows you to make MONEY from these songs, in return for a small percentage royalty paid to the copyright owner on sales – and no lawsuits to worry about.
It can cost anywhere between $15 – $30 per single, to apply for copyright clearance, and get permission to record, perform and sell these songs as “your own” (due rights, property and credit to the owner), and anywhere between 10% – 50% royalties on all sales, to the original owner.
Considering that most popular hit cover songs have ready-made backtracks available for anywhere between $2 – $20, depending on quality, availability, and where you shop – and that it only costs a further $10 – $20 per single to publish any single recording for sale online, worldwide with your own digital publishing and tracking code to monitor sales and earnings – all in all it is a bargain, when you consider that some of these songs have millions of searches on search engines per day.
If you go about it right, you can compete for some of that traffic and sales, if your performance is up to scratch – as good as or even better than the original artist’s (in which case you will prosper).
Subsequently, many web-master tools now allow you to get back-end reports on moving averages of traffic for each respective song, their demand and search volumes by fans worldwide, from websites like Google and YouTube – meaning you can to a degree almost predict (or make an educated guess) which songs will give you the best chance of earning respectable sales, with the least competition by other artists.
It means you can choose “profitable” cover songs to record and sell online – or at least give yourself the best chance to make a decent living, while in pursuit of your major deal, or financing your own original music publishing.
3. Publishing, tracking & Collection
The wonderful thing about going through the right, legal channels, applying for and attaining clearance on rights BEFORE you choose to record, publish and sell any cover song – is that you get a digital publishing code to embed and attach in each of your master recording.
This code is like a secret agent, a little digital “informant” or messenger – allowing you or your publisher to “track” and monitor that file anywhere, and from anywhere in the world.
You want to know when and where your song is being sold, broadcast or copied and uploaded somewhere else, at all times and anywhere in the world – so you don’t lose out on any income, royalties or sales owed to you.
A digital publishing code makes this possible, and offers you peace of mind – knowing that you are maximising the revenue for each song, and eliminating piracy as far possible.
Once you have the rights cleared, registered, recorded the song, got your digital publishing code, and uploaded the single to music stores – you can now rest assured all boxes are ticked, to start cashing in on your social media circles.
Instead of only relying on your network of Facebook Friends – create an Artist or Musician Page, where people can Like your page, allowing you to exceed the maximum limit of friends, for public broadcast and following, of your activities as an artist.
Create an online store which plugs into your artist page, and enables a showcase of your songs with “Buy Now” feature directly embedded next to them.
Update, link and synchronise all of your social media accounts – and make your profiles on each as complete as possible. So many artists sign up for accounts, without keeping them fresh, or completing all their details.
You lose out on opportunities, sales, and getting noticed by record labels if you don’t go the full nine yards.
Social media-enabled music websites like SoundCloud, Reverbnation and others, now directly interface with your Facebook Account through third part apps. Make USE of all of them – as they’ll also connect you to a whole global community of fans, producers and record labels – even syndicate your music for paid opportunities in TV, Radio, Film, Online broadcast, Advertising, Contests, Reviews and much more – or connect you to millions of fans worldwide at the push of a button – some of them paid to listen to and rate your unsigned songs.
By applying for public broadcast and performance, as well as synchronisation rights for your chosen hit cover song – and getting your digital publishing code – you can now collect both broadcast and/or advertising revenue splits from YouTube through your publisher.
This means that when your music video uploads are monetised – you will get a small percentage share of the action every time someone finds, clicks on, and plays your video on YouTube, from the company paying them to have a banner ad placed next to your video.
Many start-out, unsigned artists earn a reasonable income this way – enough for contributing towards either covering the costs, or financing the pursuit of them own major record deals – not to mention the possibility of getting noticed by major record companies worldwide.
YouTube, essentially the same search engine as Google, can also provide you with web-master tools to give you an idea of search volumes for specific songs, and the keywords used by people worldwide.
It means you get to tap into vast search volumes, and pick and place your songs and music videos so you have the best chance of getting a sizeable return on your investment as an artist.
Many artists piggy back on the trends, by applying for rights and covering existing popular songs in demand, and then competing for that traffic and sales delivered by these websites.
A decent cover music video does not need to cost you a fortune, and you can then use the traffic and fans generated on your channel, to start promoting and linking your own original music for sale – which might make it very hard for record companies to keep ignoring you.
The key is not to get it all PERFECT, but rather to just get STARTED.
These 5 points have given you everything you need, to start living your dreams.
It’s the 10-15 minutes you spend every day – which will make the difference. Get started now.