In this era of the music economy many artists are looking for sponsorship and endorsement deals, to compensate or supplement for the lack of revenue meant to be generated from album sales and royalties. We’ve already discussed many of the quantitative aspects pertaining to an artist’s branding concepts in previous article published in 2016. So, in this article we’ll be giving a qualitative perspective on how an artist can monetise from fame. This is to add further understanding for artists to be able to integrate the information from the music economy series and convert it into a business model which works best for them.
We’ve seen instances where some artists seek attention through all sorts of strange manners, just to “stay relevant” and become the talk of the town. As a basis of income levels, terms such as ‘mass markets’ and ‘niche markets’ are thrown around. These are two broad types of economic markets, which enterprises try to target in order to generate revenue and grow their businesses. According to the Chron, “the term mass market refers to a large, undifferentiated market of consumers with widely varied backgrounds. Products and services needed by almost every member of society are suited for the mass market.” This mainly means that, this would be inclusive of a market of people of all income levels, which does not exclude anyone. For artists, this offers them a chance to sell to as many individuals as possible – for as long as the merchandise price point does not exclude consumers from lower income groups. In musical terms, this could be assumed as catering to the mainstream audience who make up the majority.
Music drives us, literally and figuratively! The “drive”, in the abstract, is what keeps us going on a day-to-day basis as a means of motivation. In the literal, many urban folks commute either by driving themselves or being driven by others to some form of music in the background. That’s what defines the drive, with music playing a role of inspiration; either to get us through the day or a physical trip.
In Hip Hop, ‘gangster rap’ is synonymous with “drive-bys” and organised crime; in this sense ‘the drive’ can accompany undesirable results and negative consequences. Such is life though, the good and bad lead us to a destination. For Lavatory Records and TnT Corporation this was all it took to derive this concept, having to leave others behind while picking up others along the way – to create a new sound track in transit. Such is the design of life and the path we all go through, filled with potholes, cross roads, cul-de-sacs, dead ends and detours. Whatever happens though, we keep driving.
The Drive By Design is in partnership with TNT Corporation (headed up by punk rapper Tre) who will assist in audio engineering the series of project. The Drive By Design Volume 1 is set to be released in the first quarter of 2017, and will be hosted by music producer Crispy T. This is a showcase for Hip Hop/Rap artists to get themselves on, this will be a compilation of indie rap artists worldwide. Crispy T is the curator and will select tracks from artists around the globe.
This is music that you would wanna bump while you enjoy the ride…. stay the course and keep driving!
The term bargaining power is a concept that was widely discussed by economist Michael Porter, when he conceptualised the “Five Forces Theory”. This framework as developed by Porter is a business industry analysis tool to measure a business’s performance in terms of profitability and strategic sustainability. Porter listed these five elements: Threats of New Entrants, Threats of Substitutes, Degree of Rivalry, Supplier Power and Buyer Power. The real reason any business would do an industry analysis is to gain a competitive advantage over other rival firms. Quick MBA gives an extended explanation of Porter’s five forces theory.
One must confess about the subject of royalties, no matter how many times it was explained over and over to this writer, the concept of earning royalties just never truly hit home! This was down to the fact that seeing value in the “unseen” is a difficult concept to grasp for people who are not investors.
With music, the impact of one’s works is not something tangible or physical. For instance, how would something as subjective and experientially based as music be measured in quantifiable terms? Perhaps to fellow right brain thinkers, royalties are simply a good thing because it means more revenue streams for the artist. It is nice to know that you can earn money from making music, depending on how much an album sells or how often the radio and television stations play your songs. However the justification of why and how much is due to you is one that requires much deduction. This is again where financial literacy comes in and understanding all the aspects and perspectives, that would best explain the justification of royalties and different forms of them.
While growing up you may have heard sayings like “birds of a feather flock together”, “you are who you surround yourself with” etc. These sayings, pertaining to the company one chooses to keep, may be cliched but never get tired. The fundamental principle is that those who value the same things and share the same interests will find each other; and therefore naturally add value to one another. The concept of value adding is very important in trade and commerce and can be applied in music too.
According to Investopedia: “Value added is the enhancement a company gives its product or service before offering the product to customers”. In the context of the artist operating within the music industry, this would entail the artist having to take the role of being a producer in the economic sense. Your music composition would be adversely affected by your band mates, featured artists, music producer/ beatmaker, your post production audio engineer, and the publishing house that manufacture your CDs – all these people would be established as adding value to your final song as a product. These inputs ultimately affect the final outcome of the song you compose, to which you (as a composer) would find hard to quantify. This means, for as long as you as the composer/producer and your fans are happy with the final product, how much you spent into creating that piece of art is of little importance. Bearing in mind that the entire process of the creation of your work does not leave you in a pool of debt and you are staying within your means.
For many artists who are just starting out in their career there is always the possibility of finding themselves in a situation where gigs or bookings will be rewarded by “do it for the exposure” phrase as much more polite way of saying “you will not get paid”. Many will usually rant and rave and start talking about exploitation and being taken advantage of. However, there are a few things one must consider before writing off an opportunity. This again is a principle of economics in regards to Opportunity Cost, starting from analysis of one’s economic situation at individual level. By mastering the principles of being able to stay within and below your means, you would then be able to maximise off opportunities through developing an investment.
What we are saying at Lavatory Records: STOP COMPLAINING! No one can do to you what you don’t allow. Think carefully before deeming situations as “exploitative”. Taking a free gig can be beneficial to one’s career if done under the right circumstances.
Continuing in the series of establishing a music economy, we want to stress to all readers that you must remain economical and grow incrementally by staying within and below your means. The universally agreed way of making money in the music industry, is through live shows. Live shows on their own are a great way to explain the applicability of economics. The concepts of understanding the equilibrium and developing good habits in this regard, will ensure you stay within your means.
As often mentioned here on Lavatory Records, the music industry is in a state of a “breakdown” – in order to rebuild. We regularly get approached by young musicians who ask how they can build their careers and make a living from their passion. It is a rather difficult question as there’s no actual blue print laid out for everyone to follow
Being a musician or working within the performing arts is a profession that has its own sets of challenges. Compared to other ‘formal’ professions like being an accountant, music has no clearly defined path of advancement, where you would know for sure that in about 7 years you’d be worth and making a certain amount of income marking your set value.
It’s finally upon us – Friday the 28th of August, where you can finally download and stream the International Mixtape Franchise Volume 1 via Audiomack and Datpiff.
Special Mentions to DJ International Wigg, for the co-sign and helping to push the IMF Movement. You can follow him on Twitter: @djwigg
DJ Chronic for the help on the audio engineering and mixing on the tape! He came through in a big way for us. You can follow him on Facebook.
Shout out to these various contributors and DJs on the skits: C-Styles from the Coke Boys(USA/Nigeria), Dj That Naledi (SouthAfrica),Dj Faisca (Angola) ,Dj Deck Burner (#Nigeria) and Dj Bleed (Germany).
Shout out to Boss Brain Entertainment for the hard work, the network and all round being great partners. Get them on Facebook and on Twitter: @BossBrainEnt.
All importantly – the artists who contributed to the tape and TeeMan Chaser for the IMF Vol 1 cover artwork too. A big thank you and eternal gratitude from us at Lavatory Records.
Check out the Vlog by Thato “Tikkn T-Doe” Keikelame (MD of Lavatory Records) and Kofi “Yinks” Yinkah (MD of Boss Brain Entertainment) of the recently launched mixtape series: The International Mixtape Franchise.
IMF Volume 1 drops on Friday the 28th of August 2015, on Datpiff and Audiomack.