The New Stuff

20 Money Tips for Musicians- from Cutting Expenses to Managing Band Money


CUTTING EXPENSES:

Team up with other bands for concert venues. Creating your own concert, even in small venues, takes a lot of hard work and hard-earned dough. The best thing to do is collaborate with other bands so that it will be a combined effort and combined expenses. Plus, it is guaranteed that more people will show up and you’ll have a broader fan base.

Convert a room into a home studio. While it is lovely to be able to record with top-notch engineers in a nice acoustic space, it is not very cheap. So you save up until you have enough cash to spare before you record. But if you’re in it for the long haul, it’s good to invest in a home studio. You can start with just putting rugs on a room, a computer, and some basic software.

Pre-sell your upcoming album. Not enough cash to manufacture your album? Pre-sell, baby! It means people pay for it even before your product is done. Pre-selling your album allows you to have higher-quality product, too. On top of that, it’s an awesome way to create some buzz for your upcoming album.

SECURITY:

Health Insurance. Simply a must-have! What happens to you if you get in an accident (God forbid) with no insurance? You end up with a multi-zeroed emergency room bill, that’s what.

Instrument Insurance. You should you start considering purchasing a policy if your instrument costs $5,000 or more. Even if your instrument isn’t quite that expensive, by the time you add a couple of decent bows to the list, plus a case, accessories, maybe a good microphone, even your sheet-music collection, the total value adds up surprisingly fast. At that value, insurance starts looking like a good idea, especially if you depend on your gear and can’t afford to repair or replace it.

MANAGING “BAND MONEY”

Break it Down. Come to an agreement with the band on how money will be divided- from album sales to band merch. It is a must that you have a band contract so everyone has proof of what had been agreed upon.

Band money is band money. Don’t let any band member loan money from your band’s bank account. Not even once. Why? Once one member is allowed to dip into the account for extra personal money, everyone will feel entitled.

Debit it if you can. When you’re with the band whether for a rehearsal or tour, don’t keep too much extra cash on you. Not only will you likely spend more or lose the money, it’s also not easy to track expenses when you’re using cash. Use a debit card instead. It’s much easier to account for purchases once the debit transaction posts or a check clears.

Make sure you keep all receipts. The number one reason for divorce is money. That could happen to bands, too. To prevent money issues with the band, at the very least—do keep the receipts and account everything.

DAY JOB:

Change your mindset about your day job. Instead of hating your day job for getting in the way of your passions, think of it as a patron for your dreams. It is not your enemy. In fact it is your friend. Keep it, take care of it for as long as you can. You know what’s the enemy? Poor time management.

Pros and cons of keeping you day job: Should You Quit Your Job to do Music?

A good book about transitioning from day job to full-time dream job: Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job

EARNING MORE:

Rent your studio. If you have a home studio, let other bands use it!  Some artists need quality production of their music and they can’t afford the larger studios. This is a great way to help your fellow musicians and make money at the same time. Plus, this is good for building your network.

Youtube ads. Partnering with YouTube on your channel is a great way to generate income. Downside though, is that your fans might likely find the pre-roll ads annoying. But wth, everybody needs to eat.

Build a Referral Relationship with Music Stores, teachers, etc. – Get friendly with the staff and owners of your neighborhood music store, school teachers, organizations,etc . When people are looking for music teachers or wedding bands, they will refer you.  Provide a commission and they’ll really be motivated to recommend you.

Teach Live Music Lessons Online – Get a good web cam, a good mic, and you’re good to go. Make sure you watch a lot of online tutorials first so you would know how to teach. Teaching is hard enough, more so when you’re doing it online. So make sure you’re good at teaching before you post any tutorial ad.

Provide Music for Corporate Videos – Corporate video creation is on the rise, which also means there’s a niche for people who can create and edit music for those videos.

Send Out a Sponsored Tweet – If you’ve got a lot of Twitter followers, you can get a lot of cash by simply tweeting an ad. Visit SponsoredTweets.com to find out how much you could make from your tweets.

TAX:

It’s never too early to start tracking you expenses. When you first start writing songs to keep track of your expenses, keep a good calendar, and track of everything that would help your accountant to support what you are doing for your songwriting career. You can show losses your entire life. Many people fear of getting audited and will not deduct their expenses. Don’t lose opportunities for fear of the audit myth. Take your losses every single year.

How to avoid an audit. You can have negative income, but the thing that triggers an audit is to show an income below the standards that the IRS has set that they feel you can live on. To continue to show poverty level income on your return can trigger an audit. They will audit you because they believe that you have an income that you are not showing on your tax forms. I have represented people in those categories. They ask how can you live and eat in the kind of house and survive making this low amount of money? They come in to make sure you are reporting all of your income.

Cathy McCormack
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