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Cymphani Speaks On: Getting Paid in the Music Business

I always talk about collecting your money as an independent artist and though every hard working artist does deserve to be paid for their music you can also be paid by doing other jobs in music. We look at moguls like P.Diddy and Jay Z and we wonder how they became so successful in Music. The truth is they didn't just focus on artistry. They focused on other aspects in the Music Business as well. I've listed other ways anyone can become involved in this business whether Indie or Mainstream. If you're looking for a way in take a look at these options. ManagersManagers receive an agreed-upon percentage of the income from the artists they work with. Sometimes, musicians may pay managers a salary as well; this often works like a retainer, ensuring that the manager doesn't work with any other bands. However, this latter scenario really only comes into play when the artists are making a sufficient enough income to support themselves comfortably and legitimately have a need to make sure their manager focuses only on them.

Music PromotersPromoters make money on ticket sales for the gigs they promote. There are two ways this can happen:The promoter takes a percentage of the proceeds from the show after recouping their costs, giving the remaining money to the artists.This is known as a door split deal.The promoter may agree on a fixed payment with the musicians for their performance, and then any money left after costs is theirs to keep.

Music AgentsAgents take an agreed-upon percentage of the fees for the shows they arrange for musicians.In other words, an agent who negotiates a fee for a band to be paid $500 for a show takes a cut of that $500.

Record LabelsAt a very basic level, record labels make money by selling records. Your job at the record label and what type of label you work for will determine what this means for you. If you have your own record label, then you make money by selling enough records to cover your costs and make a profit. If you work for someone else's record label, you will likely get a salary or hourly wage. The size of the label and your role there determines how big that salary/wage will be.

Music PRWhether radio plugging or conducting press campaigns, music PR companies are paid on a campaign basis. They negotiate a flat fee for working a release or tour, and that fee usually covers a set amount of time for the company to promote the product/tour. Music PR companies may also get bonuses for successful campaigns and reaching certain thresholds—for instance, a bonus if the album sells a certain number of copies. These agreements are made before the campaign begins.

Music JournalistsMusic journalists who work freelance are paid on a per project or contract basis. If they work for a specific publication, they likely receive a salary or hourly wage.

Music ProducersRecord producers may receive a salary if they are tied to a specific studio or be paid on a per-project basis if they freelance. Another important part of music producer pay can be points, which allow producers to share in the royalties from the music they produce. Not all producers get points on every project.

Sound EngineersSound engineers who work independently get paid on a per-project basis—which can be a one-night deal or they may go on the road and do sound for a whole tour, in which case they will be paid for the tour and may also receive per diems (P.D.s).Engineers who work with a particular venue exclusively are likely to receive an hourly wage.

MusiciansWhat about the musicians themselves? Musicians make money from royalties, advances, playing live, selling merchandise, and licensing fees for their music. Sounds like a lot of revenue streams, but don't forget they often have to share the money with the people listed above.

Of course these aren't the only ways of making money in music but if you are involved in any of the above you can make a pretty decent income if you're consistent in your involvement. As always I am here to help. If you have any additional questions shoot me a comment #CymphaniSpeaks Visit for more information for Artists and Musicians.

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  • Apple Music
  • Spotify
  • Tidal
  • Amazon
  • Bandcamp
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