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Making Money with Music

Lesson 13 of 35

Importance of Branding Yourself

Randy Chertkow, Jason Feehan

Making Money with Music

Randy Chertkow, Jason Feehan

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Lesson Info

13. Importance of Branding Yourself

Lesson Info

Importance of Branding Yourself

Well, we went over quite a lot yesterday just is a bit of review we talked about how to set up your business had a network instead of your team and we also talked about how to basically do everything around the music yesterday was all around the music preparing the music, getting the music ready for sale, doing licensing and royalties and then the last part of the day was all about promoting the music I mean it's something that most of us focus on what we're about to dive into now and going forward for the next two days are all of the other ways you can make money with music so we're talking about a lot of different options here first, though we need to talk about a topic that isn't every musician's favorite thing to d'oh it's about branding but if you think about it, what is it that you need to do before you make merchandise? Let me ask a couple questions of you and just have you think about it for a little bit most fans they hear your music will never be in the same room with you any...

more, right? You go back twenty or thirty years and unless you are a major musician you're going to be playing live in front of them you actually could represent yourself to the fans? Well in that case now what are they meeting? Think about it what are they meeting if they don't meet you I would suggest that they're meeting your music your web presence is your logo your merchandise all this stuff around you that isn't actually you and what would we call that the best way to explain it truly is what we're calling here your brand so it's not just a business thing this really is your identity projected to fans and so maybe changing you're thinking about a little bit saying hey I'm not just doing business here I'm actually trying to get my id identity right to people that I can never explain myself to this is all you get and it's actually worth it to pull it all together there's another way to think about it too which is that musician zahra's much personalities now and brands as they are their music like jed carlson says he's in reverb nation excellent company that actually helps you get your stuff out there they think a lot about this kind of thing and so all of what we're about to talk about now is pulling your identity together and being able to put it out there into the world that makes sense right? Okay so considering that let's talk about a little bit more about brand it's really your identity burned into people's brain cells they're walking around with it in their heads like right and it's not easy to dio I mean that takes a while in fact studies have shown that it takes eight to ten mentions of a name or an image to actually stick in people's heads, so you really have to get it in front of them fairly often. And so based on this, what are the qualities of rebrand should have let's just think about this for a little bit because these air the qualitative things that you need to d'oh right after that we're going to get into the really concrete things, but for now, think about it. First of all, it should be accurate, right? It needs to actually match your identity, it needs to give people clear idea about who you are, it should be genuine. If it isn't, they'll catch on to that right away in today's internet age something's, not genuine that's the first thing that goes it just they'll just shove it out of the way it has to have impact, right? Convey the message quickly, easily memorable. The graphics really need to pop out because they're not going to spend more than a fraction of a second on it. You can make him to look away and then, like, wait a minute, what was that? You know that you've got them, so I mean, it makes it really easy to test out all of your brand images because you can try it out against people and you should it's worth your time, you're going to be spending, actually possibly money on graphic artists and other things to actually see if it's working try a whole bunch of different ideas repetition? We just talked about that eight to ten times to get somebody to actually remember you well, that means that you have to keep putting it in in front of people over and over and over again and then finally and directly related to repetition is the consistency that it needs to be to make repetition work he's just got to use it on everything that you have. If you just stick your logo on your website and I'm nothing else, they're never going to see it again. They're never going to get it burned into their brain cells, and I was going to say there's, just to bring up a point on this, you don't want to change your brand on a whim and that's something I think we learned comegys, we go back way made all the mistakes that you're trying to figure out what our brand wass and it took a while to do and it's ok, if you're just starting out it's okay to spend time getting that right and testing out the ideas and making sure it's impactful and all that kind of stuff, but once you get it once you get it right and you're comfortable with that you're comfortable with the text and the images and all that kind of stick with it don't just change it on a whim yeah, if I was just wondering if there's anything specific that we can do tio establish a brand in the beginning so yes, listen to this course there I mean, it really has to do with the next the last we will only through all of this right here? No, but the next thing is just to put it on everything I mean you have to establish it, you have to start using it. Yes, you want you wanted on everything that you create and and that's why we say pervasiveness, but we should probably talk about what do we mean by that let's? Be specific how's this for a set of ideas on how to get it started think about all of these areas I keep. Our book is really organized like a checklist sits the way that we think about things because we don't want to you make a mistake. We talked yesterday about the seven registrations you should do before you release your music into the world treat that like a checklist do all seven you'll make sure you're getting all the royalties year old well go through everything that you have and say, have I branded all these things now in a little bit we'll talk about specific brandy elements we have a slide just like this that talks about everything you need you do that first and then you go through it and you put your brand on it let's talk about the ninety three tags again your mp three's the night mp three this is an excellent yesterday with today that's a great idea so yesterday we talked about music I don't know if you remember and some of you might not have been here before you know from yesterday but when we talked about music we talked about doing I d three tagging on your mp three files okay that's a bunch of acronyms I just write what does that mean? Does anyone remember what that means from yesterday three tanks ninety three tanks he was that stuff people can find you even if like they don't have their mp three's labeled properly yes now this is the thing that labels the mp three properly yes it's the best way to say it so allows you to put in the artist's name and the name of the song in the name of the album and it has a comments place where you can actually put your website actually has the copyright information it actually has thie all the kind of information that you would need to trace it back but one of the items on it is the image for the file now here's the thing as we know when you look at today's mp three players there very graphically oriented now they actually show you just a bunch of images which are what they're all the images that are on the I d three tax that you put in. So what does that mean that the artwork for your I d three tag actually needs to be put in there and it should be branded and the artwork could be the album art that's how we kind of associate it with but if you're releasing singles and stuff, we'll each song can actually have some artwork, but the artwork is very important and it is part of your brand and this way we're tying it to yesterday the idea three tags you're really branding each one of your files uh with name and you know their artwork as well. So it's just it's a it's a good example of how you connect these things. Now I want to bring up one gotcha that we mentioned before if you put a you are a role in there than certain players like itunes will actually blanket out because they don't want to put you are they basically don't want to advertise for you in their own I think that's the rule so your logo actually perhaps shouldn't if it's in there you should take out the girl part got a problem? I mean, this is a practical little point that the stuff matters a lot. What is the goal of all this? Well, it's actually, the wedge yourself into people's consciousness. Still, this is like I said, this is the qualitative part of branding, but does it make sense why you need to care about it? Your identity it's watching yourself into people's consciousness, you're more than just your music. You're a personality and a brand you're putting all together if you think about that and add all that up together, think about this question. What is a brand actually worth? Well, the answer. This is usually more than all the stuff a company owns. What do I mean by that? Well, let's, take mcdonald's, for example, let's. Just say that there was a bunch of aliens that showed up, decided that mcdonald's hamburgers were the most delicious things they've ever run into you in the universe and teleported every mcdonald's, physical asset all their buildings, all the fry machines, all the milkshake machines into their spaceship, and left and everyone's baffled, but they're left, they're gone. And now, there's no more mcdonald's assets. They everything that they owned is gone. Could they restart themselves as a business? Yeah, how long would it even take? Probably less than a year they'd start having a new restaurant up and running again but they the assets of a company if you think about it from a terms of business you know the accounting they wouldn't have any any any left you know, the insurance companies like well we didn't cover you in case aliens took everything you know so many but you know they could get investors right away they could actually blow it all up again right from scratch and it's because the idea that brand is worth more than everything that they own that's how much it's worth in terms of musicians like justin timberlake releasing his album and that was the platform his brand that he stood on when he was releasing and everybody was just waiting with bated breath for that music to come out and it almost didn't matter how good it was that he released it it just didn't matter because everybody was gonna listen anyways and that's what a brand is it's it goes what that's great example brand allows you to release less than good in some ways yes it's so I'm not just in some ways but besides that it goes one step beyond that as well britney spears made one billion dollars does anybody know how she made a billion dollars yeah but do you know what she's so you know what saw what did she sell? Does anybody know yeah what's that taxes a star it's assad know what wasn't that's kind of a trip that we threw a any idea what she sold to make a billion dollars? All right, now it is related to brandon you I didn't bring that up here it is seriously selling who here is not where her few space I'm not so yeah, wow, and if you think about all of the other like that, a lot of hip hop ours really good about creating themselves is a brand and then selling clothing lines right? Remember what we talked about the first day, something that bits so adam's not bits selling stuff the stuff that can't be pirated and downloaded is important all of them realize that turned themselves into a brand as early as they could and then opened it up so they could so whatever they needed to that's what we're talking about here so let's get now this kind of stuff. Now we understand you should be just coming up with ideas yourself. We can't tell you what kind of clothing line to make. We don't know what to tell you. I mean, we don't know how to make clothing but that's the way you should be thinking along the lines of what we can tell you is what specifically makes up a brand right so here's another one of our famous like everything slides boom there's all the stuff that you really need to put together in order to try and make it work learn from our mistakes here's another thing that we did we did this piecemeal ahs we'd run into things like okay, we're somewhere ah crap we need our bio you know and then we go and do something else and we need a logo whatever the local yet and then we'd realize that foreign sounded stupid but then all of a sudden we're putting together a website and the logo and everything else the fonts are important all these things came together over time for us you could set it up ahead of time it's great you need to try it out you're not gonna have it all perfect at first but what we're giving you is all the slots that you need to fill in eventually right? So if you think about it the key thing about them is that these brand components are the ingredients of merchandise that's why we're talking about it and making money with music course should I just I think we have to drive this point home look everything about your brand does stem from your music though ok? So you're not this is not something else that you you focus on it actually the music is the foundation of your brand um so we want to make that very clear like your music will guide you through this actually on this is that genuine point that we're talking about you want to make sure that you met your brand matches your your music and who you are is a person you don't want to manufacture something that is artificial okay so I just want to bring that up that's very very important so well we're going to go through many of these brand ingredients uh don't ever forget the music okay? I got one more point you said that you're just starting out right? So you're in the end the end the enviable I'm jealous of you because you can actually uh start off on the right foot you could you could already have this thinking in the beginning as you work out where you're going to go to and just knowing these type of concepts and knowing this framework uh well help you and you'll be able to find your your brand and all that create that much quicker helping already oh great you're seeing all this stuff people always like said oh like get your name out there doing all this but I never thought about your funds and your logo's from bio and all that's exactly what is that right going out there you go even more specifically and what you need to do here so it's like ok, I need to do that how do I do that? I mean that's how we ran into it and we'll just go through it for you perfect now you know I just want to tag on to your point though your art is at the heart of all the stuff I want to call it your art I don't we're not suggesting that you change your heart so that you market yourself more easily we made that point yesterday but that's the best way we can explain it we want you to make your are do whatever your creativity pulls you to deal but then I think about how you can turn that into a larger thing and pull it out now that said sometimes it's fun to actually angle your creativity to think about wait how can I not only do this but make it really viral so that people want to share it can I make that part of my song I don't know there's a lot of things you could do to play with it but all of this stuff going back to what we said just a few slides ago this is your identity and that's why we're talking about it it just happens to be also something that drives the marketing so considering that it's the ingredients of merchandise let's talk about each of the elements well most of them that are on the slide your name sounds pretty straightforward but you needed to be distinct unique memorable trademark herbal and yours well how do you do that? Here you go here's four steps that you can do in order to clear it out the first place to start is band name dot com is an excellent place to go or reverb nation last if them wherever you you go where there's other artists out there you I would prefer to choose a name that nobody is used before right makes sense and then the second one of course is a web search I particularly like making up names are choosing names that no one's ever seen before you could even take parts of words and shove them together and make something totally new this means that one they hear it it's just yours and it's more likely that number three will be clear that's the trademark office now if you go to uspto dot gov it's it's called tests the tests search when you do a test search, you'll find everything that use the words that you type in there it's useful for you to see if somebody has registered it so that you can rule something out. But just because somebody hasn't registered, it doesn't mean that it's not trademarked by somebody else because they've been doing business under that name that's why two helps you and what I'm saying by this is if you're really serious about trademarking your name, you got to talk to somebody like jason a lawyer means a lawyer, you know? Yes because they're the ones who are going to be able to do a true trademark search and do everything else it cost some significant money to do a trademark registration and it's definitely something that will impact you know the amount of money you need to start up you do not under u s law I need to do it right away you just need to start doing business under the name and one of the easiest ways to show that you're starting to do business under a name in the united states is to register it the domain because it has a particular date you get the domain name and you're saying yeah I'm planning to do business under this that's how this sequence works one other note and we don't have a ton of time for the legal stuff but one other note about this is that under trademark there are classes it's not just like you get a name and that's it that's why there can be an andersen windows and an andersen consulting and anderson all those other things it's the plumbing I mean each of these areas they're distinct and when you look at this and we have the list in the indie band survival guide I can't remember the numbers of the classes right now for once we dio one of them's under music and entertainment that's obvious another one is under a peril why why would you register your name under apparel merchandise down the road you khun then you could start doing the name and start doing your merchandise is well on its trademarked under both okay, right? Any questions about that? So I mean, if we we understand that a lot of people already have names and all that kind of stuff but this is very good if you're just starting out especially and the key thing I think is to have a memorable are unique name and one of the things is because in the future and we don't we're not going to talk about this a lot here we do it in their book but you want to keep track analytics and google searches and alerts on your name so we have a unique name. We put beatnik and turtle together and double quotes and then on lee when it's being eternal yeah, but it's a unique name there's no, no one else site like I think in the book we seriously enough to use the name yeah and like like the cars, the band, the cars like if you do a search on the cars because the music they also get cars they actually come up near the top chick that you know, the way they put a lot of work you did probably and we say, I think in the book about like the name yourself, the googles you know these type of things because you're just you're just adding all this noise as you're trying to get feedback on how the internet and how the world is actually perceiving your brand that there's there's two sides to it you make it easier for people to find you if your name is just for that thing and you make it easier to find yourself in the press and everywhere else. One of the questions we had yesterday was how do I know if they've played me and actually a corollary question is how do I know if they've covered me? Justcause there's some of these interviewed you they don't always talk to you back and say, hey, I put up your article we had stuff all the time where they did it and then the only way we caught it was in our google alert and so considering that if your name is completely unique, it'll work colors are more important than you would possibly believe for musicians it's not something that most people think about so there's actually two main color formats that are out there rgb and cm like a rgb being something that actually has a light source behind it like this television does and cm like a is a subtracted format that's meant for printed materials out of the two of these which do you think has a mork colors that it could represent rgb when you design your color palette, which is we're going to talk about in a minute which of these two values do you think you should use to make the colors that represent your brand? You saying rgb anybody else say anything else? See you seem like a rgb rgb wow it's tied you're the type rick I know the answer rgb tv it seemed like it and the reason is you want the colors on your screen toe look the same as the colors on your merchandise if you do it rgb actually have some color values that you can't represent and this is something that most people don't think about in fact there's another level that you can go on if you could do this you're going to be in great shape and you won't make the same mistakes that we did. You make your colors and cm like a and then you choose pantone colors if you can now what is pantone? It is a set of color values by an organization that makes it easy for commercial printers to have like a number of value they say hey it's, pantone green fifty seven fifty eight that is a particular color green and you could just tell a commercial printer hey, I wanted t shirt fifty seven you know, whatever the number is and it'll look exactly like you'd expect and there are actually rgb and seem like a values both of them have different kind of ways to represent themselves so that it's the same on the screen on cnn hey printed stuff like in your something that comes out of your printer and then these commercial printers will use this pantone value that's what we recommend so specifically what you want to do is set of colors that have harmonies with each other is calm. We're going to let you research this stuff on your own, but we're going to tell you is if you work with the graphic artist, they understand things like color harmonies if you are a graphic artist, were jealous because you can do that yourself and understand, oh yeah, if I choose this value, then I choose the opposite on this and they have their own terminology that they'll work together and then once you have this color chart, you can start making new merchandise and new items on your screen in new low new logo elements and new new mascot elements and things like that and it will work with each other. There won't be any clashing see how that works now? Every major brand does this if you take a look at if you if you ever managed to get a web site of a major business and then get to their little branding website, which they often have they'll actually say here's, our brand if you want to work with it, it's this pantanal collar this seem like a color. The sergey bacolor will have the list. You make this up ahead of time and you're going to be in good shape to make merchandise like like that. We had a question come in from online. Keith was asking in terms of color and names. Actually, yes, just does it do you have to change anything dependent on this type of music or the genre of music? He is in a death metal band and he was asking in terms of his name, like, should he use a clear to read font or, you know, things like that? I see that's a good question. I'm thinking he needs pink e, pink. We're going to be talking about fonts in a minute. I'm gonna wait on that one but he's thinking correctly he is he's thinking now matching his music to some visual and there's creativity in there, that's one thing. Musicians are very good at its creativity and so the thought process is already in the right spot and we will get the fonts for sure. But his thinking should also apply the colors and all that kind of they're going to want to make sure that look matches that the look should I mean in fact that's a theme look, it goes back to the earlier slide that we had where we talked about you're representing yourself to the world, you need to have something that's authentic and that matches what you're trying to match, right? Absolutely thinking the right way little story and this was kind of funny when we first did shamrock remember? Yeah, this green that was not quite neon is very bright was really cool green look great on the screen even look great when we printed already stocked up. Yeah, so what he's talking about is that one of our albums is this irish we did irish pub songs and of course you think green and we used unfortunately rgb and had a beautiful bright green album cover, and then when we turned around to try to print it up, it came back this absolutely ungodly looking like cancer, this just could not match the color values into the real world. Now here's the thing I remember this one time you printed it out on a regular printer like it looks fine when I printed out this regular printer, how come this isn't good? Well, commercial printers use different types of printers then the one on your home network or even on your off in your office, they actually try and approximate rgb, and they use different values. Commercial printers tend to be seeing like a printers, and so we're just going to tell you about this got you right now. Okay, now a couple more words about image formats, I'm not going to spend much time on it, but you need to know this stuff you really dio first of all, there's layered images and flattened a layered image actually has each piece is a separate layer so they could be manipulated separately if you're more familiar with working with music, it's like having multi track each okay, this track is the saxophone. This track is the vocals he could work with them separately. You can change the volume separately at such a flattened is like when you mix it down you mix it down onto a syria track. You really can't separate them too well, vectored is like when the images start is a mathematical equation that's like midi you have a mini track, you could transpose it, you can make a different instrument, play it, you could make it slower, you could make it faster, you can do all this and manipulating it has no loss of any kind of granularity. It'll sound perfectly once you've actually, rast arised it it's, pushing it back down that's like recording your mini track into a piano piece, and then have it recorded you can't really change it and make it into accordion or a harpsichord. It is what it is, right? That makes sense. So based on this flattened rast arised formats r j peg p and g's jeffs there's versions of png that can have some layers and there's different versions that each of these files, but generally, if you see it there, flattened and rast arised, layered vectors files or a ight if ps, d's and there's other formats as well. But the key thing here is to keep in mind, well, why does this matter? I mean, we're talking about all this stuff well, it's, when if you don't know how to do this, stuff yourself, you're working with graphic artists and working with other people when working with a graphic artist. When you're done, you need to get the layered vector eyes source files as well as limits tells the flattened files, right? Think about it this way. You as a musician, if you work with somebody let's, just say and let me just clarify this you also want to get a work for hire contract for any graphic arts work that you're doing that touches your brand now from the point of view of a graphic artists they want to keep everything the way that is even if you pay them to make a logo for you this is what's not very well known if you pay them to make your logo they still own the copyright to that and you can't have that for your branded materials that is not appropriate so you have to make a work for hire contract let's flip it if somebody contract id with you to do a composition and then even if they did a work for hire contract and then when you're done you gave them even wave files and the mp three's when you're done, could they take out the vocalist and put in another vocalist if they don't have the source tracks? No, no, they couldn't so here's the thing he worked with a graphic artist when you're done, you don't just get the final files, you get the source files understand, right? Just a quick note that you needed to know that you want to do this stuff yourself don't have a lot of funding we're always trying to give you zero dollar options very inexpensive options there's a free open source graphics program it's called gimp it's very complicated to use you really need to know what you're doing in terms of graphics but it's great it has all the features and it can work with all the popular image formats we've talked about those tutorials online that help you with it any questions on that? We went through a pretty quick but if you've worked with any graphics files it's just stuff you need to be aware of just one last note to make it really clear why would you need that? Well, you make a logo or you make a mascot for yourself and then suddenly you want to change the little hat on the mat mascot because you want to make a t shirt with it that's why you have the layered version because if you have it available to you, you can take out the hat put another little hat and you've got a new piece of merchandise that's how this works so let's say you don't have time to create all of your own graphics, but you want to find some stuff to use their actually happens to be an awful lot of pre cleared and royalty free images and graphics you can get a hold of first of all public domain images they're all free that means if you go to a nasa or any government site you could download any image you want start doing whatever you were any u s guess thank you any u s based one three there's the lawyer and talking yeah the other thing you can look for his creative commons creative common search wikimedia commons there's different terms for creative commons, but one of the terms is commercial or non commercial. There are some people who make images and say, go ahead and use it commercially. They just want attribution, which means that you have to say it came from whoever it is. It seems like a small price to pay to get some free imagery. It's another thing you can do is and that's getting royalty free images. Now, royalty free means that you pay once, and you never have to pay anything after that. Actually, you could even have find free royalty free stuff. That's also possible. But most of this stuff you'll find you pay for an access to an image library. And then you could do what you want with it. This also exists for music. By the way, when there's music out there, you can grab it royalty free means you could kind of mix it into your own music. And you don't. I have to worry about anything most if you if you really do any serious stuff and we have a library of that too, when they come in handy little sounds and things like that, these are all places you can go for it. And it's. Part of our link sheet that we provide is part of the course. If you pay for it, you can get access to think six by six patients, six pages of links and I, we told you, you're going to be throwing a lot of links at you. You can just check this out on your own.

Class Description

In today’s tech-driven world, it’s easier than ever to record, distribute, and market your own music, but what about actually making money? During this course, longtime industry professionals and best-selling authors Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan take you step-by-step through their proven techniques for establishing steady revenue streams in the music business.

Drawing on their combined experience of over 32 years in the industry, Jason and Randy will teach you how to rise above the rest, landing your music on all the popular radio stations, selling your albums in stores, making the most of digital distribution, and licensing your music for commercials and movie and TV soundtracks. You will learn how to maximize the money you make from your music and minimize the money you spend promoting it.

Jason and Randy also outline how to set up the right support team through networking, giving back to your fans, and identifying the right collaboration opportunities. By the end you’ll have an extensive playbook for making money from your music and scaling your business.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Links and Resources.pdf

Day 1 Keynote.pdf

Day 2 Keynote.pdf

Day 3 Keynote.pdf

bonus material with enrollment

Chapter 1 of The Indie Band Survival Guide 2nd Edition.pdf

First Ones Free.pdf

Master Class-Be Heard.pdf

Master Class-Starting A Music Business for $0.pdf

Mixing Your Music For Licensing.pdf

Monetizing YouTube.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Charles Galvin

As robust a blueprint as you're likely to get anywhere. Applicable to every genre and with the growing importance of authenticity to fans, this is the way you start, maintain and grow your music business free of corporate intervention. Great job guys!


Absolutely fantastic course from start to finish. I thought i knew most of the tools, methods and ideas of the modern musician - but i was wrong. This course filled me with food-for-thought and instantly inspired me to do more and try harder. Well worth it. Thanks guys!

Tony Gonzo

One of the best classes I have ever taken as far as how to make money in music. I highly recommend this for anyone who works in the music field as an artist - manager or independent label.