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  • Writer's pictureSheldon Kessel

Independence Project 2

Here I am, 5 months into the Independence Project. I’m trying to answer a huge question for myself and for my college students: “How do I make money by making music?” I’ve spent the last five months brainstorming, researching, and taking inventory of all the places I currently have music for sale. Over the years, I’ve put myself on most of the musician-promotion type of sites – Bandcamp, Reverbnation, etc. I’ve also had music placed in production music libraries – the types of places filmmakers go to find music to license for cheap. I’ve been selling music in all the online stores and streaming on all the streaming services. I’ve got the basics of the new music economy covered, but the question remains: “How do I make money by making music?”

I do feel as though I need to dispel some romantic notions about being an “artist.” A common idea is that if you are consciously trying to make money with your art you are a “sellout.” To me, selling out is when you stop making art, or reduce the time spent on your art, because you need to work a completely-unrelated job in order to survive. Fuck that.

Back to the issue at hand. There are a few things we know as facts:

  1. Making any appreciable amount of money from streaming and downloads is difficult.

  • It’s only possible by creating major demand for the music.

  1. Playing live is a great way to create buzz around your music, make a little money from the performance and merch, and gain a following.

  2. Major money can be made through licensing music for use in other media.

  3. Once you have a loyal following, you need to keep feeding them content to keep them interested.

It seems to me that creating a buzz – a demand for content is key. This is my current mission. I’m currently working alone, though I have some ideas for ways to change that. I’m slowly, but surely, putting out content – music and videos – on a variety of platforms, and working to get more music in production libraries. I’ve got a music video in production. The Independence Project continues…

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