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Making Money with Music

Lesson 16 of 35

Income Beyond Music

Randy Chertkow, Jason Feehan

Making Money with Music

Randy Chertkow, Jason Feehan

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Lesson Info

16. Income Beyond Music

Lesson Info

Income Beyond Music

We've talked about quite a few different things right now. Up till now, we talked about the music, we talked about branding, and the key reason we talked about branding was that it was the ingredients for merchandise, so now we get to it. Now we get to talking about income beyond music, and actually, you could almost say that that holds true for pretty much every session from here on out, still, with the theme being adam's, not bits, you actually need to make and sell merchandise, there's a lot of things to do around it. And actually, since we've been doing this great tradition of asking the online community and actually those in the room, lets started out by saying, hey, can you tell us some of the more interesting merchandise you might have made to try and give people ideas? What about yourselves? Have you come up with any I know some of you are starting out mostly just concepts, nothing that's been, uh, actually created, but, uh, I think I think it's about trying to make something t...

hat nobody else has made little stick out. Yeah, definitely, yeah. That's very helpful. Anybody else? Okay? Looking to get ideas, that's fine way, have an entire slide with just idea way have multiple size and I mean, actually, maybe that's a time where we can do some brainstorming because we have some time here to talk about it and really dig in? Why would you want to create merchandise? We just talked about it sell adam's, not that's, right? So just a little quote to have you start thinking about things, the easiest sales to make to speak to somebody who's bought from you in the past, right? Well, if you think about it, if you just have your one album a year, you really have no more income coming from the fan that you work so hard to make. A big part of this business is making fans. We're going to talk about this during marketing later as well, but then once you have that fan, if all you're getting is just this fraction from them, the ten dollars or fifteen dollars they spend on your album, you're not going to get far. You have to have an awful lot more fans than that and paying fans because you're going to have a lot of people like you guys are awesome and then they'll know never spent any money on you, which is fine way like those two, I mean, that was kind of fans are great, and his musicians we exist to play music for an audience, for the most part, I mean, there's some people, perhaps that like to play in their rooms and just listen to their own music that's totally fine, it's also totally fine, by the way, if you're going to have a music business, you know, when that the side of things that you really want to do is just the music and you're not is interested in making into a hard news thing, but course, the whole thing we're trying to do here and making money with music is to talk about really how to monetize this, considering this, you don't want to leave money on the table like this, so the central question becomes, how do you design merchandise that people want to buy that's at the heart of the whole thing and it's really not very easy, but we're about to give you a way to do this that actually cost, you know, money three two secrets number one well, first of all, let's ask the question why would anyone want to buy clothing from a musician in the first place? It kind of brands them as individuals by showing what they're interested in that's a great answer, that's repeated yeah say that again, I just said, uh, it brands them is individuals based off what they're interested in that's excellent answer right on the money right on the money because very often what we get is people say things like this and I go ok to support the musician it's true they want to support you to which we always say ok I've got a plain white t shirt to sell you will you buy it and they go all no gold you want to support me you know I've got this might be it doesn't say anything actually about the artists but more than anything else it doesn't say anything about the person who would be buying it and considering that's at the heart of it this is where your brand comes in this is where all of the ingredients of merchandise come together and make it all happen so merchandise that sells however is not just your logo slapped on a t shirt they're not gonna want a walking what you said was deeper than just saying ok they're doing it because it's something that's interesting to them is that they're not going to walk around to be a billboard for you that's not why they're interested your merchandise needs to say something about the fan not you is an artist there's one point that you walk out of here with if there's one point after seeing this that you get from this whole thing it's toe always put yourself into the mind of the customers that you're going to have what your your fans you really have to understand that very well and say, why would I buy this? Get things that speak to their identity? Your music and brand is what makes the connection, you know, it reminds me of one of the comments we had for santa doesn't like you that second album it's it's like yeah, it was you could tell that it was a teenager like a kid that bought it he's like, well, I I bought this album and put it on during christmas because I wanted to show my parents well my christmas music like so I mean he don't do this on their own if you can angle it the right way well, how do you know what's going to speak to him though that's really the heart of the question it's not very easy to dio so here's the second secret it's about testing out the designs to find out what works and then this is this is the connection that most people don't make based on the way things work in today's internet and the services you have merchandise on demand. How many people have heard of that is a concept that so many ok that's fine here's the amazing thing about how things work nowadays in the past we used to have something called mess marketing and mass production. Now we have something called mass customization which means that they can make just that one single thing for that one single person at the one single time that they ask for it. And they can do that in mass meeting. Like if each one of you orders a different t shirt, they could make all five of your t shirts just special for you and ship it to you. And so how this works is you upload your art, you upload today basically, that thing they make a store out of it. The customer pays for everything else. So this is what you do? Use services like district lines, spread shirt, zazzle cafe press. These sites handle everything for you. The costs very quite a bit. And they charged a transaction fee on a percentage cut. Now, I want to remind people about what we said the very first day, and I know that not everybody tuned in right now actually was there. So I'm just going to do a little reprise. Each transaction had three parts that we should be paying attention to anybody remember who was there the first day? The three parts, the customer, the middleman and you. The customer, of course, is where you're aiming your marketing. This is how you increase your sales, you have to understand how that sale is made. And for each thing that we talk about in this merchandise part, they're all different for the most part, the thing that drives the sales that they buy, the t shirt that's, nice and simple royalties, it's a lot more vague, right? It's to get them to play more of your music, and then to get caught up in the surveys and then to try and a bridge that connection with things like ascap plus, when it doesn't quite work out for this it's more straightforward, you drive someone, they make the sale, and you do it. The middleman part is what I'm talking about for this, they all have very, very different models, and, in fact, for some of them, they actually keep the money until it hits a certain amount of threshold a threshold, and if you don't make that threshold within a certain amount of time, then they keep it, which is kind of like a questionable thing to d'oh. And this is why you have to read their agreements that said, it allows you to actually put in like we said, zero cost to you an image, and make his many different pieces of merchandise, as you can imagine, so here's how to use thes sites well, maybe we should talk out just because there's some quizzical looks here like what it is that you actually do so on those sites going back, any one of these sites like randy just said they all have their own terms and conditions and you should be very you should be aware of what those are because that's going to tell you how they're gonna pay you based on what they sell but they're all online stores and what you do is you create an account this is where you put in your tax I d number because at some point they're going to write you a check if you sell the merchandise but they have designed their sights in such a way uh, it's essentially kind of nice where you can put any of your artwork or any year text or whatever and, uh, preview it on any one of their types of merchandise that they they sell. Ok? So t shirt comes to mind because it's just a very obvious thing s o u khun you could have your logo on a t shirt shorts leave long sleeve sweatshirt hoodie yeah, and you can see and they had the technology is such that you can actually see it and you can okay that's what that would look like if I were to tell them to ok, make that, um so that's how this this works make sense one which is quite popular that I've has seen a lot of the artists use which is called t spring dot com you guys heard about? Yeah there's many more than just these. Well, this one kind of ads that exclusivity element because it's basically like kickstarter for t shirts on dso it only gets printed if x number are made. So basically, if you fifty people order it, then the t shirt gets printed. But if forty nine get ordered then it's never going to get printed eso it takes all of the burden of the manufacturing in the same similar way off the artist but also there's only ever going to be fifty that ever get printed. Yeah. So there's a limited number of buildings this kickstarter crowdfunding type thing yeah. So then you already have your built in customers, you know, exactly who's buying it. Yeah. That's there's a lot of nobody liked business. I like this model because there's a very aspect to it in that the actual amount you make it. You have to say that you have to set a tee shirt quite high in order to make any reasonable profit off of it using this. But when you make a certain mass amount that's probably a much better margin a cz well and the fact that it's exclusive and you're going to make fifty is even better it's a very thanks for sharing that that's an excellent idea so keeping in mind with this that you only get a small percentage yes, it's kind of interesting so what you should do with it is try out multiple designs and choose the best sellers and make an inventory out of it. So there's this sequence that you d'oh multiple designs is because when you use these stores, you can actually throw up a widget on your website and start selling it immediately so you actually just start doing business doesn't cost you anything. This is what we know I don't know why we've run into very few people that talk about this sequence, but it seems really obvious to us and that the biggest risk that you have with these things is that when you make a lot of t shirts, how do you know they're going to sell and that's why you do this sequence right? So multiple designs how do you come up with multiple of science to try here's where we love your ideas let's see if we can take it how far we can take this kind of thing? Obviously your name works out pretty well your logo, your mascot all this is where all that imagery comes into play, but album covers every album you d'oh if it's a particularly good album could actually be a t shirt walking around images from your posters. Town lights on the phone. One of my favorite ones is your song lyrics. If you have that one lyric that does it didn't the saw doctors to do that. Yeah, they get that were what were you saying? Listen, some of their and a lot of bands do this type of thing. Song titles, royalty free images mashed up. This is where some of these imagery actually come in handy because we had that question before. Well, wait, if I made that part of my logo, couldn't somebody else use it? Royalty free? Yes, absolutely. But that's not the idea. Remember, we talked about that? This is the ingredients for merchandise. This is how this stuff place together. See why we did this sequence? You know, what's coming together here, fan art definitely make sure to get the rights, but people love doing fan art nowadays. And I mean, if you look on tv in art dot com and just take a look at that, that whole thing is about fan heart among just about every media property you've ever seen out there. And one of the things you could do is put up some of your art on deviant art here's an idea. And then just ask people to do their own fan art of it. Not only does he get people involved in your music, but then you might be able to take that stuff and turn that into a t shirt or something else, and that goes with the idea of collaborating with your fans, and there are artists that we have interviewed that have done that day many times, actually create products in merchandise with a particular fan that had these skills, whether it was comic books or just designs for t shirts and stuff, any other ideas that you can pull out? I mean, we can direct our bringing so that we don't always come up with anything, always come up with surprising things. One asked. Students responded in the chat room from the previous question about, you know, creative ideas we can use said, I'm I've talked, I've made tack board masks with my face that I give out free and gigs, whoa! And then they said, I also have a toy machine full of buttons and patches that I bring to shows that they can put fifty cents in and get stuff I hope they don't mind. I want to tell retell this it's okay, way, what a great, so it's like a mini vending machine, I think that what a great idea! Say it again it's it's about being creative with this it's yet another pallet it's not just music and your brand but even with merchandise you should be as creative as possible it sounds like it was very creative really good. Yeah. Okay. So considering that this is some of the ideas that you can use or to make you should make a lot of different things just try it out on their sites is to see how it would potentially look on a shirt because like he said he has that preview mode but it goes beyond shirts. Yes, odd one I wrote a song yeah it's probably best one it's uh it's ah courses if this wasn't love sure was a damn good fire drill I thought of making a fire truck somehow they like do something with it but I mean like even that line, that line is perfect the lyric if it's like if it's powerful and it relate and it connects with your audience and whether you do live shows or something like that sometimes you can really see which lines actually really connect um that's a perfect one just to put out put on a shirt or put on a something else that we're going to talk about here shortly but yeah, and then you can even mix it up by actually having my the fire trucker or an alarm bell or something like that as well but being creative and thinking through some of that stuff is definitely where this is that, well, let's, take this the rest of the way through basin we were talking about earlier, um, I don't want to go all the way back, but if that line speaks to somebody because they have that kind of relationship, that's, what they're going to try and put on there, so if it goes, is great to have a clever lyric, but, you know, like, to the extent that you could make something that reaches into their head says this says something about me, yeah, that's where they buy it, they just I gotta have that. I've gotta have that thing. What kind of products are available? Goes far beyond t shirts were about to give you another huge slide. Sorry way did that a lot? Go to these sites for those of you online? Go ahead and give the sites that we mentioned before, try, like cafe press, their zazzle or spread shirt or any of the others. Stretchered is more short based, of course, but zazzle, for example, they have an enormous number of items that you conduce you. We've tried different ones of these ourselves, yes, we've made underwear with their logo on it long, I think. And you know why not? Because you can't, I mean, not only can you do all of these different types of things, but you don't know what people are going to be interested in, you could also use it to make one off items that you carry around that's completely unique because you don't have to sell these things that's, right? It's the cool thing, so the question becomes, then how do you make an inventory to sell? It shows the live events, though, all right, so because what this solves up to this point is basically exactly how you can put up shirts and other items and have it for sale from your website, because it's not something that you have an inventory of, you can't hand it to anybody, and just to be very, very clear about it, their store materials are excellent because they're all their whole thing is to turn around as much product as possible. It is simple as signing up for the site you put in your tax, I d you actually upload an image and you could be selling something like that immediately. They give you a little snippet a code you khun smack that right up on your web site on a page that says t shirts, you could be selling t shirts within fifteen minutes, and we should say it doesn't just so if somebody buys it, then it's also they handle all the order taking, and they handle all of the she manufacturing, and then they will fill a ship in the shipping, which we call fulfillment, so that they are one stop shop of which then just by setting yourself up in these type of stores, you zero dollars, we're going to do really much work on that end, your work is really with the branding and the creativity of, like what matches my music in that type of thing and you don't even know you don't even have to know that it's going to sell you could throw up a whole huge, massive store of products if you take everything that we talked about in the last session and pulled it into this one and went back to this kind of stuff, and you just go throughout your songs and make a whole bunch of them and find out what people like I don't overwhelm if you put hundreds of pages like hundreds of shirts from this start, it's gonna look pretty bizarre. You might want to choose your better ones by examining which ones look best first, and you think I would speak to your fans identity best, but then once you d'oh, this is the amazing thing to us, we keep hearing things, a little diatribe here were people saying that this music industry is terrible it's like everything is going wrong and then the squeezing money out everything this cost nothing you could be selling t shirts within fifteen minutes for no money down, and then you make money on every single sale and that's just starting out going back to yesterday, you could be selling your music for nothing because they're zero dollars or to get it in the itunes so right away you have some merch and your music being sold for nothing and you're making money right away. This is how this works for merchandise, so we're bringing that whole world forward here's how to get an inventory now for your shows. So now you've done the online stuff, right? You've been selling it, we go back, I remember remember I mentioned a few slides ago that you check to see what works, and then once you find out what actually works in the world now you know what to make an inventory of you take the proven designs to a traditional t shirt or merchandise dealer and create your inventory from it. Now you're taking very little risk. I like to say that there's an awful lot of musicians that have money in the form of t shirts in boxes in their basement because that's, what your inventory is and you can't spend t shirts we've tried it doesn't work, maybe you'll be successful, we load here, maybe somebody online got to make that work, but it usually doesn't work too well. The designs that come out of a traditional t shirt inventory, though, are much higher quality, and they cost less. So, like what? I should have mentioned a few back, your average t shirt base price on those sites is something like seventeen dollars in ninety nine cents, so you have to start charging more than that to make anything off of any sale, and you really, because they take a transaction fee, plus a percentage of the other thing, so they take a cut of that you have to go to, like, start going to twenty five to thirty dollars, to start really making a decent profit off of any of this now, given there was no money up front for you, so it didn't cost anything, and it's this mass customization thing that allows them to make a one at a time that's kind of cool, but if you charge the same amount for a t shirt here, your twenty five dollars t shirt and it only costs like five to seven dollars, you're making a much larger margin now you're taking a bit of a risk, because your money is tied up in this, but you're mitigating the risk by testing about testing out the designs against the real world you could just tell your fans like which ones of these do you even ask him which one of these deal like, you know, I'll put a money you could even tell your fans hey, anything that you see I could turn into a t shirt, you could even go one beyond that and say, just tell us and we'll you know we'll put it up, we'll make it available to you because of this print on demand option and of course, once you have those inventory of t shirts sitting in your basement who is going to handle taking the orders who's gonna handle mailing it out to your customers when they order it that's difficult and we'll talk about how to handle that in a few slides. Okay, there's more you can do with this though this is something that I like to remind people not only are you able tio use thes print on demand sites to sell any item online that you want, you could make those one off professional looking t shirts with whatever image you want. You could make it for a particular night, like if you've got a special one, you could make it for a particular event if you do a charity event, you can actually have your name on the charity and whatever else you can design you could just make a one off thing it'll cost you the base price only because you're don't have to charge yourself a higher margin on top of that and suddenly it for about twenty bucks and then they're shipping costs are usually fairly high that's how they make some of their money, you'll be spending like, you know, twenty five bucks or so you've got your own one off t shirt that's unique and not just t shirt going back a bunch of slides, any of those items that we're talking about, you can also use it to make short runs. Speaking of the exclusivity idea, now you can do the same thing in person that these guys did, except you can't do it ahead of time. You could say, hey, I've only got five these lighters with my thing out, and then they're gone, they're gone, and so you're taking much less of a risk you're paying the base amount and you're able to make this happen any questions about this? Because I mean this these air, this is a really key thing, this is your sequence that you could just try this over and over and over again, you make your little traditional inventory based on proven designs you keep going back and trying things out till they work that's the cycle and I would say again, it's another creative thing that you could be doing musicians they're very creative this is another thing to explore but also you know again be genuine and make sure that it it's like connected to who you are as an artist and then it's this is not about and it's very easy to take this message from it hawking products left and right were just telling you the sequence and we're telling you that this is out there uh we're not telling you to go as randy said a little earlier go slap your logo on every single thing and make a gigantic store and just be hawking products because you should be focused on the music and the live show what have you as well but just know that we're doing a deep dive on this that this exists and that and as you said it's zero dollars so it's something that's very practical that you can use okay cool excellent keep this in mind always this we go through the rest of this and of course attacked one more thing under what jason said the reason why you do this is you again you have to sell more than your music well this is a way for you to sell all kinds of products right away so let's amp this up even a little bit more you can actually make even more off of this merchandise well what do we mean by that here's a topic that we're going to be really talking about in the future tomorrow tomorrow it is the creative when we call it creative ways to make incorporated creative sources this is definitely one of them and it's called affiliate sales now the way affiliate sales works that a thumbnail is that you get a sales commission for sending customers toe websites that have any kind of commerce going on almost every web site you see has a little affiliate type of thing all almost all of the various print on demand places have affiliates associated with them. You sign up, you make money on the back end as well as the front end. Basically you make that percentage you make the front and percentage it's even better than that in that you also make whatever was in there shopping cart so if they keep shopping get all of it for senator yeah, and so the point here is that there's you could be leaving money at the table when you don't have to and that's why we have a whole another lesson about affiliates. We'll do a deep dive into affiliates so that you can if you choose that like how to go about making that happen for you so this is all good posters now let's talk about a few specific items that we want to cover make them when you need them you can make one off zazzle has some of the better sets of sizes that you can choose out of the ones that I've seen but that's not to say there's, not other options here again, this is for print on demand and one off you want to create an inventory of posters that you want to sell dis makers is a good choice but there's again there's still plenty of others there's a lot of printing options here look, your goal for all of these things is to actually make it is cheapest possible and then charges higher prices possible so that you get the margin you actually make money off of this stuff so a lot of your shopping it might have to do with the quality because you might, you know, have some vision in mine, but beyond that, see what you can do about getting the very best margin you possibly can, but we're going to go beyond this because this is posters are good, but you can actually go well beyond this in order to make it work. A poster now doesn't just sit there with you, our codes, they actually jump out of the poster and into the internet, and actually we've become something kind of cool, you guys know who knows what the cue our code is? S oh, yeah sure looks like you know it something like maybe kind of heard that first of all, the image design I don't want I wantto make this key point the image designed has to fit the poster size and it has to be the proper resolution you don't want it to look crappy. This is where if you don't have the graphic skills, use a graphic designer toe worth it, they can design it inside of their program to fit where you're trying to get q our codes are these little codes that you can use and anybody with a smartphone can use the camera on it to pick up the code, translate that into a web site you earl and show you a website. Well, that means that you can tag whatever when page you want toe any poster you have, but that means that you could actually have some music associated with a poster. Now we're going well beyond what this flat did thing is just sits on the wall and it actually jumps out at you and you don't have to just do music. You can go to a music video, you could do whatever you want, you could send people to a store if you want you could do whatever your creativity says it, you could even have multiple q r codes they're very easy to make we'll talk about this in the next session because there's more to do with posters and live music that we want to get to yeah, because it's a great way to promote yourself and your show, so we'll talk about in the next lesson. We'll talk about that. So how to make stickers? Stickers are another thing that air really handy again. Some of those print on demand. What places air really good, but it gets better than that, because what you can do here is created inventory, these air, super cheap sticker guys, a good place to go to do this, and the stickers can get creative. They're perfect giveaways. They're absolutely ideal places to put your web site. You are all and stick everywhere, so that people get annoyed with them wherever they find them. But you know what? This is good advertising and everything else. It certainly makes sense for promotional purposes.

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

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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.