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We Made This!!
Hello, hello and how are we all today? I hope you are well 🙂 I’m currently sat in a shady spot outside the van near Torrox Beach in Andalucía, about 30 minutes drive east from Malaga. I have a lovely view of the mountains which is keeping me inspired (I’ve just looked them up and it is the Sierra de Tejeda, Almijara y Alhama Natural Park), and fortunately a very lovely breeze which is keeping me cool! 🙂
The last post was the first in a series of posts based on the book I wrote whilst at Uni, ‘How To Make a Living In The Music Industry: 10 Rules and 10 Revenue Streams’. I wrote the book as part of my BSc honours degree. It was my final year project, written and researched in 2012-2013. In the last post 'Making a Living in the New Music Industry - Part 1' I shared the ‘Rules’ section of the book. This post will delve into the first ‘Revenue’ section, and at the end you’ll be able to download it for free! Oh what kind people we are!
Revenue # 1: Sales of music and merchandise
The first revenue section in the book was about making money through sales of music and merchandise. It’s interesting reading it now as I would write it quite differently if I were doing it again! But that’s the funny (and sometimes painful!) thing about re-visiting creative endeavours from the past; it’s very rare that you’ll be 100% satisfied with it in the present. Having said that, although the style is a little cringe-worthy for me now, the content still stands up. If I were to re-do it though, I would explain the concepts a bit more before diving in - I’ve assumed that the reader has a level of knowledge of the industry already, which I think may have been a mistake?
This section of the book investigates how money is made from sales of music and merchandise, and also who - specifically which job roles and companies - can make money from this area of revenue. There are so many different people who take a cut of the pie, and historically not always a very fair cut. The industry was, at the time of writing the book, built on old foundations, old business models and old business partnerships - and still is to an extent. Consequently there are individuals and businesses who make money from music who don’t really add an awful lot of value for the consumer, or for the artist. Fortunately, this is changing - the industry has been forced to adapt in recent years - and a prime example of this change is the Mycelia project, spearheaded by independent musician Imogen Heap. Mycelia is a music eco-system which aims to make the music industry more streamlined by cutting out middlemen, and paying artists and creators directly. It’s a brilliant project. I think it’s going to be incredible and it works using blockchain technology. Read more here.
How do we apply this?
So how does this chapter, ‘Sales - Music and Merchandise’, relate to our own music? Well, our tunes are available to purchase in digital format on our website and online stores such as Amazon and iTunes, and can be purchased in physical format through our website. We use a distributor, Distrokid, to get our music into these stores, and we pay an annual flat fee for this. We are working on merchandise at the moment and this will be available for purchase soon (exciting!). At the moment though, we make hardly any money through these avenues.
We don’t think that’s because our music is shit (as the cynical voices in our heads would have us believe!) but because it is so difficult to get noticed. As I’ve mentioned before, the internet is a bit of a double-edged sword for musicians. It is so easy to make music these days that every man and his dog can do it - and they do. And there are so many ways to get your music online, either in stores for sale or online for people to listen to, that the market is saturated. This makes it really hard to be heard in amonst all this noise, which is why effective marketing is more important than ever in the new industry (in hindsight I should have written the book about that!). People tend to think that you just need one good music video and it will go viral, or one good tune and it will spread like wildfire over the internet. But the reality is there’s a lot more to it than that. There’s a reason record labels spend huge amounts of money on marketing new bands and artists; because if they don’t, they just won’t break through.
So you’ve got your work cut out, huh?
It’s safe to say that we’ve set out to make it in what is possibly one of the hardest industries to make it in. Some people think we are mad - and maybe we are! - but if you have a dream, like we do, then you’ve got to spend at least some of your life trying to pursue it, otherwise what on earth are we here for?
I’ll leave you with that thought and the free download of the chapter, 'Revenue #1: Sales - Music and Merchandise'. I hope you find it interesting and beneficial. As always, if you have any comments about anything here or in the download, or you just want to say hi, don’t hesitate to get in touch via the comments at the bottom of the page.
For an update of our travels, see below!
Days 91 to 93 - Rota
Not much more happened here… We had a ‘doing’ day (laundry, shopping, etc) and then realised we were quite bored and needed a change of scenery. So we drove south to look at Africa. Ooh a whole new continent we’d never seen before! That was cool 🙂
Days 93 to 95 - Playa de Valdequeiros (Parque Natural de Punta Tarifa)
Beautiful little beach car park just north of the southern-most tip of Andalucía (and Spain I think?!). Such a gorgeous spot… I actually got an hour on the beach, just lying there with a book! It was amazing! Only downside was being woken by a man at 8am on Monday morning, banging on the van door telling us we weren’t allowed to stay overnight there. Oh dear. There weren’t any signs up anywhere and there were loads of other vans… he was knocking on everyone’s door, and not everyone was as polite about it as we were. Nevermind, on to the next!
Days 95 to 98 - Alcaidesa Marina, La Linea de la Concepcíon (just outside Gibraltar)
We chose this spot due to a severe lack of anywhere free (and approved) to stay - this place was €12 a night so not too bad. And what a great camping spot it turned out to be! Lovely views of the harbour and the sea. It was actually really peaceful. We liked it here a lot.
We popped across to Gibraltar for a few hours one day - it was literally 500m to the border so we figured we may as well. Have to say, I’m not sure I really liked it much! The whole place had a really strange energy… quite frenetic, like crazy London on a Monday morning. Maybe it’s to do with the amount of people who fit into such a small space (the area is only 2.6 sq miles and 30,000 people live there!). Dunno, whatever it was, I’m not in a hurry to visit again soon!
While staying at the Marina I worked on a song I wrote as a gift for my sister’s birthday. I wrote the main part of it when we were in Rota, over the course of a few days. In Alcaidesa, I recorded the vocals for it and was able to hear if it was actually working as a whole. Fortunately it was! It is very different to our TLT productions, stripped back, just piano and voice mainly. I enjoy making music in this minimal way, it lets you focus on different elements and emotions. I am not sure yet if it will be released… watch this space 🙂
Days 99 to 102 - Hev in London, Bryn in Alcaidesa Marina
Bryn and I had our first few days apart since leaving the UK! I flew to London to surprise my sister for her birthday and Bryn stayed out here. The unfortunate side effect of this was that Bryn spent his birthday on his own! Bit of a bummer 🙁 It was a really significant birthday for my sister though, and although I was very sad to miss Bryn’s I felt it was really important to make it for my sister’s. In a way it did us some good - we have been together pretty much 24/7 for a long time now so a bit of time apart doesn’t hurt!
Bryn was going to climb up Gibraltar Rock on his birthday and was thwarted 3 times! The first route he attempted was going well until he came to a tunnel that would only allow cars through. The pavement went right up to the outside of the tunnel and then stopped. So he had to re-trace his steps 3km back the way he came from 🙁 The next route led him to a gate which was locked. The third route took him to a man selling tickets, who told Bryn there was no way he could get to the top unless he bought a ticket for £12! Ridiculous!
Days 103 to 104 - Peñón del Cuervo, Malaga
We returned to the beach car park where we stayed last time we were in Malaga. We have been hanging around in this part of Andalucía because a Hymer dealer in Malaga was going to be doing some warranty work on the van for us. Unfortunately we learned today that they have only just got the authorisation for the work, they don’t have the parts yet, and the parts will take another 15 days to arrive. Noooo!!! This is just too long for us. We want to be in Croatia already! (First world problems again!) We are keen to get moving to other countries so we are going to start heading out of Spain soon.