One of my areas of expertise whilst working as a consultant before I launched my own online business, was helping people and brands to monetize their content; including music products and Merchandise.
How do you actually create digital products around your brand specifically focused on content?
Musicians may have hopes of making a living solely from their music, either through song or album purchases or through streaming sites and distribution channels. However this takes time and unfortunately cannot be your main source of revenue.
That is why performing live has been so important for musicians as they can directly generate revenue from ticket sales, but also from the music products and merch table.
We need to start building different revenue streams.
That is why I wanted to give you some ideas for products that you can start selling right now.
You, as a musician, have a skill set that many brands and companies need and are willing to pay for.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can start monetizing your music:
Game Developers Always Need Music/ Music Products
Did you know there are several thousands of games being developed right now. They need music and sound effects! Not only that, but these companies have a budget to spend on sound and music design.
This is one of the most important aspects of the game, right? What is a game without the right music and sound effects to create atmosphere.
So how do you find gaming companies to work with? Start by searching on Kickstarter.
There are a few reasons why I suggest starting with Kickstarter:
The games have not been fully developed yet
If they reach their funding target they will have money to pay you
If they reach their funding target it is most likely because there is a community out there who backed it. This makes it more probable that the game will be a success and your music will be heard
Here is a quick search I did on kickstarter today of all ACTIVE video game campaigns right now:
Let’s be more specific, you can easily narrow down your search to find your niche.
Say you are a music producer and part of the LGBTQ community. Let’s see what games are being developed in that niche:
Here’s a project:
This is being developed by a gaming company that has already developed several games so they may already have a composer or somebody working on their audio, but with a niche project like this, they will need niche help too.
Now you have to find the founder/CEO or whoever is in charge. Always start at the top (first rule of “sales”) and sell yourself to them.
Tell them why you are the perfect person to create music for their project.
The pitch here is VERY important! You cannot have a standard pitch that you send to all gaming companies on Kickstarter. Work smarter, not harder.
Remember these people are so passionate about something, they are raising money through a crowdfunding camping. You cannot directly just sell them your services.
You need to present yourself and your work in a way that speaks to their shared values.
How can your music specifically help them with their game, and most importantly their niche audience?
The key to winning them over is all in your pitch, and your pitch will be more likely to win them over the more specific you can be with it.
If you are a music producer in the LGBTQ community and want to pitch your music, skill set, and brand to this company – you need to align your brand with theirs.
You need to explain to them why this is a perfect match, and why they should work with you.
This is also where your EPK (Electronic Press Kit) comes in handy, which is basically your Resume/CV as a musician.
When you send off your pitch to the gaming developer (or company or studio), you need to have your personalized pitch in the email body. This is the part that describes how your values align with theirs. Then you need to link to your EPK, so they can learn more about you.
The reason you want to link to your EPK and not just your website, is that your EPK is your musical resume and it shows everything about you and your work – all presented on one page specifically for professional/PR purposes.
Your website is designed for your fans, while the EPK is designed for professional purposes.
You may also want to have a link to your EPK on your website as well. But definitely make sure to send it specifically to industry people and agents in scenarios like this.
If you want to learn how to create a high converting EPK, join me in the SMART Launch Club, as this is the next module I will focus on. You will then also be able to bring your EPK for my review and get my feedback.
If you make music for films, you can easily find some new movies that are being funded on Kickstarter, in exactly the same manner.
Reach Out To Non-Profit Organizations With Pitches for Music Products.
These organisations are all about creating informational and educational content to spread awareness about their cause.
Let’s say your music contains references to, and examples of, mental health issues. What other organizations are talking about the same issues?
There are loads of children’s organisations on local and global levels who work with kids and mental health, for example.
One of the most important jobs of a Non-Profit or an NGO is to spread awareness of their cause. How do they spread awareness? Well, usually with their content.
Socially conscious content and infomercials are very important for these organisations. They allocate budgets to create them. And when a company/organisation creates content, they typically also need music.
If you represent the same values as the organisation, there is an opportunity for a collaboration – Potentially even PAID
Go head and find some organizations in your niche. Find the person in charge OR the marketing director (start with the one in charge first though), and start by asking them “have you ever thought about working with a musician”.
Here’s an example email::
I am contacting you because your organisation focuses on (INSERT VALUE), which is one of the main drivers and sources of inspiration behind my music.
As the pandemic has settled in I am finding new ways to get my message heard whilst I cannot perform live. My message is about (X), which is exactly what you guys are sharing as well.
I see you have been creating some content to spread awareness on this subject. Have you ever thought about working with a musician on a project?. I can specifically write a song for your next campaign touching on a specific subject area.
This will be a great way to attach your message with music with the same message, and you will be supporting an independent artist while doing so.
Would you be open for a call to explore further?
*For more outreach templates for musicians, I’ve provided a free PDF here*
Something along those lines. The pitch needs to be aligned with their cause, and as everyone knows musicians are struggling these days.
The people with a budget for content creation should spend part of it paying for music; and giving work to independent musicians instead of using ineffective, free, non-licensed music.
Unless you pitch this to them, they will most likely go for the easiest and cheapest option.
However, if you pitch your brand and explain how your music will give additional value to their content, you have at least got yourself a meeting.
SO Many Large Companies Need Music and Music Products for Content
Companies are investing more and more every day into content marketing.
Instead of just paying for a commercial to be played on a TV break that directly sells, companies have had to change the way they do marketing as it has just gotten too crowded.
The ones who create the best content and use their channels to interact with their audience are the ones who will succeed.
A big part of this is content creation. The marketing funds in these departments are big and they invest in this more and more.
Whenever there is content, there is most likely the need for music too. All you usually have to do here is sell yourself and the concept – their marketing department will follow up with a campaign and structure.
The key here is to start niche. How does your brand align with their brand? What do you have in common? This is how you have to pitch it to the company.
Start by searching for the companies with whom your values align. It’s much easier to sell a product or service when you both have the same values.
This is a reason why McDonald’s want to work with Travis Scott on their newest collaboration (by the way, the last person who had his own burger at McDonalds was Michael Jackson).
McDonalds wants to build more trust in Travis Scott’s audience. However this is not to say you need to start getting brand endorsements from massive companies.
Start simply by creating music for their content. As companies are moving their marketing funds from traditional advertising to value based content marketing the need for music, and more specifically relevant music, will increase.
In this paragraph I am now speaking to the large companies out there with large marketing budgets; start allocating a portion of your budgets to getting some quality, relevant music for your content. Not only are you helping an industry that is struggling at the moment, your content will be of a higher quality, create more value and will result in higher engagement.
Anyway, back to you, the musician!
Start by finding companies who either speak the same message and values as you, or want to communicate to your target audience.
Let’s go back to the LGTBQ producer again. What companies have run some campaigns and products specifically related to the LGTBQ community?
Absolut Vodka, for example, are renowned for supporting the LGBTQ community, and that means more than just sticking a rainbow flag on their products, they actually contribute to charities and organisations helping the community and therefore are closely aligned.
H&M and Levi’s also make a pride themed range every year with proceeds once again going to charities and organisations rather than just plastering rainbows on their products.
Could any of these brands use some of your music in their campaigns?
Who are local big companies in your region perhaps that are easier to get in contact with? Banks? Insurance Agencies? Clothing Lines? Which companies share your message? How do they fit with your brand?
Then you need to find the right person at the company to speak with. This can be challenging as some of these organisations can be very large so there’s no use starting with the CEO /Co-founder here as they will be far too busy.
I would suggest focussing more on their marketing/brand director. Depending on the size of the company of course.
Start testing it out and don’t forget to link to your EPK when you send them your personalised pitch/email.
Services who pitch to companies for you:
Broadjam (www.broadjam.com): submits its members’ songs for consideration for film and television licensing opportunities, publishing, and artist placements. The material is not pre-screened, and the industry professional who is seeking material is paid a nominal fee to review all of the Broadjam submissions.
Taxi (www.taxi.com): sends its members listings that state the type of material being sought by recording artists, music industry professionals, and for film and television licensing opportunities. The specific company or artist’s name is not revealed. Taxi’s staff pre-screens the material ($5.00 per song) and forwards the material deemed most appropriate for the listing. The yearly membership fee is $295.95 for the first year and $195.95 for subsequent years.
SongU (www.SongU.com/success) is primarily an educational site. It offers a variety of membership levels that range in cost from $4.95 to $25.95 per month. Their pitching service connects members to music industry professionals such as; publishers, song pluggers, hit writers, producers, and licensing agents for films/TV pitches, as well as major and independent artists and record labels both in the U.S. and abroad. The cost per pitch ranges from free to $5.00, depending on the membership level. Members’ and alumni success stories can be viewed at SongU’s website.
However, here you have to upload a finished song, then someone will find placement. Which can be great if you have a song already – to check if you can get some placement.
I recommend contacting niche companies, developers, organizations that fit your brand, audience, etc. and test out if this is something you want to scale or not. Then you can start investing in and paying for services, etc.
See if you get some clients yourself first and remember: start niche.
There are so many different opportunities to make money out there if you start looking for them.
Of course this is going to be time consuming ,but the pay off can be great. If you have a few of these clients in addition to your regular music creation you can perhaps start thinking about quitting that side job and making a living from your music.
Become a consultant for yourself and find yourself perfect clients. These companies are never going to approach you independently.
You may be lucky every now and then, it does happen, however you cannot bank on this. You need to create these opportunities yourself.
The same goes for sales in any company. What you put in is what you get out.
Start creating some more PAID opportunities by starting to work with people, companies and organisations with a budget.