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How do you make money in this business?
Old 27th December 2002
  #1
no ssl yet ðŸŽ™ï¸
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How do you make money in this business?

This topic was inspired by, Well actually I"m telling a lie. I STOLE! this topic from the DUC. Some guy gave an account for his position in the music biz and it kinda paralled my situation. Since the topic created a nice discussion I thought I'd adapt it to my situation and move it here.

I'm from New Orleans. I got my first studio experience programming drum tracks for friends. In 1991 (while in highschool). I caught a greyhound to NewYork figuring I'd simply go and get myself a record deal. Needless to say I didn't get a single meeting. What I did get was advice. While in Russell Simmon's office the secretary suggested my business partner and I start our own label (This was actually my idea before going to NY but he didnt see the vision until she said it)

I got a $3,000 loan from my father (who is not wealthy but gave me the money because he said it was the first time he saw me be passionate about anything) (NOte instead of replaying the entire soapopera I'll give you my point)

My first record sold about 28,000 units in the pre soundscan era. How ever money was slow at times and I decided to finish a marketing degree.

My business partner went on to become head producer for Master P, and the guys that I gave advice to about the record business (NOW known as CASH MONEY Records) went on to sell a couple of million units via a deal with Universal.

In this time I've earned a degree, but I am not working in my field. And as far as music the only significant thing I've done (well besides acumulate a bunch of gear) was feature on the last mystikal album. I am at a position where I can give it a go and release a record independent but It's somewhat uplifting and discouraging to see all of my peers go on to make millions (and mostly blow millions also) While I remain at square one as the person everyone respects as a talent but is in not much position to help.

I sometimes feel well, er,, OLD!!! At least too old to be at square one. It makes me start thinking hey I don't want to run a studio (which is often slow) or produce all my life. I should look into a "real" career like pharmacy or something that would give me a stable income. Yet the last time I did the " right thing" everyone around me got rich. Also if I quit music now it's like saying I did it all for no reason.


My line of thinking is that I don't need to live lavish and foolishly like many of my friends have. I want to maintain a salary/lifestyle similiar to what I would have with a day job while working on music and any thing beyond this is lagniappe

My Question

What do you guys recomend. and what ways do you know of to make money in this industry? (I could give making a record a shot and I do have access to the cash to do it. It's just that it would mean putting off having the "real job" some more years and I'd be older starting out at that)

I know I can produce for indi's and save for a house if I hustle my thinking is that most people spend their lives paying off their homes. If I can earn this in the next five years through sacrifice then I have achieved what takes most a lifetime. Or I can stash enough to spend five years going to pharm school

Of course I also love luxury cars but hey if you only have one ass to sit in the drivers seat then there is no reason to buy 5-15 nice cars like the people around me have


Old 27th December 2002
  #2
Lives for gear
 
toledo3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
if you're thinking about things like a stable pharmacy job...

Get familiar with your local teen pop/rap station. Let them know your creds; try to get to be thier go-to-guy for commercials/music. Get into commercial work in your town.

****, you should try to start your own label/production company though. What the hell. The fact that you worked on the Mystikal could at least be enough to not have the door slammed in your face, and will make younger acts eager to work with you.. It's always better to make money from multiple acts, and sit back and call the shots.
Old 27th December 2002
  #3
no ssl yet ðŸŽ™ï¸
Guest
Man good advice thanks. I knew there were avenues I wasn't thinking.

I have to think of new ways to get money. I know I have the talent. and as far as age. Hell Mystikal is a few years older than me and so are the Cash Money boys. Hell Master P should be knocking on 40 soon. It's just that I only have a few years window to be successfull in. I forgot to add my feature on the mystikal project was as an artist and not a producer. The albumn is almost certified platinum. It's just that I don't have the contacts to translate this into finding money. (NOTE I will make it a point to be on his next albumn also though)
Old 27th December 2002
  #4
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Ok cool send me some info on you and I'll call you

[email protected]


That's part of the reason I started this thread. Of all the successful people I have ever known they all had some similiar traits.

1. they talked and promoted their endeavors to whomever would listen

2. They spoke things into existence. Kinda like when I used to go in the store and ask protools questions not knowing where I'd get the money for a system. Hell why do you think the name is NO SSL YET

3 They all had a certain "star" quality to a degree where there stories deserved to be told

4. They all made a way when others said there was no way.a
Old 28th December 2002
  #5
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
If your peers have "arrived", you have something you didn't before: references and access. Start your production company, look for marketable talent you can work with, and use your connections to sell them at an appropriate level and get your cut.

You're in a different market/genre, but the things I find interesting about the whole American Idol debacle may be relevant: the show existed for the sole purpose of creating a career boost for the producers, songwriters and marketers, who you will notice are veterans of decades in the biz. The face is incidental, enough so that you can grab out of a hat of ten or twenty likelies. You don't have to be so callous about it, but if you pick artists to work with who can benefit from whatever access you have, it can be win-win. I'll bet your phone call and your credit on demo's will get them listened to by some of the right people. Ask Jules about spec deals to get some more ideas.

And sometimes having a lifestyle needs to take a back seat to having a life. Maybe living a bit leaner can be a much happier life. I'm thinking hard about trading up to a life, myself.

Bear
Old 28th December 2002
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Neve Sucks!'s Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
How ´bout manager? You could find new talent and hook up work for ém. Use your connection to pitch in productions, remixing, mixing.....

Just a thought......
Old 28th December 2002
  #7
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
This is a cool thread.

Many GS pros here are probably wearing various hats like live and studio engineering, producing, writing, composing, journalism, audio equipment design/sales, tech consulting, building studios, and selling studio time.

Some people do better when they specialize on one thing; others are more generalist, prefering to wear various hats and diversifying their efforts.

The financial reward is concentrated at the top. It seems to me that 95% of the money goes to 5% of the folks in the business. Or maybe it's 99% to 1%.

Talent, luck, drive, people skills, networking, contacts, business acumen...

If you're looking for stability, the business, legal and publishing aspects could be worth looking at. They are probably the most long-term sides of the business I know of.

Let us know what you decide to do.
Old 28th December 2002
  #8
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you look at it from a certain perspective the music bizz is no different then any other business. Wether it is in the line of washing powder or cars, or chocolat, or whatever ... it is about selling a product and marketting. And I think that the people who make the most money out of it look at it as just that .... a product.

Now we all spend hours and hours talking about vibe, and performance and artistic values etc etc .... and don't get me wrong or (Knox !!!) don't go fancy quoting me on this but at the end of the day you have to make a living .... and the only way to do that is to sell something.

Wether that is a service that contributes to a product (client depending recording facility for example) or any other line of work that relates to it isn't important. you have to eat.

Different people have different values .... I strongly believe that whatever you do and however you do it .... you do it by keeping up to some simple rules :

1. you do believe for the full 100 percent that your way of doing things is the right way. There is no room for doubt in this world. You will not be able to sell your service if you cannot convince the person in front of you that you're convinced.

2. you do not screw people ... it allways bites you in the ass ten times harder .... (which again doesn't mean that there's something wrong with making a good deal which pays a lot of money) .... often that is a thin line to walk ... stay on the right side.

It is hard to say what is you should do or in which field you make more chance ... too many factors depending on that.

Yet some are the same in every field : a good deal of luck, being at the right time at the right place running in to the right people is a very important factor that is hard to control.

Again, confidence is very important ... believe firmly in what you do. One of the things I keep telling myself is this : I don't know if I'll end up being rich or poor ... succesfull or a failure .... but I do know for sure that I will have given it my best possible shot.
Old 28th December 2002
  #9
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the main causes for failure in small businesses
1 lack of proper financing
2 lack of business knowledge
3 indecisiveness

OK well the third is one I added. One thing I learned from Master P's success (never met the guy but I worked with and trained EVERYONE who worked under him) to be decisive. He used to tell his engineers/producers when they said they weren't finished a mix. IF the vocals are loud and the bass is hitting give it to me, let's run with it. I'm not saying this is my attitude, If it were I wouldn't be on gearslutz. The point is that now that these guys have cut ties with him they take 9 months making and mixing each project and new equipment always means recutting and mixing. He had them mass producing like the studio was a sweat shop. Now they hardly ever work!

I learned from him to have a work ethic and go in there and get the job done.
Sure I'll go back and forth here about should I stay mix or go HD, or should I go apogee or Cranesong. But I know that once I commit I have to hit the ground running. And if you look at those more naieve about gear than us (the ones who rent time in 001 studios for example) They have a better chance of succeding than the guy who is waiting for just the right gear moment that will never come

I once knew a man who dreamed of building/owning a drugstore. He commenced to handbuild the store himself, only bad part was he died right before the store was finished. As a child I took from that lessons that have stayed with me all of life. His dream was to build a store and that he almost did. There is a difference between an artist and a businessman. The artist scopes his craft and commerce comes later, and he mainly invests in his craft The businessman puts his money wherever there is a high chance of profit. This is the reason in my opinion that most chefs work for instead of owning restaraunts and also why many musicians/artists sign to labels instead of owning them (of course there are several other reasons) I started this thread so I would have some inspirational things to pull up along my journey when the road gets rough. Because I know that to be successful I have to be both artist and businessman. Normally when you mix in visionary with this combo you end up with Millionaire also!

I have the background (marketing degree from Loyola)
I have the talent (well no way to prove that here so u have to trust me)
and I have the finance (finally!!!!!)

**** getting old LOL I'm gonna make this shyt happen
But I'll go in knowing I have limited time to do it and I have to DIVERSIFY

I REPEAT I HAVE TO DIVERSIFY in order to remain successful
This could mean diversity in the same business (mixing, producing, studio owner/manager, hosting talent searches and doing spec deals with up and comings, whatever) Or diversity in something else (remember the businessman side)

Just don't tell me I have to work at GC again (which wouldn't be so bad if the pay was better and it wasn't the musical Wal Mart

I am weird, sue me but I have an interest in different compression curves and processors and sampling rates. But I also have an interest in life, fashion, and nice things. I have to make both work and enjoy the road in the process

I cannot quit for I am not a quitter

Thanks guys you have helped me to motivate me.
Old 28th December 2002
  #10
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I observed an interesting phenominon while living in Berlin Germany for two years (91-92).

Most folks in the music biz there did SEVERAL jobs

1) a 'straight job' - they didnt like but paid well
2) a music biz side line job (like running a tshirt company)
3) Their band

I admired this and may have picked some of it up.

Today I wear the following hats

Private studio owner (hired out to good associates)
Engineer / producer for hire
Publisher (a new thing, no significant income yet, but it's building)
Hire company satelight - My gear gets rented out via a big rental co

It's the reputation I have built up over the years that attracts folks to me for engineering & producing + the Publishing co.

Dunno what I am trying to say here, er.... I know!

DIVERSIFICATION!
Old 28th December 2002
  #11
urumita
 
7rojo7's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Satellite!! you must read Paul Auster's autobiography because it deals with an artist's dilemma to make money. He speaks and writes french, so he made money translating but it wasn't enough, so he tried writing a detective novel and inventing a board game, both of which are a lot of fun. But these didn't get him anywhere because he was truly created to do different things.
If you love music, you must follow this and not worry about the money aspect. Sooner or later it will support you. This Jules guy has the right idea about those in Berlin. If you love music, you must follow this and not worry about the money aspect. yagaddaduwadyagaddadu!! Surely we all need money to live but if you're really dedicated to it you'll find a way. Henry Ford failed many times and lost very dear relationships before he finally succeeded. No pain no gain etc...
If you really believe you'll jump in and before too long you'll be so busy you won't have time to even think about these things or give advice to others who will be like you were.
There's no security in any decision you make for your life. So much trouble in dis world.
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