I’m sure you have heard that old story of a religious man sitting on the top of his house during a flood believing god will save him. His faith is so strong (blind) that he refuses the help from everyone else. When he eventually dies and gets to meet his “maker,” he asks why didn’t you save me? God answers “I sent several people, but you refused their help…”
Ok, so what does a religious story have to do with anything? Well, I see this in the music business all the time! I have a friend who in his own words called streaming services “free loaders.” None of his music is available online for streaming. Now in all fairness he is old school, and sells vinyl and even cassettes on his website. But I have heard this before, almost with every promotional tool out there.
Every time Facebook introduces a new algorithm change or update, I see a new Facebook group popping up about musicians “uniting and fighting against this change.” See the irony here?
And most of all, we have taken the music rights thing too far. We get so protective over our art that we won’t let anybody near it. “I will not let anybody take 20% of my profits! I rather not make anything!” Thats right, you will not make anything…
There are literally thousands of new services for musicians to get their music out into the world. We have a choice to use them, or not. Obviously common sense apply here, don’t sign away usage rights, you should own your songs. And you should do your background checks carefully on any service that requires advance payment. But if someone is offering you a way to make money from your music and in return they take a percentage of the money they make for you, unless you can do the same thing by your self, go for it! It is an opportunity! Grab it!
“But I am waiting for my big break.” Seriously? Most of the time success is built out of small opportunities, and lots of them. The concept of big break is something you should throw out of your head, it will only distract you from the real opportunities, which are out there. If a small local station is willing to play your song, grab it! Sure thing the royalties from it probably will not mount up to much, but go after about 100 of them and you are onto something. And lets not forget the exposure. Getting the big fish is always nearly impossible, while catching a lot of small fish will feed you. Don’t concentrate all your efforts on trying to get to perform a support slot for your favourite band. Unless you know them personally, the chances of that happening are small. But try to get to play a lot of supports for less known bands, and little by little you will build your own following.
Opportunities are everywhere, you just need to be willing to go after them and grab them when they do come along. Until then, don’t get too precious about your art, share it.
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE