The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 All  This Thread  Reviews  Gear Database  Gear for sale     Latest  Trending
The business of music sales
Old 10th January 2019
  #1
Here for the gear
 

The business of music sales

Hi Starcadian! I absolutely love pretty much every track you've ever laid down.

My question is sort of of the business side of things.

I noticed your music doesn't appear on Deezer, which is the music service I pay for. There's just so many online outlets for music now, it's hard for a music listener to to figure out which one to use.

How do you decide which online music outlets will have your music? How do you feel about streaming music vs actual digital album sales? Does one work out to be financially better than the other for you?

Has the Starcadian project gotten big enough for you to quit your day job, whatever it is/was?

Thanks!
Old 17th January 2019
  #2
Special Guest
 
starcadian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmn001 View Post
Hi Starcadian! I absolutely love pretty much every track you've ever laid down.

My question is sort of of the business side of things.

I noticed your music doesn't appear on Deezer, which is the music service I pay for. There's just so many online outlets for music now, it's hard for a music listener to to figure out which one to use.

How do you decide which online music outlets will have your music? How do you feel about streaming music vs actual digital album sales? Does one work out to be financially better than the other for you?

Has the Starcadian project gotten big enough for you to quit your day job, whatever it is/was?

Thanks!
Ah finally, the nitty gritty! Yeah I don't usually post on Deezer, it's true. Frankly, the streaming service options available are overwhelming and at some point you're paying a lot of distribution fees for not a large amount of people at all. there's a TON of startup streaming services in Africa, Asia and India for example, but until I know that I have a respectable fanbase there, I'm spending money without a return. Generally, when you're DIY, it serves you best to be fiscally responsible even with stuff that doesn't cost that much, because it snowballs in the long run.
As far as picking one, keep it simple, pick the ones with the biggest ACTIVE userbase, you can't go wrong with spotify, google and iTunes.
Hmm album sales. Well to be frank, that's my main source of Starcadian income (lol to the idea that money is in merch and in live gigs) and BandCamp will always pay out more than streaming services, that's for sure. I don't have an irrational hate of streaming, but it definitely isn't going to get you a house in the Hamptons. I think this past year I had streams in the multiple millions and over 600,000 fans, but I couldn't live off it. And that's without a label or anyone else taking a piece of the pie! Hence still the day job, sadly.
It's tough and I'm daily sacrificing a lot of real, expected, normal person things to finish each song, album and video but hey, I gotta do it I'm certainly not alone and not the martyr saint of musicians, this is the reality of independent artists in 2019, at least the ones that don't buy likes, follows, streams and all that skeezy bull****. You just make sure you release the best things you can and hope the dam breaks eventually!
11
Share
Old 21st January 2019
  #3
Have you had any record labels sniffing around yet?
Old 21st January 2019
  #4
Special Guest
 
starcadian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
Have you had any record labels sniffing around yet?
I've had a few over the years, a really really really big one was shopping Sunset Blood, but then fell off the face of the earth, months later I found that it had actually closed, then some indie labels asking for very obviously stupid terms that no rational being would say yes to.
To be frank, as a musician, you need to live through a few of those to see how much gaslighting happens in the label wooing process, pretty morally bankrupt. I've even had some big labels put some huge musicians on the phone with me to impress me enough to forget I won't own my masters. Needless to say, I've become pretty well versed in legalese and running my own business!
That's not to say that I am against the idea of a label at all, but the way I see it is I've built my thing from the ground up, have a distributor, a tour manager, have a close, interactive relationship with my fans and there is a very real mutual respect there, it would take a preeeeetty enticing contract, promising a massive marketing budget on paper, to get me signed, otherwise I don't really see the point
5
Share
Old 21st January 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
jiffybox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by starcadian View Post
I think this past year I had streams in the multiple millions and over 600,000 fans, but I couldn't live off it. And that's without a label or anyone else taking a piece of the pie! Hence still the day job, sadly.
See, this hurts the heart. By numbers alone this should allow a musician a comfortable living or at least no day job. I know it takes a bit more chutzpah and creativity to find avenues and outlets to generate an income for a musician these days, but clearly something is wrong with the system. But props to you Starcadian, you’re still at it so while I lament the state of the biz, I’m glad there are talented artists like yourself that still do whatever they can to bring us music.
Old 21st January 2019
  #6
Special Guest
 
starcadian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jiffybox View Post
See, this hurts the heart. By numbers alone this should allow a musician a comfortable living or at least no day job. I know it takes a bit more chutzpah and creativity to find avenues and outlets to generate an income for a musician these days, but clearly something is wrong with the system. But props to you Starcadian, you’re still at it so while I lament the state of the biz, I’m glad there are talented artists like yourself that still do whatever they can to bring us music.
Yeah I mean it IS a broken system and I'd love to be wiping my butt with dollar bills, but at the end of they day, none of us are making it FOR the system, we're doing it for people like us!
Success isn't really selling millions of records or having people screaming at you at Coachella (even though they didn't know you from Sunday and they're just pumped to be at a festival), all that crap is manufactured and engineered by a long-in-the-tooth system designed to push opiates for distraction. Believe you me, I know the stories behind the music for quite a few people and most Grammies, viral hits and success stories are a bit of a joke.
My job and the meaning I've imbued to my life is to write songs that make people feel and to find interesting ways to talk about the human condition, its failings and its bittersweet moments, while building a mythology around it that represents my beliefs about life in the universe and the nature of reality. Not getting lucky in a club and whether people remember the 80s or not
3
Share
Old 21st January 2019
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

I must agree that it is disheartening that you cannot live off of your music. I cannot imagine what would come out if you could devote the best hours of the day to making music. I find your level of song writing top notch and there are several huge sleeper hits among your songs. I get the feeling that you are trying to write the best pop song possible but without chasing the commercial prize. A label could probably help you with exposure and getting shelf space but then you'd have to give up a lot of ownership in return.

I have read your answers here and must say I also admire your integrity regarding the business and not exposing yourself in social media (let the haters hate Starcadian and not the individual behind it), desperately and pathetically begging for likes and subscriptions etc. The music speaks for itself and I kinda dig the mystery around the Starcadian character.

I'll head over to Bandcamp now and buy your albums.

Regards,
Carl
1
Share
Old 21st January 2019
  #8
Special Guest
 
starcadian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cramse View Post
The music speaks for itself and I kinda dig the mystery around the Starcadian character.

Regards,
Carl
I think I subconsciously worked into my videos the idea of unsuspecting people walking into a huge mythology early on, i'm currently working on an epic music video that also features a character stumbling into a Starcadian ritual, kinda like Chinatown, so I guess I always envisioned this whole thing as a big underground movement, but you only hear about it from word of mouth and you have to look out for the signs to find it
Old 21st January 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 
jiffybox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cramse View Post
I must agree that it is disheartening that you cannot live off of your music. I cannot imagine what would come out if you could devote the best hours of the day to making music.
That. When I was young and had all the time in the world to play, compose, record, etc. my skills in all areas grew in leaps and bounds. As the years passed and more and more responsibilities (mainly job slogs) my skills began to taper. Artists should be able to devote their time to their craft and their passions. I know this world I speak of is an alternate universe, but I just wish it wasn’t. That said it’s beyond commendable and impressive that you don’t let this universe slow you down and, in turn, we get to enjoy your creations. Onward and cheers, Starcadian!
2
Share
Old 22nd January 2019
  #10
Special Guest
 
starcadian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jiffybox View Post
That. When I was young and had all the time in the world to play, compose, record, etc. my skills in all areas grew in leaps and bounds. As the years passed and more and more responsibilities (mainly job slogs) my skills began to taper. Artists should be able to devote their time to their craft and their passions. I know this world I speak of is an alternate universe, but I just wish it wasn’t. That said it’s beyond commendable and impressive that you don’t let this universe slow you down and, in turn, we get to enjoy your creations. Onward and cheers, Starcadian!
I will add a little counter argument to this though, the days that I'm working my ass off and get home at 9, I know that I have 2 hours tops to do what I need to do, so I focus much faster. When I'm taking days off work, I just meander around the house, play a little video games, think about songs forever and time flies by. So I guess there's an upside to it
Don't ask me what I'd do if I become a father, the time calculations give me NIGHT TERRORS.
3
Share
Old 22nd January 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by starcadian View Post
I will add a little counter argument to this though, the days that I'm working my ass off and get home at 9, I know that I have 2 hours tops to do what I need to do, so I focus much faster. When I'm taking days off work, I just meander around the house, play a little video games, think about songs forever and time flies by. So I guess there's an upside to it
Don't ask me what I'd do if I become a father, the time calculations give me NIGHT TERRORS.
I've found that with me the 4 hours per day (in 2+2) method works better than the 8 full day for things that require high cpu load in the head.
More quality and less time. Circa the same final results, the fact is that keeping high attention always engaged for long time is impossibile.
Henri Poincaré was a famous mathematician to use this strategy (2hours morning + 2 hours late afternoon with a big break in the mid) but not the only famous person.
If I can I do 10-12am circa and 20-22pm (or 22-24). Between 12 and 20 I've 8 full hours free.
In this central part my head can cool down.

I divide all the projects in blocks of circa 2hrs in my todolist (but I don't use the clock when executing because it stresses me, I go with the sixth sense, it tells me when circa 2 hours has passed, if they are 2,5 or 1,7 is the same). I don't skip saturday and sunday.
It's a total of 28 high quality hours vs 40 low quality hours average and more free time every day.

This maybe can help you also to grow up some babies with serenity.
2
Share
Old 23rd January 2019
  #12
Special Guest
 
starcadian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimi777 View Post
I've found that with me the 4 hours per day (in 2+2) method works better than the 8 full day for things that require high cpu load in the head.
More quality and less time. Circa the same final results, the fact is that keeping high attention always engaged for long time is impossibile.
Henri Poincaré was a famous mathematician to use this strategy (2hours morning + 2 hours late afternoon with a big break in the mid) but not the only famous person.
If I can I do 10-12am circa and 20-22pm (or 22-24). Between 12 and 20 I've 8 full hours free.
In this central part my head can cool down.

I divide all the projects in blocks of circa 2hrs in my todolist (but I don't use the clock when executing because it stresses me, I go with the sixth sense, it tells me when circa 2 hours has passed, if they are 2,5 or 1,7 is the same). I don't skip saturday and sunday.
It's a total of 28 high quality hours vs 40 low quality hours average and more free time every day.

This maybe can help you also to grow up some babies with serenity.
I've heard that before and yes, I couldn't agree more. I can attest to the fact that most people in my day job industry (visual effects) crank the best stuff out before noon and after 5pm, everything in between is procrastination and tooling around. Certainly just staring at your DAW isn't making the song write itself any easier
2
Share
Old 23rd January 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 
blaugruen7's Avatar
i can relate with the less time is more sometimes.
i spend years with loads of time and nothing creative.
and nowadays with less time i see my tunes working all the time in the
backround for me when i do other stuff. when i come back to my room
i know what to do.....mostly
Old 23rd January 2019
  #14
Special Guest
 
starcadian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blaugruen7 View Post
i can relate with the less time is more sometimes.
i spend years with loads of time and nothing creative.
and nowadays with less time i see my tunes working all the time in the
backround for me when i do other stuff. when i come back to my room
i know what to do.....mostly
That's SO true, I'm composing in my head all day long while working!
2
Share
Old 25th January 2019
  #15
One more question related to the business side of things - what advice would you give someone who is wondering whether or not a record label could be of use to them? Other than "get a lawyer" of course, which should be a given... - what questions do you think an artist should ask a potential suitor should they be in a position where they are being approached?
Old 25th January 2019
  #16
Special Guest
 
starcadian's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitecat View Post
One more question related to the business side of things - what advice would you give someone who is wondering whether or not a record label could be of use to them? Other than "get a lawyer" of course, which should be a given... - what questions do you think an artist should ask a potential suitor should they be in a position where they are being approached?
Number one, I would say learn about the legal side of the music business yourself, buy a book and do the homework. I bought All You Need to Know About The Music Business by Donald Passman. Read everything you can, ask people you trust, research research research. Especially given that the rules of the music business change yearly :/
I'm not going to name names, but I was courted by a label for 6 months and if I hadn't known my bread from my butter, I would've been ruined by now.
in general, look for these terms:

Perpetuity = that means forever. Forever is bad.
Non-exclusive = that's what you want, you don't release your rights.
Rights transfer = you temporarily give a label your rights for a finite amount of time and after that they revert back to you.
Sunset Clause = after a contract ends, you calculate a half life for album sales that your label will still receive, which is fair. The amount of time should be defined though, there's no set time, I personally wouldn't go over 3-4 years, but it can go up to 10, which is a scam if you ask me.

Lastly, if you really really really SUPER need to go on a label, make sure that you walk in with the upper hand and know your audience, know what you want to sign away and make sure that you keep track of your finances, absolutely nothing will be free, so if you're looking to get into music to get away from lame stuff like taxes, expenses and returns, you're outta luck
6
Share
Topic:
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump