12 Days of Monetization: It’s 2014. Time To Stop Starving and Start Living Empowered! – Jo-Ná A. Williams [BONUS]

Jo-Na AEG headshotIt’s 2014! Congratulations you made it. Yes I know 2013 was full. Lots of challenges and triumphs but the New Year provides a fresh start and more importantly, another year for you to get it right. You desire to finally get your music seen and appreciated by millions right? I mean, It’s great. You’ve spent hours on the production, you’ve saved money, perhaps had a crowd campaign to fund the album. Now, you’re ready to finally get it out there and appreciated by the millions of fans you know will love it. I get it…

However, let me ask you one question? After you’ve created the art, what else have you done to ensure your career is on the right track for this new year? So many artist get caught up in the creation of the music (as they should be while they are creating) however, once it’s complete they have no plan, strategy, team or brand to ensure the music reaches the millions of followers they desire.

Well, it’s time to stop approaching your career with an “I’ll get to it” mentality. All we have is the present moment and it’s time to stop wishing and start LIVING your dream on your terms. Yes it’s possible to be a superstar or simply create a sustainable career but it requires a new plan of attack.

Here’s are the top 5 things that will help you create an unstoppable career in 2014:

1) Have amazing music

There is no way you can survive in the music industry without it. That means, great lyrics, great instrumentation, high quality sound and mastered to perfection. NO excuses. Remember last week? The only way you’re going to stand out is to create the type of music that does. Period.

2) Have a incredible brand

If you’re going to be successful in today’s time it’s no longer just about the music. You need to connect. We live in a society that’s controlled by the Internet and people expect transparency. Also, they don’t latch onto chaos. If you don’t have a brand that’s clear, consistent, authentic and connects, your career will not reach the heights you hope it will. It will actually become harder for you to make meaningful strides. Who are you? What do you stand for? What’s your music about? What’s authentic and incredible about you? Take some time this year to create answers to these questions. Your fans will not get behind chaos so creating a foundation for yourself will help you connect with your music and your fans better. It will also position you as an artist that has their S$#@ together!

3) Craft a business foundation

Yes I know you may feel like business makes you uncomfortable. You’re an artist right? Well, you’re going to have to get over it! There’s no way you can do this and be empowered around your career without embracing the fact that business is a huge part of it. You can no longer afford to stick your head in the sand when it comes to learning what business entity you should have or how to create a yearly plan. It’s not an option to be uneducated in this area so you need to invest in getting guidance to help you achieve an empowered stance on this part of your career. Being an entrepreneur is essential! Meet with a CPA to determine what’s the best entity for you based on your specific tax circumstances and your career expenses.

4) Have a team 

I know you’ve heard this more than once. Yes, you need other people to help you execute your dream. However, you need to know how to manage them and in what order to add them to your team. Start with an assistant. Once you know how to effectively communicate and delegate (very important skills for a CEO) then you can start to add other team members as you grow and you have an increasing need for them. Starting with an assistant will allow you to focus on creating music, revenue and exposure generating activities verses setting up your hootsuite posts or sending emails.

5) Understand and Implement marketing

Just like you need to know who you are and what you stand for, it’s just as important to know how to communicate that to your audience on a consistent basis. This means investing in a consistent look on your website and all your social media platforms and regularly sending emails to your audience. People are not going to follow you if they feel like you only come around when you want something from them. If you notice, the biggest stars feed you content all year before they ever ask you to buy an album, product or concert ticket. It’s all about what you can GIVE not what you can get. The “get” will come. 

I know that sometimes all these tasks can feel like you’re climbing a brick wall, however it’s only as hard as you think it is. Our mindset will determine how far we go in our lives and if you have a mindset of “Yes it’s time let’s do this” you’re going to have an incredible career AND music. The entire package is what will allow you to snatch the crown from Queen Bey’s head. So what are you waiting for breakthrough in 2014!

Jo-Ná A. Williams (@JWilliamsEsq), Esq. is a business attorney and coach for musicians. She can be reached at jo-na@jawilliamslaw.com For a FREE copy of her guide “Blueprint: The Insider’s Guide to Empowering Your Career as an Artist and Ditching your 9-5 for Good” Sign up here: http://eepurl.com/HBuwL.

(Legal stuff: this article is for information purposes only. It does NOT replace the advice administered by a licensed attorney in YOUR state based on your specific situation. I know you wouldn’t assume I was your lawyer cause your mama “didn’t raise no fool.” But mine didn’t either, hence the disclaimer!)

12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.


12 Days of Monetization: 5 Super Simple Steps That Will Make You Money At Your Next Show – Madalyn Sklar [Day 12]


You write great songs. You record killer albums. You put on the most kick ass show. Yet your merch sales fall flat. Over the years I have discovered…

“The best way to make money at your show is by simply asking people to buy.” click to tweet

I have spent the last 18 years booking, promoting, producing or having something to do with thousands of shows all over the world. My fascination with the psychology of selling is beyond conventional. I have learned an incredible amount over the years and am happy to share what I’ve learned from running the door and merch table at these shows.

If you follow these 5 simple steps, you will make money at your next show.

Step 1 – Greet Them At The Door

I have rarely seen artists do this but the few that do make quite an impression with fans. The best way to get ahead in this business is networking. There is no better place to network than at the door of your show. For many years I ran a monthly GoGirls showcase event in Houston, TX. I had the coolest job, not just booking and promoting it but running the door and merch table too. I met amazing people. But I wasn’t the talent on stage. I was just the girl charging cover or selling merchandise. The ticket holder is there to see you. It would be so unexpected for them to witness you greeting people at the door. It shows you are approachable and way cool. And in return you will see more sales. Cha-ching!

“Most fans have you on a pedestal. If you didn’t know this, better start believing it.” click to tweet

For those who already know it, don’t be a dick about it. Treat your fans with respect and love. Always.

Step 2 – Mention You Have Merch For Sale From The Stage

I know this one sounds like a no brainer but I hardly see bands telling their audience they have merch for sale. They always tell me they forget to announce it from the stage. Keep in mind that the majority of people at your show are not mind readers so it’s helpful to let them know that not only do you have merch for sale but you’ll be happy to sign a CD or poster for them. The next time you’re on stage, mention you have a merch table with lots of fabulous stuff. The best way to ensure you don’t forget this is to incorporate it right into your set list. It’s super easy to do. When making your set list, pick two spots and mark it as “Merch Reminder” that way you will not forget once you hit the stage.

Step 3 – Bundle Your Merchandise

Fans like things simple. So why not make it easy for them to give you a $20 bill or swipe on your Square (for credit/debit cards) by bundling two things together. I’ve seen bands put together simple bundles that make the deal look too good to pass up. You can offer 2 CDs and a sticker for one low price or maybe a CD and a t-shirt combo. You can easily increase your earnings just by playing it smart with bundling. Get creative and have fun with it.

Step 4 – Be At The Merch Table Immediately After Your Set

After your show, get yourself to your merch table immediately. Run to it if you have to because this is your optimal selling time. Don’t piddle around on stage. Don’t head out back to smoke weed. I see far too many artists not capitalizing on this immense opportunity to make money. And don’t think you’re too good to hang out with your fans. Get someone to pack your guitar and mic while you go talk to your admirers. This shows you care about them. Think of yourself as a salesperson because if you want to make money, you just inherited the title. Be approachable. Smile. And listen. You do this, I guarantee you will make a huge impression on everyone including the people who own/run/bartend/book the place. And, cha-ching!, you will make more money.

Step 5 – Walk Around And Ask For The Sale

Whenever I counsel an artist, I ask them to do this and then report back to me. It never fails that they make money with this plan. After your set, when you’re done talking to people at the merch table, get some CDs in one hand and your mailing list in the other and go walk around and talk to people. Don’t be timid. Many artists tell me they are super shy off stage. If you would like to earn more money, you need to get bold after your set and go talk to people. In all my years running the merch table at GoGirls shows, I was fascinated with watching people. You’ll be amazed to know that there are always people in the audience who never leave their seat, many times too shy to walk over to the merch table. But if you walk up to them, strike up conversation, and simply ask them if they would like to join your mailing list and buy a CD, most times the answer will be a resounding “Yes.” Try it because you have nothing to lose. The worse thing that will happen is they say no. It’s no big deal. Smile and move on to the next person.

If you have already implemented all five steps, my hat goes off to you. If not, give these a try and report back to me. I’d love to hear how it works out. Making money in the music business is always within your reach. Now go get some cha-ching!

150x150This article was contributed by Madalyn Sklar (@MadalynSklar), Music Business Coach and Social Media Strategist, and the founder of GoGirlsMusic.com (@GoGirlsMusic). She hosts the wildly popular GoGirls Twitter chat every Thursday 9pm ET at #ggchat. It’s open to all musicians and music industry professionals.

12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.


12 Days of Monetization: Invest In Yourselves – Peggy Dold [DAY 11]

Hand pointing at viewerIt is no longer enough to simply focus on being a great musical artist.  In this new era of music business (and this IS a business) musicians cannot expect that a label will be there as either “the bank” or “the expertise.” 
That said, with or without a label, marketing music still requires money and expertise. 
Sometimes it is easy to forget that a developing artist monetizing his/her music is no different than any other small business owner figuring out how to make money from his/her business.  In short, it requires investment:  of capital, of resources, of time.  And not just in the music, but also in the business of music.
Investing in oneself is putting in the proverbial 10,000 hours, not only in one’s music, but also in the education, in the financial investment, and in the dream team of experts (however small) to build a business that generates sufficient income for an artist to continue with his/her music and make a living from it. 
All of these things require capital:  human capital, time capital, and financial capital, as well as a business plan, a strategic and tactical marketing plan, and a musician who must double as an educated business owner (together with a trusted team to activate the strategy.)
The great news is that innovation and technology continue to give musicians access to resources and tools to both raise money and market music. 
At the end of the day, however, the decision to have a successful business in music must come from musicians themselves.  This will require not only the vision, and but also the will and commitment to “do what it takes” to create an infrastructure and to figure out how to fund it.
To approach music without this investment of time and resources is a hobby.  Hobbies are great, but tend to be well-kept secrets.  To not invest the time and resources in music as a business will only insure that your music, however great it might be, will not only NOT be monetized to the degree that it should/could be, but will also, potentially, be the greatest work of art that never gets heard. 

Peggy LinkedIn photoFounder and CEO of Navigation Partners LLC, Peggy Dold (@navigatepartner) has in-depth experience in multi-cultural marketing, global expertise in both the English- and Spanish-language entertainment markets (U.S. and ex-U.S.) and in working with international media, licensing and distribution partners worldwide. Current clients represent the sectors of entertainment technology, superstars in the fields of music, modeling and television as well as independent recording artists. Current projects include content development for multi-media distribution, international business development for new technologies and applications, new market development for International celebrities, and artist development (U.S. General Marketing, U.S. Latin Market, Europe, LatAm, and Asia.).

12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.


12 Days of Monetization: 4 Alternative Avenues to Monetize Your Music – Michael Shoup [DAY 10]

Music. It’s that undeniable emotionally charged energy that’s been around for thousands of years.  It’s sent us roaring into battle.  It’s comforted us when we felt the world was closing in on itself.  It’s led us down that road we never thought we’d have the courage to follow.

But what is it worth?

$15.99 per compact disc?  $0.99 per single download?  Everything? Nothing?

It’s a question that consumers and copyright owners may never agree upon again, but that beautiful inequality also allows us as artists to reinvent how our music can reach people.

My name’s Michael.  I’m a Songwriter and an Entrepreneur, and I want to show you 4 out of the box avenues I use to add value and monetize my music.


1. House Concerts

You may have a friend who’s been to one. You may have been to one or performed at one yourself.  If none of these are true, you need to click here and change that.  House Concerts are one of the fastest growing ways to hear new music, and they’ve been around for longer than you may think.

But you don’t have to take my word for it.  You could just listen to my friend Fran Snyder, Founder of ConcertsInYourHome.com.

I’ve been a member of Concerts In Your Home for the last two years, and it’s changed the way I tour forever.  If you’re like me, you wish you could control the quality of experience you bring to your fans and are tired of dirty venues, hiked up production fees, or pay to play schemes, then look no further.  The intimate experiences at House Concerts have made my most dedicated fans and sold more merchandise than any traditional show I’ve ever played.


2. Office Concerts

Maybe houses aren’t your thing. I get that. But your neighbors down the street aren’t the only folks on the block who understand the power of music.  Small businesses are starting to understand how music moves and motivates their workforce… and they want you as a partner.

Yep, even Google:

These shows are all about developing an authentic relationship between their brand and your message, and though they may take more work to setup than a house show, the value of your service is rarely in question which leaves you very nicely compensated.


3. Become an Expert

You’ve spent countless hours perfecting your craft, making your music indistinguishable from magic… so why would you ever want to break the illusion?  What if you could be both Master and Teacher? Both Bruce Lee and Mr. Miyagi?  We often forget as artists that education and entertainment can be one and the same.  If you’ve never thought about teaching in your life, keep listening, it gets interesting.

Though I have no formal training in education, I’ve spent the last year educating through my music at colleges from Nebraska to New York City.  How? I’ve been giving Master Classes on Songwriting, Entrepreneurship, and surviving the Music Business, all while getting to play my music for the same students I’m speaking with.  And I’m certainly not the only one.  Meet my friend Danny Young, a fantastic musician and drummer for the musical “We Will Rock You.”  While on the road, Danny stops by at local universities to give a drumming and music business master class called “Beyond The Gig.”  I’ve seen his class firsthand and it’s hands down the most honest and entertaining looks at the life of a touring musician I’ve ever seen.  Oh, and it makes him money too.

Not convinced yet?  What if it was good enough for this guy:


Garth Brooks

Yep, that’s Garth Brooks, who for the last few years has been playing a solo acoustic show in Las Vegas that, boiled down, is some pretty fantastic educational theater about his journey through music.  While the monetary details of his show have never been revealed, you can bet it was more than some drink tickets and a tip jar.  Watch it here and you’ll understand how great of an outlet this can be.


4. Non-TV Syncs and Licenses

By now, if you haven’t heard about the potential of licensing as an income source, you’ve probably had your earplugs in for years.  The problem, moreover, is that everyone has heard about it, and there are only so many WB TV shows that might possibly want to play your music.

On the flip-side, there are a large number of other industries that have recently become interested in licensing music to help their cause.  My personal experience with these comes in the form of Real Estate.

Go with me for a minute.  What separates, say, a $500k home from a $5 million home?  They’re both probably big and have bedrooms and bathrooms.  But what makes the other so valuable?  The ambience.  The vibe.  The FEELING you get when you’re there.  And a number of agencies have started paying quite well to capture that feeling with film and music to help sell these homes.  To date, I’ve had 4 different songs synced to these videos, with a few licensed multiple times… and my story here is far from unique.  Give it a try.


The list could go on and on here, but the main take away should be to find what is authentic and unique to your music and let that inspire your creative process of how to monetize it. The sky is the limit, and you set the rules.


Michael ShoupMichael Shoup is an oddity in the music world. Based in Nashville, TN, he manages to tour extensively as a Solo Recording Artist while serving as the Founder and CEO of his internationally recognized Creative & Web Development Agency, 12South Music. His music credits include performances at SXSW, the CMJ Music Marathon, touring with The Stone Temple Pilots, and working for artists from Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift to Kelly Clarkson.


12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.


12 Days of Monetization: Connecting with Fans Through Contests – Corie Kellman [DAY 9]

CorieKellman-756x513This article was contributed by Corie Kellman (@Coralman808), Director of New Artist Relations for Cyber PR®.

When all the numbers and the platform choices start to overwhelm you, take a step back and ask yourself – “If I was a fan, what would I want to see on my page?”

In the grand scheme of things, your pages are not about having the most views, the most likes or even the largest number of email subscribers – it’s about connecting with the ones that care enough about you to do something (Think: recommend your music to a friend… show up to a show… spend time at the merch table… buy something). When the platforms have evolved, changed their rules, or disappeared, those types of fans remain loyal and seek you out. These are the types of fans that are willing to pay for things that the fair-weather fans may not. Establishing good relationships with your fans is an essential step to monetizing your art.

One of my favorite ways artists are connecting with their audience are contests. Contests are great for three important reasons:

1. Contests engage the fans and bring them together – they ask them to participate in your community and bring your fans together in friendly competition.
2. Contests give you new, fan-generated content to feed your page and share.
3. Contests give you a chance to give back – fans are a big reason why you are where you are at right now, and will continue to be a driving force in your career.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few contests (some even I have participated in) to get your brain juices flowing:



Paramore asked their fans to submit a video of their best karaoke attempt to their recent single “Still Into You” – once all submissions were in, they picked their top six and asked their fans to vote to determine the winner. The lucky Paraoke Queen (or king) was up to grab the bicycle from the music video, two tickets to a show, and a merch pack.

We See You – You See Us

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 8.32.30 AM

Third Eye Blind used instagram to run a contest, which they cross posted to their Facebook page for 20 fans to win a chance to attend a private practice at the rehearsal studio. All the fans had to do was upload their photo entries to Instagram and hashtag their entry #3EBontheroad– winners were chosen daily the entire week – encouraging fans to keep their eyes on the page all week.

Fans Just Wanna Have Fun…. With Fun.

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 8.32.40 AM

A local radio station called out to all Fun. fans, asking them to create the funniest or most outrageous video singing their favorite Fun. song for the chance to win first, second, or third row seats to their show at the Ryman auditorium.

Design a Poster for ZZ Ward

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 8.32.50 AM

Creative Allies administers amazing fan contests that peak interest of your fellow creatives. ZZ Ward is one of my favorites, but take a peek at their site – they have all kinds of great contests running. For ZZ Ward’s contests, fans are asked to design and submit a poster inspired by her music video “365 Days” to win $500 and a ZZ Ward Prize pack. Her community to vote on designs and share them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – I voted for my favorite and shared on Twitter.

12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.

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12 Days of Monetization: What Will it Really Take to Make Money from Music? – John Oszajca [DAY 8]

John O CartoonThis article was contributed by John Oszajca (@JohnOszajca), a singer/ songwriter who has released albums for Interscope and Warner Brothers Records and is the founder of Music Marketing Manifesto.

We’ve all heard a lot of talk about the “1000 fan” model. The concept being, that an independent artist only really needs 1000 true fans in order to make a living from their music. But one only needs to run a few quick numbers before you start scratching your head, wondering just how that’s going to work. Because with the average album selling for about $10 a pop, one thousand sales is a mere ten grand. Hardly enough to call an income.

So how exactly does one make a living from 1000 true fans?

Well, if you are only selling albums then the reality is that it’s going to be tough. The reason being that music is one of those products that is priced so low that it’s difficult to afford using traditional advertising to grow your fan base. And chasing radio is nearly always a huge waste of money unless you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a large scale branding campaign. And so independent musicians are left with touring, as the only viable strategy we have for getting our music in front of new people and selling albums. But unfortunately, touring is expensive and difficult to sustain for more than a few months of the year.

Fortunately, there is a way to make that utopian 1000-true-fan-model actually work, using direct to fan marketing. Direct to fan (aka direct response marketing) differs from traditional marketing in that instead of simply seeking “exposure”, we use proven selling techniques to build an email list of subscribers, build a relationship with those fans, and then use various sales triggers to knock people off of the fence and convince a consistent percentage of them into ACTUALLY buy our music.

So let’s take a look at some numbers…

Let’s say you’d like to make $80,000 a year from your music. And let’s say that your primary offer (your album) converts at 5%.

That means that for every 1000 email subscribers you will sell 50 copies of your album. If your profit margin is $10 per album then you will make $500 per 1000 subscribers.

So far your average subscriber value will be $0.50.

Now, let’s say that you add a $40 upsell to your sales funnel and 30% of your initial buyers take you up on it (that’s an approximate industry average). That upsell could be a box set, a membership site, even T-shirts and more traditional merch.

That would mean that 15 of your 50 customers also bought your upsell bringing in $600 of additional revenue and boosting your subscriber value to $1.10.

But we’re not done…

Now let’s say you promote a house concert offer to your list a little down the line, and basically charge any interested fans $400 to have a private concert in their home.

Let’s say just 5% of you’re album buyers take you up on this…

That would mean that 2.5 people out of every 1000 subscribers would hire you, bringing in $1000 in additional revenue and bringing your subscriber value up to $2.10.

Now we need to take our income goal of $80,000 and divide that by $2.10. That means that we will need to generate 38,095 subscribers per year to meet our income goals (if we are trying to meet them within one year).

The average well structured lead capture page (just a fancy way of saying, the page where people sign up to your mailing list in exchange for some free music), converts at 25% – 40%. So lets make the math easy and say that yours converts at 33.3%. So now we know we need to drive 114,285 people to our site each year…

Starting to sound like a lot right? But hold on a sec…

Divide that number by the 365 days of the year and we only need 313 people to come to our site each day.

If we published just one search engine friendly piece of content each day for a year, and if we assume that we got an average of just one click per day from each piece of content, we could theoretically be on track in less than a year.

Maybe you decide that you don’t need to make $80,000 each year to survive. Heck, teachers make half that.

If you decided you could live on $40,000 a year you would only need to drive 157 people to your site each day…

That’s a mere 157 people each day to accomplish your life long dream of making a full time living as a recording artist.

If you are inexperienced with online marketing and promotion than you’ll have to take my word for it… 157 people a day is NOTHING!

Sure it will take some work. But getting in front of 157 people a day is something that ABSOLUTELY every musician can do. Don’t have the time or interest to do the work? Pay for the traffic. It will take an upfront investment, and there WILL be risk, but you can easily generate 157 clicks per day for far less than what most independent labels are spending to promote an artist.

While you’ll need to slide the numbers around a bit to reach your income goals, all you really need to focus on is bringing in new subscribers for less than what it ultimately costs to acquire them. And when you start offering upsells, running promotions, and pushing live events to your list, getting that subscriber value up high enough to cover advertising costs really becomes possible.

And remember, while some subscribers will drop off or go cold, the effects are compounding. Meaning that your income should grow from year to year as you add new fans each and every day to your list. Put in the work or spend the money now and you will still have most of those fans for many years to come.

Eventually your list will grow into the tens of thousands and you will start to have some real influence over your market. Furthermore, this is something you can do WITHOUT the help of labels, managers, or agents.

When you embrace the Direct to Fan Marketing approach, you are in control of your career, and monetizing your music is no longer some wishy-washy act of faith, but rather a sound business plan which affords you the ability to take specific actions which will get you the results you are after. Which ultimately is to be heard, make a real difference through your music, and to generate enough income to sustain your life as a musician.

If you’d like to watch a free 40 minute video presentation in which I go through each step of the process in detail, go to MusicMarketingManifesto.com now and claim your free copy of the Music Marketing Blueprint.

12 Days of Monetization is a 12-part series designed to help you make more money in 2014. Ariel and team Cyber PR asked 12 of their favorite colleagues to contribute and we hope you enjoy this series.

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